A First Draft

Saint Mark

More than twenty years ago, while in seminary, I set out to translate the Gospel of Mark. The project went in fits and starts over the years, with more than a couple of complete resets and restarts as I changed my mind about what approach I wanted to take and what conventions I wanted to…

Feeding the 5,000

The details and the emphases of these stories differ, but at their heart is a core that suggests the earliest stage of transmission of this event in Jesus' ministry: Five loaves and two fish. Sit down. Twelve baskets. Five thousand.

Did Jesus “Define” Marriage?

The definition of marriage is one of the questions at the heart of the debate in contemporary Christianity about whether same-sex marriages should be affirmed by the church. In this debate, you’ll often hear those with more conservative positions on the question argue that same-sex marriage violates the “definition” of marriage given by Jesus, who…

Will There Be a Rapture?

Will there be a rapture? No. Not tomorrow, but, you know, eventually? No. Never? Never. Wait, why not? Allow me to explain. The Rapture, from the Latin raptus "seizing," refers to the belief by some Christians that at the End of Days, Jesus will return and take up the faithful into heaven with him. These…

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

We are in the season of Advent and there is no greater Advent hymn than "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." The words to the hymn date from a Latin hymn in the 9th Century and the melody to a 15th Century French carol. For some time, each verse of the carol has come with seven antiphons, one to be read before each verse is sung. The carol itself is an expectation of the coming savior, but doing so by invoking names from the salvation history of God.


Beginning of Hebrew Text of Jonah

The word of Yhwh came to Jonah, son of Amittai, saying: "Get up! Go to Nineveh the Great City and cry to her that their evil has come up before my face." So Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish, away from the face of Yhwh and he went down to Yafo and found a ship going to Tarshish and gave payment and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish, away from the face of Yhwh.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem: Psalm 122

Dome of the Rock and the Haram as-Sharif/Temple Mount in Jerusalem

This then brings us full circle. When we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we do not ask for its military security or for the strength of its ramparts and citadels. We ask instead that it become the city that it was meant to be: a city under God’s reign. A city wherein justice and righteousness reign, where God is present in our lives and in our world.

Waiting for God: Isaiah 30:8-18

We occupy a very different place than the people who would have first heard Isaiah’s words.  We are separated by time, distance, and culture.  We see the world through a lens colored by modernity.  Instantaneous communications, industrial manufacturing, information economies, chillingly technological warfare—all these shape our view of the world, a world very much removed…