The virtue needed most today

There’s a sign in someone’s yard on the route my wife and I regularly walk. It’s painted blue and red and proclaims in bold white letters: JUST BE KIND.

I like that sign.

And even though I don’t know the people who live in that house and made that sign…


Let’s be better versions of ourselves no matter who wins

CNN’s John King and Wolf Blitzer are doing the electoral college map as votes roll in while I write this. I’m not paying attention really. It’s just noise in the background.

My wife is dozing off on the reclining sofa beside me. I realize my whiskey is empty and I…


How the psalms of lament encourage us that our pain isn’t the end of the story

There’s a lot to lament these days.

Covid.

Our partisan politics and ideological chasms.

Systemic racism and social injustice.

The economy.

The devastating effects of global climate change.

The list goes on.

Over the past several weeks I’ve been exploring some psalms of lament from the Bible. …


How the biblical psalms of lament invite us to tell our story with brutal and raw honesty

I was a pastor for 10 years before leaving the vocational ministry in 2018. Over my decade of leading three different churches, I had a front-row seat to the suffering of many different people.

Cancer.

Death.

Divorce.

Among many other tragedies.

The list of devasting things that people endured in…


How the biblical psalms of lament give us permission to rage, wonder, and protest in these uncertain times

I have a friend at work whose wife was murdered. He got the call a few hours into his shift. Does anyone imagine that they or someone they know will get such a devastating and horrific call?

I messaged him on Facebook. He asked me to pray for him. I…


Christian Ethics in the Age of Coronavirus

The world’s changed dramatically, perhaps indefinitely. Similarly to how things were different after 9/11 or after the Great Recession of 2008, I suspect that life after the Coronavirus will always be a little different.

I don’t mean that in an end-of-the-world apocalyptic sort of way. I don’t think the world’s…


What happens when celebrity-status and businessy KPIs infiltrate the church

There’s a passage in Luke’s Gospel that’s troubled, challenged, and fascinated me for some time. Jesus is going about with his disciples doing his Jesusy stuff — teaching, healing, casting out demons. You know, the usual.

And then suddenly the disciples start bickering about which among them is the top…


Why it matters that Jesus was truly and fully human

I admit the title’s clickbaity. That was intentional. Is it irreverent? Maybe. Although I don’t think there’s anything irreverent about natural bodily functions. And if you’re offended, I’m sorry. But try to hear me out.

Because the fact of the matter is, if the Incarnation is true — if Jesus…


An annotated list of recommendations with a few honorable mentions

For the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about study Bibles and offering some recommendations. A good study Bible is a helpful, even essential, resource for anyone desiring to dive deeper into Scripture and grow in their knowledge and understanding.

However, since the Bible publishing industry has about a bazillion…


An annotated list of recommendations with a few honorable mentions

In a previous post, I explained how a good study Bible can be a valuable tool for anyone that wants to dive deeper into Scripture. I also suggested three key questions for helping make an informed decision on which study Bible to choose.

Specifically, I suggested you first consider your…

Sam Ochstein

Former Pastor | Lover of whiskey | Educator | Communicator | Contemplative Extrovert |MMin, MATS, MDiv (unfinished) | Read more at https://formerlyreverend.com

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