Showing posts from March, 2017

Paranoia Strikes Deep

Last Friday Christy and I pulled in to Termini Train Station in Rome, the last city we would visit on our 20th anniversary trip to Italy. I was very excited. I have wanted to see and walk through ancient Rome since I was a kid. The Colosseum, The Forum, pagan temples, ruins, etc. But as we arrived I confronted another emotion: paranoia. I had heard so much about pickpockets before we left. Any time we were around people I felt like someone was targeting me, the giant American tourist.

This sensation was in the back of my mind the entire trip. Throughout the week I wore a small pouch, I called it my "Joey," like I was a momma kangaroo, under my shirt. It housed our cash, passports, credit card, bank card. Now in the swarm at the train station, rumored to be Pickpocket Danger Area #1, I found myself checking out everyone in the place. Christy needed to make a pit stop, so I found the most secure place to wait: against a wall, our two rolling bags, a camera bag, and a backpack…

The Death of the Messiah

Several years ago Mel Gibson directed a film called The Passion of the Christ. It was very popular, but I didn't care for it-it focused too much on the violence of Jesus' suffering (the word "passion" comes from the Latin word for suffering), and not enough of the grace revealed by his death. I'd like to invite you to a Lenten Bible study starting tonight: "The Death of the Messiah." We offered a similar study during Advent. We will explore each of the four gospel accounts of Jesus' passion: his betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion, noting their similarities and differences. 
Studying the different gospel accounts of the Passion always brings up great questions: Who is the naked guy in Mark 14:51-52? Why does John include the detail of lanterns and torches in 18:3? Where exactly is the Garden of Gethsemane? Did Jesus or Simon of Cyrene carry the cross-and what difference does it make? Who was Pontius Pilate-and why do we remember him in the Apostle…