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 reports sports-related realties so defiant of logic that no other explanation aside from the end of the world makes any sense. Recent examples have a stunt… 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 living underground–who might not know about the nones: they are the religiously unaffiliated; those who, when asked on demographic surveys to identify their religion of preference, simply click none. Interestingly,… 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 midst of a busy, materialistic, pragmatic culture. The data he amassed showed that Americans (in 2001) were less inclined than in decades past to participate in civic and social groups. Who needs to bowl in a league when… 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 dynamic event, reflecting a mood of hopefulness for the future of UTS as a fertile and diverse place to do theological reflection for the church and world.  … 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 Eve.  Science tells us that homo sapiens emerged as a distinct species some 100,000 years ago or more, with an initial group of perhaps 10,000.  This would suggest the appropriateness of taking a non-historic view of the early… 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 Des Moines) deals with “changing contexts” in the mainline Protestant setting. The book effectively works as an extensive case study in “reviving” a congregation–albeit a congregation that was already primed… 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 origins.  If evolution is true, then how should we understand the beginning of Genesis and more specifically, Adam and Eve and the Fall.  It is clear that there are strong emotional feelings surrounding discussions like this.  For people… Read more

How I Learned to Find Beauty in Creation

Today’s guest post comes from Rocky Muñoz, one of an excellent class of students from Bethel Seminary who recently studied the intersection between theology and science. I used to be a young earth creationist.  And when I say that what I mean is that I was that kid who tried to debate my biology teacher in class over whether or not evolution is true.  I once left answers to questions on a science test blank because I didn’t agree with any of the… Read more

Interpretation and Humility

Today’s guest post comes from Aaron DeMaster, one of an excellent class of students from Bethel Seminary who recently studied the intersection between theology and science. As a Christian society we are currently dealing with a cultural tension between science and scripture. Science makes discoveries on nature that sometimes do not match the literal understandings and interpretations of scripture, and many Christians trust that God’s literal word and authority have the upper hand over any scientific discovery. Both of the claims and discoveries… Read more

The Devil’s in the Application

Today’s guest post comes from Daniel Reeves, one of an excellent class of students from Bethel Seminary who recently studied the intersection between theology and science. Both scientists and theologians pursue knowledge with passion. Sharing what is discovered in convincing ways is also common for each. In Isaiah 55 we are reminded that God’s thoughts and ways are not our own. This extends into the subjects that surround the intersection of science and theology. Science and theology do indeed intersect. Whether through revelatory… Read more