Kūmāré is a 2011 documentary about a New Jersey man who pretends to be a guru from India—complete with accent—to see if he can get a following. The documentary is painful to watch because he does gather a following, and the people are totally convinced that Kūmāré is a spiritual man, with spiritual powers, who can help them. And since the audience knows this is all
I was recently chatting with an Episcopal priest about grace. He was very nice, and it was a pleasure talking to him. I asked how the message of grace was received in the Episcopal church. He suggested that while the Episcopal church is not very theological—in that people are not talking about and debating theology—he thought
We all have a ministry from God. In fact, you’re in full-time ministry right now. So…how are you doing? What are you doing? Who are you reaching? One of the things I try to emphasize at church is that everyone should be self-consciously serving God in their lives. Not everyone has a visible ministry on Sunday mornings.
God’s grace shows up in little moments that are often practically unnoticeable. For example, read John 21. Jesus had died, risen again, appeared to the disciples, and gave them a commission to be sent out into the world. No wonder Peter promptly declared, “I am going fishing” (v 3)! I would have done the same.That’s a lot to take in! While Peter was fishing and thinking
What is grace? Here’s an illustration from the Old Testament, from 2 Samuel 9. Jonathan, son of Saul, was King David’s best friend. After Jonathan died, David wanted to show kindness to someone in Jonathan’s family: “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for
Tax refund season is coming up. Are you hoping for a nice return from the government? It makes you feel rich, doesn’t it? What will you spend it on? Did you know that God is rich? And more importantly, He likes to spend! By contrast, the Ephesians were poor. In fact, in a manner of speaking, they were in debt. They were dead in sin,
Dear Shawn, I read with interest your article on “No More Scarlet Letters.” My question is why authors like you refuse to address, and why churches are slow to forgive, restore, and embrace sex offenders? [He gives examples of churches excluding sex offenders.] Dear Reader, Thank you for your letter. I think grace can, and should, be shown to everyone, even
I don’t know if it is true or not, but many years ago I was told that the Treasury Department has a specific way of training agents involved in preventing counterfeit money. They do not train them by showing them different examples of illegal currency. Instead, they spend thousands of hours studying what authentic money
I was listening to a podcast by Paul Zahl entitled “A Disease I Do Not Have the Courage to Name.” The title comes from a now out-of-print book entitled My Son Is a Splendid Driver, set during the Great Depression. In it, the protagonist’s mother is given a deadly STD by her husband, a traveling salesman. She feels ashamed—too ashamed to go to church. “Mother had stopped going to church.
In Romans 6, Paul makes an argument for why Christians should not continue living in sin. Here is his opening question: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (Romans 6:1-2). The Greek word for