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Doing What You Believe

Today’s post is inspired by the Theology Nerd Throwdown podcast. “The” Vs. “-al” At the end of a recent episode, Tripp and Bo got into one of their recurring fights. It’s the versus -al. What’s more important? Is it the things that we believe–the incarnation, the resurrection, the Pentecost? Or is it the ways we […]

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Guiltless Lawbreaking

One of my favorite sayings of Jesus comes in Matthew’s version of the grain-plucking episode. Jesus’s disciples are accused of doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath because they are tilling and eating as they go. Jesus says, in part, Have you not read in the Law that on Sabbath days the priests in […]

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Why is Jesus Human?

For the past six and a half years I have been working on a book whose end is now in sight. I’m calling it A Man Attested by God: the Human Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels. The question that has pushed me to endure through all of the trials and tribulations of the writing has […]

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Jesus and the Old Testament

My colleague John Goldingay has a new book out. Its provocative title: Do We Need the New Testament? Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself. The provocation doesn’t stop with the front cover, as the last chapter is entitled, “Theological Interpretation: Don’t Be Christ-Centered, Don’t Be Trinitarian, Don’t Be Constrained by the Rule of Faith”. […]

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Religion and Tribes

I’ve had four thoughts about religion and tribes, a.k.a. religion and politics, swimming around in my head over the past couple of days. Actually, one of them has been a deep, on-going thought. It started with an observation that North American politics and the North American church scene are both increasingly polarized, despite what I […]

Jesus Condemned by the Sanhedrin, by Michael D. O'Brien

Jesus’ Trial in Luke

What does it take to have a trial? Charges? Witnesses? Defense? Verdict? Jesus’ hearing before the Jewish authorities in Luke’s Gospel is conspicuously lacking in these things. In Luke 22:66-71, Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin. I know, I know, you think you know what happens next: they’re looking for charges so that they can […]

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God’s Grace, Human Agents

One of the problems with getting all super spiritual is that we sometimes tend to… well… spiritualize everything. We think we are learning new levels of faith and trust when we look to God alone–not realizing that God has given us people around us for the purpose of speaking wisdom, caring for us, and receiving […]

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Laughing at Jesus

“And they laughed at him.” They laughed at Jesus. The girl was dead, and they knew it. And they also knew what dead meant: dead means dead. But Jesus had other ideas. The dad had told her: she’s dead. But the man also confessed: lay your hand on her, and she will live. With that, […]