Advent in Contested Territory: God with Us

My reflection at Christianity Today | Jesus Creed: Advent in Contested Territory: God with Us

Advent looks at Jesus’ arrival and sees the approaching liberation from Sin and Death. Advent aches for Christmas because Easter is breathtaking. Advent represents the longing for God’s intervention 2000 years ago, but it also represents our longing for God’s intervention now.

False Teachers in the Church

Click here to read my essay about False Teachers.

“Churches must acknowledge that there will always be wolves hunting among the faithful sheep, but they are not hopelessly resigned to this fact. They are called to boldly declare their pursuit of faithful teaching and goodness. Holding to the faith and living in goodness function as a purging agent for the church. The pursuit of Jesus shines a light into the darkness of evil, even when that evil is in the church.”

Who is the Antichrist? (Not who you think)

Click here to read my essay on antichrists.

“The antichrists, who deny Jesus’ humanity and deny God’s love, do not love others. The love of God is self-giving and communal, wanting the best for humanity: life through Jesus (1 John 4:9-10). The truth of who Jesus is comes through divine anointing (1 John 2:20, 24-27). The genuine believers who have remained in community have this anointing; they know who Jesus is and are reminded to let this truth live in them.”

What is the Church after Covid?

Click here to read my essay on the Church after Covid.

“We are meant to be a corporate, physical manifestation of God’s presence on earth, for both the benefit of the world and for our own flourishing. Good news requires that we examine Jesus in light of the past year and allow the Holy Spirit to bring discernment to our communities. We will be changed through this process; we should not expect to be the same people we were a year ago. By meeting together, hearing Scripture, and proclaiming Jesus we can begin to see a path forward. We will have church after the pandemic, but it will never be the same.”

Out of Place: Christian community in 1 Peter and James

Click here to read my essay on Christian community in 1 Peter and James

My predominantly white, suburban, American Christian context often seems unaware of how we’ve adopted the cultural values of status and power. James’ call for the church to be an equal community of brothers and sisters requires us to elevate those on the margins. We must have the self-awareness to see where we absorb status and power into our lives and the courage to explicitly reverse this absorption. This requires listening and allowing the marginalized to teach us.

How does Hebrews help a congregation cope with those who are “falling away?”

Click here to read my essay on Hebrews: discipleship when winning feels like losing.

In context, Hebrews is a message of Christian endurance, a willingness to remain separate from the surrounding cultures and persist faithfully in the truth. Hebrews guides Christian communities toward perseverance by reminding them of the superiority of Jesus. Jesus’ life is an example of faithfulness that meets with extreme resistance, to the point of death, and yet he is undeterred.[4] He is their example even though they have not yet experienced the same level of hostility. They follow his path.

Jesus Saves: More than words

Click here to read my essay on words, context, and Scripture.

“The words, the person saying them, and the cultural context all interact to create meaning. The inability or unwillingness of American Christians to see the meaning created by words used in a particular context leaves us vulnerable to manipulation and misappropriation.”

Paul, Slavery, and Today

Click here to read: Why follow Jesus if Paul doesn’t emancipate slaves?

Instead of looking through our 2021 lens, we need to let Paul speak to us through his own lens. He sees the sprawl of an empire, but his task is to preach an alternate foundation: Jesus. Paul represents Jesus who stands completely outside of the legal and economic systems of Rome. Jesus is Lord, Caesar is not.”

Fellowship at the Table

Click here to read my post on unity in Christ on the Jesus Creed blog at Christianity today.

We must look at our own social power and see where the world desires to create animosity within the body of Christ: politics, wealth, and status (to name a few) all seek to deceive and devour us. Only through non-hierarchical, self-giving in community do we reflect Christ at the Lord’s Supper.

American Harmony and Just Mercy

Click here to read my essay on the dynamics of justice and power in Paul’s letters at the Jesus Creed blog on Christianity Today.

Christian leaders are held responsible for uplifting those without power and challenging those with power to use it differently. Transformation for the vulnerable requires us to be self-aware and see what power we wield.