I was the worship leader at my church recently, which meant I started the service, made announcements, read the scriptures, and sat up front looking saintly. I like doing that, but I am always stymied when introducing and ending the lessons.
I like to start the lessons by giving a little background on the reading because jumping into the middle of a biblical book can be confusing.… Read more >
The thrust of my ministry since the late 1980s has figuring out who the historical Jesus was. This is not easy because the New Testament mostly records the writers’ biases, not historical facts. Consequently, I’m constantly looking for information about what life was like back in Jesus’s time so I can place him into that context.… Read more >
Did you ever read something in the Bible and wonder what you just read? So, you read it again. It still makes no sense. You try again. Nothing.
Here’s an example from Matthew 21:18–19. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem and was hungry. He saw a fig tree, but he went to it, he found no fruit, only leaves.… Read more >
In a previous blog post entitled “Mother Teresa and Doubting Thomas,” my editor included a painting by Caravaggio of Doubting Thomas sticking his fingers deep into the chest wound of the “resurrected” Jesus (also shown here). When my editor first showed me the picture, I thought that it seemed a little morbid, but when I looked again, I saw an opportunity for a blog post.… Read more >
Has your family ever had a rift that prevented members from loving each other? As a retired psychotherapist, I am always surprised at how many families have had or still have interfamily conflicts. Family rifts are more common than one might think. Fact is, it seems to be the rare family that doesn’t have conflict in its history.… Read more >
Our weekly Bible study group is currently reading the Gospel of Luke, written around the turn of the first century CE. Luke is religious history (accuracy isn’t important) about the pre-Jesus, told through the metaphor of resurrection. Our group has studied Jesus’s birth, his youth, and his baptism, and now we’re studying his early ministry.… Read more >
According to one early gospel, the boy Jesus does not sound like a very nice person. I’m glad he wasn’t my neighbor or playmate when I was a kid!
Let me share a couple of stories about this mean-tempered, foul-mouthed Jesus when he was five. Jesus was out playing by himself when a neighbor boy came by and watched Jesus build little water ponds in the ground.… Read more >
In the late 1960s, Annie and I had three young daughters ages two, four, and six. The middle one was severely deaf with very limited vision only in her left eye, as well as a rather long list of other challenges. She was a high maintenance child. Annie also found that being the wife of a clergyman demanded her involvement with the parish.… Read more >
Most folks don’t realize that there are many different Jesuses. I’m not talking about south of the border where quite a few men are named Jesus. I am also not including the patients in the psychiatric hospital where I interned in the 1950s who believed they were Jesus.
The most popular Jesus is probably the mythical one.… Read more >