Responding to 9/11: Remembering the Enemy Within

By Greg Barrett Four years ago during the homestretch of the U.S. presidential election, the Democratic and Republican nominees were asked about the existence of evil by an evangelical Christian pastor who supported the 2003 military invasion of Iraq. At his super-sized McMansion church in Orange County, Calif., Southern Baptist pastor Rick Warren quizzed Sens. [Read More...]

Poetic Proverbs

When I want to get under the surface of things, I re-read the “proverbios” of the early 20th c. Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, and those of the later 20th c. Argentine poet, Antonio Porchia.  Both men lived simply, loved deeply, and are cherished still as poets in their respective homelands. I don’t know if Porchia ever read Machado.  [Read More...]

War and the Dimensions of Love: An Army Chaplain Reflects on September 11

An Army chaplain in Afghanistan discovers that it’s easier to talk about love of enemies from a distance than up close. Fortunately, God promises to stand in the void and finish all that we have not been able to do. [Read more...]

Pub Theology, Part II: A Story of Two Tables

This is the second in a series of excerpts from Bryan Berghoef’s new book, Pub Theology: Beer, Conversation, and God. Read the first post here. Continued from Chapter 4: A Story of Two Tables The question was posed: “Is it more important to do the right things, or believe the right things?” Nearly everyone at [Read More...]

A Pilgrim Christian at the Wake-Up Festival


Whenever I’m presented with an invitation to “awaken,” I typically cancel all plans and take it. This past weekend, I packed my retreat clothes and headed an hour and half northwest of Denver to attend the first-ever Wake-Up Festival in the mystical, mist-shrouded mountains of Estes Park. My journey was blessed beyond belief: a magnificent [Read More...]

Thirst for the Desert

desert isaiah

This is no news for those who know me well: I’m a desert person. In the classic movie, “Lawrence of Arabia”, a British officer asks Lawrence, filthy after weeks riding on camels in Saudi Arabia, why he loved the desert so much. “Because it’s clean,” he answered. That makes sense to me. Wandering in the [Read More...]

Talking To Christians About Hell: It’s Not As Easy As You’d Think


Anyone who thinks filmmaking is glamorous should try making a documentary sometime. Better yet, try promoting one. For a high profile film like The Hobbit, promotion means having Peter Jackson premiere an exclusive clip to hundreds of adoring fans at Comic-Con and then flying back home to New Zealand in his private jet. For a [Read More...]

Worshipping at the Altar of Ayn Rand’s Undeserving Elite (Ryan Is No Kemp)

I have something in common with Republican vice presidential nominee Congressman Paul Ryan: We were both friends with the late Congressman Jack Kemp. Today, some Republicans are comparing Paul Ryan to Kemp. That is a slur on Kemp. As a recent, extensive portrait of Ryan in the New York Times notes, such comparisons are far [Read More...]

The Myth of the Lone Gunman

mt hollywood sikh 2

One man strides boldly forward.  His weapons are at the ready.  He’s on a mission to make things right.  He swings open the door.  His eyes glint with the fiery certainty of his convictions.  His guns blaze.  People die.  Others scream and cower.  They had it coming.  The lone gunman blows the smoke off the [Read More...]

Resisting Condemnation to Save America

Strange as it may seem, I believe that one bold new movie, a new interfaith festival and a soon to be published book by a young gay atheist point the way to a better future. [Read more...]

Learning Deeply

“Contemplative Pedagogy” – a high-falutin’ term, no?  In low-falutin’ language, it’s about using meditation to help people learn. I just spent a week learning about it (contemplatively) at a conference at Smith College in Massachusetts, held by the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society.  The main speaker was Arthur Zajonc (pronounced Zi-ence), formerly professor of [Read More...]

An Entirely Different Critique of “Liberal” Christianity

In theological terms, we are tasked with affirming life in this moment of planetary exhaustion and pervasive social death. Ours are the works of resistance and restoration, of resurrection and reconciliation. [Read more...]