What if Jesus Cleaned the Temple Again?

This Monday of Holy Week 2019, we read of Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem on the Monday of that week (see Matt. 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48).  As we continue to follow Jesus on his way to garden, cross, and tomb,  I have wondered: What would happen if Jesus, son of God, did it again with respect to the Temple? What if he overturned the platforms on which purveyors of religious amusement or liturgical diversion plied their trades?  What if he put a strict quarantine on what should be, what in fact has been dedicated as, holy precincts, at least for a time no longer allowing anyone to pass through as they’d become accustomed?  What if Jesus did …

On Convincing … the World?

The ancient people of God no less than the first Christians lived their lives in a pluralistic world.  In fact, it is only recently that we have come to a place, where after generations of having it “our way” more or less, in a kind of Western, modern, Judeo-Christian  ghetto (from a more global perspective), that it strikes us as odd and challenging to live in and deal with the dynamics of a multi-cultural, pluralistic world.  Much of what strikes us as so strange and profoundly challenging was expected and normal for the historic people of God.  I’m referring to such things as the presence and relative vitality of several spiritual thought and life systems which people around us consider …

GOD WANTS A “PENTECOSTAL” CHURCH

God wants the church more “Pentecostal.”  The world needs the church more “Pentecostal.”  And, we will never be more than a faint shadow of “church” until we ourselves become way-more “Pentecostal.”  Thus, I am praying and hoping the church becomes more “Pentecostal.” If I wrote this 40 years ago, I wouldn’t be writing it now.  That’s because if I wrote this then, I would never have been ordained in my own church and might well have decided to do something else with my life.  I’m confident this is true for at least two primary reasons.  First, among the leaders of the church “Pentecostal” would have meant speaking in tongues, extraordinary signs and wonders, or at least claims for such, and …

Risen From The Book!

Does Easter make a difference?  Did the flurry and frenzy of Holy Week activity become an expression of the power that raises the dead?  Or was it more like a Memorial Day weekend?  Was it only that we recalled the One who made the supreme sacrifice for which we will always be thankful, but which remains essentially in the past—either the distant past of the actual event or a more recent past when perhaps we witnessed something like resurrection power?  Or did we celebrate something, or Someone, who demonstratively makes a difference today, this week, in our and the world’s story from now on? I have thought in recent years that just as Jesus rose from the grave in the …

Caiaphas, Caesar, Christ

Can we live in the way of Caiaphas or Caesar in the name of Christ? Are there multiple ways Messiah can wage the battle, achieve the victory and save the world and us? Does the supreme value of Kingdom-come justify whatever means are necessary to get there?   When Jesus told them what being Messiah would mean and Peter rebuked him, Jesus named him “Satan.” When James and John asked for special places on Jesus’ right and left, and Jesus says those places are already taken, Jesus may have meant the crosses that would be on either side of his. When James and John asked about fire-bombing the unwelcoming Samaritan village, Jesus rebuked them and continued on to Jerusalem, signaling …