Our High Priest!

The whole notion of a high priest is so foreign to we egalitarian Americans and moderns. We are centuries removed from a time when hierarchy and royalty were the norm. But it’s helpful to remember that, for the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived, the notion of a hierarchy and even monarchy was the norm. Frankly, the jury is still out from my perspective if our modern way is any…

Fear is a Liar!

Red Reddington on The Blacklist said “Fear is a liar. It activates the enemy.” Now don’t be too mad at me for quoting a fictional TV character! Besides, the quote perfectly reveals the dangers of living your life gripped by fear! We humans are susceptible to the power of fear and its ability to cause us to overreact or be paralyzed into inaction. So, fear is an emotion we must control or…

What Draws a Crowd?

Just because something is popular, doesn’t make it good or right. William Penn said “Avoid popularity; it has many snares, and no real benefits.” In my previous religious circles, we were always working to build a big crowd so that we could assure ourselves we were doing the right thing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with large churches AS LONG AS they are staffed properly so that families…

We KNOW!

I love learning big words. Ever since I watched “Mary Poppins” so many years ago and “learned a word to spite me aching nose” I have been fascinated with vocabulary. So, when I heard the word “epistemology” I was over the moon to learn all I could! Epistemology is “the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from…

The Paradox of Generosity

There’s one sure way for any politician to get an applause line in a stump speech. All he or she has to do is say “I support our troops!” And rightly so. The brave men and women who serve in our military perform a vital function in the preservation of our liberty, and we, as a nation, should always show our gratitude for their sacrificial service. The truth is freedom isn’t free,…

One Flock

St. John Chrysostom called the faithful “reason-endowed sheep.” Not having a lot of experience with sheep being raised in the rural American South (Now ask me about pigs, cows, and chickens and we got something there), I had to look up what is it about sheep that made this statement make so much sense to St. John’s congregation. First, sheep are a “herd” animal. That is they are most comfortable with other sheep. They aren’t “lone rangers.” In fact, a…

Received With Joy!

One of the most powerful prayers and hymns I’ve ever sung says “…For behold, through the cross joy has come into all the world. Ever blessing the Lord, we praise his Resurrection: for by enduring the cross, he has destroyed death by death.” Imagine that something as horrible as the cross producing such joy as a renewal of all the universe and the undoing of death! And yet, that message is at…

Bless Your Heart

As a “son of the South” I’ve heard people say “Bless your heart” all my life. And the irony is that this phrase that almost sounds like a prayer, is really a versatile phrase American Southerners use to both bless AND curse. And it all depends on how it’s used. It can be a genuine expression of concern or it can be used to cover with a thin layer of religiosity actual…

Plain Talk Saves Lives!

Do you mind if I get on a soapbox today? Thanks! Someone can be truly sincere AND sincerely wrong. It doesn’t help good people to be more concerned about their fragile feelings and ignore the danger they are in by heading in the wrong direction. Sometimes, speaking the truth in love is unpleasant and unwelcomed. But love DEMANDS I care more for the other than their opinion of me. Look at our…

Crucify Your Flesh!

Folks, there’s just one use for a cross. No ambiguity. No “shades of meaning.” The only use for a cross is to kill someone. Sorry for the stark language right off the bat, but there’s just no way to dress this up to make it more palatable. Crucifixion means somebody is going to die! No wonder we avoid the idea so much. But should we? After all, the famous saying on Mt.…