A theology of writing/a theology of fiction

My daughter Mary Moerbe, over at her blog Meet, Write, & Salutary, is trying to think through a theology of writing and a theology of fiction.   She is seeking input and possible contributors.  See where she is with this after the jump. [Read more…]

Still waiting for Godot

Some former students are putting on Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett’s absurdist comedy, and asked me to write a post for the troupe’s blog that would help people understand what the heck is going on.  So I offered some worldview analysis of Beckett’s absurdist existentialism and threw in some literary analysis, as is my wont.  See the post, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more…]

Confessions of an ex-liberal theologian

Thomas C. Oden is a prominent theologian who formerly was a major practitioner of liberal, modernist theology.  But then, after reading the Church Fathers, he did an about face, turning to orthodox, historical Christianity.  He tells his story in A Change of Heart:  A Personal and Theological Memoir.

This is the most stimulating and illuminating book that I have read in a long time, giving an inside look at the construction of liberal theology, explaining what happened to mainstream Protestantism, and describing in novelistic detail how a prominent scholar came back to an authentic Christian faith.

Reading this book, published a couple of years ago, was an especially strange experience for me because Oden’s background and mine are so similar!  Though he is 20 years older than I am, our experiences have been so similar or at least parallel that reading about them is like reading about my own life.  [Read more…]

We aren’t as busy as we think we are

Chaucer describes a bustling lawyer (the Sergeant of Law) like this:

Nowhere so bisy a man he ther nas                                                                                                                       And yet he semed bisier than he was

It turns out, though we all complain about how busy we are, a study of how we actually use the 24 hours in our days suggests that we may not be as busy as we think.  Or so says Laura Vanderkam, working mother of four,  in the New York Times. [Read more…]

Day Jobs

Scot McKnight has a post from an Australian source on the Day Jobs of 20 Famous Writers.  Most of these seem to be what the writers were doing before they were able to make a living just from their writing.  I could list more examples of day jobs that writers held even after they became successful:  Wallace Stevens was an insurance executive; Geoffrey Chaucer and Nathaniel Hawthorne were both customs officials; countless writers today are teachers or pastors or manual laborers.

Day jobs are not just for authors.  Artists and musicians often support themselves primarily by teaching.

The fact is, it’s hard to make a living by writing or artistic pursuits.  That’s the nature of those particular callings.

We’ve got to remember that the doctrine of vocation is NOT primarily about making a living, despite the secular uses of that term.   It’s mainly about the various neighbors that God puts into your life and calls you to love and serve. [Read more…]

“To you, O Lord, I will make music”

More aesthetics in the Bible, from passages that I had never noticed before:  Psalm 101, identified as “a Psalm of David,” reflects specifically on singing and making music.  It begins:

I will sing of steadfast love and justice;
    to you, O Lord, I will make music.

Elsewhere, David also refers to singing and making melody “to the Lord” (Psalm 27:6; see these other places).  So the Lord is the audience of the music.  The artist is addressing not other human beings but God Himself.

[Read more…]


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