Reconsidering Sacrificial Love in Harry Potter

The summer I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (book 5; J. K. Rowling), I’d sworn off theology, biblical studies, even popular Christian reading. After five years in seminary, I was sick of dissecting every spiritual word. I hadn’t enjoyed thinking about God for over a year.  Sitting on the porch overlooking [Read More...]

Kierkegaard and Evangelicalism at the American Academy of Religion

Like numerous other religion and theology scholars, I’m preparing for the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature conference, which starts tomorrow. I won’t be there till Saturday (if you care), but am looking forward to a jam-packed couple of days of papers, meetings, and catching up with friends. There are several interesting [Read More...]

Your Cheatin’ Heart

After missing a week–can’t ignore the day job(s)–here is the ninth in a lovely list of ten lessons essential for every high school graduate preparing to venture out into the “real world.” While Elaine Bransford, the AP literature teacher who composed them did so for students, they carry applicability for us all. Number 9: You should understand that, [Read More...]

In Here Be Dragons: Solomon, Bob the Tomato, and Classification

Not much impresses my husband. For example, I am what you might call the lion of laundry in our home. Daniel is grateful. But not impressed. For my part, I gave up trying to impress him a while ago. Well, last year. But you see my point: I could pull a muscle straining for the [Read More...]

Learning in Institutional Wartime

Today my mind is not on Veteran’s Day; rather, my heart is heavy for the many hard-working, team-playing, staff people here at Bethel University (including the Seminary) who will be informed that their jobs are  quickly coming to an end. This day represents yet another round of budget cuts and layoffs here in the land [Read More...]

Lutherans, Vampires, and First Communion

Up here in Luther-Land Minnesota, we celebrate first communion. Even if we aren’t Lutherans. We aren’t Lutherans. Nevertheless, on Sunday our sixth-graders wedged into the first pews with their well-dressed parents to drink Christ’s blood (John 6:53). The kid behind me was in my class three years ago when I taught third-grade Sunday school. He [Read More...]

Pride Goeth Before Destruction

Here is the eighth in a lovely list of ten lessons essential for every high school graduate preparing to venture out into the “real world.” While Elaine Bransford, the AP literature teacher who composed them did so for students, they carry applicability for us all. Number 8: You should take a cue from great literature and understand that [Read More...]

Adult Bullying, the NFL, and the Kingdom of God

Bullying is in the news again. This time it’s the adult version–and in the NFL, no less, where one would think that a football player would be impervious to bullying. Surely there’s no such thing as bullying a 300+ lb. lineman, right? At that point, isn’t it just pranking, or “boys being boys”? Isn’t it [Read More...]

What’s the Holy Spirit Doing at Comic Con?

Picture this. A row of inaudible, yet commanding TVs flashes above the stationary bikes. Behind my book, another screen counts down. Between reading paragraphs of this eighteenth-century theology of sanctification—I think my best theology on the elliptical trainer—I catch Whoopi Goldberg on TV. She’s at Comic Con. What’s Whoopi doing at the center of all [Read More...]

Learning Lessons

Here is the seventh in a lovely list of ten lessons essential for every high school graduate preparing to venture out into the “real world.” While Elaine Bransford, the AP literature teacher who composed them did so for students, they carry applicability for us all. Number 7: You should understand that you don’t have to like a [Read More...]


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