From Parable to Pretzel: Bible Abuse by the Religious Right

Tony Perkins, president of the religious-right Family Research Council in Washington, wrote a piece that appears in the CNN blog site, condemning the Occupy movement .   He cites the parable of the ten pounds in Luke 19, in which a master gave money to his slaves to invest until his return from a journey.  “He [Read More...]

Advent Birth Pains: Staying Awake to the Heart Cry of the World

The season of Advent sounds a discordant note in a world abuzz with holiday Musak.  While everyone else is humming “have a happy jolly Christmas,” we church folks sing prophetic tunes that sound more like a slave spiritual or a freedom song than a Christmas Carol. O come, O come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel, [Read More...]

Defining and Defending Religious Freedom

The freedom to practice religion, with neither the interference nor the endorsement of the government, is sacred to Americans.  It’s explicitly protected in our Constitution.  And it’s largely the reason that religion flourishes here much more than in European countries.  Turn on the television, turn on the radio, look down the main streets of the [Read More...]

A Different Kind of Christmas

The Christian liturgical year ended appropriately with Matthew 25. In this passage known as the “Judgment of the Nations” Jesus declares the criteria for separating the sheep from the goats. Curiously (or not), they have nothing to do with whom one marries, the music one listens to, the company one keeps, or the dogma one [Read More...]

Thanksgiving in a Time of Scarcity


Many North Americans are struggling to find a spirit of thankfulness this year.  Many of us are worried about finances, unemployment and underemployment, unsuccessful job searches, shrinking bank accounts and retirement plans, indebtedness, and the prospect of needing to work until our early 70’s, given the current state of our pensions.  Some curmudgeons might even [Read More...]

Why We Need Advent

advent candles

Advent is a curious season in the Christian year.  Perhaps before the identification of Christmas and consumerism, the Advent season inspired Christians to reflection, confession, and preparation.  Beginning in the fourth century, Advent – like Lent –was seen as a time of fasting and penitence.  Although Christmas parties and “hanging of the greens” potlucks keep [Read More...]

Left, Right Out of Sight, and Christ

[This post is part of a conversation at the Patheos Book Club on the new book Left, Right, and Christ: Evangelical Faith In Politics, by Lisa Sharon Harper and D.C. Innes (2011, Russell Media).] The good news in this book:  contrary to the assumptions of many, evangelicals are not of one mind on matters political. [Read More...]

The Big Interfaith Tent at Occupy Oakland

The Big interfaith Tent at Occupy Oakland: Faithfully Engaging the 99% A Local Pastor’s Reflections from the Oakland Encampment Fourteen members of the Interfaith Tent @ Oakland locked arms in front of the Tent and were arrested early Monday morning as the police raided the encampment.  It is not surprising that our words and actions [Read More...]

The Parable of the Three Slaves: An Occupy Tale

Once upon a time, a wealthy CEO of a multinational corporation called his three most trusted employees, his three senior vice presidents, into his office. Sharply dressed in a pinstripe suit and sporting a pure white hair and beard, the CEO explained that the corporation had the opportunity to expand its presence in some crucial emerging markets, so crucial that he wanted to oversee the negotiations and acquisitions of new companies himself. If he could manage to reap these companies profits without having sown their original seed, the CEO knew that the investment would mean huge bonuses for himself, and his three senior vice presidents sitting before him and attentively taking notes assumed that some of that financial windfall might trickle down to them. [Read more...]

The Future of Seminary Education: Admit What We Don’t Know

As we head into our final week of our Symposium on the Future of Seminary Education, we offer a few last perspectives for your pondering. Perhaps one of the wisest thus far, and a fitting piece to conclude with, is from David Lose, professor of Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary and one of the founders of He invites us to a piece of humble pie in Thriving Seminaries Admit What They Don’t Know, contending: “It’s at the edges of our knowledge, the places where we recognize and embrace what we don’t yet know, that the potential for salutary learning and growth is greatest.” [Read more...]

New Voices on Seminary Education

As our Symposium on the Future of Seminary Education enters its fourth week here at Patheos, we continue to add compelling perspectives from a variety of voices on the future of theological education. If you haven’t seen these new pieces by some of our favorite scholars and bloggers, I encourage you to check them out, and join the conversation with a comment or two: [Read more...]

Seminary: Growing Roots, Spreading Wings

As the discussion about what and if a seminary should be and do swirls around this website, I remember a quotation I read once about good parents: “There are two things we can give our children: one is roots,the other is wings.” [Read more...]