Skip to main content

Articles by John McKinley



  • The Good Book Blog

    John McKinley — 

    I heard recently that the Jewish and (East) Indian mentalities expect life to be full of difficulties and pain as a matter of course. The American mentality expects the opposite: a happy life overall, and usually an improvement over the previous generation. Americanism includes the idea that we may, through hard work, ingenuity, and divine blessing, avoid pain and lack that others suffer. Some American Christians have even preached that material prosperity in this life, including healing of all physical ills, is God’s will for His people. Reality, however, counts against the so-called prosperity gospel.

  • The Good Book Blog

    John McKinley — 

    “Here I am again. What does it mean to do this in Christ?” This was my thought as I rode my carbon-fiber bicycle on the streets of Torrance on Sunday afternoon. I was nervously warming up for my first bicycle race after having been away from the sport for 19 years. Many things were familiar and came back to me automatically: pinning the race number on my jersey so the wind wouldn’t catch it, calming myself as I rode around the course, checking how the wind was blowing, and sliding in to the start line so as to be in the front.

  • The Good Book Blog

    John McKinley — 

    Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History, Diana Lynn Severance (Ross-Shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2011) 336 pp. $15 ($12 on Amazon; or $11.39 on Kindle) Overall, the book is challenging and informative for me as a male Christian. I have been mostly ignorant of the many deep and lasting contributions of women throughout the history of the church. The fascinating chronicles informed me to be full of admiration for these particular women, and for Christian women throughout the world today who struggle for basic human rights. I recognize that women continue to be disregarded, demeaned, patronized, minimized, and marginalized in evangelical churches and Western cultures today. Severance’s book is the beginning of a helpful corrective for the church to value women as equal heirs of the gift of grace.

  • The Good Book Blog

    John McKinley — 

    My students usually have trouble grasping Chalcedonian Christology that Jesus, God the Son, lives as one person in two natures, simultaneously. I’ve thought about this repeatedly enough that the traditional formulation feels familiar to me, but students hearing it for the first time are confounded. Maybe I should be confounded more myself, and allow the mystery to creep in more heavily when I consider the Incarnation. I like to add that it’s appropriate when we think about Jesus and the deep things of God that we feel a bit dizzy. But we still need to try and make sense of it however we may grasp at these deep things with our feeble minds. Often I find that the hardest thing is not in thinking that Jesus is eternally God the Son, or that he is a true human being, but that he lives a dual life by possessing both natures and living through them at the same time (the hypostatic union). The analogy I explain to them from our life experience is focused on understanding the simultaneity of the Incarnation for God the Son.

  • The Good Book Blog

    John McKinley — 

    Two college students, Marc and Sue, sit together in the church on a Saturday evening service. It’s time to observe communion today. The pastor speaks slowly. “Let’s take a few moments to reflect on where we are with God and one another. Paul instructed the church at Corinth to examine themselves when they participated in the Lord’s Supper.” This invitation cast Marc into his memories of the past month. Like signs planted along a road that he drove along quickly, sins flashed to mind in rapid succession. Three weeks ago, he’d borrowed his roommate’s research paper from a geography class the semester before. Marc used the paper to write his own version for the same class this semester. He told himself that he was still learning by doing it, so it wasn’t really cheating.

  • The Good Book Blog

    John McKinley — 

    Marc Vandenbroucke sits on the couch in his apartment. The television is flickering; two quarter pounders with cheese, a pile of fries, and a giant coke are on the coffee table, ready for gulping. The food passes by his mouth indistinguishably as a flow of salt, potatoes, meat, and sugar. Oh, the comfort of it after a hard day.

  • The Good Book Blog

    John McKinley — 

    Marc Vandenbrouke set down the book he was reading on the café table. In one hand was the cigarette that beckoned to him with smoldering nicotine. That was his life disintegrating into acrid smoke. Marc had been reading about the revered Buddha, Siddhartha, but the monk had taught him nothing about the meaning of his own life. He had also turned to Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. These had all failed him. They told him he was a nothing, a parasite in an otherwise lovely ecosystem. Marc couldn’t even explain to himself why he, a human being, was significantly different from the chair or his cigarette. His thoughts were futile, his feelings were nonsense, and his choices, as his teachers had told him, were merely illusions based in chemical reactions taking place within the fat tissues of his skull. Was knowledge truly impossible? Did no one have a way to explain existence? Ah, well, here’s a phone call to relieve him from the brief sojourn into morbidity, despair and the meaninglessness of his life.