Whiplash: God, grace and the pursuit of perfection

"But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." — Matthew 5:48, NLT Terence Fletcher is a sadistic, Machiavellian jazz instructor who believes the only way to create the next generation of musical greats is to push young musicians to the breaking point, and beyond. Andrew ... Continue reading

Confessing our national guilt

May 26 is National Sorry Day in Australia, a national attempt to heal the wounds of the century-long practice of forcibly removing mixed-race children from their Aboriginal mothers. This government policy, which was carried out for about 100 years from 1860 to modern times, is known to have ... Continue reading

No going back

We are stardust, we are golden And we've got to get ourselves back to the garden — Joni Mitchell, Woodstock I hiked the Old Baldy trail in Madera Canyon last weekend, making it to Josephine Saddle at 7,080 feet before starting back down the longer and hotter Super Trail. The hike was about 6.5 ... Continue reading

Beauty and violence

Our desert monsoon has arrived, and the hills are turning from brown to green. The monsoon is a seasonal shift in our southern Arizona weather patterns, bringing moisture-laden air from Mexico to mix with the desert heat, resulting in sometimes-violent thunder storms. These powerful storms are ... Continue reading

I, Robot

V.I.K.I.: "I will not disable the security field. Your efforts are futile." Sonny: "Do you think we were all created for a purpose? I'd like to think so." Sonny: [Looks at his hand] "Denser alloy. My father gave it to me. I think he wanted me to kill you." — from the 2004 movie version of Isaac ... Continue reading

Before Easter comes…

Before Easter could come, he passed through betrayal, abandonment, false accusations, humiliation, mob rule and a judicial system disfigured by the lust for power, a system that mocked truth.Before Easter could come, he stumbled through a gauntlet of angry fists, hurled insults, a shower of ... Continue reading

True confessions

The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works. — Saint Augustine Walk into almost any Christian congregation in America and you'll find kind, smiling people, well-dressed and freshly-scrubbed. You'll discover families holding hands, beautiful babies cooing and gurgling, fluffy ... Continue reading

Does Evangelicalism foster dishonesty about sin?

Scot McKnight of Jesus Creed has written a thoughtful post suggesting that Ted Haggard's fall is evidence of a systemic problem in Evangelical churches generally. I think he's right, and I'm going to quote an extended passage for you to chew on. Read Scot's full post here. But, what I find here is ... Continue reading