Which Mythical Creature Are You?

elf

Though I’ve finished the mini-series on neo-Christian myths, perhaps I’ll just add this postscript to the last entry on celebrity status. Consider it a trailing lament, I guess, a sadness that we feel so inadequate in our own hiddenness. We want to be seen, and known to be beautiful and wise and clever and sexy [Read More...]

Neo-Christian Myth #6: The Guest-on-Oprah Complex

forget not path - Janie Eastermann

It’s tempting to cut this last post out of the series, stop while I’m ahead (if, that is, I am ahead). I’ve kindled some ire in the previous five posts, and this last has lots of fiery—as in, the stake—potential. And I’m not sure I can even articulate my concerns about this clearly or persuasively. [Read More...]

Neo-Christian Myth #5: The Velocity of Holiness

waterway-byronv2

There’s a delicious irony in the fact that one of evangelical Christianity’s favorite phrases—“a long obedience in the same direction”—comes from the pen of “God-is-dead-and-we-have-killed-him” Nietzsche. It was appropriated by one of our most venerable writers, Eugene Peterson, for his classic book, and thus baptized for our purposes. I can’t say how Peterson chose that [Read More...]

Neo-Christian Myth #4: The Sweet Tooth of American Christianity

  When we study church history, the prevailing tension is one between continuity and ingenuity—between preservation of the gospel tradition and the adaptation of it to new languages and cultures. Sometimes that tension collapses when we entrench ourselves in the “this is the way we’ve always done it” syndrome, and invariably those ruts embed us [Read More...]

Neo-Christian Myth #3: Muddling Music

Lest I offended preachers everywhere by my last post, I’ll take a moment here to honor them with a word of recognition… before I go on to tackle another touchy issue. Preaching is hard work and to be done well it requires faithful study, prayer, reflection, and listening (both to God and to the circumstances [Read More...]

Neo-Christian Myth #2: the Preaching Pickle

preacher2

Poor Donald Miller has been web-torched for his post. It has, at this writing, 479 comments, and let’s just say some of them are not very nice. (In fact, he wrote a follow-up post as a defense, which you can read here. Believe me, though, he’s loving the traffic, even if he is in Yoda-with-a-light-saber [Read More...]

Six Neo-Christian Myths: Exiting the Arc of Christian History

Today I ran across a post by Donald Miller of Blue Like Jazz fame and more. I do not follow Donald Miller much or read his work—not out of any protest or high-minded posture, but, well, you have to pick and choose. I don’t have anything much to say about Donald Miller at all, really, [Read More...]

Cancer and Divine Immanence

sunlight

Last week I read Michael Hannon’s reflection on “Cancer and Divine Transcendence” and simply could not stop thinking about it, partly because it began with a story of suffering love and partly because it said something about God that I’m wrestling with. If I understand Hannon, he’s arguing that our empty platitudes in the face [Read More...]

A Single Great Prayer

kaleidoscope

He prays unceasingly who combines prayer with necessary duties and duties with prayer. Only in this way can we find it practicable to fulfill the commandment to pray always. It consists in regarding the whole of Christian existence as a single great prayer. What we are accustomed to call prayer is only a part of [Read More...]

A Traveler’s Song

rosebush

I am deeply appreciative of the contributions of some powerful contemporary Christian authors (like N.T. Wright and Dallas Willard) who have refocused our attention on the meaning of salvation as a living, vibrant wholeness in the here and now, not just a one-way ticket to a beatific Bahamas in the sky by-and-by. All the worn [Read More...]

Impossibilities

387px-Preikestolen_black_and_white

“It is always what I have already said: always the wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe; that you may acquire more and more confidence in that which is difficult…” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke Sometimes it seems that Christian faith is all about endurance. When I [Read More...]

We Are Saved by a Work

The Sacrifice of Isaac 1966 Marc Chagall

I’ve been pondering a troublesome passage—James’ harangue about works (James 2.18-26). It’s not a passage I particularly like. It’s prickly. You can tell he has someone in mind, some shocking example of an argument when someone shirked a work of kindness or generosity and begged off with, “Well, I have faith. And that’s all that [Read More...]


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