The Newsroom– Season Three ‘Common Decency’

As I have said before, Aaron Sorkin is a brilliant writer who kept West Wing afloat for many a season. Sadly, 'The Newsroom' has now bowed out, and had its last run of six episodes last Fall on HBO. Honestly, there are hardly any dramas on any network that deal with Americana and freedom of the press that are of this quality. Madam Secretary is a distant second. In this third season we still have the stellar cast, Jeff Daniels as the lead anchorman, Jane Fonda as Leona the owner, who has now … [Read more...]

A.D. The Bible Continues— Episode 3

The third episode of A.D. the Bible Continues deals with the period between the Ascension and Pentecost, and then a bit beyond that into Acts 5. The centerpiece of this episode is of course the Pentecost event itself, which as it were is the bright foreground of the story, with the dark clouds of Roman and priestly machinations being the frame or backdrop of the story. For my money there is too much of the latter, including too much bloodshed, and too little focus on the former. One nice … [Read more...]

Ben’s Books– Part Seven


I grow weary of the nonsense that has as its lead lament 'there is no Trinity in the NT'. Actually there is. There is plenty on the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit being part of the divine identity in the NT, and The Shadow of the Almighty demonstrates this. I wrote this with my friend and fellow Tar Heel and former Asbury student, Laura Michaels Ice. One of my more interesting theology books is the one entitled The Problem with Evangelical Theology. This book points out that among the … [Read more...]

Ben’s Books– Part Six


It occurred to me along the way that Protestants do a pretty poor job of understanding the sacraments and their roles in Christian life, so I wrote a series of books on baptism, the Lord's Supper and the Word of God. Baylor did a terrific job on the covers, editing etc. The book on baptism shows at some length what a theology of baptism ought to look like, and why baptism is an initiation not a confirmation rite. The Lord's Supper book argues at length not only that the earliest Christians … [Read more...]

Ben’s Books– Part Five


I've written a lot of specialty books along the way, but one series I am especially pleased with are my Kingdom Perspectives books beginning with Imminent Domain.The whole premise of this series is for us to think backwards from the eschaton to now, and see the current situation in light of the future coming Kingdom. The first book in the series explores what the language of Kingdom actually means in the NT. The next book to read in the series is the book on worship, We Have Seen his … [Read more...]

Ben’s Books– Part Four


I've written various introductions to the NT, and am in the process of writing an introduction to the Bible as a whole with Sandy Richter. We'll focus on the former here. I'm very proud of my two recent Oxford books. They are some of the best summary work I've done. Invitation to the NT (Oxford 2012) has got all the maps, charts, and beautiful color pictures you want plus a treatment of the whole NT.If on the other hand, you want more of a narratological Intro which deals with … [Read more...]

Danny Collins— Can Late Grace Make Up for a Life Waste?


I went to see 'Danny Collins' with modest expectations. The aging and worn out singer trying to make a comeback, or alternately trying to flip the script and stop being a caricature of his previous pop star self has been done before. This movie will remind various avid movie goers of Jeff Bridges 'Crazy Heart' movie in which he plays an aging country musician, still looking for redemption (see also Hugh Grant's 'Music and Lyrics'). And let's be clear, when I say redemption, I mean … [Read more...]

A Searching Book— Rachel Held Evans’ ‘Searching for Sunday’


It's tax day and Rachel Held Evans' latest book has just emerged, Searching for Sunday (Nelson Books, 269 pages, $16.99 pb). In some ways this book has appeared at just the appropriate moment, because in some ways it is like a refund check from the IRS, much anticipated, and a big help. In some ways however, the book is simply taxing, burdened down with a false sense of righteous outrage about an issue Rachel should have given more thought and prayer to before choosing to start firing away … [Read more...]

John Grisham’s ‘Gray Mountain’– Taking on Big Coal


(image courtesy of in Lexington Kentucky one sees a lot of cars with the 'Friends of Coal' license plates. In my view, friends don't let friends profit off the misery and death of miners with black lung disease or off of mountain top removal, despoiling of streams and rivers, and general ruination of Appalachia. Coal is not our friend. It is one of the most dirty forms of energy imaginable and the process of it's extraction from the land is a disaster. … [Read more...]