By Joel A. Hess - Surely since Plato’s republic—no, further back—since the builders of the tower of Babel, humankind has pursued the building of a perfect place, a perfect order, a perfect city, a utopia. Now, of course, it seems only natural from a young age to seek out a good existence. I recently cleaned … Continue reading Tired of making the world better?
By Joel A. Hess - Since seminary, I have been told by seasoned pastors and “expert” first timers that pastoring is a tough, thankless job. They encouraged me to set boundaries so I don’t get lost in the work and forget about myself and my family. They scared me stiff, perhaps hoping I would not be … Continue reading Dear Pastors: Stop Whining
By Joel A Hess - The wonderful story of Luke and Paul’s meeting with Lydia in Philippi (Acts 16:40-17:1) blows apart so many false notions of Christianity. Lydia is clearly a successful woman, likely a widow or divorced, who runs a company. Luke doesn’t mention a husband and clearly associates her with the sole proprietor … Continue reading Thank God for Lydias
By Joel A. Hess - Gloriosissimam ciuitatem Dei siue in hoc temporum cursu - Augustine, City of God I love Chicago, but it’s not for everyone. Masses of people are walking, driving, running, yelling, pushing, and crying 24/7. It’s busy and cramped. A large city is humanity on steroids or under a microscope. Everything good and … Continue reading The City is the Future
By Joel A. Hess - Everybody loves “forgiveness!” Who would disagree with the importance and blessing of forgiveness? Sure, Christianity emphasizes it probably more than any other religion or philosophy, but it would be foolish to conclude it enjoys a monopoly on mercy. As I was preparing for last week’s sermon, I thought I would … Continue reading Forgiving is for Giving
By Joel A. Hess - An old man and his granddaughter were marveling at the stained glass windows that decorated their old church a couple of kilometers north of Wissauke. Many of the windows displayed a particular saint like John, Peter, or Paul. Unfortunately, grandpa noticed some cracks in the windows. As he mourned for … Continue reading Cracked Saints Shine Brighter
By Joel A. Hess - Who would have thought that such a glorious building would go down in flames? Flames, of all things. Not an atomic bomb or any of our glorious manmade tools of destruction, but something as rudimentary and old as fire. All the hard work of well-intentioned men was destroyed in a … Continue reading Destroy this Temple