Finding Common Humanity with an Outlaw Christian

“Do you ever feel mad at God? Filled with doubt and questions?” So begins this compelling book trailer for Outlaw Christian: Finding Authentic Faith By Breaking the “Rules.” Dr. Jacqueline A. Bussie, director of the Forum on Faith and Life and Professor of Religion at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, follows up her Trinity Prize [Read More…]

Queering Difference, Correcting Coakley

The following is an excerpt of my discussion of Linn Marie Tonstad’s new book, God and Difference, published in full over at FeminismandReligion.com last month. [Read more…]

Water, Water, Everywhere: On Death, Flint & “Formation”

Consider images of water flooding recent news and pop culture: Parents holding up baby bottles filled with brown water. Black and brown children with invisible toxins running through their veins, attacking their futures. Families paralyzed, unable to sell houses hooked up to poisonous infrastructure. A police car submerged in water. Ladies in formation dancing in [Read More…]

Making Religious Homophobia Illegitimate

I have a dream that someday, religious homophobia will be as illegitimate as flat-earth cosmology and young-earth creationism. B.o.B. and Ken Ham notwithstanding, no one gives any real credibility to claims that the earth is flat or that it is only 6,000 years old. Sure, those people are out there, and you can even visit [Read More…]

Everything Wrong With Christianity on One Church Sign

I saw it recently on the sign of a church on the outskirts of a small Midwestern city. “God Saw What You Did.” Five words. One big threat. Encapsulating so much of what drives people away from religion in general and Christianity in particular. Shame. Blame. Judgement. Threat. Consider the doctrine of God implied by [Read More…]

At the Intersections: The Public Body of Christ

Many good people live and work at the intersections and I occasionally invite someone to tell a story from where they stand. I first encountered Samantha Nichols via Twitter and our common engagement with the Interfaith Youth Core. I met her this fall when she was on a #BlackLivesMatter panel at a meeting of the ELCA Theological [Read More…]

Fighting Religious Prejudice with Conversation & Information

How often do you have conversations with someone of a different faith than your own? Could you ever convert to a different religion? What would you miss if you did? What are the exclusive truth claims that you hold to in your religion? What’s more important: A book about interfaith dialogue for adults or a [Read More…]

A Big Magic Believer

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 [Read More…]

Defending the Value of Muslim Lives, No Matter Where You Live

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 [Read More…]

Top Five Posts of 2015

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 [Read More…]

Must Interfaith Solidarity Cost a Woman Her Job?

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 [Read More…]

A New Christmas Album of Joy, Justice, and Gender Inclusion

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, [Read More…]