A Biography of Barth— Part One

Whether you love him or hate him, or are just frustrated by the girth of his work, Karl Barth, hands down, was the most influential theological of the twentieth century of any sort. Mark Galli, senior editor of Christianity Today has now produced a very readable, helpful and svelte biography (192 pages, Eerdmans Pub.) of Barth, which I am quite happy to commend. It is a good little introduction to Barth the man and his thought world. In this and… Read more

How Many Christians were there in A.D. 200?

Here’s an excellent post by my friend and colleague Philip Jenkins. See what you think. BW3 I have been involved in a project on the early church, around the year 200 AD. My first basic question concerns the issue of numbers, and the results offer some surprises. Just how many Christians were there in 200? Around 197, Tertullian’s Apology made extravagant claims for the scale of Christian numbers. He spoke of “the immense number of Christians … almost all the… Read more

‘Racism Is As American As Baseball’???

Some people may think that mere education will solve this problem. I am not among those, and I am an educator. The problem is not mere ignorance. The problem is sin. Read more

Dale Chihuly– a Glass very Full

Dale Chihuly (born 1941) is what is called a glass sculptor. His life has been as colorful as his art, in various ways. Born and raised in the Pacific northwest (he now is based in Tacoma) he began pursuing a degree in interior design, but he dropped out and went to Florence to study art in 1962. He returned to school and finished an interior design degree at the U. of Washington in 1965. That same year he began experimenting… Read more

Justin Martyr’s Knowledge of Matthew and Luke

There has been much recent chatter among some scholars that various Synoptic Gospels might be from the second century A.D., even the late second century and even reflect a knowledge of Marcion, who, it will be remembered only favored Luke’s Gospel and some of Paul’s letters. Against such ideas is the evidence that Luke’s Gospel is well known in the churches Justin Martyr participated in. Here is a helpful recent post by my friend Larry Hurtado, dealing with the relevant… Read more

American Made– We Are the Swamp

I am on record as not being all that much of a Tom Cruise fan. As an actor in the past, he has been just fair, and as for his Scientology fetish, let’s not go there. But ‘American Made’ is different. First of all, unlike all the Missions’ Impossible, this is a story about events that actually happened, involving a former TWA pilot who was recruited to work for the CIA in the late 70s and early 80s, and somewhere… Read more

Justinian– Just in Time, a New Discovery

Sometimes coincidences are not just coincidences. So I’m busy reading the latest issue of BAR (Biblical Archaeology Review) a magazine I regularly write for. I’m reading the fascinating article about what happened to the menorah and other sacred articles taken by Titus out of the Temple in Jerusalem and carted off to Rome in A.D. 70. It is an amazing story, and not quite 500 years later, it seems to bring us back to Jerusalem. More on this in a… Read more

Doubting Thomas: The Relevance of the Gospel of Thomas for Historical Jesus Studies

Why do we doubt the Gospel of Thomas? Read more

Place– A Poem about Transience

PLACE ‘You can never go home again’—- Thomas Wolfe, Asheville, N.C. Place Indelible image Imprinted on your brain Place Where you came from In dreams, it still remains Place Bricks and mortar, Asphalt and sewer drains Place Trees and houses Unending and insane. —- Place Friends and neighbors But they’re no longer home Place The too familiar That makes you want to roam Place A sanctuary Without a church’s dome —- Place Where you once grew up But time has… Read more

‘Born to Run’– the Bio of Bruce

I’ve read a lot of rock n’ roll magazines (Rolling Stone should have given me an honorary lifetime subscription years ago. I’ve helped keep them in business), and I’ve read more than a few rock biographies (e.g. the four for CSNY) and for the most part you hear narcissistic tales of the sordid and the splendid, of artistry and angst, of fame, and fortune… and wrack and ruin too. The biography of Bruce Springsteen is something out of the ordinary… Read more

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