Showing posts from February, 2006
Reading the Bible!

How we read the Bible determines what we get from it. Now that's a pretty common sense idea. But how often do we think about it this way? Some read it as a literal word from God and others as a simple human word. Some read everything as if every part has the same meaning -- therefore an obscure passage enumerating legal traditions in Leviticus or Numbers has the same meaning as Genesis 1 or John 3. For others the Bible is a piece of literature that can be cherry picked for information. What we don't like we discard, what we like we use. But is it that easy?

I've been teaching a series in an adult bible study called Reading the Bible Responsibly. We've talked about important things like historical and literary criticism. We've talked about translation theory and textual criticism. Now we're looking at actual texts -- Genesis 2 tonight. If we read the text flatly, I believe we will miss the point of the Bible and we will not truly hear a word fro…
"At the heart of Christianity is the heart of God -- a passion for our
transformation and the transformation of the world. At the heart of
Christianity is participating in the passion of God." Marcus
Borg, Heart of Christianity.Marcus Borg has eloquently and succinctly summed up the Christian faith. It is about transformation and it is about participating in transformation. As a Christian, I am deeply committed to Jesus. Without him there is no Christianity. He embodies the revelation of God's love and mercy. He shows us that God is concerned about every individual person. He shows us that people are more important than rules. I believe that Paul is correct, that "in Christ, God is reconciling the world to himself (2 Cor. 5:17). Paul speaks of the transformation of the mind as well -- (Rom. 12:1f). These are powerful reminders that God is in the world, actively transforming the world in Christ. And because the church is the body of Christ, God is using the church to ac…
Listening to Jesus

Jesus said to his disciples after sharing the parable of the sower, "let anyone with ears to hear listen" (Mk 4:9). On the day of Transfiguration, when God said from the cloud, "this is my son, the Beloved, listen to him" (Mk 9:7), what he was saying was: Don't listen to the self-help gurus and the culture critics. Don't listen to the political pundits and religious hucksters. Listen to Jesus, because he brings you the Word of God.

History shows us that Christians haven't listened very well to Jesus. All that hostility shown by Christians this past Christmas proves how far we are from understanding Jesus' mission and message. We want to see and experience the glory of the kingdom of God, but too often we're in such a big hurry that we forget to follow Jesus' instructions. Maybe that's why he told the disciples, don't say anything about this just yet. They still had to figure out that there would be no triumph without…
The recent debate over the Dubai company that is set to take over a series of American ports raises many important questions. Security is definitely an issue to be addressed. I expect before all is said and done, proper protocals will be set up. But it does raise another issue, one that will be with us for the forseeable future. That is, how will we relate to the Arab and Muslim world (they are not, of course, necessarily one and the same). The Muslim world has been radicalized over the last half century. Why is still a matter of debate. It's possible that its inherent in Islam, but I don't think this is true. In part, some of the problems are lingering effects of colonialism and its demise. Western powers played a significant role in setting up national boundaries, boundaries that suited their needs more than those of the people of the Middle East.

The real issue though is one of xenophobia. We are afraid! The only way to deal with these fears is to confront th…
Bob Cornwall
Building Bridges – Observing Darwin’s Birthday in Church

On February 12th my congregation in California was one of four hundred plus churches across the nation that observed Evolution Sunday. Days before this event, which coincided with Charles Darwin’s 197th birthday, the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based proponent of Intelligent Design, opined that our observance was “the height of hypocrisy.” Discovery Institute officials charged us with sharing in a bit of “old time Darwinist religion.” Yes, I gave a “pro-evolution” sermon, but I’m not sure what this “good old Darwinist religion” is, but I would object to this characterization of my efforts. I expect the same would true of other preachers who chose to observe this event. Yes, we affirmed evolution as a scientific fact, but I wouldn’t call this Darwinist religion nor would I call it hypocritical.
While I can’t speak for my fellow preachers, nor the 10,000 plus signatories to the Clergy Letter P…
Journey is an apt description of faith. When we think of the biblical story, of Abraham and Jacob, Moses and Jesus all were people on journeys. Faith is not so much a destination as it is a pathway. But we don't go alone. I take comfort in the promise of the Psalmist,
"Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff-- they comfort me." Psalm 23:4 May we journey together along this path set before us. There will be danger and adventure, but it will never be boring.