Saturday, April 20, 2019

Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead? A Few Resources

Linda and I made this simple cross and placed it in our front yard near the road.

This is especially or those who listened to my Facebook Live One-Hour Seminary, on "Why I Believe Jesus Was Raised From the Dead."

Here are a few resources to go further.

Gary Habermas, "The Resurrection Argument That Changed a Generation of Scholars"

Habermas and Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus

Habermas's website

N. T. Wright, "Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?

Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God - Just $2.99 for your Kindle!

William Lane Craig, "The Evidence for Jesus's Resurrection"

Craig, The Son Rises: Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus






Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead?

Inner Peace Has Power to Shape Environments

Image result for john piippo solitude
(Munson Park, across from our house.)

The more time we spend in solitude, silence, and listening in the presence of God, the more we are at peace with God, others, and ourselves. This is because peace is a fruit that is produced when we are attached, branchlike, to the Prince of Peace.

We carry peace into the workplace, into our homes. This affects the social atmosphere. Inner peace has power to shape environments. I know some people who carry such peace, and it affects me. Henri Nouwen writes about this in The Way of the Heart.

"It will be possible to move into the midst of a tumultuous world with a heart at rest. It is this restful heart that will attract those who are groping to find their way through life. When we have found our rest in God we can do nothing other than minister. God’s rest will be visible wherever we go and to whomever we meet. And before we speak any words, the Spirit of God, praying in us, will make his presence known and gather people into a new body, the body of Christ himself."

***
My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I'm now working on...


Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

I am editing a book of essays on the Holy Spirit, authored by my HSRM colleagues. Hopefully this book (Encounters With the Holy Spirit) will be out by June.

And, when all this settles, Linda and I intend to write our book on Relationships.

Jesus' Body Lies in a Tomb Owned by Joseph of Arimathea


(Ancient tomb in Jerusalem)

SCRIPTURE - MATTHEW 27:57-66

57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. 

62
 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 "Sir," they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' 64 So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."
65 "Take a guard," Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how." 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard."


WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THESE VERSES?

As a new Jesus-follower I learned of factual, historical pieces of evidence that strengthened my faith. One is this: Jesus' dead body was placed in a tomb owned by Sanhedrin member, Joseph of Arimathea. This provides a piece of evidence that, along with other facts (esp. Jesus' postmortem appearances - see, e.g., Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony), forms an strong inductive argument for the resurrection of Jesus. 

On the Saturday following Good Friday Jesus' body lay inert in Joseph of Arimathea's family tomb.
 We can be certain, historically (which means "inductively certain"), that this was the case. How so? Here are two reasons: 

1) this story, in the four Gospels and Paul, is found in independent sources that together attest to this; and 


2) by the "criterion of embarrassment" a story of a member of the Sanhedrin helping Jesus' family is unlikely, and not plausibly invented by Christians. This argues in favor of its historicity.


1) We have sources that together attest to Jesus' burial in a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea.


Paul Barnett writes: "Careful comparison of the texts of Mark and John indicate that neither of these Gospels is dependent on the other. Yet they have a number of incidents in common: For example, . . . the burial of Jesus in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea" (Paul Barnett, Jesus and the Logic of History, 1997, pp. 104-5). Regarding the burial stories, the differences between Mark and the other Synoptics point to other independent sources behind Matthew and Luke. (Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the "Synoptic" gospels.)


So what's the point? It's this. If, e.g., a police officer had multiple, independent (unrelated) witnesses to a crime, and they all gave the same report (even if worded differently and with variations), this would provide stronger evidence than if only one report had been given. We have this re. the burial stories, in the Gospels and Paul. Here is the key Pauline text.


1 Corinthians 15:3 ff.: For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.


William Lane Craig writes:

"This is an old tradition, handed on by Paul to the Corinthian church, which is among the earliest traditions identifiable in the NT. It refers to Jesus' burial in the second line of the tradition. That this is the same event as the burial described in the Gospels becomes evident by comparing Paul's tradition with the Passion narratives on the one hand and the sermons in the Acts of the Apostles on the other.
 The four-line tradition handed on by Paul is a summary of the central events of Jesus' crucifixion, burial by Joseph of Arimathea, the discovery of his empty tomb, and his appearances to the disciples."


2) Most NT scholars say it is highly likely that Jesus’ body was placed in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea. 

