Dear Christian Radio, I Love/Hate You

Post originally appeared at Missio Alliance’s Writing Collective on December 29, 2015. Dear Christian Radio, I don’t listen to you often, but when I do I must admit I don’t always not like what I hear. I mean there are times when I’m looking to just fill my aural space with the safety and ease…

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

An Advent Thought: A Royal Nobody

(Note: I’m (Joel) contributing to a daily Advent devotional. Each post proceeds from a lectionary reading.) John 7:40-44 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that…

Read More

The Sacrilege we call “Incarnation” (and the Divine Love of Drastic Measures)

The Word became flesh and dwelled among us… (from John 1:14) Last night was the annual Carol Service for St Mary’s College. As Chaplain, the organization of everything but the music was my responsibility (and for the online record, the St Mary’s Chapel Choir may be the best of its kind—anywhere). Intermingled with the ethereal,…

Read More

The Spiritual Life and Divine Assault (When God Hurts Us)

“God sometimes hurts us.” I said this as I sank with a sigh, exhausted and burdened, into a chair in our living room. Wisely, my wife posed the most appropriate question: “Well, does this happen in Scripture?” The answer, we agreed, is YES. God hurts us. And Christians need a spirituality capacious enough for divine…

Read More

An Advent Devotional

(Throughout the season of Advent, I’ll occasionally post a brief devotional thought. This will be cross-posted from an Advent devotional in the college ministry where I serve. For some general thoughts on Advent, read here.) Isaiah 2:1-5 1 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. 2 It shall come…

Read More

Advent with the Gathering Church

Inspired by my fellow contributors’ Advent posts, I’d love to share a few items from my community’s Advent observation. 1) Each of the last several years, I’ve had some part in writing and/or curating a church devotional.  Even though these reflections usually take place while there are still leaves on the trees and it’s not…

Read More

On Locked Rooms & Empty Tombs: A Resurrection Reflection… for Advent

Advent is about waiting for Someone to come. Christmas shows us that He can appear  in unexpected ways and in unsuspected places. The Resurrection teaches us something similar—you never know where the Risen Christ will appear. Or when. Luke, Matthew and John all portray the disciples as stuck after the tragedy of the Crucifixion. We…

Read More