Review: Jesus Undefeated

Review: Jesus Undefeated

Jesus Undefeated is the fourth volume in a series of books from author Keith Giles where he attempts to develop a christocentric view in contrast to views that are assumed to be dominant or traditional views on politics, the bible, church, and hell (Jesus Untangled, Jesus Unbound, Jesus Unveiled, and Jesus Undefeated, respectively). Jesus Undefeated is an accessible, approachable book on the views of hell and, more specifically, what the Bible says (and doesn’t say)

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Exploring Our Life Together: Worship and Service

Exploring Our Life Together: Worship and Service

A part of our liturgy with “less than ancient” origins is a phrase that we use to conclude the lay leaders’ announcements: “Worship is over; let the service begin”.  This component reminds us how experimental liturgy can be. Some borrowed words become sacred over time because of how they shape a community’s identity and inspire faithfulness. Even though we have only used it for a few years, this phrase has become so familiar that many

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Exploring Our Life Together: Invitation

Exploring Our Life Together: Invitation

While each component of our liturgy has different participatory activities (singing, walking, holding, speaking, tasting, listening, reflecting), the Invitation to Discipleship is the most explicit call to action. Based on everything that we have shared together, we have a way to respond. This deliberate decision to move forward in our journey of faith is what we call discipleship.  Sometimes this manifests itself as an “altar call” or a call to join the church, but discipleship

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Reviews: On Apologetics

Reviews: On Apologetics

“Apologetics is a principled attempt to communicate the vitality of the Christian gospel faithfully and effectively to our culture.” McGrath 17-18 I recently picked up two books to review, both offered by Baker Books, on the topic of apologetics. Apologetics is not a subject that I see a lot in my Progressive Christian circles, which presents a problem for me because it essentially yields the field to more conservative voices.  Apologetics was an important part

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Exploring Our Life Together: Offering

Exploring Our Life Together: Offering

Collecting an offering may be a very recognizable part of a Christian worship service as the need to solicit support for ministries is a consistent feature of all denominations and traditions.  While there is plenty to talk about the motivations and spirituality of giving (in fact, we’re in the middle of a stewardship campaign and great sermon series about it), I want to focus on the mechanics of this part of our Sunday morning gathering. 

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Exploring Our Life Together: Communion

Exploring Our Life Together: Communion

The communion meal (also known as the Eucharist. Lord’s Supper, or agape feast) is an element of our worship that derives from the most ancient Christian tradition. It traces its origin back to the early church remembering Jesus’s last meal with his disciples before his arrest and execution and the blessing that he gives them. This event, in itself, is also an appropriation/adaptation of the Jewish Passover meal blessing. Each of the four gospels includes

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Exploring Our Life Together: Sermon

Exploring Our Life Together: Sermon

The gatherings of the early church are described in Acts 2:42, saying, “The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers”. These gatherings continued the rabbinic teaching model of selecting a text and interpreting it for the community like we see Jesus doing in Luke 4:17-21. This shared experience of interpretation is one of the ways in which we worship with our minds and seek

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Exploring Our Life Together: Reading Scripture

Following the Prayers of the People and an anthem from the choir, we often have a moment for the public reading of scripture. We see this tradition in the early church in Paul’s advice to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:13) which is similar to the example of Jesus (Luke 4:16-20) and other rabbis. A portion of scripture is selected and read aloud before it is explained and discussed. Some church traditions follow a calendar, called a

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Exploring Our Life Together: Prayers of the People

Most of the time, we think of prayer as a private, quiet conversation with God. Following the Passing of the Peace, we share a moment together with the Prayers of the People when concerns and celebrations from the congregation are collected and shared. There are times when our public prayers reiterate tragedy and uncertainty, such as health concerns, natural disasters, and loss. These types of life circumstances are also those for which we have the

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Library Collection

I love books. I use an app called Libib to track my books and it is, by far, the best way that I have tried to organize myself. (I don’t get a commission on this, btw.) Easy-to-use app with barcode scanner and a website for entering ISBNs or doing manual entry. Automatically imports book descriptions and the search functions look up all fields, so even if your book is about something that isn’t in the title, it

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