Author Archives: Todd Lovell

How Yoda Ruined My Theology

Star Wars is back and is force-choking every Box Office record in its path! Amid all the hoopla, I’ve done my fair share of rewatching clips from the old movies. Because of what Darth Lucas did to Yoda in the prequels, I had forgotten how incredibly philosophical and wise the character of Yoda was in the original trilogy. One of the most iconic ...

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The Redemption of Egypt

“…And a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6). Many of us are youth workers for very specific reasons. One of those is that we could never cut it as children’s ministers. The snotty noses, the incessant whining, the unending need for snacks – and that’s just in youth ministry! But the Advent season is a time for us to ...

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Where’s the Womb?

“I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:8) Matthew and Luke are the only two gospel writers who tell a nativity story. The other synoptic gospel, Mark, begins instead with the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan. Mark’s apparent neglect of the nativity story could leave some readers to exclaim, ...

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Translation and Incarnation

“He is the image of the invisible God…” (Col. 1:15). Nearly every aspect of life requires translation. We see a road sign or traffic light and we translate meaning almost instantly. We watch thousands of colorful pixels dance on screens and our brains translate this into moving images that communicate beautifully complex narratives. We observe a great piece of artwork ...

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The Bread of Heaven Come Down

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” (John 6:51). In John 6, Jesus Christ calls himself the “Living Bread.” It is interesting to me that Jesus identifies himself with such an ordinary image. After all, the doctrine of the incarnation is one of the most mysterious and complex confessions of the church. Bread, on the other hand,…well, ...

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Receiving Grace to Receive Grace

“No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me” (John 6:44) We Methodists speak a lot about prevenient grace. The Wesleyan concept of prevenience speaks of a divine grace that goes before us, leading us evermore into God’s righteousness. Too often we forget that the nativity story speaks very powerfully about God’s prevenient grace. God’s grace ...

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The Middle

“He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). It’s hard to make it through Advent without seeing the nativity scene in one of its many variations. It’s a beautiful scene. Mary and Joseph huddled close around the Christ child. Wise men, shepherds, and angels admiring from the periphery. Of course, the nativity scene ...

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Instruments of the Spirit

What’s the deal with angels and trumpets? I guess I’d never thought of it much before. A couple of weeks ago we began decorating our Christmas tree and I was struck by the number of ornaments and figurines we have that are trumpeting angels. All of a sudden it hit me: why do angels play trumpets? And why is the ...

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The Illusion of Innocence Lost

This past week, my church held a  sexuality workshop for our 5th graders and their parents called Created by God, a three-day Christian-based sex education curriculum. I never realized how multifaceted the feeling of anxiety was until I saw the parents arrive at the orientation meeting the first night. The attitudes of parents ranged anywhere from being hesitantly thankful that the church was ...

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Learning the Language of Faith

A Reflection on John 6:66-69 66 Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67 So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?”68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and know that ...

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