Only God

When my pastor recently did a sermon series about controversial topics, I initially wanted to write songs that explored each theme. It soon became clear that that was not a realistic goal. But having found that there were few songs actually about monotheism, and that subject being a scholarly research interest of mine, I did take a stab [Read More...]

The Gospel of John as Jewish Mystical Work

One of the features of the new Bible Odyssey website is that it lets you ask a scholar your questions. Someone submitted the question through the site, “Is the Gospel of John a Jewish mystic work?” I was invited to provide the answer, and here is what I wrote: It is appropriate to note that [Read More...]

Transtheistic Numinalism

April DeConick continues her quest for the perfect word for a particular kind of religion, one that emphasizes the inability of the human mind to grasp the divine reality that is its focus, and the comparable inability of human words and images to do justice to the ultimate. Her latest post on the topic proposed [Read More...]

Poetry is Sane

Via Billy Kangas, who also shares a link to Chesterton's book Orthodoxy, the source of the quote, free for Kindle.   [Read more...]

I Am The Walrus/Logos

Roger Wolsey shared some thoughts about Jesus as yogi. His starting point, unsurprisingly, was the Gospel of John, ch.17, where Jesus is depicted as praying, and even after acknowledging the distinction between the only true God and himself as the one God sent, he then goes on to blur the two in mystical interrelatedness, so [Read More...]

Al-Hallaj and the Johannine Jesus

Dustin Smith has continued posting a transcript from when he recently interviewed me. Unfortunately, one of the points looks like it lost something in the recording or summarization process. And since it relates to a potential thesis topic, I thought I’d say more about it here. There was a Sufi mystic, Abu al-Mughith al-Husayn ibn [Read More...]

Mastered by Divinity

In his sermon last Sunday, my pastor Tom Bartley mentioned the irony of one being awarded the title “Master of Divinity.” The notion that one can master the subject of divinity, and perhaps even the Divine, reflects our hubris and our desire to control. As I thought about this, I realized that, while some religious [Read More...]

The God Beyond God

A variety of traditions, including Christian mysticism and modern existentialist theology, have spoken of the “God beyond God.” This is the very ancient idea that, beyond any sort of anthropomorphic deity that we may think of and tell stories about, there must be an even greater reality that transcends our ability to comprehend and describe. [Read More...]

Can my idea of God “live long and prosper”?

My post on mystics and atheists got a lot of attention. Dale Tuggy has responded (and the ending of his post inspired the title of this one). In response to his last question, I like Hans Küng’s way of putting it – that God ought to be thought of as “at least personal” rather than impersonal, but [Read More...]

Lost Gospels

Mark Goodacre posted on the scholarly construct Q, and highlights the difference between that and a lost Gospel, one that we knew from its being mentioned in ancient texts existed, but it no longer does. He nicely relates this to the rediscovery of two Doctor Who episodes from the Patrick Troughton era. Of course, if [Read More...]

On Religious Language and Transcendence

Here’s another Facebook comment, this one expressing something of my view of religious language: I don’t think any human language is adequate. But I think that language which points towards and is drawn from the deepest, most meaningful, and most self-transcending aspects of our own experience is more adequate than language which reflects human experience [Read More...]


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