From Pluto to Plutoid

In 1930 the ninth planet was discovered. A month later it was officially christened Pluto for the Roman god of the underworld, a name suggested by an 11-year-old girl. School children added Platte to My Very Elderly Mother Just Sped Up North to help them memorize the planets in order.Fifty years later, another astronomer realized that the bulge he saw at the edge of Pluto was a moon about half the size of the planet. He named the moon Charon after the mythical ferryman whom the dead pay to … [Read More...]

Chewie, We’re Home!

“I just hope they do it right this time,” I worry this morning as I scurry off to cook my young Padawan’s grits.“It’s J. J. Abrams!” shouts my husband after me. “You know what he did with Star Trek!”I don’t want my hopes dashed—again—so I stick to my light saber and shout back, “J. J. Abrams is not Jesus!”“He has a J in his name!” he answers. My husband is a minister of the Gospel. I guess he would know. The Force Awakens In case you don’t know, this Christmas, Star Wars Episode VII … [Read More...]

What Does LLAP Mean?

How many times did Star Trek kill off Mr. Spock, only to resurrect him? And yet—with apologies to Zachary Quinto—he won’t be coming back this time. Mr. Nimoy | Mr. Spock Leonard Nimoy, who played the half-Vulcan in the original TV series, six movies with the original cast, two episodes of Star Trek … [Read More...]

My Cat Reconsiders Richard Beck’s Awesome-God Critique

A couple of years ago, Tony Jones wrote, “A Challenge to Progressive Theo-Bloggers.” Richard Beck answered the challenge by pulling out an old post, “Your God Is Too Big.” Last week, a friend read Beck’s critique of Millennial’s awesome God. He said it was haunting, so I read it, too. Emmanuel and E … [Read More...]

Signs of the Apocalypse

Just in time for the meat of college and pro football seasons, a new book is out entitled Touchdowns for Jesus and Other Signs of the Apocalypse by Marcia Mount Shoop. Readers of Sports Illustrated will recognize the “signs of the apocalypse” part of the title as a take-off on a weekly graphic that r … [Read More...]

Young Evangelicals and the “Nones”: Jumping Ship

I recently came across a fascinating graph in some research I was doing for a presentation on science and evangelical Christianity. The graph, which maps out Pew Research data on the decline of young evangelicals (ages 18-29) and the rise of the "nones" in that same age group. For anyone--possibly … [Read More...]

Churching Alone

In his important 2001 work, Bowling Alone, sociologist Robert Putnam illuminated a significant, but detrimental, development in American culture: an disconnection of people from each other and a loss of "social capital" that resulted from our estrangement from other people--our solitude--in the … [Read More...]

Calling For Public Theology (A Brief Convocation Address)

Below is a brief convocation address I delivered recently at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, which I am proud to call my new employer. I gave the address a few weeks ago, along with three other new faculty at UTS (Matthew Johnson, Thorsten Moritz, and Samuel Subramanian). It was a … [Read More...]

Hermione and Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles

“Put your glass down so you don’t choke or spill,” writes a friend seconds before she siccs Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles on me. Someone using the handle proudhousewife has rewritten Harry Potter to root out the magic.Proudhousewife’s purpose statement reads: “Recently, I’ve encountered … [Read More...]

Adam and Science: A Possible Compromise

Today's guest post comes from Micah Carpenter, one of an excellent class of students from Bethel Seminary who recently studied the intersection between theology and science.One of the most significant issues regarding the intersection of science and theology is the historicity of Adam and Ev … [Read More...]

Don’t Ask How to Grow Your Church

As an academic theologian, I don't read a lot of church leadership books. So I was glad to join with Patheos folks in a discussion of Michael Foss' Reviving the Congregation: Pastoral Leadership in a Changing Context. I wondered how an established, working pastor (St. Mark Lutheran Church in West … [Read More...]

Fear Not

Today's guest post comes from Matt Ulven, one of an excellent class of students from Bethel Seminary who recently studied the intersection between theology and science.Speaking for myself I feel overwhelmed by the challenges that confront the understanding of our faith related to human or … [Read More...]