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    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,…

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    Leaving Christianity

    Last week, writer Anne Rice—author of The Vampire Chronicles—publicly renounced Christianity, but not Christ, on her Facebook page. In 2004 she had come back to her Roman Catholic roots after a foray in atheism, during which time she wrote her vampire books. She later identified these books as reflecting her quest for meaning in a world without God. Embracing Jesus as her Savior, Anne announced that she would henceforth “write only for the Lord.” Her next two books were Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt and Christ the Lord: Road to Cana, chronicling the life of Jesus. But now she’s had enough of the church: “For those who care, and…

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    Spiritual Family Gatherings

    This week my husband and I are back in the Chicago area, where we both grew up. We’re enjoying a few days with his family first, and then mine. Both of us are from large families; I’m #1 of seven children, he’s #3 of six. Most of our siblings have children, and some have their own grandkids, which means a lot of people when we gather. There are no intentional, earth-shaking conversations, but important conversations happen while we’re just hanging out with each other. They’re important because they solidify our connections with each other. In our families, there’s fun too. Different kinds of fun, since our family cultures are quite…