Category Archives: Reflections

“God’s Unpredictable Plans”

The following is a response I was invited to recently give to chapter 1 of Matt Brough’s forthcoming book Let God Send: Crossing Boundaries and Serving in Christ’s Name.  Matt is the Minister of Word and Sacraments at Prairie Presbyterian Church in Winnipeg, Manitoba.  He also serves as the Program Coordinator for the New Worshiping Communities Initiative of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Continue reading “God’s Unpredictable Plans”

“What in the World Is Going on Today”: A Holy Saturday Reflection

My friend Paul Johansen has been sharing daily devotionals with the congregation of Good Shepherd Community Church in Scarborough, ON during this Lenten season of social distancing.  He’s given me permission to share his reflection for Holy Saturday. Continue reading “What in the World Is Going on Today”: A Holy Saturday Reflection

The Meaning of a Sermon: Some Wisdom from Flannery O’Connor

I’ve had the privilege of spending this week with the Doctor of Ministry cohort at Providence Theological Seminary leading them a week-long intensive course entitled “Thinking and Interpreting Theologically.”  While not large in size, the members of the cohort manage to represent both coasts of Canada, the province of Manitoba, and the country of Nigeria. Continue reading The Meaning of a Sermon: Some Wisdom from Flannery O’Connor

Powerful Preaching: Fleming Rutledge’s Parchman Lectures

Fleming Rutledge recently delivered the Parchman Lectures at Truett Divinity School located at Baylor University on the theme “By the Word Worked: The Unique Power of Biblical Preaching.”  I recently had the opportunity to watch the first two lectures which are available for public viewing through the Parchman Lectures Media Library.

In the second half of the first lecture, Rutledge incisively identified four trends that weaken the power of contemporary preaching, before positing five counter-affirmations about the power of the preached word.  In what follows, I’ll attempt to summarize her important observations, in the hope of encouraging interested readers to watch the lecture itself. Continue reading Powerful Preaching: Fleming Rutledge’s Parchman Lectures

The “Evangelical” Crisis

Alan Jacobs, an influential Christian public intellectual who teaches at Baylor University, has published an important piece that traces the morphing of the word “evangelical” in public discourse.  He describes how the term that once referred to a vital, denomination-crossing,  renewing impulse within Protestant Christianity has now in the public imagination come to refer to a political and social movement characterized by nationalistic sentiments and a vague religiosity. Continue reading The “Evangelical” Crisis

The Preacher as Bridge-Builder: A Misguided Metaphor

Photo by kyler trautner on Unsplash

One of the more prominent homiletical metaphors that is operative in the imaginations of preachers of many different stripes and backgrounds is that of the preacher as a bridge-builder between the ancient world of Scripture and our current cultural moment.  Through careful rhetorical engineering, the preacher is able to construct a bridge that is capable of carrying the biblical freight across the chasm of the ages, in the process demonstrating its relevance for today.  Continue reading The Preacher as Bridge-Builder: A Misguided Metaphor