Heartbreak Hill

I lived in Boston 25 years and walked in the path of Monday’s blasts many times. The first bomb went off in front of my optician. The explosion blew out all the windows. I want to be shocked by the inhumanity of it all, but I’ve seen too much of it of late to be [Read More...]

The Idolatry of the Penultimate

What do looking at paintings have to do with what most evangelicals understand by “engaging,” “transforming,” and “redeeming” culture? Not much. It is no secret that North American evangelicals regard politics to be the primary means by which God is active in the world. And many evangelicals have recently become convinced that “culture” (i.e., films, [Read More...]

Reflecting on “The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work”

Does the ordinary work have eternal significance? Do the products and achievements of industry, art, music, education, medicine and (pretty much everything else we could think of) carry on into the new creation (Eschaton)? This is the question Darrell Cosden addresses in The Heavenly Good of Earthly Work (Hendrickson, 2006) and, in a more detailed, deeper way, [Read More...]

Free Won’t

Philosopher extraordinaire Alvin Plantinga offers a trenchant review of new atheist Sam Harris’ latest book, Free Will. Harris argues that any notion of willfulness in human behavior is illusory. “Either our wills [i.e. decisions and choices] are determined by prior causes and we are not responsible for them, or they are the product of chance and we [Read More...]

God’s Grace & Grammatical Violence: A Meditation on Jonah 4:1-4

In February I offered a reflection on Jonah 4: 1-4 at a chapel at Knox Seminary. I explored our anger at God’s grace and our refusal to allow God to be the subject of our existential sentences. Watch it here. Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player [Read more...]

TV Was Better When There Were Only Five Channels

David Brooks’ New York Times column this week on same-sex marriage, entitled Freedom Loses One, could just as well been titled In Praise of Limits. His basic thrust was how the marriage severely limits freedom (if you define freedom as doing whatever you please). In America we have more at liberty than ever, as social mores and religious constraints [Read More...]

Life and Death in the Artist’s Studio

In a few weeks I’ll be participating in the sixth annual Mockingbird Conference in New York City. The mission of Mockingbird Ministries is to connect the Christian faith to the day-to-day realities of life. And culture in all its diverse forms is the means by which we life out our daily lives. This year’s conference [Read More...]

To Doctorates Outside the Academy: I Need Your Help

So allow me to do a little crowd-sourcing here. I’m speaking on a panel this Friday at the regional AAR meeting, on the topic, “What Else? All the Ways to use a Ph.D.” I’d be very interested in hearing from anyone who is using their Ph.D. in religious studies, theology, ethics, biblical studies, etc., outside [Read More...]

The Church of the Poor and the Humble, People’s Pope

When Pope Francis I declared, in his introductory sermon, that the Catholic Church would be a church, not just for the poor, but of the poor, I wondered how this could be possible. I’ve read enough of Jon Sobrino, the remarkable El Savadoran liberation theologian, to know of the powerful reformational, justice-oriented strain within the Catholic [Read More...]

Easy Easter Lamb

Now that Lent is giving way to the main event of Easter, the Feast of the Paschal Lamb can become an easy Easter dinner with this recipe for awesome lamb chops. Especially if you’re one of those people who goes to church on Easter, you can put this together in time for lunch. The first [Read More...]

Go in Peace: A Holy Week Meditation on Vocation

The confrontation between Elisha and Naamen in 2 Kings 5 is one of the more provocative texts in all of the Scriptures. In this short chapel devotion given at Knox Theological Seminary in December, I reflect on perhaps the most difficult and often-overlooked aspects of this story ( v. 15-19), in which Elisha blesses Naamen’s vocation. [Read More...]

Space

A painting is not its interpretation. At the moment it encounters me in the art museum, a painting exists for me. But it does not need me. It exists for me in a particular way, a way that challenges my control, rendering me receptive (i.e., passive). T.S. Eliot once said that the meaning of a poem exists [Read More...]


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