Sometimes I hear someone say, "OK, but Christians just made these stories up." This is improbable. As a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin that was opposed to Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea is unlikely to be a Christian invention. In this regard New Testament  scholar Raymond Brown says burial by Joseph of Arimathea is probable. Why? Because it is almost inexplicable why Christians would make up a story about a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin who does what is right by Jesus. That would, for a Jesus-follower in the days after Easter weekend, be an embarrassment. 


Craig Keener writes: "Given early Christian experiences with and feelings toward the Sanhedrin, the invention of a Sanhedrist acting piously toward Jesus is not likely." (Keener,
 The Gospel of Matthew: A Socio- Rhetorical Commentary, 690)


Why is this important? It's important because the location of the tomb where Jesus' body was placed was known. Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" (the mother of James and Joseph) knew where it was, as did the chief priests and the Pharisees. On Sunday, the tomb was empty. If Jesus' body was still in the tomb, it could and would have been seen or exhumed on the days following Easter. 


Why would Joseph of Arimathea offer his tomb for Jesus' body to be placed in? The answer is: he had become a disciple of Jesus. (Matt. 27:57) Both he and Sanhedrin member Nicodemus saw something in Jesus, and stepped out of the box to follow Him. Joseph is a risk-taker who is willing to put aside his place of political and religious power to go after the truth and love he sees in Jesus. He doesn't realize what's going to happen on Sunday. But he wants to make sure his new Lord receives a proper Jewish burial. 


REFLECTION

1. Joseph of Arimathea risked his reputation and career to follow Jesus. Reflect on how you are risking all for Jesus.



***
My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I'm now working on...


Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

I am editing a book of essays on the Holy Spirit, authored by my HSRM colleagues. Hopefully this book (Encounters With the Holy Spirit) will be out by June.

And, when all this settles, Linda and I intend on writing our book on Relationships.

Friday, April 19, 2019

How to Have a Civil Discussion on Gay Marriage


What about the morality of same-sex unions? For a Jesus-follower the question is: Does God affirm sex-same unions? 

Is it possible to get beyond a shouting match and have a civil discussion?

I believe so. Here are the steps to take, as I see things. 

Below is my flow chart for having a civil discussion on gay marriage. (BTW - our culture has already decided on this one, sans understanding. But in matters of Christian understanding, the moral pronouncements of the prevailing culture are irrelevant. It's like using the sport of throwing horseshoes to critique the game of tennis. Within the worldview of Christian theism this remains a discussable issue.)

This process is a slow-cooker. In my case it has spanned almost five decades of thinking, studying, researching, dialoguing, and praying. You probably do not have the time to do this. But note this: If you are unfamiliar with the relevant literature, then do not hastily judge me. (Like, "How hateful John is!") 

Here's the template. 





STEP 1

On a scale of 0-10, how authoritative is the Bible for you (with '0' being no authority, and '10' being fully authoritative). This is the first matter that must be discussed, without which there will be no meaningful outcome.

STEP 1a

If the Bible has no authority, or very little authority, then the Christian discussion is over. Because of course we will disagree on same-sex marriage. There will be a kind of "clash of civilizations" (following Samuel Huntington - see below*).

However, I am interested in the person who gives the Bible little or no authority. I want to ask them:

"What text (narrative) is authoritative for you? Have you thought about this?"

Again, if someone goes to Step 1a, then the intra-Christian discussion is over. But, since everyone has a worldview, a narrative they live by, what is theirs? And, should one respond "I have no guiding narrative," that itself is a guiding narrative, to which I will ask for some justification.

After years of teaching philosophy, I have concluded that few people understand and evaluate their worldview. And note again: the rejection of all worldviews is itself a worldview. Like, e.g., the rejection of all metanarratives is itself a metanarrative (contra Foucault, et. al.).

STEP 1b

To say that the Scriptures have great authority is to say they guide and influence our faith and life. They are not just occasionally read, but studied and looked to and lived by.

STEP 2

We must handle the Word of God correctly, or rightly.

To do this requires study. Two good books on how to interpret the Bible are:


That is, to enter more fully into this discussion at this point, one should have some understanding of principles of biblical interpretation. Everyone cannot invest decades of study into this. But it helps avoiding horrendous mistakes in reading the Scriptures. For example, context is important in the interpretation of anything, to include interpreting the Bible. Because a text without a context is simply a pretext to say what you want the text to say.


STEP 3

This is the question for followers of Jesus who give the Scriptures great authority.

As Craig Keener writes"My primary vocation is as a Bible scholar, and I need to explain the text faithfully."

Correct. The issue here is: what does the biblical text say, as opposed to what we might wish the text would say.

