Chalking Our Home at Epiphany?

I confess that until recently I had never heard of the ancient Christian custom of chalking the door. (Some say it began in Bavaria.) This custom is an Epiphanytide tradition that is either celebrated on the eve of Epiphany, or on the Sunday of Epiphany (today). The purpose is to bless one’s home. The tradition is still practiced by many Anglicans, … Read More

Pope Francis, the Mercy of God, and the Danger of Fundamentalism

Pope Francis just returned from his first trip to Africa a few days ago. Those of us who watch and pray for him were amazed once again at his courage, faithfulness and continued displays of pastoral mercy. Surely “mercy” does sum up what Francis says and does as pope. Thus it is not surprising really since he has declared the … Read More

The Church as God's Social Strategy (1)

The much reviewed and debated book, Resident Aliens (Abingdon, 1989), which I wrote a great deal about last week, prompted deep emotional reaction in me when I first read it back in 1990. Now, twenty-two years later, I have re-read the book with new eyes. These new eyes are the result of my missional-ecumenism, grounded in a deep theology of … Read More

Of Gods and Men: A Film to Move the Soul

Of Gods and Men is one of the most moving and tender Christian films that I’ve seen in several years. It is understated, in terms of its Christian witness, and profoundly human. There is no great display of heroism here, just a group of devoted Christian men living courageously for Christ and peace in a violent place and time. The … Read More

Is Christianity the Most Persecuted Religion?

The Catholic organization Aid to the Church in Need released a religious freedom report on November 30th. The report says that seven of ten people are unable to freely live out their faith without some form of state or personal opposition that seeks to make their expression of religion difficult or nearly impossible, at least in public. I am not … Read More

Pray and Speak Up for Christians in Iraq

On October 31 two priests and 51 parishioners were murdered by Islamic terrorists in Baghdad at a Syriac Catholic Cathedral. The primary reason for this attack seems to have been the determination of certain militant Islamic forces to prevent a religiously plural central government in Iraq. Pope Benedict XVI called these attacks “savage” and “absurd.” The descriptions of what happened, … Read More

Tony Dungy: Blessed By Hatred?

Tony Dungy, former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, is an outspoken and wonderfully consistent Christian. His story is told in several books that reveal his faith and principles of personal coaching and leadership: Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices and Priorities of a Winning Life, Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance and The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and … Read More

The Dance of Life

One of my great joys is to teach evangelism, as an adjunct professor, at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. And one of my most profound joys in teaching is to work alongside some of the finest practitioners of evangelism in the world. One such evangelist is my dear friend Dr. Lon Allison. Lon is the Director of the … Read More

A Fool for Christ

Some of you may have noticed that the former NBA player Manute Bol died, at the age of 47, a few weeks ago. The sports world paid little attention. Bol was not known for stardom but for being a physical freak. He stood 7 feet, seven inches tall and weighed 225. He was both the tallest and thinnest player in … Read More

The Ongoing Struggle of Church and State is a Real Threat to Mission

A French court has ruled that the St. Nicholas Cathedral in Nice, built with funding from the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and completed in 1912, just prior to the country's revolution, belongs to the government of Russia and must be handed over. The victory is Russia's latest in a series of battles for church property around the world, which represent … Read More