Bruce Hillman is Lead Pastor at Hillside Lutheran Brethren Church (www.hillsidelbc.org) in Succasunna New Jersey. He Holds a BA in History and Political Science from Quinnipiac University, (Hamden, CT), an MDiv. from the Lutheran Brethren Seminary (Fergus Falls, MN) and an STM in Patristics from Drew University (Madison, NJ); his research involves Augustinian studies and Early Christianity. He is former pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Henning MN. He is co-founder of Fifth Act Church Planting, having served on their board (www.fifthactchurchplanting.com) Bruce enjoys cooking, reading, all things British, exploring the world of wine, and conversations with good friends.
One of the things I enjoy the most about having four Gospels is that we get four diverse accounts of Jesus. That is not only helpful, it is realistic. For example, take four people to watch a film and they’ll have differing impressions. Having four Gospels gives us a realism and vantage that stays true to life’s diversity.
One of life’s hardest lessons, and a mark of maturity, is the realization that life is profoundly unfair. Your father was right when, objecting to his decisions, he calmly told you, “Well, life ain’t fair, deal with it!” And the same injustice we felt then, when dad pronounced his verdict on life, is only magnified in adulthood.
BY BRUCE HILLMAN
We all look forward to Lent’s conclusion and the celebration of Resurrection Sunday. This is the Sunday of victory and joy as the Church enters into the reality that Christ has defeated death and hell, declared victory over such enemies and set history on its final course of consummation.
For centuries the great problem with the existence of God was the problem of evil. If God is good and loves us, why is there evil? There are two kinds of evil, moral evil, like violence and abuse and natural evil, like earthquakes and child cancer.
“Who can be saved!?” the disciples asked in astonishment. For Jesus had just told them that camels passing through needle’s eyes was more probable than rich people entering heaven. For ancient Jews like the disciples, there was a centuries old understanding that wealth was a sign of God’s favor and blessing.
If the cross were to happen today, not on Golgotha, but in our own locale, would we take selfies? Instead of a hill, would we display the cross on the far more prominent vista of social media? It’s an abhorrent juxtaposition, but it may not be so far from reality.
This is the third time Jesus has told his disciples he is going to be killed. As I read these passages I am disturbed by how casually and pedestrian they ring in my ear. “Yes, yes, we know this, it’s the gospel, very good, next!”
“Are you Republican or Democrat?” “Liberal or conservative?” “Yankees or Red Sox?” “Star Wars or Star Trek?” Life presents us with lots of important choices and often times they are presented to us as binaries. Binaries are opposites of which one must choose a side...