links to 4 items worth your time

1. Waiting for God to Act

“We have been seduced by an idolatry that deceives us into thinking that God is mostly found in the big and loud, when in fact, God is almost never found in the big and loud. The ways of God are predominantly small and quiet. The ways of God are about as loud as seed falling on the ground or bread rising in an oven. The ways of God are almost never found in the shouts of the crowd; the ways of God are more often found in trickling tears and whispered prayers. We want God to do a big thing, while God is planning to do a small thing. We are impressed by the big and loud. God is not. We are in a hurry. God is not. We want God to act fast, but Godspeed is almost always slow.

“So we are waiting for God to act, but I would suggest that we are not so much waiting for God to act as we are waiting to become contemplative enough to discern what God is doing.”

2. A Nativity for Our Time

“What sorts of things should Christians really be upset by at Christmas?”

3. The Christus Victor View of the Atonement [essential reading]

“… the Christus Victor perspective inspires disciples to live counter-cultural lives that are persistently on-guard against the demonically seductive pull of nationalism, patriotism, culturally endorsed violence, greed, racism and a host of other structural evils that are part of the spiritually polluted air we all breath.”

4. 2,000-year-old ‘Pilate’ ring just might have belonged to notorious Jesus judge

“An intriguing 2,000-year-old copper alloy ring bearing the inscription ‘of Pilatus’ may be only the second artifact testifying to the historicity of the infamous Pontius Pilate. Unearthed 50 years ago, the ring was overlooked until recently, when it got a good scrub, and a second look. …

“While the name Pontius was common for Romans during the Second Temple, Pilate was not.”

this went thru my mind

 

Control, influence & life: It’s a Wonderful Life, If … by Dan Bouchelle [required reading]

“Love does not seek to control others.”

Church: What You Don’t Like About Your Church (And why that’s good) by Daniel Darling [required reading]

“I often say to people … ‘I don’t like everything in our church. And this is good, because if everything here was geared to what I like, it would be great for me, but not-so-great for the other members.’ And so it is with you.”

Christmas: * How December 25 Became Christmas by Andrew McGowan; * Separating Fact from Fiction in the Nativity Story – Christmas Myths Exposed by Frank Viola

* “How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday?”

* “If you’ve ever heard the Christmas story retold or watched it dramatized on film, you may not have realized how many myths were added to the story found in the Gospels. In this piece, I address some of them.”

Muslim: Why So Many Muslims Are Angry at the West by Frank Bellizzi

“Every semester, I teach a freshmen-level course at Amarillo College titled “Introduction to World Religions.” It’s the toughest teaching assignment I have.”

Near Death Experiences (NDE): NDEs and Heaven

“The near death experience as a foreshadowing of Heaven is a beautiful theory perhaps, but wrong.”