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The type of house in which Jesus could have been born.

“He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High…” -Luke 1:32

At the end of the 1965 classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, we find Charlie exasperated. Nothing has turned out how he had hoped and the tree that takes center stage is a flimsy stand in for Charlie’s imagination. He exclaims, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”

“Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about,” consoles Linus. He goes on to recite the angelic announcement to the shepherds. A child has been born. Christ the Lord.

At…


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During this time of COVID-19, as we argue about wearing masks and how to respond and whose fault it is, we are also being reminded to keep our experience in perspective. This is not the first pandemic. This is not the first economic downturn. We are not suffering more than our forebears. In fact, some have pointed out that generations before us experienced much more hardship and much more often.

There is a Facebook meme going around these days asking us to imagine what it would be like to be born in the year 1900. It is a helpful perspective…


Grace is a powerful word in the Christian faith. According to the Bible we are “saved by grace.” In the words of a popular hymn, the amazing grace of God is the sweet sound that turns our lives around: “I once was lost, but now am found; was blind but now I see.” Grace says that God’s offer of relationship has nothing to do with what we have done or who we are or what we own. Grace is about who God is and what God has done. Even though human beings make God terribly angry with their harsh judgment…


“An understanding of atonement grounded in covenant may adequately answer the critiques brought by feminist and womanist theologians…All in all, the theological focus on covenant highlights the graceful, continued offer of relationship which God extends to the world…” — Merit Trelstad

Chapter 5: The Death of Jesus — Part 1 (A New Covenant)

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The question that was answered in the previous chapter was “why did God send Jesus?” The short answer is: the devil was causing a problem and God sent Jesus to solve it. God sent Jesus as a life line out of the madness that plagues our history…


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Like Father, Like Son

In the Gospel of John Jesus confronts his accusers, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34). It’s the same dynamic that we have seen throughout this chapter. Slaves are bound, but they are not helpless. There are choices that could be made, but they are almost impossible choices to make considering the circumstances. The fear and the frenzy of those circumstances, the sense of being lost and alone, make other choices very difficult to see. In Jesus’ eyes, the devil is behind it. …


Today we live in a blizzard of another sort. It swirls around us as economic injustice, ecological ruin, physical and spiritual violence, and their inevitable outcome, war. It swirls within us as fear and frenzy, greed and deceit, and indifference to the suffering of others. We all know stories of people who have wandered off into this madness and been separated from their own souls, losing their moral bearings and even their mortal lives: they make headlines because they take so many innocents down with them. — A Hidden Wholeness, Parker Palmer

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This chapter begins with two horrific tragedies of…


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Samuel is a prophet who has two books of the Bible that tell the story of his life. In a confrontation with King Saul, Samuel proclaims, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord?” (I Samuel 15:22). It’s a pointed question and we’ll come back to the answer.

Nathan is the prophet who caught King David in his tangled web of lying and lust and murder. From him, David learned this important truth, “For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be…


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The Prophet Isaiah, Marc Chagall

“Like those others, I had been trying to find the easy life of blindness to pain.” — Elias Chacour, Blood Brothers

Prophets stand in the gap. What that means is, prophets stand in between two people or groups of people and help them hear and see one another. They form a sort of bridge. In the Bible, prophets stand in between God and God’s people. They speak on behalf of God to the people and sometimes they speak on behalf of the people to God. There are also times when prophets stand in the gap between people of privilege and…


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“There I will meet with you”

When it comes to God and the death of Jesus, the second significant time of sacrifice is the Day of Atonement. When it comes to God and the death of Jesus the word “atonement” is a very important one. The word can mean “making up for wrongs” or “making amends.” People do this when they atone for their mistakes. Other understandings of the word focus more on unity or reconciliation. In that case atonement refers to whatever brings people atonement again or back into one. …


The theme of death and unrelieved gloom hangs darkly over the entire hour. — Dr. Paul Brand, In His Image

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Chapter 2: Blood is Life

The question to answer in this chapter is: if Jesus’ death is not about justice and punishment and death, then why does it get described that way? If it’s so obvious that the God behind it all is forgiving and generous and patient and lovingly loyal, why haven’t those ideas caught on? There must be some reason that generations have accepted the harsh teaching of debt and penalty in their worship and promoted them in…

Peter TeWinkle

Partner, Parent, Pastor & potential Placemaker pursuing God's peace and stopping occasionally to play golf.

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