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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Exploring Our Life Together: Gloria Patri

The Gloria Patri, or “Glory Be” hymn is an English translation of the Latin text, “Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.” This short prayer has been used by the Latin-speaking church since its inception as a way to declare in unison its primary convictions. It expresses a trinitatian theology, which was an essential piece of early European thought, the eternal presence

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Review: The Soul of an American President

Review: The Soul of an American President

What interested me in this book is the tendency for Eisenhower to be adopted by both Republican and Democrat leaders and a somewhat mythological figure from recent American history. As the authors point out, there are military and political biographies of Eisenhower but no detailed account of his personal faith. As a pacifist and critic of jingoism and militarism, I have an uneasy relationship with the General, yet I also admire the statement in his

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Review: Rescuing Jesus

Review: Rescuing Jesus

Rescuing Jesus: How People of Color, Women, and Queer Christians are Reclaiming Christianity, by Deborah Jian Lee (Beacon Press, 2015), is a book that has been on my radar for a while that I was finally able to pick up from my local library and spend the time reading. It follows the stories of characters who are struggling to identify within their Conservative Evangelical worlds and also integrate their themselves on the basis of race,

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