Peter

Adam Ericksen 03-24-2016
Judas Iscariot. Engraving by Shyuble.

Judas Iscariot. Engraving by Shyuble. Oleg Golovnev / Shutterstock.com

One of the many things that I love about being a progressive Christian is the frequent emphasis that Jesus is our brother. He’s one of us. He took on the fullness of humanity.

The joy and the hope and the friendship and the love.

But also the pain and the anger and the grief and the suffering.

Jesus, the One who was fully divine was fully human. Our brother. Our friend. It’s a beautiful thing.

Indeed, Jesus is our brother, but what about Judas? This Maundy Thursday, let us acknowledge that Judas is our brother, too.

Adam Ericksen 09-03-2015

Image via /Shutterstock

A Kentucky clerk claimed “God’s authority” this week when she refused to issue a marriage license to same-sex couples. As I read her story, I was reminded of Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, who had a vision about God’s authority.

This story is told in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10. The story about God’s authority comes down to this verse:

"God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean."

This verse was an absolute game changer for Peter and the early church. And it should be a game changer for us today.

Robert Wilson-Black 08-27-2015

Teens across the world are still flocking to monks in France to deepen their Christian faith? Yes — and my family and I remained in awe of its tent-dotted fields and large scale kitchens staffed all by volunteers.

The Taize community of brothers from across Christian traditions — alongside sisters from a Catholic order — host religious thinkers, leaders, practitioners, and especially youth who want to engage biblically around issues spanning peace, justice, the arts, service, and Christian practice. We came to Taize as a spiritual "vacation-pilgrimage" during their 75th anniversary celebration and the 10th anniversary of Taize's founder’s death, joining religious leaders from around the world.

For American Christians who may be stuck in habits of religious thinking that promote "all or nothing," "left and right" interpretations of the Scriptures, Taize invites us to sing together and investigate the scriptures from a fresh global perspective.

Joshua Smith 05-13-2015
Image via Jef Thompson/shutterstock.com

Image via Jef Thompson/shutterstock.com

When the high priest's guard came to arrest Jesus and execute him under an unjust oppressive legal system on a false charge, Peter wasn't having it.

The police tried to apprehend Jesus and met Peter's sword coming at their heads. He cut off the high priest's servant's ear in the process. Peter wasn't marching. He wasn't rallying. He wasn't chanting or trying persuade the establishment to review their policies. He wasn't even looting, taking his anger out on inanimate objects. He was trying to protect his friend by violently acting out directly towards those who had been tasked to carry out the injustice.

Peter didn't try to reason with the men, but with his actions, Peter loudly and clearly said, "F*** the police!"

Greg Carey 04-14-2014
Courtesy Odyssey Networks

The empty tomb. Courtesy Odyssey Networks

Easter Sunday marks the holiest, most exalted moment of the Christian year. In Easter services all over the world, trumpets and organs blast. Flowers transform churches with their brightness. Worship leaders boldly proclaim: “Christ is risen!” Congregations echo back: “Christ is risen indeed!” The cycle of celebration and repetition begins as it should — a festive proclamation of good news. In Christ God has overcome the powers of sin and death, freeing us to live with hope and promising us life. Not just life after death, but full life, divinely inspired life — life in the here and now.

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!

Even in these festive moments, many people express insecurity regarding the quality of their own believing.

Joe Kay 03-28-2014
Anna-Mari West/Shutterstock.com

Are we committed to letting in or keeping out with our keys? Anna-Mari West/Shutterstock.com

One night after working a college basketball game, I stopped to use the restroom before heading out of the arena and making the drive home. I pushed on the heavy, gray door and found that it was locked.    

Uh-oh. This isn’t good.     

Neither were my options.    

I could wander around the arena hoping to find an unlocked restroom; they might all be locked by now. I could try to make it home — probably wouldn’t work. As I stood in front of the locked door trying to decide what to do, I heard a woman’s voice from down the hall.

Greg Carey 04-10-2013
U.S. soldier mourning, BPTU / Shutterstock.com

U.S. soldier mourning, BPTU / Shutterstock.com

My Uncle Norman fought in Europe during World War II. An artillery observer, he didn’t return with many “heroic” stories to tell. When I was little, he would roll out some souvenirs from the war, and I’d be impressed: German military dress knives and lovely table linens. I don’t recall all of the stories or how these things became his, but I’m pleased to report the table linens were a gift. His war experience was hardly glamorous.

Uncle Norman did tell of one harrowing experience. He and his partner were identified by German artillery, and they experienced exactly the treatment they dished out. Out in front of their own unit, as they always were, they heard a shot go just overhead and explode behind them. Then one fell just short. Placing a shell a bit to the left and one to the right, the Germans had them zeroed in. Uncle Norman’s friend panicked, frozen, stuck to the ground. And in the last minute – as he remembered it – my uncle tackled his partner and carried him to safety. Pretty dramatic stuff for a kid to hear.

When Uncle Norman was much older, he came close to death after gall bladder surgery. That night he experienced profound nightmares, the Lady Macbeth experience of bloody hands he could not cleanse. The next day, he told me a very different story than the ones I’d heard before. I believe I was the first to hear of the time when he called in the coordinates for an intersection across which a significant body of Germans was crossing. For 30 minutes, he said, he watched the effects of the barrage he had targeted. And now, 40 years later, his hands wouldn’t come clean.

Joshua Witchger 09-27-2011
It's Oktoberfest. A frosty papal pilsner, perhaps? [caption id="attachment_34148" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo by Cathleen Falsani"][/caption]
Aaron Taylor 08-10-2010
Lately, I've been hearing a lot about the "Insider Movement" which is what missionary experts refer to as Muslims who love and follow Jesus while rem
Kathy Khang 03-08-2010

Hollywood isn't real life, but when real life (mine and the lives of the actors) and Hollywood converge it is great fodder for thinking and conversation. Peter and I can't stop talking about a recent date night movie, Up in the Air, starring Vera Farmiga and George Clooney.

Jen Owens 03-03-2010

As an adolescent, I had a lot in common with my youngest brother in terms of my approach to my faith.

Mimi Haddad 06-09-2009
"Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31, NRSV)
Mimi Haddad 05-29-2009
I heard a preacher once say, "Don't let facts blind you to the truth." What did he mean? Facts, misunderstood or taken out of context, can take us further away from, rather than closer to, truth.

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