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...]

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...]

Concluding Thoughts on Thomas Kinkade

Thomas Kinkade has been an easy target for art critics. But my decision to write about his work, with “The Dark Light of Thomas Kinkade” and the “The Final Word on Thomas Kinkade,” was an attempt to explore a different path toward understanding the challenges that it posed to my work as an art critic [Read More...]

Advice for a New Father – from a Rookie

A friend and former student of mine (and currently youth pastor extraordinaire), recently suggested that I offer up a few nuggets of wisdom–or at least advice– as he anticipates the birth of his first child in a few weeks. He was probably joking, but I decided to take him up on it anyway. The caveat is [Read More...]

Billy Joel, George R. R. Martin, and Job

Guest blogger Dawn Duncan Harrell is author of Ten Ways to Pray. You can find her at dawnduncanharrell.com. Locked You Away My sister thought we were a bunch of boring, goody-two-shoes and we needed to diversify our image. She was right. I didn’t drink or watch R-rated movies until I was in seminary. We were [Read More...]

Prometheus, Genesis and the Purpose of Creation

Hollywood has had an eschatology fetish lately: exploring the final days, coming demise of the cosmos, or post-apocalyptic scenarios of the human race. Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, a prequel to his Alien movies, takes us back the other direction–to humanity’s origin. It’s science fiction, of course; I stress the fiction here, because while it’s an enjoyable [Read More...]

Art and Grace

Andrei Tarkovsky, The Passion of Andrei Rublev (1966) Grace and Sacrament Grace is known through experience, not through description, analysis, definition. Grace is heard, seen, and felt. It is aesthetic, opening and expanding our experience of the world, which becomes, as Lutheran theologian Oswald Bayer describes it, “breadth, breath and liberation.” It is the pastor [Read More...]


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