• Heartprints

    No Little Pharisees!

    I have been teaching children for just shy of 50 years. That is a lot of teaching. But have I been teaching them well? In recent years, I have had to stop and reevaluate the things I have said as I quoted God’s Word to the children. In doing so I concluded that there were times that if a child followed my teaching, they would come out more like a pharisee than a believer. How many times have we as teachers and parents been guilty of telling the children that God hates sin without emphasizing His great love for the sinner? The Pharisees had God’s Words in their mouths but…

  • Engage

    Did God Really Say?

    I attended grad school in San Francisco in the 90’s. Each week a group of Christian students, faculty, and staff would gather in one of the small classrooms on the top floor for our CMDS meeting. This room had a floor-to-ceiling view of the Golden Gate Bridge where I can still picture the cars driving Northbound towards Sausalito. I adored the cute rainbow-painted tunnel arcs where the bridge merged with Marin County. My beloved friend’s uncle had painted those rainbows there many years prior. Every week I sat at the back of the room next to the window, gazing at the orange bridge stretched over hundreds of boats below. Some…

  • Engage

    The Whole Law

    After church one day an older woman approached me and said, “I didn’t see you in church today. I saw your husband take communion, but I didn’t see you take communion.” I responded, “You are correct. I did not take communion today.” To which she replied, “I’ve been sitting in the front row for years, and I know exactly who does and does not take communion.” I think she even ended with a, “Hmphh,” but I can’t confirm that. Now, I sometimes just blurt stuff out without weighing the consequences. Lucky for my husband in this moment I did more weighing than blurting. Not that I cared what she thought…

  • Engage

    The Golden Rule

    We all know that “Two wrongs don’t make a right” and “A stitch in time saves nine.” These and other handy proverbs provide nutshell explanations of broader concepts. Even in first century Israel, people wanted short clarifications of complex things. In their pre-internet, pre-printing press era, Israelites exchanged information and got their educations by questioning Jewish Teachers, or Rabbis, in formal gatherings.   As a Rabbi, Jesus constantly fielded questions, even from know-it-all religious leaders (Mt 22.34-36). The Israelites had numerous rules, Mosaic Law and Talmud, while Gentiles had little if any familiarity with the Old Testament, and neither knew what to do. So, when a crowd gathered on a…