Bearing Cultural Witness

Poet and Editor Aleksandr Tvardovsky It was Aleksandr Tvardovsky’s habit to lounge about his apartment in his bathrobe looking at the manuscripts that littered his living quarters. As editor of the liberal magazine Novy Mir in the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, Tvardovsky was well known as a Soviet poet as well [Read More...]

Movement, Sect, Organization or Institution?

The sermon yesterday was organized around a quotation in the bulletin:  “The mark of a good church is not its seating capacity but its sending  capacity” (Mark Stachura).  Using the Scripture readings from 2 Cor 12:2-10 and Mark 6:1-13, we were pressed to think about the implication for how we understanding ourselves today given Jesus’ [Read More...]

God’s Competition?

It was a wild Fourth of July night in Ashland, Ohio.  We headed over to friends for the prime location on their front porch to watch the community fireworks display. A planned 21 minute presentation was crammed into 7 minutes because of the thunderstorms that quickly moved in.  So, there we were, cozy on the [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...]

Justice for All

Happy Fourth of July. Hopefully you have better plans today than blog reading, but just in case… There’s been a deluge written in the wake of Chief Justice Robert’s ruling last week on Obamacare. He surprised everybody on both sides by choosing not to take sides on the Affordable Care Act, deciding to cut the [Read More...]

Art and Karma: A Report from India

I spent last week in Hyderabad, India leading an arts in ministry track at the fourth annual India YCL Conference sponsored in part by One Hope, one of the more exciting and intellectually dynamic missions organizations in North America. Founded by Bob Hoskins in 1987 and located in Pompano Beach, Florida, the mission of the organization [Read More...]

The Moral Vacuum of the Health Care Debates

On Thursday, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act.  After months of raucous rhetoric (it’s difficult to use the words “debate” or “conversation”), we will now have accessible health care  for millions of our co-citizens, and guarantees for those of us currently with health care, that we will [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...]

Having It All

The blogs and news sites were abuzz last week following Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Slaughter, an accomplished academic and foreign policy expert, recently declined to renew a State Department position because of her need and desire to be more available to her teenage sons. As a man, and a [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...]

Narratives within Narrative

Much is made about narrative as a way of reading Scripture, as a method for theological reflection, and as a means for ethical discernment and decision.  The role of narrative in Christian faith and practice has been helpful and necessary in my view. Yet it is not without difficulties.  Our postmodern milieu has raised our [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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