Lent: Maybe It’s About Adding, Not Subtracting

I sometimes envy people who follow tradition without asking questions. They gain benefits from their tradition that the rest of us will never know. (There are costs, of course, to their lack of questioning, as there are to everything, but that’s another story.) We questioners can’t help but smell some problems with Lent. We note [Read More...]

The President’s “Phony” Theology

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum accused President Obama of a “phony theology” over the weekend, a theology that takes seriously “serving the earth.” I agree with Paul Raushenbush: Rick Santorum was terribly unwise to make theological correctness an issue in a political campaign. But I think he was right about his differences with President Obama being [Read More...]

The Beloved Community Vs. The Beloved Economy

You know how synchronicities happen. It’s not just the song you’re listening to or the book you’re reading, but what you’re eating or who you’re with or where you are when you do so. So I was re-reading Adam Hamilton’s Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity recently, “synchronicitously” with a mistake and a holiday. The mistake [Read More...]

After the Worship Wars: Christian Identity and Worship

I’ve been thinking about Christian identity a lot lately. An election year makes such thinking inescapable, as Christian identity is linked with any number of political ideologies. On top of that, my next book is on Christian identity in a multi-faith world—exploring the ways that religious identity can predispose us toward hostility or hospitality. Of [Read More...]

Against “Taking Things Back:” Rethinking the OWS Slogan

A funny thing happened on the way to the protest. I was talking with a colleague in the Occupy movement and sharing my ambivalence about a common slogan on our posters: “Take It Back.” He asked what bothered me, and I told him I wasn’t sure. But he “listened me into free speech,” and here’s [Read More...]

The Church and the Solution

I have a reputation for choosing ungainly titles, so my titles are often replaced by editors with better taste or judgment. Such was the case with a piece I wrote recently for Patheos on seminaries. My main point was that seminaries are succeeding at producing energetic, engaged, educated, and creative young leaders who too often step [Read More...]

Seminary Is Not the Problem – the Church Is

Editor’s Note: This article is part of a Patheos’ symposium, “Does Seminary Have a Future?” Read other perspectives here. When I’m asked about the future of seminaries, my first response is to say that almost 100% of the current seminarians I meet are raving fans of their education. Seminary is providing for them what they wish [Read More...]

Not Conservative, Not Liberal: Progressive

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the symposium, “What Is Progressive Christianity?” presented by the newly launched Patheos Progressive Christian Portaland in partnership with the Wild Goose Festival (June 23-26). Like us on Facebookto receive today’s best commentary on Progressive Christianity. I grew up Fundamentalist. Whatever criticisms you might offer of people from my tribe, at least this [Read More...]

A New Christian Convergence

Obviously, in light of the title of my most recent book (A New Kind of Christianity), the future of Christianity has been on my mind. When one talks about the future, one tends to think more of progressive or emergent forms of Christianity, since more conservative forms often will, by their conservative nature, try to [Read More...]