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...]

Art after the Fifth Grade and beyond Sunday School

  I am in Hyderabad, India to lead a track on arts and ministry design at the YCL (Young Creative Leaders) conference, and I look forward to sharing my reflections on the conference in the weeks to come. But for now, I’ve reprinted (and slightly revised) a book review that appeared in Comment magazine in [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...]

Did Schaeffer’s Prayer Save a Plane From Crashing? A Little Reflection on “Miracles”

I recently came across an intriguing story Francis Schaeffer recounted in his book Death in the City. The story was re-posted on a popular Reformed baptist blog. Schaeffer tells of the time he was on a trans-Atlantic flight when the engine seemed to cut out and the plane took a long, seemingly perilous dive toward the [Read More...]

Jerry Be Good

I’ve been keeping up a bit on the Jerry Sandusky trial, wondering how it is that a university with such a stellar reputation could have let such (alleged) crimes occur for so long. Perhaps this is how one’s reputation stays stellar for so long—you keep the skeletons buried deep. In a New York Times editorial [Read More...]

LIBERATE Launches Today

  When I am not writing about art, culture, and theology here at Patheos, I serve as Director of Theological & Cultural Practices at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and my chief responsibility is curator of LIBERATE, the online resource ministry of Senior Pastor Tullian Tchividjian. The website launches this afternoon at [Read More...]

Calling All ‘Reflective Exiles’

“Reflective exiles.” I recently came across this striking term in an article by Philip Harrold called “Deconversion in the Emerging Church.” These are people who have left the established church (and sometimes their faith altogether) because of dissatisfaction with the church’s answers (or non-answers) to difficult questions. Hard questions like, “Why did God seem to command [Read More...]

Seminary Grads: Christianity Doesn’t Need You. The (Local) Church Does

If I could give a parting word to seminary graduates, that’s what I’d say. We American evangelicals love to speak in grandiose ways: transforming society, changing culture, or making a difference in the world. Graduation ceremonies are easy targets for big ideals. And there’s certainly a place for lofty visions and goals. But there’s also [Read More...]

The Final Word on Thomas Kinkade

  Thomas Kinkade My theological analysis of Thomas Kinkade’s work (“The Dark Light of Thomas Kinkade”) was an attempt to make sense of my abiding discomfort with his work as well as respond to my dissatisfaction with the commentary it has generated over the years. Neither his supporters nor his critics have offered compelling arguments. [Read More...]

Seminaries and Science

A lot of people are talking about the relation between science and theology lately. Questions about the nature of human persons, the relation between the body and soul, and the always contentious debates around “origins” are popping up with renewed fervor on blogs, in conferences, and in book publishing. Creation science, intelligent design or theistic [Read More...]


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