‘Seven Stanzas at Easter’ by John Updike

Make no mistake: if He rose at all it was as His body; if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle, the Church will fall.   It was not as the flowers, each soft Spring recurrent; it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the eleven apostles; it was as His Flesh: ours.   The same hinged thumbs and toes, the same valved heart that — pierced — died, withered, paused, and then regathered out of enduring Might new strength to enclose.   Let us not mock God with … Continue reading ‘Seven Stanzas at Easter’ by John Updike

Imitating God (Ephesians 5.1–2)

SCRIPTURE READING Ephesians 5.1–2 DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT When I was in high school, I played basketball. One afternoon, my coach decided to forego practice and take us to see a movie instead. The movie was Hoosiers. Set in 1951, it told the story of Coach Norman Dale, who led a small, ragtag team of Indiana farm boys to the state championship. My coach took us to see Hoosiers for two reasons: inspiration and imitation. We, too, were a small, ragtag team that regularly played larger, more talented teams, and coach wanted to inspire a fighting spirit within us. But he also … Continue reading Imitating God (Ephesians 5.1–2)

Five Case Studies in Change (Ephesians 4.25–32)

SCRIPTURE READING Ephesians 4.25–32 DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT Yesterday, I wrote about the three-stage process of change Paul teaches in Ephesians 4.17–24: Put off your old self (verse 22). Be renewed in the spirit of your mind (verse 23). Put on the new self (verse 24). In Ephesians 4.25–32, Paul applies this process to five case studies. First, lying: “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (verse 25). Dishonest speech violates the Ninth Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20.16). It … Continue reading Five Case Studies in Change (Ephesians 4.25–32)

Three-Stage Process of Change (Ephesians 4.17–24)

SCRIPTURE READING Ephesians 4.17–24 DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT A group of young men once asked me to talk to them about the use of pornography. They knew that using porn was unworthy of the life to which they had been called (Ephesians 4.1), but they felt unable to give it up. Why didn’t God answer their prayers and take away their desire for it? I asked them a series of very simple questions: Have you thrown away your magazines? Have you destroyed your DVDs? Have you asked someone who does not struggle with this issue to hold you accountable? Have you asked … Continue reading Three-Stage Process of Change (Ephesians 4.17–24)

Spiritual Gifts (Ephesians 4.7–16)

SCRIPTURE READING Ephesians 4.7–16 DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT Paul’s letter to the Ephesians naturally divides in halves. In the first half (chapters 1–3), Paul’s overarching theme is “by grace you have been saved, through faith…not by works” (2.8–9). But in the second half (chapters 4–6), Paul’s overarching theme is “live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (4.1). If I had to summarize the entire message of Ephesians, I would do so this way: Jesus Christ saves us by grace through faith for works. So, as we begin to study Ephesians 4–6, it is helpful to keep in mind that … Continue reading Spiritual Gifts (Ephesians 4.7–16)

Our First Right: Religious Liberty | Public Discourse

From Our First Right: Religious Liberty | Public Discourse: At the heart of the American model of public life is an essentially religious vision of man, government, and God. This model has given us a free, open, and non-sectarian society marked by an astonishing variety of cultural and religious expressions. But our system’s success does not result from the procedural mechanisms our Founders put in place. Our system works precisely because of the moral assumptions that undergird it. And those moral assumptions have a religious grounding. Continue reading Our First Right: Religious Liberty | Public Discourse