“God is in the House:” Religion and Morality Control

For more than 20 years, Nick Cave has been cranking out some fairly bleak punk-influenced music with his band “The Bad Seeds.”  The song you’re seeing performed live is on a more stripped-down, piano-based album called “No More Shall We Part.”

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“Surface Shines, Inside Rots:” Pharisees on the Right, Pharisees on the Left

“We’re all ok, until the day we’re not.  The surface shines, while the inside rots.”  (Rise Against, “Audience of One”)

In the passage we read in Luke on Sunday (Luke 11:29-54), we saw Jesus encountering the Pharisees.  It’s true that the gospels do Read more

“The Lost World:” Winding our Way Toward Truth

If you’ve been following along, you know that these blog posts have all centered on the sermon series “The Dirt Under His Nails” at Tri-State Fellowship.  Following the message “How far is Heaven?,” we’ve looked at the way culture has a longing for “home.”

One of the ways people look for that sense of grounding, or “home” is Read more

The Gospel According to Ikea: Postsecular Soul Space and Versatile Solutions for Modern Living

Home is a universal human experience – most often in the context of leaving it and finding it again.  “Home is where the heart is,” we’re told, and ultimately I suspect the reverse to be true.  In either case, this old statement informs us that a commitment to one’s home is a commitment to one’s heart. Read more

“How far is Heaven?”: Study Guide

For those who missed yesterday’s sermon, “How far is Heaven?”, you can click the link below to download a printable study guide for small groups, personal reading or to share with friends and coworkers: Read more

How far is Heaven?: The Pluralistic Challenge to Jesus

The following video is “Yahweh,” by the band U2.  The name “Yahweh” is one of the primary names for God in Hebrew.  It was a deeply personal name, so much so that when the name “Yahweh” was printed, the Hebrews used to switch to the name “Adonai” (analogous to “Lord”) out of reverential fear.

In U2’s video, however, the name “Yahweh” is invoked in the context of a wide variety of religious symbols.  Read more

The Contagious Gospel: Jesus as a Friend to Sinners

To finally put the last piece on this week’s series of posts, we need to go back to Luke 5.  It’s right after Jesus heals the paralyzed man who’d been lowered through the window.  And, as we saw, Jesus calls Levi away from his life as a tax collector to be a disciple of Jesus – and the “establishment” is a bit concerned about the company that Jesus seems to be keeping. Read more

From Leper to Love

His whole life had been defined by distance.  He was an “outsider,” they told him; a Samaritan.  To this day he still couldn’t remember all the reasons why he and the Jews would never really get along.   “Unclean,” they said, not because of anything he’d done, but simply because he’d been born that way. Read more

Occupy: The Religion of the Pharisees and the Religion(s) of the World

In case I’ve neglected to make this clear, this series of posts is intended to be an extension of the sermon series “The Dirt Under His Nails” at Tri-State Fellowship.

In our last post, we looked at the question of the paralytic from Luke 5.   Today we’ll look at how Jesus’ response was received by the Pharisees who were gathered there. Read more

“Would that really make you happy?” Jesus and the Paralytic

If you were with us on Sunday, you heard the story of the paralytic.  In that culture, paralysis rendered you wholly dependent on others for…well, everything.  So you can imagine that even family and friends were weary of having to tend to his needs, and would have jumped at hearing that this gifted healer named Jesus was teaching nearby. Read more