An Aversion to the Blood

African-American drummer

A few years ago on a Wednesday night, our gospel choir was practicing for Sunday. The song was all about the blood of Jesus. Suddenly in the middle of practice, out of nowhere, the thought came: He’s gonna try to stop it. I felt in my heart that the enemy would try to stop us from singing this song on…

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A Not-So-Happy Day?

We are saved by the blood of the Lamb/blood of Jesus. But that concept is a problem if you’re trying to mix all the world religions. Some time ago I saw a TV special about the importance of music in world faiths. (This was an episode of the Global Spirit series, titled “Sound of the Soul.”) The subtle message was…

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“O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”

image of hymnal page

Apparently Charles Wesley wrote this hymn (with 19 verses!) to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his conversion. And that event is reflected in the words: “On this glad day the glorious Sun / Of Righteousness arose . . .” But when we sang this one day, I was struck by another verse: “He breaks the power of canceled sin, /…

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Prince of Peace

text of Isaiah 9:6b

A Japanese lady I met in Seattle had, 50 years ago as a very young woman in Japan, started reading the Bible on her own. But she had no one to discuss it with. Experiencing many family difficulties, she asked the Buddhist priest how to find peace. He basically explained karma: do good and good will come; do bad and…

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Can the Atonement Be “Reimagined”?

figure of Jesus carrying the cross

“The Church’s fixation on the death of Jesus as the universal saving act must end, and the place of the cross must be reimagined in Christian faith. Why? Because of the cult of suffering and the vindictive God behind it.” (Alan Jones, Reimagining Christianity, p. 132) Some Christian writers minimize the atonement; others have given the word a new definition.…

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