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…

Read More

‘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…

Read More

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,…

Read More

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…

Read More

Incarnation as Incursion, The Christ-Birth as Assault

    Christmas is marked by an aesthetic of beauty and wonder. Our home is decked with strings of sparkly stars. There are real pine cones interspersing the garland along the wooden stair rails, and our glowing tree is (arguably) the best on the street. But that tree is actually dead. “Dead as a doornail,”…

Read More