“I tweet, therefore I am!”

It seems difficult to imagine, but there was once a time when human beings did not feel the need to share every waking moment with hundreds of millions, even billions, of complete and utter strangers. If one went to a shopping mall to purchase an article of clothing, one did not post minute-by-minute details on a social networking site; and if one made a fool of oneself at a party, one did not leave a photographic record of the sorry episode in a digital scrapbook that would survive for all eternity. But now, in the era of lost inhibition, it seemed no detail of life was too mundane or humiliating to share. In the online age, it was more important to live out loud than to live with dignity. Internet followers were more treasured than flesh-and-blood friends, for they held the illusive promise of celebrity, even immortality. Were Descartes alive today, he might have written: I tweet, therefore I am. (Daniel Silva, The Heist, 2014).

When I read these words in Daniel Silva’s novel this weekend and could

By |December 19th, 2016|Categories: Advent, Books, Friendship, Love, Spirituality|

Prayer for Christian Unity: January 28, 2017, Service

For several years now ACT3 Network, and the Chicago Focolare, have jointly sponsored a unique prayer service for Christian unity. This year we gather on Saturday, January 28, at 7:00 p.m. in Wheaton. Our host is Gary Methodist Church. There is no charge and everyone is welcome. This is a wonderful evening and I hope many will share it with us in 2017.

Unity Factor Conversation Feb. 4

By |December 18th, 2016|Categories: Media|

Adventus Christi: A Christmas Poem

  Adventus Christi

(The Coming of Christ)

In the desert of my heart,

I hear the voice,

“Prepare the way;”

in the chaos and the clutter,

the confusion of my making,

now I turn, to see Him standing

at the door.

And where do I begin, Lord?

I have placed so many obstacles

before the gate.  Is it too late

to move them now, or to make straight

the path that I have twisted

to my stubborn will?

I turn away, but cannot hide

from such a Light, from such a Star,

that shows me who I am, oh Lord,

and who You are.

Be born in me, oh Gift of Grace,

that from the cradle to the Cross

my path might be the path of Love,

my way, the Way of Light, of Hope,

of Peace.

Author: Stephanie Stover is a writer and poet who lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This Advent poem is used by her permission.

By |December 14th, 2016|Categories: ACT 3, Advent, Jesus, Poetry, Spirituality|

Gaudet Sunday: Advent 3 “Rejoice”

By |December 13th, 2016|Categories: Uncategorized|

The Letter to Ephesus

This summer my local congregation, Lutheran Church of the Master, is engaged with a series of sermons from Revelation 2-3. I am filling in for our pastor for many Saturday evening vespers services. So far I have preached on the first three churches of the Revelation. Here is the first, The Letter of Jesus to the Church in Ephesus.

Note: These seven letters were all given by Jesus to John to deliver to the angel/messenger/bishop of each church.

Jesus’ Upside-Down Kingdom

The kingdom of Jesus turns everything “upside down.” We settle far too easily for a tame and non-threatening gospel where grace does not surprise us. This sermon was preached at Lutheran Church of the Master, Carol Stream, IL, on June 11-12. I share it because I hope it will edify and encourage you if you like to hear a biblical sermon as an audio file.

Should Ecclesiastes Be in the Biblical Canon?

iuMy question will likely startle some. It seems obvious to others. Count me among the latter group. I have read the book many, many times but it has never seemed clearly apparent to me that it belongs, even among the books that we call the “wisdom literature.”

I recently read Ecclesiastes again, this time in The Message. Same question: Why is it here? How does it belong?

The writer undertakes an investigation of experience at all levels. He asks questions about creation, justice, the wise versus the foolish, and the just versus the unjust. He insists that though God is sovereign over all things we cannot know exactly what God is doing or why he is doing it. What then is our proper human response? To take what we get now and use it as best we can. (Here is the observation that I wish I had learned much sooner! I tried to connect the dots of providence in my life overmuch and quite often I did so way too simplistically.)

So when various theologians and preachers tell you

The Life and Last Days of a Saint: Dr. Ben Campbell Johnson

A Swedish House Church Movement of Revival

Pietism produced many expressions and forms. In the end, Pietism was a rival/renewal movement in the centuries following the Reformed and Lutheran Reformations of the sixteenth century. I personally believe the post-Reformation produced a new type of scholasticism that help to reduce the flame of reformation to a flicker. Pietism is quite often seen by modern Reformed and Lutheran confessional adherents as a bad development. If you believe in church renewal and the work of the Spirit you should rethink this idea.

 

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