Choosing leaders (Luke 6:12–16)

Luke, like Matthew and Mark, tells of Jesus’s selecting twelve of his disciples for a special roles in service-leadership. John doesn’t bother with the appointment of this dozen. (See Matthew 10:1–4; Mark 3:13–19.) Luke tells it a little differently than Matthew and Mark. Like Mark, he tells us that Jesus went up a mountain toContinue reading “Choosing leaders (Luke 6:12–16)”

Jesus and the Make Israel Holy Again movement

We keep rereading scripture (and other classic texts, but I’m especially interested in scripture) because they strike us differently as our own circumstances change. This morning Luke 6:6–11, which in some seasons has just been for me a Standard Bible Story, smacked me. There was a startling, then painful, recognition, not as in “Oh, IContinue reading “Jesus and the Make Israel Holy Again movement”

Seeing unexpected things (Luke 5:17–26)

In Luke 5:17–26, we have the story of a paralytic who was brought to Jesus for healing. There was such a crowd around Jesus in the house where he was teaching that the friends who brought the paralytic resorted to letting the man down through the roof to get him into Jesus’s presence. They reallyContinue reading “Seeing unexpected things (Luke 5:17–26)”

“The old is nice”: Jesus meets the reflexive conservatives

I have not really reckoned seriously with the parable of the wineskins (Matt 9:14–17; Mark 2:18–22; Luke 5:33–39), and I probably need to. Anyone who is bemused as I am with the various ways in which the labels “conservative” and “progressive” are adopted as self-identifiers and hurled as other-blamers in American politics and religion probablyContinue reading ““The old is nice”: Jesus meets the reflexive conservatives”

When Jesus went on his way, where did he go? (Luke 4:31–37)

Jesus will never be our homey who assures us that we are OK until we first hear him as the stranger who tells us that we are not OK, until we accept his exotic words as authoritative, as so authoritative and powerful that they cast out the demons that indwell us (verses 33–37), until we have been unmade and remade by his word.

How not to evangelize (usually)

Evangelism is one of the most awkward topics. Christians, non-Christians, and semi-Christians all have widely varying views. My own history with the word is complicated, but in my view the word and the practice are essential elements of Christian life. I don’t know how it could be possible to be a Christian and not beContinue reading “How not to evangelize (usually)”