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...]

A Dispatch from the World Council of Churches

My friend and colleague, Christian Collins Winn (Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Bethel University) shares the following “dispatch” from the World Council of Churches assembly.  We are now in the middle of the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches, being held in Busan, South Korea, with the initial rush of feeling [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...]

Beauty, the Beast, and Domestic Violence

There are two kinds of monsters in the world. The first feeds on fear. It is the unknown. We fear it because we can’t see it. Can’t name it. Can’t control it. Evil is out there. It could come for us at any moment. Let’s call it “The Others.” George R. R. Martin did. In [Read More...]

Jesus, Millstones, and the “Little Ones”

I’ve been spending time in Matthew 18 today. I’ve been deeply impressed with a sense of Jesus’ passionate concern for the marginalized, outcast, and “insignificant.” The chapter begins with the disciples’ question to Jesus, “Who, then, is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” They were positioning themselves, angling for status, and pressing Jesus to make [Read More...]

Gravity: The Sounds of Silence

It’s happened. A friend promised that by Thanksgiving, we would acclimate to the new schedule: Kindergarten, full day. How wrong was she! We don’t even make it half way through October before I’m ditched at drop-off in favor of a small person who is hardly bigger than her Hello Kitty backpack. Hello Darkness My Old [Read More...]

Hard Work

Here is the sixth 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 6: You should know that there is something you are good [Read More...]

Did God Create the World Last Tuesday? (the Problem with the “Appearance of Age” Approach)

I’m using the excellent book, Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (by Deborah Haarsma and Loren Haarsma) for my theology class (“God the Creator”) this semester. In their treatment of the “concordist” approaches to Genesis 1-2 (concordist approaches attempt to follow the “chronology” of the biblical creation accounts), they mention the “Appearance of Age” [Read More...]

Priest, Shirley Jackson, and C. S. Lewis Walk into a Bar

Guess what. I can fill a 10-ounce glass from the freezer-door water dispenser while simultaneously retrieving a 6-ounce glass and a straw from the cupboard, removing a gallon of milk from the refrigerator, unscrewing the cap, and pouring the milk into the small glass—all while spilling neither the water nor the milk. You can imagine, [Read More...]