Some people would say that because I’m a theologian I already embrace magical thinking (i.e., all religion = magical thinking). Elizabeth Gilbert has me embracing big magic in a whole new way this year. I got her newest book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, for Christmas and have made it part of my morning reading and writing routine a few times in the past two weeks. Here’s a key paragraph from pages 34-35: “I believe that our planet is… Read more

I wrote this piece which first appeared in the December 18, 2015, issue of the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, my local newspaper. While it addresses the demographics of this place, its relevance extends to all those who live in religiously homogenous places. If you agree with Donald Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, chances are good that you don’t actually know any Muslims. If you live in Morgan County, the odds are fairly high that you don’t… Read more

It’s the week of year-in-review lists and posts, so I thought I’d see what the top five posts from my Patheos year have been. They are a pretty decent indication of hot topics from 2015, and a fair representation of the kinds of things I like to blog about: Jesus is Not a Get-Out-of-Jail Free Card: Christian Privilege & the Duggars How Should People of Faith Respond to Bruce Jenner? {with a “Call Me Caitlyn” update} With Christian Privilege, You… Read more

Apparently, at Wheaton College, a tenured political science professor who decides to wear hijab as an expression of her Christian solidarity with Muslim neighbors and quotes Pope Francis in support of that decision, is failing to “faithfully represent the College’s evangelical Statement of Faith.” In part of a December 10 public post on Facebook, Dr. Larycia Alaine Hawkins states: “I love my Muslim neighbor because s/he deserves love by virtue of her/his human dignity. I stand in human solidarity with my… Read more

I am in the midst of my annual Christmas music and movies binge, are you? Feliz Navidad is playing on my Sirius XM Holly station right now. Yesterday while waiting for a train at Union Station in Chicago, the theme song from Christmas Vacation was on some kind of loop and on the drive home, Let It Snow blared from the radio. Last week, as you can see in the picture, I took in the majesty of Christmas around the… Read more

As I prepare to present at one workshop at the University of Chicago on Friday and attend a writing workshop in downtown Chicago on Sunday, I’m sharing excerpts of what I presented recently at the Lutheran Women in Theological and Religious Studies annual meeting at the American Academy of Religion. (For more on the two workshops I mentioned, see the end of this post.) Being Lutheran and feminist in the 21st century requires public engagement, wherein theology is done online,… Read more

I’ve been too unspeakably angry about the terrorist attack on Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs last week to write much about it. Yes, it was a terrorist attack. Any act of violence that is meant primarily to incite fear in the observing public is terrorism. It’s also a particular form of terrorism in the case of Robert Dear: White conservative evangelical heteropatriarchal terrorism. His is a racialized male supremacist theology that an article in the New York Times describes today… Read more

Today I’m in Atlanta for the American Academy of Religion annual meeting. When I was a graduate student first attending the gathering of 10,000-ish scholars in religion and biblical studies, the experience was a lot like a carnival. So much to see. So many rides to go on. Sightings of famous authors and receptions with free food and drink that were magical for a doctoral candidate in debt and in awe. These days, I have a much better idea of… Read more

“And I think our focus ought to be on the Christians who have no place in Syria anymore.” (Jeb Bush on Sunday’s Meet the Press, with similar comments on CNN’s State of the Union.) “We need to be working to provide a safe haven for those Christians who are being persecuted and facing genocide, and at the same time we shouldn’t be letting terrorists into America.” (Ted Cruz at a press conference on Sunday in South Carolina.) Gentlemen, your Christian privilege is… Read more

Today I’m heading to Chicago for a meeting of the Theological Roundtable of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This is part of the work of theological discernment carried out by the Office of the Presiding Bishop, including representatives from several networks of scholars and theologians around the country. I’ll be there as a representative of the Lutheran Women in Theological and Religious Studies. Our focus for the meeting is racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. I wrote… Read more

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