God hates all that damages, deforms, and divides humanity. God longs for us to flourish in healthy communities. The seven things God hates described in Proverbs 6:16-19 contribute to breaking down the peaceful and healthy relationships in which God intends us to live. God is committed to wholeness in our relationships and thus is implacably opposed to socially destructive human failings and sins.
Suffering for the Christian faith, in various forms, is inevitable. Persecution happens because of who people are, not what they do, so even though Christians may sometimes act stupidly, we don't "have it coming" because of the actions of some. Jesus warns us that, just as he was persecuted, we will be persecuted for our faith, even in a comparatively protected country like the U.S.
Jesus was tempted in the wilderness but did not give in to temptation. Still, he understands our temptations in a very personal way. He calls us to resist temptation, but he also forgives when we fall short, urging us to do better next time.
Jesus does not owe the temple tax because he is the son of God. He does not owe a death because he is the son of God. Jesus pays the price of the temple tax with a coin. Jesus pays for our salvation with his life. In both cases he pays a debt he does not owe for others who owe a debt they cannot pay. Jesus. chooses to work through us not because that is the easiest way to get things done, because it is not, but because he wants to work in us.
Contrary to common imagery, St. Peter does not determine who passes through the Pearly Gates of Heaven. Peter may have the keys, but so can we: the knowledge of who Jesus truly is. If we can describe the truth about Jesus, we can extend love and grace to a hurting world, and that changes everything. But if we cannot describe the truth about Jesus, that he truly is the Son of the living God, we have the keys to nothing.
This series looks at the songs ancient pilgrims used to sing as they made their way to Jerusalem.. When Judah and Israel were conquered their people were sent out all over the ancient world. This was called the Diaspora, or dispersion. Three times a year, Pentecost, Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles, Jews from various parts of the world would celebrate religious feasts by making pilgrimages to Jerusalem, to worship in the Temple. As they walked up the hill toward the Temple they would sing Psalms 120-134, the "Songs of Ascent."
A half-truth is a deception of sorts. Christians commonly express beliefs that are true in part without conveying the whole picture, and often the missing parts make a big difference. This series explores the rest of the story for five such concepts.