December 31, 2012

I’ve heard an awful lot this Advent season and Christmas octave about keeping “Christ” in “Christmas.”  Blame it on me, maybe, for being a religious studies guy hanging around evangelical circles, but I swear, it’s more than the local churches with the signboards (or in the suburb where I live, the IHoP) displaying a sign with said call to conserve Christ in Christmas. Everybody seems to be talking about it: local pastors decrying the decay of secularism, worship leaders sermonizing… Read more

December 16, 2012

[I did not preach today, and I do not envy those who must. However, in solidarity with those who mourn and those who must preach despite their mourning, this is what I might have said. I was also very affected by the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber’s sermon on the Aurora shootings. God, come to my assistance; Lord, make haste to help me.] (Readings are taken from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C: Zeph. 3.14-18a; Is. 12; Phil. 4.4-7; Lk. 3.10-18) In… Read more

December 4, 2012

Today is St. Francis Xavier Day, and in the spirit of engaging “the world” as the Jesuits still do, say, at The Jesuit Post and at America Magazine, I’d like to share a PhD hermeneutic for some pop music I’ve got stuck in my head. I first learned the word “hermeneutic” from a freshman theology teacher at the Holy Cross Catholic high school I attended. We called him “Papa Bear.” On the first day of class, he wrote the word… Read more

October 31, 2012

As CaptainThin pointed out, today is Reformation Day and All Hallows’ Eve. I think it’s a good day for Protestant jokes.  Here’s one that my dad heard in seminary: There was an interdenominational Protestant gathering, and a fire started in the sanctuary. The Pentecostals got up and screamed: “Fire!”  The Baptists shouted: “Water!”  And the Presbyterians said: “Order.” Martin Luther once said that if he farted in Wittenberg, they smell it in Rome.  Recently, excavators found Luther’s famed cloaca, the… Read more

June 30, 2012

The recent uproar over investigations over the misuse of funds at City Harvest Church in Singapore has taken the media by storm. Not only has it been plastered all over Singaporean media at Channel NewsAsia, the Straits Times, and Yahoo! Singapore, but it has been recently picked up by blogs at Time Magazine and Christianity Today as well. The reactions have been typical: I knew it; this is another prosperity gospel preacher who’s getting his dues like his counterparts in… Read more

June 19, 2012

The last thing I expected to find in Detroit was an Asian American mandate that would compel the scattered groups across the nation into a broad-based pan-Asian movement. I was in for a big surprise. (Helen Zia, Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, 57) Today is the thirtieth anniversary of the murder of Vincent Chin. It’s a good day to talk about the imperative of Asian American Christian studies (see The Detroit News, the Star Tribune, the… Read more

May 2, 2012

Today is the Memorial of St. Athanasius of Alexandria. Accordingly, I decided to give his De Incarnatione Verbi Dei a re-read.   I read it first seven years ago. That time, I was sitting in a parking lot for a public park in my Vancouver suburb.  An auntie I knew from the Chinese evangelical church I was going to–all women my mom’s age are called “auntie”–drove over and asked what I was reading. I said that I was reading Athanasius…. Read more

April 7, 2012

The T-shirt is tongue-in-cheek.  God is dead, it reads that Nietzsche says.  And as if in response to a versicle, God says: Nietzsche is dead. Nietzsche first put those words into the mouth of the madman in The Gay Science, later to be further fleshed out in Thus Spake Zarathustra.  Pointing to the vacuous nominalism of architecturally-stunning churches and religious symbolism in Bismarck’s Germany, the madman shouts: God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall… Read more

April 4, 2012

清明時節雨紛紛 路上行人欲斷魂 借問酒家何處有 牧童遙指杏花村 The drizzling rain at Qingming time The rending flesh of the pedestrians Where to find a pub to drink my sadness? A cowherd points to Almond Flower Village. –杜牧 Du Mu Since before the days when Qin Shihuang conquered the various warring states that came to constitute the imperial Middle Kingdom, there has been the tradition of the Qingming Festival. Originally commemorated in memory of the accidental burning of a Spring and Autumn Period official’s servant,… Read more

February 26, 2012

Today is the First Sunday of Lent, and I thought it might be a good day to issue a call for a feminist theologian who would provide some good counterpoint to the three of us men here on A Christian Thing. Why a feminist theologian? Because, as I learned in feminist studies, feminism in its current state isn’t solely obsessed with gender.  It has more to do with power. I recall, for example, the opening vignettes in Rosemary Ruether’s Sexism and God-Talk…. Read more

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