Many seminaries are in serious trouble. In fact, it may be the end of the seminary as we know it. Despite declining seminaries, Jesus’ promise to build the church still holds true. How can seminaries better align themselves with this promise?
Can women be deacons? Can divorced people be deacons? I don’t hear much about deacons at all these days, let alone about these two questions. Maybe our culturally-driven preoccupation with prominent pastors and other high profile Christian leaders draws our attention away from the multitude of faithful deacons who serve Christ anonymously in churches all over the world. In this post we’ll spend a little time reviewing the New Testament teaching on deacons and then speak to the two questions raised above.
It’s helpful to understand the language that different churches use to describe Mary, and it’s fun to ponder what she was thinking when she told Jesus the wine had run out at the wedding feast. There’s even more value for us when we think of Mary’s request as a model of prayer. Are we mindful of the hour of Jesus’ passion when we pray, or do we just blurt out prayers assuming that God exists to meet our personal needs in the way we want them met? Hopefully we’re learning, as Mary was, about cruciform praying. Our requests, like hers, need to be in step with the hour of Jesus’ passion, when he prayed three times, “I want your will to be done, not mine.”
You may have seen it on a bumper sticker, a tee-shirt, or a coffee mug—”My boss is a Jewish carpenter.” This catchy saying is an attempt to express the Jewish background of the Christian faith. The expression “Jewish roots” describes a relationship between Judaism and the church that involves so much more than the bland term “background”—roots are so much more than the background or setting of a tree. Roots are organically connected to the stem, branches, leaves, and seeds of any plant, and so it is with the church and the Jews. Both are rooted in the grace of God, expressed in biblical promises going back to Abraham in Genesis 12. Here’s a book that will help you understand your roots. Dig it?
Preachers tend to avoid Hebrews. It’s long and involved. It’s full of scary warnings. It probably wasn’t even written by Paul! But its message is vital for those who practice convenient Christianity today. What’s more, it’s a goldmine when it comes to showing us how to preach. Preaching Hebrews means preaching like Hebrews preaches!
Jesus’ faithfulness to his calling spurs us on to fulfill ours. He bore the cross and now he wears the crown. Are we taking up our crosses and following him? Jesus’ story maps out the Good-Friday story of our lives. The book of Hebrews teaches us that we won’t have Easter endurance if we’ve forgotten the faithfulness of Jesus!