Thirst for the Desert

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

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…]

Fearfully, Wonderfully: The Olympics and the Hunger Games

It is 3pm on Friday, and I can’t wait to get home and watch the Hunger Games. I mean, the Olympics. It isn’t my fault. I never planned to spend my sabbatical reading teen lit books; and I certainly would not have intentionally finished Mockingjay just as the Olympics kicked off. Except that I would, and I [Read More…]

Pub Theology: Beer, Conversation, and God

A minister, an atheist, and a few other people walk into a bar… The minister says, “Drinking is against God’s will for your life.” The atheist responds: “He forgot to tell that to Jesus.” The others say, “This sounds like a great conversation – can we join?” And so it begins… Inspired by a church [Read More…]

Nadia Bolz-Weber: This is the God We’re Dealing With

Favorite Patheos blogger and Lutheran Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber recently spoke to 34,000 teenagers at the annual youth gathering of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) in New Orleans.  Her selection as a conference speaker had been widely contested (Nadia has a tendency to drop the F bomb and is heavily tatooed), but ultimately she [Read More…]

How Capitalism is Killing Liberal Christianity

By Colin Kerr, author and campus missionary Is liberal Christianity committing suicide? New York Times columnist Roth Douthat thinks so.  Yet by forecasting the inevitable demise of mainline churches that move in the direction of affirming women in church leadership and genuinely welcoming gays and lesbians, he provided a rare opportunity for some healthy soul-searching [Read More…]

Blinded by the Lite

Reflections on BRIGHT-SIDED – How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich (2009) In the 19th century, the legacy of Calvinism led to an epidemic of ill-defined emotional and physical ailments. Wretched sinners’ fear falling into the hands of an angry God drove the members of the rising middle class [Read More…]