Bruce Hillman

You Can’t Always Outrun The Pain. That’s OK.

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

Have you ever read the Old Testament book of Lamentations? It’s not one of those Bible books that tend to make it too often onto devotional lists, sermon schedules or motivational posters. That's too bad. At first glance, the book seems deeply depressing.

You Can’t Always Outrun The Pain. That’s OK.

You Can’t Work For Peace

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

Sometimes the hardest part of the day is the time just before sleep. At that time, if struggles or stresses abound, we can be kept up by racing thoughts. This fretting and over-analyzation, the frantic search for options, can leave us exhausted and depleted, feeding the cycle of stress that is already at work in us.

You Can’t Work For Peace

God, I’m Mad At You

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

How many times have you been mad at God? Probably more than you’d like to admit. I remember a time when a family member said some very hurtful things to me, and I was very upset. I felt the comments were extremely unfair and disingenuous.

God, I’m Mad At You

The Dung-Slinging God

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

The prophet Jonah longed for one thing: to see the Assyrian city of Nineveh utterly destroyed by the wrath of God. His wish eventually came true. The later prophet, Nahum, describes in terrible and graphic detail the fall of the city. Nahum is a book almost entirely devoted to the horrors of the wrath of God.

The Dung-Slinging God

Identity, and the Self-Stories We Tell

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

What does it mean to be a child of God and to carry his image? This is a theological question, but it is a question necessary for our self-understanding because who we are is derived from who He is and what he has created us to do.

Identity, and the Self-Stories We Tell

The Joy of Obedience

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

Can there be joy in obedience? That depends on if obedience if a free choice or the result of threats. When obedience is coercive, it dominates and subjugates our wills, or at least attempts to do so, and no one wants to be ruled by another.

The Joy of Obedience

A Walk In The Woods: Enchanted by Christ

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

A few minutes from where I live there is a flat trail that leads for miles through a thick forest. I like to take my dog Winston there for walks, often over my lunch break, the sprightly excursion a nice respite from the office, meetings and other tasks that usually make up my day. 

A Walk In The Woods: Enchanted by Christ

The Baptism that Swallowed the Rocks

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

The Church is a community. But the Church is not like other communities. That probably sounds arrogant. Is the Church’s community really different from all other communities? Yes. And for reasons that hardly seem evident at first glance.

The Baptism that Swallowed the Rocks

Behind the Satanic Curtain:

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

There are a few occasions in the Bible where the curtain lifts, and we get to peer into the inner workings of the Divine Court. There we see strange creatures and beasts, angels and thrones, throngs and thrills. The Bible writers struggle to describe these scenes which put the imagination into overdrive and surpass its ability to reconstruct clear or coherent images.

Behind the Satanic Curtain:

When God Lets You Down After You Tried So Hard…

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

They are honest words, raw and revealing, a torrent of emotions surging with unrestrained manic. They are, perhaps surprisingly, the scathing lament of a holy man who devoted everything to his calling and had reached the end of his patience. The “deceiver,” named and accused, is God.

When God Lets You Down After You Tried So Hard…

It is Better to Not See

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

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.

It is Better to Not See

When God Wounds

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

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.

When God Wounds

The Resurrection is Not Greater than the Cross:

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.

The Resurrection is Not Greater than the Cross:

Is Jesus the Only Way? The Question of Exclusivity

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

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.

Is Jesus the Only Way? The Question of Exclusivity

The First Love of God

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

Henri Nouwen, the Roman Catholic priest, professor and writer summed up his summary of the Gospel as, “You are the beloved of God!” For Nouwen, who struggled his whole life with feelings of inadequacy and who often felt unsure he was really loved...

The First Love of God

Daring to Pray for the Impossible…

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

“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.

Daring to Pray for the Impossible…

The Cross in a Culture of Self-Promotion

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

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.

The Cross in a Culture of Self-Promotion

He Knew He Was Going To Die: When Bible Reading Becomes Boring.

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

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!”

He Knew He Was Going To Die: When Bible Reading Becomes Boring.

Postmodernism, Charlottesville and the Hope to Come….

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

“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...

Postmodernism, Charlottesville and the Hope to Come….

The Fog of Fear: Panic Attacks, Anxiety and Being Overwhelmed

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

You can see it far off, looming on the horizon, a thick fog menacing off the coast and swirling in the distance. You know the signs. You’ve been here many times before, but you’ve learned to carry on.  At first you kind of ignore it, you are aware it’s there, but you don’t want to work yourself up...

The Fog of Fear: Panic Attacks, Anxiety and Being Overwhelmed

Catbirds And The Delight of God

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is read out under the shade of my backyard tree. There, I have a reclining chair and small little side table. I bring out my theology or anglophile books with a nice pot of tea and read away the later afternoons. With golden rays of sun twinkling through the leafy canopy above...

Catbirds And The Delight of God

Do Pets Go To Heaven? Why I Think So…

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

As a pastor I am often asked if pets go to heaven? The question may sound childish, or even sentimental, but it is extremely important for those who ask it. As the owner of a beloved German Shepherd myself, Winston, I know the deep love we can have for our animal companions.

Do Pets Go To Heaven? Why I Think So…

The God Who Says, “Hide!”

BY BRUCE HILLMAN

God may be all-powerful, but he has an odd way of showing it.  He tends to work his power through weakness, brokenness, even a cross. Where sinners use violence to overthrow and dominate, God uses martyrs and simple words.

The God Who Says, “Hide!”