Pastoral Series - Reconciliation

Reconciliation: Prayer is next…

Reconciliation: Prayer is next… With this email, and then Dr. Christena Cleveland’s talk at 7pm this evening (when she’ll share from her dual perspective as a sociologist and theologian on why we suffer divisions in the church on issues like race, marriage and politics, and how we might understand, love and come together), our two…

Learn More

Reconciliation: Cognitive Generousity

Reconciliation: Cognitive Generosity In the harrowing Martin Scorsese film, “Silence,” the ex-priest Ferreira (played by Liam Neeson) assures the missionary zealot Fr. Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) that Christianity simply doesn’t work/won’t take in Japan.  The truth is, Christianity has worked in Japan – but not a westernized or Americanized version of the faith.  The historian Mark…

Learn More

Reconciliation: Whom are you defending?

Reconciliation: Whom are you defending? When I hear people getting riled up about social, moral or political issues, I often want to intervene and ask “Whom are you defending?” Dr. Christena Cleveland will be with us next Monday.  I love the way she characterizes the way we get divided from other Christians, assuming we’ve got…

Learn More

Reconciliation: our witness to the world

Reconciliation:  our witness to the world The godfather of modern evangelical thought, Francis Schaeffer, wrote these wise words:  “Love – and the unity it attests to – is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world.  Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was…

Learn More

Reconciliation: Justification

Reconciliation: JustificationHow do we make sense of the sea of stories, teaching, and wisdom in the Bible?  Theologians help us by giving us some shorthand terms to crystallize various themes.  So we wind up with “doctrine,” and theological jargon – which helps us talk about big things. “Reconciliation,” as you are realizing by now, represents…

Learn More

Reconciliation: Singing together

Reconciliation: Singing togetherSunday at 4pm, we’ll hear the Winston-Salem State choir sing old “slave spirituals,” and D’Walla Simmons-Burke and I will reflect on their meaning. When we think of reconciliation, we begin we realizing how we and others are broken and wounded.   James Cone wrote that “the spiritual is the spirit of people struggling to…

Learn More

Reconciliation: Unwittingly outwitted

Reconciliation: Unwittingly outwittedWhen Paul explains why Reconciliation is at the heart of the Christian life, he adds an interesting reason for its importance: “We do this so that we may not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:12).  When we live at a foggy distance from God,…

Learn More

Reconciliation: Right and Wrong

Reconciliation: Right and WrongI worry when we think about and try to embrace this whole idea of reconciliation.  It might easily be taken to imply that Anything goes, Nothing really matters – a kind of laid back relativism that could care less about truth or morality or holiness. On the contrary.  There is truth; there…

Learn More

Reconciliation: Born again

Reconciliation: Born againLast Thursday, we looked at the way ego digs out a wide canyon between us and God, and between us and other people.  But it’s not that you are inherently wicked.  You were born and made by God as quite noble, in God’s very image.  That image gets mixed up, misdirected, and twisted…

Learn More

Reconciliation: I Ask Your Forgiveness

Reconciliation: I Ask Your Forgiveness I hope you will let me apologize to you for last Thursday’s email.  The willingness to ask for and offer forgiveness is the key to reconciliation, isn’t it? In the email, I referred to Donald Trump’s statement that he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness.  My timing on this was atrocious,…

Learn More