Breaking Bad: Why Society Still Needs “Sin” Language

Like a lot of folks, I’m hooked on “Breaking Bad”– the drama about Walter White, a middle-aged high school chemistry teacher turned meth manufacturer. When Walt learned he had a severe case of lung cancer, and was given only months to live, the scramble was on for a way to provide for his family. He [Read More...]

In Search of an Authentic Faith: Freud, Kierkegaard and Beck’s “New Apologetic”

In Richard Beck’s recent book, The Authenticity of Faith, he considers whether a truly authentic faith is possible. Freud had dealt a heavy blow to Christianity by offering up scientific explanations for what motivates religious belief. Believers are drawn to religion because it functions to repress our existential anxieties. Afraid of death? Don’t worry, there’s an afterlife. [Read More...]

The Olympics as “Existential Narcotic”: How Michael Phelps Represses Our Fear of Death

What do Michael Phelps, the new “Fab Five” and the U.S. men’s basketball team all have in common? They all help us suppress (and repress) our existential anxieties: Our unsettling, subconscious realization of finitude, our fear of death, and our fear of the cultural “other.” It’s been interesting reading through Richard Beck’s The Authenticity of Faith during these [Read More...]

Jonathan Merritt, the SBC, and the Culture Wars: What’s Next?

Something has exploded on the blogosphere — and I have a feeling it’s only getting started. Jonathan Merritt, a young, up-and-coming Christian author and online columnist (and son of a prominent SBC pastor / former SBC president), has been “outed.” After publishing a column in which he declared his intention to continue to patronize Chic-fil-A [Read More...]

Summer Theology Reading Suggestions

I’m going to jump into the on-going topic (see Daniel Harrell’s posts in this blog) of “summer reading.” Summer is quickly slipping away, it seems, but there’s enough time to get some quality reading done. I’m going to suggest just three books that I think are well-worth your time and money (depending on your interests, [Read More...]

Why do Artists Cry?

This is a guest post by Steph Roberts, an artist and art professor in Chicago. She also happens to be my sister. For more information on her and her work (with samples) go here Why do Artists Cry? It’s a bit awkward losing one’s composure in an art museum. The hushed, reserved, brightly lit galleries of [Read More...]

Dictionary of Christian Spirituality

I’m a bit late in getting around to this, but I wanted to offer up a plug for a great new resource: the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, edited by  Glen Scorgie (general editor), Simon Chan, Gordon T. Smith and James D. Smith. The book recently was announced (this spring) as the winner of the Christian [Read More...]

God and the “Goddamn Particle”

For the past 50 years or so, scientists have been looking for the elusive “Higgs boson” particle (named after physicist Peter Higgs, who postulated the existence of this particle). The confirmation of the particle’s existence would complete the “Standard Picture” of the subatomic building blocks of the universe. The uniqueness of the Higgs boson is [Read More...]

How Theological is the “Missional Church”?

“Missional” has been a buzzword in evangelicalism for a number of years now. It’s been the safer alternative to “emergent.” People from pretty much any evangelical perspective — and beyond — can gather around the notion that God is a “missionary God” and that a primary–if not the primary–purpose of the church is to witness to [Read More...]

“Am I Not Merciful?” Why “Wrath of God” Language Can be Misleading

Gladiator is one of my all-time favorite movies. One of the more memorable scenes, for me, is Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix, pre the infamous Letterman interview), screaming, “Am I not merciful?,”  while threatening his sister and her son with their lives. The dramatic irony is that Comedus is not merciful at all. He is a [Read More...]


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