A Busy Month

Well, it has been month since I have posted anything here. I’ve been busy. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been invited to three Iftar dinners (I gave a talk about fasting in the Abrahamic religions at one). I’ve also been busy with regular National Guard drill, teaching suicide intervention, attending the state American…

An Ordination Anniversary

I was ordained as a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on June 11, 1989, at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Abbottstown, PA. That was twenty-five years ago. Ordination involves the setting apart of someone by laying on of hands and prayer who has been called to the ministry of preaching the Word…

On the death of Ronald Reagan

Ten years ago, Ronald Reagan died. I heard him speak in Rockford, IL, in 1976. I didn’t care for him as president (he was in office during my years in college and grad school). I never voted for him. I disagreed with his Central American policy: the illegal wars, the CIA torture, Oliver North’s escapades…

Luther and Snow-Covered Dung

Roman Catholic apologists frequently claim that Martin Luther illustrated his teaching on justification by comparing it to snow covering a pile of dung. They quote this derisively, saying it is clearly unbiblical. Yet no one has ever been able to cite the passage it comes from. I asked Eric Gritsch about this once, and he confirmed…

The Pope and the Patriarch

Some folks have asked what I thought about the meeting between Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew. There are some folks who see sinister signs whenever Christian leaders meet. I think this is sad, as the last prayer of Jesus for his followers was that they be one. The schism between the Catholic and Orthodox churches…

More on dogfights near cheese farms …

An on-line publication wonders whether a church should be decorated with the fleur-de-lis. A conspiracist sees ominous signs in Pac-Man. Church boards angrily debate carpet color. Those with nothing better to do try to find a new interpretation of Daniel’s 1335 days. Is this what Christianity is about? I minister with soldiers–with men and women…

Reading the Qur’an

Blogger John E. Riütta writes, Why I’m Reading the Qur’an. He says some people were shocked when he mentioned it. The answer seemed pretty obvious to him, as it does to me. You can click on the link to read how he phrased it. I first started reading the Qur’an in college, when I had a…

Spiritual Direction

I’m going to a training tomorrow for spiritual directors. And saying so, I have to acknowledge that some folks view the term, “spiritual direction,” with great suspicion. Somehow my name was added to a list that delivers daily missives condemning “spiritual direction,” “spiritual formation,” and “spirituality.” The basic problem with these jeremiads is that they…

A Strategic Vision for Adventist Campus Ministry

Back in the 1890s Ellen White called for Seventh-day Adventists to embrace the public university and see it as a mission field, sending students to it to evangelize through a ministry of presence and positive witness. Two-thirds of Adventist college students today are at non-Adventist colleges and universities, but Adventist Christian Fellowship says maybe 150…

2014

Well, it’s a new year, and I am home in Houston. The last few weeks of 2013 I was busy with preparing for the return home, and briefing my replacement from the 42d CAB (NYARNG). Then came the journey home, a few days of out processing at Fort Hood, and we were home for Christmas.…

Florida textbooks and religion

There’s been a controversy recently in a Florida school district over the teaching of Islam in a high school social studies text book. Some folks have even encouraged burning of the books. This is a ridiculous situation. Here are the facts of the curriculum: http://vcdec.com/pdf/facts.pdf

Sunni and Shia

I came across an interesting Pew study comparing perspectives of Shia and Sunni Muslims. This led me to reflect on the fact that I have had little experience in dialogue with Shia–a couple visited my World Religion class one year; last week, at the Old Souq in Kuwait City, I chatted with a Shia from Afghanistan…

The Adventist Ordination Debate–Separating the Issues

There’s a debate today in the Seventh-day Adventist Church about whether women should be ordained. At least, that’s how some people portray the issue. I believe, however, that the actual debate is over the meaning of ordination. Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division, tweeted yesterday, “Out of 4,000 pastors in NAD, 107 are…

What the Trinity Is–and Is Not

The doctrine of the Trinity was developed over time as the early church sought to preserve the witness of Scripture in the face of new challenges. The starting point of Scripture is the incarnation. Jesus, the eternal Word, through whom all was made, who was in the bosom of the Father, became flesh. He prayed…

The Covenants Initiative

Interesting initiative from John Andrew Morrow, based on texts of Muhammad calling on Muslims to protect and defend Christians. He’s written a new book, The Covenants  of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World.

95 Theses for Today

95 Theses for today: challenging evangelical “relevance,” “excess,” and “purpose.” http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/a-new-95-theses-challenging-the-excesses-of-american-evangelicalism.html

Ghosts

Mark Shea believes in ghosts. So does Peter Kreeft. An occult author praised by Hans Urs von Balthasar believes in them. A lot of Catholic authors through the ages cite them as proof of purgatory. But the Bible says “the dead know not anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, 10). For more on the Biblical truth of ghosts,…

Did Jesus Drink Alcohol?

The Muslim world can’t understand how Christians can claim the name of Jesus and yet drink wine. They can’t imagine that any prophet would condone wine. Samuele Bacchiocchi addresses the question of whether Jesus drank fermented wine here, in a chapter from his book, Wine and the Bible.