The story of the death of Jesus continues to be central for Christian theology and spirituality–for better and for worse. One aspect of the story that is not often discussed, though, is how Jesus approach to his death serves as a model for the lives of those who would walk with him. That is, even in his death, Jesus affirmed and modeled life.
My article, “The way Jesus died is an example of the way Jesus lived,” published in Gospel Herald, April 4, 1995, reflects on this theme.
Biblical eschatology, I propose, is best understood if the think of “end” (eschatos) more in terms of purpose in the here and now and less in terms of the future outcome of history. If we do think of eschatology in this way, we will be more likely to find present-day peaceable ethical significance of biblical teaching than if we think this world is inevitably heading for destruction.
I argue for this view of eschatology in my article, “The end of the world: why we are here,” first published in The Mennonite, August 6, 2002.
The traumas the 16th-century Anabaptists faced due to their core convictions (church free from state control, refusal to support war, rejection of social hierarchies, and non-possessive economics) remain highly instructive, both for helping us understand problematic elements in Mennonite communities and for reminding us of the continuing relevance of those ideals.
This article, “The Anabaptist faith: a living tradition” that was published in The Mennonite (May 2, 2006), reflects on these themes.
Many people, we could call them the “cultured despisers,” reject the Old Testament as a “bloody book.” Many others, probably more, affirm the Old Testament as a “bloody book” and all too often use that “bloodiness” as a justification for their own.
This article, “Mercy not retribution,” argues for a reading of the Old Testament that recognizes the centrality of God’s mercy in the story–and sees that mercy as the biblical basis for Jesus’ own peaceable message.
It was originally published in The Mennonite, September 6, 2005.
The book of Revelation, though having the reputation of being a book of violence, actually is more accurately read as a book supporting nonviolent resistance to empires and their servants.
This article, “How should 20th-century Christians read the book of Revelation?”, was originally published in Gospel Herald, January 21, 1992, shortly after the 1991 U.S. war on Iraq.
The Sunday after September 11, 2001, I was asked to preach a sermon in response to the events of that tragic day. Here is an article based on that sermon, called “Grief and critique,” that was published in The Mennonite, October 2, 2001.
“Not a ‘good war’: We should mourn, not celebrate the victory of violence in World War II.”
Here is an article that was originally published in The Mennonite (June 13, 1995).