How refreshing it was to be in the presence of leaders of faith -- heads of these huge churches that represent millions -- who are more interested in the needs of the poor and the call of Christ than in being "conformed to this world" and its shallow interests or reducing gospel concerns to a few hot-button social and sexual issues.
That first Christmas was a precursor to the science-fiction convention used over and over again in Doctor Who, Star Trek and every "galaxy far, far away" -- a "rip in the time-space continuum" -- as infinity takes on finitude, as the creator of the stars embraces a body made of stardust. Flesh and blood, this earthy God.
While the idea of believers being "caught up in the air" is mentioned, it is metaphorically describing the Second Coming. Paul is not claiming, nor even implying that Christians will disappear before all hell breaks loose on earth. In fact, the very idea of the rapture is antithetical to the narrative of scripture.
Mark Driscoll should take some of his royalties and hire a full-time prophet. Not a friend but an opponent. Not a pushover but a person of incisive intellect. Maybe not even a man but a woman. Someone like Deborah, who exercised enormous power among Israel's early judges. Like Huldah, whose prophecies led to intense reform.
I believe the church is in need of new wineskins. As the past few years have hinted at, and last week made crystal clear, evangelicalism is an old wineskin that is long past its expiration date. It was a new wineskin once and served the church well for a time, but it has become dry, brittle and broken.
Most evangelical Christians are conservatives, many conservatives have doubts about climate science, so we assume evangelicals are not concerned about global warming. The only problem with that logic is that, it turns out, a lot of deeply religious Christians are very concerned about climate change.