This is why, e.g., what the prevailing cultural wisdom says is irrelevant to the interpreting of the Bible, and any text, for that matter.

STEP 3a

The person who ends up here must justify their interpretation of Scripture, and conclude that God affirms same-sex unions. They might find themselves agreeing with people like Dan Via (presents view #2) and Matthew Vines, et. al., for example.

STEP 3b

The person who ends up here must justify their interpretation of Scripture. 

At this point I have long laid out my cards on the table. I'm with Keener (and N.T. WrightBen WitheringtonTim KellerRobert GagnonWesley Hill, et. al) when he writes: "I believe that the biblical passages about homosexual behavior are fairly clear... most exegetes, whether they agree personally with Paul or not, still regard Romans 1 as disagreeing with homosexual practice... I would be happy to be persuaded otherwise, but so far it continues to appear to me that this is where the exegesis strongly points."


***
* "It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future.

Samuel P. Huntington. The Clash of Civilizations? The Debate: 20th Anniversary Edition (p. 3). Foreign Affairs. Kindle Edition. 

See also Amy Chua's recent and brilliant Political tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations. For Chua the clash is between tribes (tribal politics), and not Huntington-type civilizations (identity politics). For me it remains to be seen if this is a distinction without a difference. Nonetheless, think of the word "clash." See Chua, pp. 187 ff.

And, see my favorite 2019 book read so far, to understand the clash, Greg Lukionoff and Jonathan Haidt, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure.

Good Friday - Jesus Screams In the Absolute Darkness




SCRIPTURE - MATTHEW 27:45-46


From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 
"Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, 
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"


Priest, in Jerusalem


WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THESE VERSES?

As Jesus hung suspended on a cross, an unnatural darkness began in the middle of the day, and continued into the natural darkness of sunset. New Testament scholar R. T. France writes: “Given the symbolic significance of the darkness as a divine communication there is little point in speculating on its natural cause: a solar eclipse could not occur at the time of the Passover full moon though a dust storm (‘sirocco’) or heavy cloud are possible.” (France, Mark, 651)

N.T. Wright writes: “It can’t have been an eclipse, because Passover happened at full moon, so that the moon would be in the wrong part of the sky.” (Wright, Mark for Everyone, 215)

Craig Keener says that the darkness "could come from heavy cloud cover. But the Gospel writers use it to convey a more profound theological point." (Keener, Matthew, 685)

However it happened, this was a God-caused darkness. Jesus is bearing the load of the sins of all humanity. Sin causes separation; in this case, from God. Sin separates us from Light. Sin is a darkness machine, a separation app. Sin and light cannot coexist.

Years ago Linda and I and our sons visited Cave of the Winds in Colorado Springs. We were guided into the depths of these tunnels to a place where we were told that, when the lights in the cave were turned off, we would experience "absolute darkness." I thought, "This is cool!"

The lights went off. We stood there, for several seconds. Our guide said, "You are now experiencing absolute darkness. Place your hand right in front of your eyes. You will not be able to see it."

He was right. It was so completely dark I could not see what was right before me. Had the lights failed us that day we would not have been able to see each other. I imagine we would have said things like, "Are you still near me?" "Are you here?" "We've got to stay close to each other!" And, "Don't abandon me while I'm in this darkness!"

On that day 2000 years ago the physical darkness that covered the land was not absolute, but the existential darkness was. The thickness of this world's sin and failure and shame and guilt weighed on the heart of One Man. Out of this ungodly darkness, Jesus screamed.

"Screamed?" I think so. The Greek wording here is: ἐβόησεν  ὁἸησοῦς φωνῇ μεγάλῃ. Eboesen ho Iesus phonay megalay. Phonay megale. A mega-phone! Jesus mega-screamed these words over and over and over again and again, the verb indicating continuous action. 
He doesn’t call God “Father,” but Ὁ θεόςμου ὁ θεός μου…  Ho Theosmou ho Theos mou...  “My God… My God…”Jesus is in union with Abba Father God, but it now feels like separation. Six hours after he was placed on the cross, three of them being hours of darkness, Jesus feels abandoned by God.

We don't know how long the feeling lasted. Assume three hours. Perhaps he screamed over and over for that long. And know that, for Jesus, it was utterly real and all-embracing. (Craig Keener comments that "the early church would hardly have invented Jesus’ cry of despair in uttering a complaint about alienation from God, quoting Ps. 22.” Keener, Matthew, 682)


As the weight of this world’s evil converges on Jesus, he is giving his life as “a ransom for many” (Mt. 20:28). The sins of the “many,” which he is bearing, have caused a cloud to come between him and “Abba” – Father God. 

