One of the real joys of eating at a good restaurant is, of course, the actual eating. Imagine a thick slice of cinnamon apple pie or a steaming bratwurst or some spicy Korean barbecue, the aromas rising warm and rich, wafting to your senses. The anticipation of the taste swirling across your tongue — eating such food is a singular delight. But doesn’t a lot of the sweetness of the experience occur after you have eaten, when you lean back after that last bite, full and satisfied, with your face and your belly smiling happily?
The next time someone begins a discussion of the Bible and homosexuality by asserting that it is a minor issue in Scripture, coming up in only seven disputed cases, refuse that starting point by insisting that it concerns every evocation of marriage or of human creation as male and female in the entirety of Scripture.
When I was in college studying art, I usually kept the “Christian side” of me separate from the “artistic side” of me whenver I stepped into my art building. I wasn’t embarrassed about Christ or the fact I grew up in a Christian home. I just had no idea how to connect my faith and my art, or that it was even important to connect the two. When I walked into the art department, I left my faith outside the door. I was still a Christian, but the people inside the art department didn’t know it.
It was Sunday at church. Ayelish and Aziz stood up as the ushers to receive the offering. Ayelish is pregnant and showing. I looked over at her standing with her rounded stomach and I knew immediately there was a message here for me. How did I know? It’s as if she jumped up and was floating over our heads. How many pregnant women have I seen in my life?! Hundreds, thousands maybe. But why was this different? It was like the burning bush—I felt an inner “nudge” from the Holy Spirit.
There’s an important moment in the first chapter of Acts where, forty days after Jesus’ resurrection, Jesus ascends (fancy word for, “Jesus goes to heaven”) and leaves his disciples staring into the sky. This “ascension” is kind of a big deal… but why should we care?
Jesus’ crucifixion, His death, the excruciatingly long Saturday, His bodily resurrection and some unspecified moment of return all say “why would I follow Him?” If Matthew, Mark, Luke and John pitched this on Shark Tank, there would be no hope of venture capital from Mr. Wonderful.
We’ve just celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus and now we’re invited to extend our celebration for the seven weeks that make up the season of Easter in the Christian Year. We could fruitfully dwell on a variety of Easter themes: the “newness of life” that comes from dying with Christ (Rom 6:1-4), the “new self” being shaped in each of us by God’s Spirit (Col 3:9-10) or the hope of eternal life in the “new heaven and earth” (Rev 1:1-7). Here’s another one: the gift of shalom.
In Mark’s gospel he starts by saying he is writing a good story about Jesus, the Christ, God’s son. Right away we meet Jesus claiming that the good news in this story is that God’s Kingdom is here. But it gets even more interesting. It seems that Mark is telling a story about a Kingdom in search of a King.
We read from tweets and news feeds that reconciliation and justice are gospel issues, but rarely do we use the gospel narrative to actually disciple people in practicing justice. James Choung’s Big Story gospel diagram gives us a tool to explain what is wrong with our world and why Jesus is the ultimate solution to the pain, suffering and injustice we see all around us.
The blog is an avenue for staff and student leaders to hear from the visionary leaders of Collegiate Ministries about theological formation, discipleship, chapter planting, chapter growth, and other key ministry themes for campus work.