Sermon: A Dawning from on High Has Visited Us

I delivered my second sermon at RUF UCLA, once again at the kind invitation of Rev. Matthew Trexler. Inspired by the verses containing the closing words of Zechariah’s Benedictus, I delivered a Christmas homily from the apocalyptic (revelatory) and cosmic perspective of the victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death and how this victory confronts the problems we face. The scripture read at the beginning is from David Bentley Hart’s translation of the New Testament.   Below is the typed manuscript (not the transcript) from which I delivered my message. I’m thankful to T. F. Torrance and Sinclair Ferguson…

The St. Genevieve Declaration

The text of this declaration was written on Sunday, November 5, 2017 in response to the deadly mass church shooting in Texas. St. Genevieve (Fr. Sainte Geneviève) is the patron saint of Paris, and of disasters and catastrophes. This declaration invokes her memory to bring to mind the disaster that is the gun crisis in the United States. Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. – Psalm 126:5-6 Today: Sutherland Springs Earlier: Charleston, Las Vegas,…

Sermon: Outside the Party?

A very important note about sources: Several structures, themes, and ideas of this message, especially some text enclosed in quotation marks, has been lifted from the course, available on the udemy platform, entitled, “Paul and His Letter to the Ephesians,” the copyright for which belongs to N.T. Wright Online, 2016. Also see the relevant sections of Wright, N. T. Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. London Louisville, KY: SPCK Westminster John Knox Press, 2004. Please see also Wright, N. T., and Lin Johnson. Ephesians: 11 Studies for Individuals and Groups. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Connect,…

What’s going on?

I have always said that Los Angeles wasn’t the city for me—that doing life in L.A. would be a catastrophic mistake. I was going to get my Ph.D. in French history and run off to a cushy European tenure-track professorship. To live the remainder of my life in L.A. would mean (in the words of Racine’s Le songe d’Athalie), C’était pendant l’horreur d’une profonde nuit.

The blessings of His Heav’n

Those who know me know that I am much more of a devotionalist than a scholar, humorist, polemicist, or whatever. To the extent that this is the case, I want to say a few things: Hurricanes, one after the other, multiple wildfires in the West after chronic drought, a terrible earthquake in Mexico, horrific flooding in Bangladesh, political and economic instability the world over, the list continues. There’s really no escaping the fact that times aren’t the best that they could be right now. The apocalyptic imagery of Mark 13 and Matthew 24 notwithstanding, it helps to be reassured of…

Sermon: The Friendship of David and Jonathan

In this message, we think about spiritual friendship through the lens of the friendship between David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18). Ultimately we see that God enters into covenant relationship with human beings through the paradigm of friendship. Jesus himself said to his disciples, “I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Recorded for an audience of middle-to-high school students at Pacific Crossroads Church). ***

Healing and the Promise: Chapters I-III

Originally published in two installments in 2016. This is an edited and collected version including a final chapter written in mid-2017. Chapter One (June 2016) In the first volume of Marcel Proust’s, In Search of Lost Time, one of the characters introduced is the up-and-coming socialite, M. Swann. He often visited the Proust’s country home in Combray when the former was a child. It was on such a visit to his home that M. Swann responds to an off-color attempt by another character, Proust’s Aunt Flora, to tell him that “she had read [a] note about [him] in the [paper].”