1 Peter 2:24 explains it this way:


He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, 
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; 
by his wounds you have been healed. 

Paul, in Galatians 3:13, writes: 


Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law 
by becoming a curse for us, 
for it is written: 
"Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."

The curse of sin is that it creates a great divide between us and God. Sin breaches relationship. As Jesus bears our sin he experiences the Great Separation. Listen to how N.T. Wright expresses this.

“Out of the unexplained cosmic darkness comes God’s new word of creation, as at the beginning… And it all happens because of the God-forsakenness of the son of God. The horror which overwhelmed Jesus in Gethsemane, and then seems to have retreated again for a few hours, came back in all its awfulness, a horror of drinking the cup of God’s wrath, of sharing the depth of suffering, mental and emotional as well as physical, that characterized the world in general and Israel in particular. The dark cloud of evil, Israel’s evil, the world’s evil, Evil greater than the sum of its parts, cut him off from the one he called ‘Abba’ in a way he had never known before. And welling up from his heart there came, as though by a reflex, a cry not of rebellion, but of despair and sorrow, yet still a despair that, having lost contact with God, still asks God why this should be.” (N.T. Wright, Mark for Everyone, 216-217)


REFLECTION

1. Take time today to slow down in your heart, get alone, bow before God, and think of the suffering of the Christ.

2. Refuse to take for granted what Jesus has done for you. Consider how and what it means that he bore your sins, and by his stripes you are healed.

3. Express thanks to God for what he has accomplished on the cross, which is: your justification; your being set right with God.



***
My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I'm now working on...


Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

I am editing a book of essays on the Holy Spirit, authored by my HSRM colleagues. Hopefully this book (Encounters With the Holy Spirit) will be out by June.

And, when all this settles, Linda and I intend on writing our book on Relationships.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Easter Week - Jesus Takes the Second Cup

Linda, walking in Jerusalem


SCRIPTURE - LUKE 22:14-18

14When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."

 17After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. 18For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THESE VERSES?

The cup Jesus takes is one of the four cups taken at the Passover meal. New Testament scholar Joel Green thinks Jesus took the second cup. This is important.

Cup #1 – the head of the family gave a blessing over that cup. Cups three and four came after the Passover meal. Then, Psalms 114-118 were sung – "The Great Hallel."

Cup #2 – This was the point in the Passover Meal where the youngest son in the family asks the father, "Why is this night different from other nights?” “Why is unleavened bread eaten on this night?” And other questions… 

Jesus, on that night 2000 years ago, took the second cup. It was a different night, and would change the world.

At the Passover meal the father, on taking Cup #2, would tell the story of the exodus, and give a message on Deuteronomy 26:5-11. The meal was interpreted as and seen as an act of remembering and thanking God for his past liberation of an oppressed people. It was a celebration of God’s faithfulness and hope for the future deliverance of God’s people.

They would eat lamb and bitter herbs. They would drink the series of four cups of wine.

At the original exodus Passover lambs were slaughtered. The blood of these lambs was applied to the doorways of the Jewish homes as a sign for the Angel of Death to pass over their homes and spare the life of their first born. When the father told this story, the Jews at the meal imagined themselves in the world of Moses in Egypt. Haven't you heard someone tell a story in such a way that you feel as if you are right there? You feel the emotions that were felt, you could smell the food being described, you sensed the oppression, and then... 

            … you experienced being set free!

Here, unknown to Jesus' disciples, it was a different night. The Jewish Meal of all Meals was happening, for the one-thousandth time. The original Passover was a night different from all other nights. It was the night when the avenging angel of death “passed over” the homes of the Israelites so God could liberate the people of Israel. But this night, recorded in Luke 22, is going to be very, very different from any other night. It will be remembered forever, not just by Jews, but by the peoples of the world, to include you and me.

This quite-and-very-different night begins by Jesus talking, not of the Moses-Exodus story, but about his impending death, and his Kingdom that is coming in its fullness. Jesus is changing the meaning of Passover. This is shocking and unexpected.

Can we just stop here for a moment?

Change is hard. This change is beyond hard. Because up to this point Passover was celebrated in the SAME WAY ALL THE TIME! "We always have done it this way!” (These, BTW, are the Seven Last Words of the Church.) The same questions are asked. The same answers are given. And it has been this way for hundreds of years.

