• Engage

    Racism: My Journey

    Today I’m happy to host guest blogger Ver-lee Cheneweth. As a seminary student, I must complete two assignments to graduate—called an Agape Project—that blend biblical-theological learning with community service to cultivate growth in compassion. But I wondered what project I would do.    Then on May 25, a 46-year-old Black man, George Floyd, died in police custody after allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. The videos from bystanders showing the white policeman, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, even while Mr. Floyd repeatedly cried, “I can’t breathe!” horrified me. I felt the rage over Mr. Floyd’s death, but I didn’t understand the…

  • Engage

    In an Instant: Thoughts on Servanthood

    Today I’m happy to host guest blogger Cathleen Howard. *** Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God,  he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself.  He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself (John 13:3–5, NET). The steaming water ran over my skin like a Dali painting. Warped and surreal. I stood dumbfounded at how quickly the past two weeks slid down the drain and out of…

  • Engage

    I Was Wrong about Egypt

    When I had the opportunity this past March to go to Egypt, I was not thinking of the journey as a trip to the Holy Land….  I mean, talk about the “Holy Land,” and most people will think you mean modern Israel, the Palestinian territories, western Jordan, southern Lebanon and even southwestern Syria. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all regard these parts of the earth as holy. But did you notice Egypt was not on that list? For me, too. In fact, I thought of Egypt as being more like the un-holy land. Wasn’t Egypt where Israel lived enslaved for centuries? Wasn’t that where the plagues happened in response to evil? Wasn’t…

  • Engage

    Racism: Where Do Whites Go from Here? – Part 2

    Two weeks ago, I introduced a two-part series titled Racism: Where Do Whites Go from Here? I began by recommending humility and self-education. And I’m going to assume we’ve done some homework, so I can skip establishing that there is even a problem and go straight to what we can do in response to the overwhelming evidence. Here are some additional suggestions:  1. Become more respectful conversation partners. After my husband and I adopted a daughter, we appreciated those who stopped referring to her as our “adopted daughter” and instead called her our “daughter.” As pro-lifers, we appreciate it when people refer to us as “pro-life” instead of “anti-choice”—because it’s hard…

  • Engage,  Uncategorized

    Racism: Where Do Whites Go from Here?

    If public prayer meetings, sermons, and social media are any indication, a lot of white evangelicals are finally saying we need to go beyond observing, having conversations, and constantly analyzing semantics in the fight against racism. Yes, it’s high time we got way more involved. So, “Where do we go from here”?  In this two-part series (come back in two weeks), I’ll lay out some baby steps.  First, we start with humility. As members of the majority group, we have a certain ignorance when it comes to knowing what it’s like to live as a member of a minority population. I heard a trusted Black brother say this week, “People have to…

  • Engage

    What Is the Church—Really?

    In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said “The meek shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). Think about what the righteous will inherit: the earth. Literally. And the earth would make for a pretty pitiful inheritance if God planned to obliterate it. But he doesn’t. Instead, he has big plans to restore it. God has a good plan for this planet that does not involve its total annihilation.  In Ephesians 1, Paul seems to have in mind the same future that Jesus promised to the meek (v. 3). The heirs of God are said to possess the current spiritual blessings as a mere down payment or deposit (v. 14); in the future,…

  • Engage

    COVID–19: A Sign of the Last Days?

    The entire world is shut down in various forms. Never since Noah’s flood has the whole globe at one time endured the same catastrophe. So, publishers are seeing a spike in sales of books about the end times. And people are asking: Does COVID-19 signal the end is near?   As it turns out, before all eyes turned to Wuhan, LifeWay Research already had questions in mind about the last days. So, they surveyed 1,000 people from two groups: evangelical pastors and historically Black denominational pastors. Between January 24 and February 11, 2020, Lifeway asked some questions about these pastors’ perceptions. And the results revealed that even before everyone’s least favorite…

  • Engage

    Meditations on COVID-19

    Catherine of Siena has a particularly relevant story as our world faces what could be the Black Death of MMXX. One hundred seventy years before the Protestant Reformation, the plague of the day swept through Siena, and by AD 1349, half the population was dead. Half. Fifty percent. Not one percent. Not two percent. Fifty. In some places even sixty percent. They didn’t have tests. So maybe somebody exaggerated. So let’s just round down to fifty.   In the middle of this—the first of several such pandemics—Catherine was born. Her parents’ twenty-fourth child, Catherine lost a twin at birth. A younger sister after her died as well, making Catherine the youngest of a…

  • Corona Virus
    Engage

    Leading Through a Pandemic: Three Questions for Ministry Leaders

    Today I’m happy to have as my guest, Morgan Eseke. After studying leaders during high-stakes, high-pressure situations for more than two decades, Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative summarizes: “Crises are most often over-managed and under-led.” Researchers explained that leaders often find themselves making decisions based on the tyranny of the urgent. And in doing so they fail to gaze beyond the crisis to intentionally lead others through the uncertainty toward a more promising future.  Certainly, woven into the DNA of Christian faith is an outlook oriented toward a promising future. As we sit in the midst of a pandemic that has overturned normal ministry operations and shattered plans, we can…

  • Healing of the Blind Man
    Engage

    Do you have eyes to see?

    I’m happy to have as my guest today Lacie Phillips…. More about her below: Recently, I heard a sermon that did what every good teaching can do: it made me think deeply. The text for the message was Mark 10, at the end of which we meet Bartimaeus—son of Timaeus—a blind beggar.  As Jesus, his disciples, and a crowd are leaving Jericho, they cross paths with Bartimaeus sitting by the side of the road. When he hears that Jesus is near, Bartimaeus cries out, “Jesus, the son of David, have mercy on me.”  The crowd responds by scolding Bartimaeus and telling him to be quiet; but a second time he shouts out…