• Engage

    Hazed and Confused

    Last night, a girl referred to her current state of mind as hazy. “Hazy,” I thought, I can relate to that. Familiar realities seem to be obscured by the “new normal.” Oddly enough, right when the fog begins to lift another comes. Someone else gets shot, cities are burning down, and people are spewing hatred.  My joy has waned and confusion has set in as I watch the fissures within the body of Christ become craters. I have looked on as people who I consider friends and ministry partners dig their heels in despite my grief. People are weary in well-doing, tired of praying, and not seeking the Lord before…

  • Engage

    Decide today who you will be tomorrow-Purposeful living brings reconciliation.

    Circa 2002, I made the first of several visits to the King Center and Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia. At the time I was a college student and I was highly impacted by Dr. Martin Luther King and his unwavering commitment to justice and peace. I made up my mind then that I wanted to be like Dr. King. I wanted to be courageous and peaceful in the face of evil and committed to loving people with the sacrificial love of Jesus. I have since developed a mantra that has followed me into Christian leadership, “decide now.” When I am speaking with a young lady about sexual…

  • Engage,  Uncategorized

    Discernment for Our Time

    “These are the numbers of the divisions of the armed troops who came to David in Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul over to him, according to the word of the Lord….Of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” 1 Chronicles 12:23, 32 (ESV) Truly we live in a day where believers should seek to be like the sons of Issachar – to understand the times and act accordingly. In this passage, the tribes of Israel are coming to David, to establish him as the rightful king of Israel. Saul’s reign was over and now the time had come for David,…

  • Engage

    The Cost of Ignoring Injustice

    There is a cost when Christians ignore injustice—we suggest to the world that God doesn’t care about those who experience it. When we’re apathetic about the murder of a young African-American man by a pair of white vigilantes, we fail to image God who is just and calls his people to advocate for justice: Seek good and not evil so you can live! Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies just might be with you, as you claim he is. Hate what is wrong, love what is right. Promote justice at the city gate. (Amos 5:14–15a) Take away from me your noisy songs; I don’t want to hear the music…

  • Engage

    Evangelicals and Sexism

    What should I know about feminism? Many evangelicals think of feminism only as a movement in which women are elevated over men. But such is the case in only in a handful of cases. More broadly, a feminist is someone who opposes sexism of any kind, especially under the law.  Often evangelicals understand the general culture’s reference to “equality” as suggesting a unisex interchangeability of men and women—but, feminists usually do acknowledge (many even celebrate) the differences between men and women. They just say those differences don’t translate to a hierarchy in which men have more innate power. At one time in the US, men got custody of kids in…

  • Engage

    Fresh Perspectives on Women of the Bible: Tamar by Barbara Haesecke

    One Sunday our pastor challenged us to “be willing to move toward the messy” to become the kind of people Jesus wants us to be. I immediately thought of Tamar. Her Genesis  38 story is tucked away in the middle of Joseph’s compelling tale, and many routinely skip over her to continue his amazing technicolor dreamcoat saga. But more than an interruption, her story teaches us valuable lessons even though it competes for the messiest story in the Bible. She’s the woman who dressed up as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law just so she could have a baby.  But is that all there is to her story?  The more…

  • Engage

    Papers Relating to Women I Heard at ETS

    I spent the past week with a bunch of my theological colleagues at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. Everybody who belongs to the ETS annually signs a statement affirming their belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. And at the national conference, presenters read papers, which they often publish afterward.  And I heard some interesting content. Here’s a sampling of some stuff to know:  Was it really all about the alcohol? My student Dani (she has guest-posted here in the past) presented for the first time. Her topic was the woman (named Abigail) whom Jonathan Edwards publicly excommunicated. This woman's name has been known for only the past…

  • Engage

    Repentance = Reparations: Time Does Not Heal All Sin

    Come back in time with me to first-century Jericho. Jesus has just entered the town, and there’s this short guy named Zach trying to see him through the crowd. Zach is a tax collector—and not just any tax collector. He’s the chief, and he’s rich. And he got that wealth via corruption.   Now imagine you’re one of the people this mob boss ripped off. It happened twenty years ago. And let’s assume that it went like this: you once owned property inherited from your parents. And they got it from their parents. Every good childhood memory you have rests on that precious property.   But one day Zach sent a…

  • Engage

    Four Reminders for Christians re. the Would-Be Justice and Justice

    1.     Truth is relevant.  A prominent Christian said this week that whether or not a pro-life nominee for the highest court of justice in the USA attempted to rape someone is “not relevant.” But let us be clear: whether the nominee attempted rape is indeed relevant. And the question of relevancy is not just a political issue; it is a moral issue. Let me begin by saying we do not know if the candidate is being falsely accused for political purposes. If he is innocent, he must be vindicated, and those who accuse him must face grave consequences for bearing false witness, a great evil.   But if the nominee actually did what he is…

  • Engage

    Somebody, Turn on the Lights

    “The people walking in darkness see a bright light; light shines on those who live in a land of deep darkness.” Isaiah 9:2 NET I rarely see bright-eyed children in Christmas dresses and or plaid vests singing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” in a Sunday school program. The somber tone hardly seems appropriate for the joy of a children's Christmas pageant. This advent hymn focuses on a somber, troubled world waiting for the Messiah. Advent used to have little meaning for me, as a child. Instead, I looked forward to spreading buttercream frosting on Christmas cookies, singing “Silver Bells,” decorating a fragrant Douglas fir and opening crimson foil-wrapped gifts. But red foil…