But ON THIS NIGHT, as Joel Green says, “Instead of the expected focus on the historic deliverance enacted by God in Israel’s past, Jesus talks about his own death and vindication, and the coming of God’s dominion.” (JG, Luke, 761) "As you drink Cup #2, this cup, remember Me." What Jesus does on this night draws on the Exodus story. But, as N.T. Wright is fond of saying, this is the "New Exodus."

"After taking the [second] cup, Jesus gave thanks and said..." He did this on a night that is different from any before it, and from any that will follow. Jesus was showing that he was the "New Moses" who was leading not only Israel but all of humanity in the New Exodus and their resultant liberation.

Tonight, the night Jesus was betrayed, Jesus lifted the second cup. 

It was the night before the day when all humanity would be set free.

REFLECTION

1. Had you been one of Jesus' disciples at that Passover Meal, how would you have felt when Jesus reinterprets hundreds of years of tradition in terms of his own life and sacrificial death?

2. Think of how Jesus has liberated you from your enslavement to sin. Count the ways he has done this. Give thanks to God for this.


***
My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I'm now working on...


Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

I am editing a book of essays on the Holy Spirit, authored by my HSRM colleagues. Hopefully this book (Encounters With the Holy Spirit) will be out by June.

And, when all this settles, Linda and I intend on writing our book on Relationships.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

You Have a Calling in Life

(Self)

In my first year as a Jesus-follower I felt God calling me to me the youth pastor of the Lutheran church I grew up in. Our church did not have a youth pastor. For Sunday after Sunday an announcement appeared in the church bulletin which read: "Please pray that we would find a youth pastor." I shared my sense of calling with our pastor. He agreed. I stayed for three years before moving, as a result of another call from God.

I experienced God calling me to study at a theological seminary. I was called to study, to learn, to research. My three years at seminary have been so valuable for me!

During that time God called me to be an assistant pastor at First Baptist Church of Joliet, Illinois. Linda and I were there for seven years. 

We left Joliet when God called us to be campus pastors at the Baptist Student Center of Michigan State University. We were there for eleven years. We loved campus ministry!

In our tenth year there we sensed God was going to call us elsewhere. He did. We came to Monroe, Michigan, to serve Jesus at Redeemer Fellowship Church. We are in year twenty-seven!

Within this adventure Linda and I have experienced countless secondary callings. Like today, as God is calling us to reach out to some people. These callings give our lives meaning and purpose. Were there no God, then there would be no calling, no "vocation," and life would be without ultimate meaning and purpose. (Note: Os Guinness, in The Call: Finding and Fulfilling God's Purpose for Your Life, distinguishes between primary and secondary callings.)

A main way we experience God is by being called, and then, often in retrospect, seeing how God was in this all along.

Jacob Shatzer defines, in Transhumanism and the Image of God: Today's Technology and the Future of Christian Discipleship, "vocation" as "all of those experiences and insights that our lives are guided by Another, that we are responding not to inert nature that bends to our will, but to another Will, with whom we might live in covenant relationship, and to Whom we will be ultimately accountable.” (29)

Shatzer says a calling from God has four elements.

1. A call implies a caller, one doing the calling.

2. Often the call is to something the person hearing the call doesn't want.

3. Callings almost always lead to hardships that the person has to work through in order to obey.

4. The greatest danger is being distracted from the goal. Shatzer writes: "Often we act like making the wrong choice is the biggest problem. If we are responding to God’s call, the biggest danger is that we become distracted from that call by focusing on something else." (30)

Shatzer writes:

"Our society is very different from one shaped by this notion of calling, because we prioritize power and control. We don’t want to respond to a Caller. We seek knowledge so that we can control rather than participate in a larger community. In fact, “Power has become the centerpiece of a new kind of harmony, one based no longer on the ‘right relation of things’ in a world that both begins and ends in mystery, but it is a harmony that comes from control.” Control diminishes relationship; the will of one alone is expressed, and conversation and communion are lost. A loss of vocation that emphasizes the individual will and promotes the desire to control prevents the propagation of genuine community."
(Ib.)

Our current cultural malaise, angst, loneliness, and existential dystopian tendencies is partly, if not largely, due to the lack of meaning and purpose that logically follows from the absence of a Caller. 

***
My two books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I'm now working on...


Transformation: How God Changes the Human Heart 

Technology and Spiritual Formation

I am editing a book of essays on the Holy Spirit, authored by my HSRM colleagues. Hopefully this book (Encounters With the Holy Spirit) will be out by June.

And, when all this settles, Linda and I intend on writing our book on Relationships.