Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2011

(1) NPR: Religion – A few years ago my car radio was almost always tuned to NPR. More recently I have taken to listening selectively to my favorite NPR segments. Since I’m a huge religion nerd, I love being able to listen to the religion-themed excerpts of “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and other NPR programs without necessarily having to listen to each of those hour-long shows each day.(2) Homebrewed Christianity - An astonishing number of great interviews with world-class theol … [Read more...]

“Out Beyond Ideas” for Advent: Original Blessing, Creation Spirituality, and Social Justice

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Jesus clearly says the kingdom of heaven is among us (Luke 17:21) or “at hand” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17). One wonders why we made it into a reward system for later, or as Brian McLaren calls it, “an evacuation plan for the next world.” Maybe it was easier to obey laws and practice rituals for later than to actually be transformed now.The price for real transformation is high. It means that we have to change our loyalties from power, success, money, and control (read: “our kingdoms”) to the Lordship … [Read more...]

Dear Lowe’s: Islamophobia is as equally reprehensible as anti-Semitism

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Dear Lowe's: Islamophobia is as equally reprehensible as anti-Semitism. Both are forms of racism and bigotry. Christians must stop confusing Christianity with Christian Supremacy.I wish I could force both the management of Lowe's as well as the protesters to read Philip Jenkins' important new book Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can't Ignore the BIBLE'S Violent Verses: Commands to kill, to commit ethnic cleansing, to institutionalize segregation, to hate and fear other races and religions — all a … [Read more...]

Preaching through the Didache: A Call for Resources

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During the season of Epiphany (basically from the beginning of 2012 through Ash Wednesday), I'm planning a sermon series on the Didache. I've read the primary text previously a few times as well as a pieces of secondary literature, but I still don't feel like I have a firm enough grasp on this important early document. I figure preaching through the Didache is a great opportunity to correct this gap.As part of my sermon preparation, I plan to revisit Tony Jones' book The Teaching of the T … [Read more...]

Best “Netflix Instant” Streamed in 2011

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I don't understand the outcry from some quarters that, "There's nothing to watch on Netflix Instant." I couldn't disagree more. There are currently 37 films in my "Instant" queue that -- if there were but world enough and time -- I would be watching immediately. To name only a few: Meek's Cutoff, Biutiful, Rabbit Hole, and Antichrist.For anyone unsure of what to watch next, Netflix provides tons of recommendations (click on the "Watch Instantly" tab), but most additions to my queue come … [Read more...]

Best Netflix DVDs Watched in 2011

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This list is in alphabetical order (because agonizing over a precise order would take out all the fun). Also, I am limiting myself to DVDs received in the mail. I will post a follow-up list sometime this week with my favorite Netflix Instant streamed in the past year. This list also excludes some great films I saw in the theater this past year, which could perhaps be another future list.I also have to give credit to one of my favorite podcasts Filmspotting, which keeps my Netflix queue … [Read more...]


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