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The Whipping Boy: Thoughts for Passion Week

I was e-mailing lately with a good friend of mine from college, someone who, in recent years, has distanced herself from the Adventist community in which she grew up and from the Christian worldview more generally. Somehow we had gotten onto the topic of Jesus’ death and the Christian doctrines of sin and redemption. Here is what she said, in her words[1]:

A Parable of Jesus as a Clue to Biblical Interpretation

Why do we need a Matthew, a Mark, a Luke, and a John, a Paul, and all the writers who have borne testimony in regard to the life and ministry of the Saviour? Why could not one of the disciples have given us a connected account of Christ’s earthly life? Why does one writer bring in points that another does not mention? Why, if these points are essential, did not all the writers mention them? – It is because the minds of men differ. Not all comprehend things in exactly the same way. Certain Scripture truths appeal much more strongly to the minds of some than others.1 –Ellen G.

The Strawberry Letter

One of the things I miss about living in Michigan is being able to pick strawberries in the summer. I’d always wanted to go, but I wanted to go with my friends. However, God insisted that I go picking on my own. Let the record show, I am addicted to strawberries: strawberry ice cream, cupcakes, smoothies, lemonade, yogurt, cheesecake, candy, you name it. As I was doing my picking, I was amazed to see how strawberries were grown—it was awesome! I was able to see the tiniest berries to the largest berry of the bunch.

From the Archives: The Bible as Visionary Power

The Bible…is not a story-book or an epic poem; but it is much closer to being a work of literature than it is to being a work of history or doctrine, and the kind of mental response that we bring to poetry has to be in the forefront of our understanding of it.1 –Northrop Frye

I Accepted Timothy Keller’s Invitation to the Skeptical

Timothy Keller is the founder and pastor of something as rare as a Manhattan Presbyterian church that draws more than five thousand people to its Sunday services. He specializes in ministering to skeptics like myself and has apparently been hugely successful in this endeavor. That piqued my curiosity, so I bought his new book, Making Sense of God, whose subtitle invited me to sit down and listen to his pitch.

Drowned They Still Speak

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?


As it is written:


‘For Your sake we are killed all day long;


We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’


Where Love Is, God Is

I came across a short story by Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy. It is about Martin Avdéiteh, a cobbler.

As he aged, Martin suffered greatly in this life. All his children died in infancy except one son, his wife died young, and then his beloved son, Kapitón, fell ill and passed away.

Martin fell into a great depression. Despair and sorrow became his daily companions.

Jesus as Guest: Hospitality in the Ministry of Jesus

The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ ministry are filled with stories of hospitality — Jesus entertained and Jesus entertaining. In the Gospel of John, our first and last glimpses of Jesus show him hosting his disciples. After his baptism, he entertains his first disciples at his home after catching them trailing him like curious fans, and after his resurrection, he is found on the shore of the Sea of Galilee preparing fish and bread for his weary disciples coming in from a night of fishing.[1]

Book Review: Village Atheists

Neither the village idiot nor the village atheist escaped being socially marginalized in nineteenth-century America. Both distinct minorities, both pariahs, each faced discrimination, but where the village idiot was a gormless figure, the village atheist was often an intelligent threat to the religious status quo. The village idiot was gullible and harmless, the village atheist a sword in the side of Christian dogma. The idiot originated from bad genes, a simpleton often cruelly treated; the atheist hatched from choice and fiercely unwelcomed in American society.

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