Jesus: Neither Elitist nor Populist

I have been thinking lately about populism, spurred largely by the “surprise” of Brexit and the “shocking” rise of one Donald Trump. Pundits (a vocation of ill-repute these days) are astonished by both of these sociopolitical phenomena. How can such large swaths of the populace exercise their electoral power to do the inadvisable and the…

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‘hoi polloi’: Populism, Elitism, and Jesus

“Hoi polloi” is Greek for “the people.” In a post launching a series of other posts on populist anger and elitist aloofness, use of a Greek phrase may seem a bit out of turn. Only an elitist would address or write about “the people” with such obscurantism (or use a word like “obscurantism”). I suppose…

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The Only Two Words You Need When You Are Tired of Words

“How Long?!”  These words reverberate. They ring out. On a normal day from my lips they’d sound shrill and tinny like the impatient nagging of a four-year-old on a road trip. Addressed to the Heavenly Father like a cosmic “Are we there yet?” No, we are most certainly not there yet. Not even close. But…

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Pentecost and the Marvel Universe

[This piece continues a brief series on Pentecost premised on a sermon I preached on Acts 2 at Bethany City Church. See the first installment here.] Jesus told the disciples just days before Pentecost that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1.8). There are times in the Bible,…

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The Noise of Pentecost

[Adapted from my sermon this morning at Bethany City Church on Acts 2:1–13. A couple of more posts will follow…]   The first Pentecost was loud. It was an interruption. Today, we may prefer a quiet, safe, uneventful Pentecost Sunday with God minding his manners. But on the first Pentecost, we have the Spirit of…

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Christianity and Politics

(Note: This post is adapted from a talk Joel gave November 1st, 2015 at Mountain Brook Community Church)   People are losing their minds over the disaster that is otherwise knows as US presidential politics. You mean, you haven’t noticed? Unfortunately, among those whose reason and sense have flown out the window, are Christians. In…

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