Pilates: Different Caricatures of Pontius

Easter’s just around the corner, so it’s time to commence with the several-hour long discourse on the nature of Pontius Pilate. What? You don’t do that on an annual basis? What better time to start the tradition than during your Easter video chats! Pontius Pilate’s character was the basis for a mold, an archetype which sticks in modern literature. He was the man who found Jesus to be an innocent man, but he loved popular praise too much (or, conversely, he was too weak to fight the will of the mob) to spare Jesus from crucifixion. Over the years, Pontius … Continue reading “Pilates: Different Caricatures of Pontius”

Youth Groups

I will be in a new house come Sunday, so my workload for the past few weeks has been full. I am quite tired, and perhaps a little grumpy. Still, the process of moving has retrieved several memories of my years at my college’s Christian youth ministries. I figured I’d reflect on those times and my views on college ministry as a whole. The common piece of advice I hear from youth group leaders is to find a group you particularly like and to stick with it. This might be perhaps due to my own personal habits, but I often … Continue reading “Youth Groups”

The One About Demon Possessions

All right, everybody. It’s time to go off the deep end. We’re talking about demon possession today. Before I continue, it’s important to address the caveat: how, if I don’t believe in magic, do I believe in demon possession? To that, I cite the Bible, which references magicians and magic but not the process, the extent, or the scale of the magic. The magicians described in the Bible are frequently inept, and those who are “successful” do so to entertain an audience. If you replace the so-called magic with the simple parlor tricks of a cheap Vegas act, it would … Continue reading “The One About Demon Possessions”

Neighbors and the Ninth Commandment

The Ten Commandments are a mainstay of modern Christian doctrine, if not Christian doctrine through all times and places. They are a solid set of rules that echo in nearly every Western culture. That isn’t to say that their interpretation hasn’t degraded over the years. The most common point of contention is the third commandment, but the misinterpretation that intrigues me the most is that of the ninth. See, most Christians speed through the final five commandments as a list of things not to do: no murder, no adultery, no stealing, no lying, and no envy. While that’s certainly true … Continue reading “Neighbors and the Ninth Commandment”

Christianity in the Third Millennium: Conclusion

One could argue that 2020 Anno Domini was the worst peacetime year in half a millennium, and I might be inclined to believe them. Certainly not foremost, but most applicably, I had a few topics that I wanted to discuss. However, many of those were quickly overshadowed when real-world events prompted blog discussions (see “Imperative of Work” and “Fear of a Virus”). Yet more were tossed aside due to bouts of inspiration (“Christianity, the Non-Mystic” and “The Desert and the Well”). I could probably find enough prompts for another year of these, but I’d like to keep some of my … Continue reading “Christianity in the Third Millennium: Conclusion”

The Desert and the Well: Finding Valuable Discussion

Whether dedicated or foolhardy, I’m a strong believer in engaging others in argumentation. When played right, they help to exercise the mind and shape perspective. However, what should be a search for the truth often turns into mindless attempts to score points, unwinnable efforts where ethos takes the place of logos and everyone’s time is wasted. In an age where debaters are anonymous but more commonplace, Jesus provides useful advice with regards to parsing productive discussions from unproductive ones. The discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus (John 3) ended in disappointment. Nicodemus comes to Jesus acknowledging His divine influence, under the … Continue reading “The Desert and the Well: Finding Valuable Discussion”

Chance: Opportunities to Find God

I find it difficult to listen to God. I can count on one hand the number of times when God spoke to me directly, and even then those times might have been late-night fatigue. I doubt strongly that I’m alone on this; many Christians claim to not have heard God directly even once. While I don’t claim to solve thousands of years of theology, I’ve recently started a practice that works for me. It’s simple and has doubtless been done before, but I wanted to gloss over the how and delve more into the why. Simply, I put on a … Continue reading “Chance: Opportunities to Find God”

Christianity, the Non-Mystic

I recently had a conversation with fellow theologians, and we came across the topic of magic. It’s certainly one thing to argue for or against arcane elements in works of fiction, but I heard some propose that magic exists in the real world. This sentiment, as lunatic as it may sound to the uninitiated Protestant and especially to the outside skeptic, has some background in Christian history. The Catholic and especially the Orthodox faiths are steeped in elements of mysticism. The Bible itself (Deuteronomy 18:11) forbids the casting of spells. So Christianity recognizes but does not endorse the concept of … Continue reading “Christianity, the Non-Mystic”

Law: Equally Weapon and Tool

For nearly two months, there have been large waves of lawlessness and establishment in the United States. Today, then, I wanted to look at the nature of governance from a biblical perspective. From my interpretation of the Bible, I look at the law as fundamentally neutral. Christ makes a clear distinction between giving to Caesar and giving to God. Caesar is absolutely subordinate to God, but those pursuits of Caesar’s government run neither contrary to nor towards those of the Kingdom of Heaven. Pontius Pilate’s ultimate goal was to keep the peace throughout Israel; while he found no faults with … Continue reading “Law: Equally Weapon and Tool”

Fourth of July Special

I understand that people across the nation are concerned, and it’s good to lighten the mood in abysmally dark times. So today, in celebration of the Fourth of July tomorrow, I want to highlight the good in America. For obvious reasons, the United States was never mentioned in the Bible, but the United States encompasses a lot of what Israel was intended to be. The nation of Israel was part of God’s covenant with Abraham, that He would make an innumerable nation through his servant, but the excuse presented to Pharaoh for the exodus of the Israelites was “that [God’s … Continue reading “Fourth of July Special”