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Person chained

Autoimmune Disease: Traditions and Legalism

One of Jesus’ chief criticisms of the Pharisees was that they elevated their own traditions and teachings above the commandments of God. Unfortunately, that very same problem often occurs among Christians today. While traditions and teachings are important and can frequently offer stability and wisdom, they must be put aside when they become more important to us that the actual commands of scripture, including loving God, loving the saints, loving the church as a whole, and making disciples. When this happens, autoimmune disease is prevalent in the Body of Christ. Continue reading

Hezekiah's Tunnel, Jerusalem

Israel Tour 2012: The Final Three Days

May 21, Day 6: Our first stop today was the Temple Mount! We entered the Old City through Dung Gate (yes, that’s really what it’s called) and made our way through security so we could have access to the Temple Mount. I set off the metal detectors three times, despite the fact that the only metal I had on my entire body was my pants zipper (I don’t think their scanners pick up adamantium). Continue reading

The Cardo of Beth She'an

Israel 2012: Days 4 and 5

May 19, Day 4: This morning started early (on the bus by 7:45) because we never got to Yardenit yesterday. Yardenit (which I believe is just a modification of the word “Jordan” in Hebrew) is a baptismal site on the Jordan River just south of the outlet from the Galilee. Even though the actual site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist was probably much further south near Jericho, the site remains very popular. Continue reading

Israel Tour: The First Three Days

May 16, Day 1: We arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport around 1:10 p.m. and cleared Customs by about 2. We met our tour guide (named Ze’ev Eisner) inside the airport. I was hoping we would go straight to our hotel in Tiberias straight away, but we stopped at Caesarea Maritime first, since we wouldn’t have time later on in the tour. It was good. The Mediterranean was rather choppy because there was a stiff breeze (coming from the sea, fortunately). After that we stopped at the old Roman-style aqueduct built by Herod to supply Caesarea with water from the base of Mount Carmel (Karmi’el). We were all pretty exhausted, since several of us had had only an hour or two of sleep on the plane, so some of us fell asleep in the bus ride up to Tiberias. Our hotel isn’t quite as fancy as on previous trips, and I definitely miss Ma’agan, the kibbutz we stayed at last time in 2007. It’s still comfortable though. Dinner was good (I had turkey shawarma). Continue reading


Rachel Held Evans and Rehoboam

In her recent article about Amendment One in North Carolina, “How to win a culture war and lose a generation,” Rachel Held Evans laments the fact that, according to a survey by The Barna Group, a vast majority of non-Christian young people describe Christianity as “antihomosexual.” Ms. Evans’ personal experience matches the statistical data. “[E]very single student I have spoken with,” she states, “believes that the Church has mishandled its response to homosexuality.” Continue reading

Aragorn 1

Manliness and Being a Husband

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8

One of my favorite movie scenes occurs near the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first movie in the The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Continue reading


Obedience Training – It’s not just for dogs!

As I was walking Tala (my family’s German Shepherd) and attempting to train her this morning, it occurred to me that life might be significantly more intelligible if I could learn to look at life from the perspective of a dog. God tries to teach me some of the same “commands” that I try to teach Tala, and I’m afraid I must be as vexing to him as Tala is to me sometimes! Continue reading

Woud *you* get in the wheelbarrow?

Belief and Trust

How are we, as Christians, to understand our faith? We need to first discover the meaning of the word “faith” in the Bible, and how that meaning is somewhat different from the meaning many attach to it today. To avoid the cultural baggage associated with the term, let’s look at the Greek words that are used in the New Testament and translated as “faith.” Continue reading

In God We Trust – The Nature of Christian Faith

“Faith, being belief that isn’t based on evidence, is the principal vice of any religion…. Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops.” This statement, made by biologist-turned-evangelical atheist Richard Dawkins, characterizes the view of many atheists towards religious faith. In fact, I have often found Christians whose opinions differ from Dawkins’ only in their positive tone, adopting essentially the same definition of faith. Continue reading