Stuck in the Middle with Bonhoeffer

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So, this arrived on my doorstep about two weeks ago. I agreed to read and write on The Bonhoeffer Reader for the Patheos Book Club because I’ve always wanted to know more about Bonhoeffer and his theology. But I didn’t know the book would be so big. (The photo doesn’t quite convey its heft. It’s really, really big.) [Read More...]

Did the Resurrection Happen? And Does It Matter?

Two fellow bloggers on the Patheos Progressive Christian Channel held a polite but pointed discussion last week on whether the bodily, physical resurrection of Jesus really happened. Here are the basics of the argument; click through to read the blog posts in their entirety: Tony Jones is a Minneapolis-area theologian known for his leadership within [Read More...]

Why I Love Pope Francis’s Radical (Not Really) Take on the Gospel

I am enamored of Pope Francis. Every time he clarifies what he believes about the Catholic Church, its priorities, and its purpose, I am grateful that God gave this wise, smiling cleric a worldwide audience. Francis’s thoughtful, humble way of speaking about God and the church is good for all Christians, not only those who [Read More...]

Did Jesus Get Cranky Too? Thoughts on an Incarnational Faith

I snapped at my daughter the other night over something trivial. As I helped her get ready for bed, she said something that hit me just the wrong way at just the wrong moment and I stormed out of the room, streaming a lovely guilt trip of words behind me. (I’m sure none of the [Read More...]

Articulating the Mystery of Faith: Christian Wiman’s “My Bright Abyss”

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We Christians are sometimes taken to task for the way that we, when embroiled in difficult conversations about whether or not God exists, chalk things up to “mystery.” Our atheist/agnostic conversation partners see this (rightly, in some cases) as a cop out, as a way of saying, “I don’t really understand why I believe, but [Read More...]

A Different Take on Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

Questions around suffering and pain are stock in trade for me as a writer. I know that I can’t stand most Christian justifications (i.e., bullshit) for why terrible things happen. I know that even well-thought-out theological arguments around how God can be all-powerful, all-loving, and yet allow great suffering still fall far short for me. I [Read More...]

No, the Crucifixion is Not About Bloody Child Sacrifice Being Necessary for Forgiveness

In my post Message to the Nones, which countered some popular but wrong-headed notions of what Christians believe about suffering, one commenter said that his major beef with Christianity is the penal substitution theory of the atonement. The good news for that commenter, and many people who have struggled with that notion (including me) is [Read More...]

What Kind of Christian Are You? (And Does It Matter?)

Roger Olson, an evangelical blogger here on Patheos, wrote a post last week on “Why I Am Not a Liberal Christian.” He offered six criteria by which to evaluate whether someone is a liberal or conservative Christian. For example, a conservative Christian believes in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, whereas a liberal Christian might [Read More...]


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