A Lament for Liberal Protestantism

This review was previously published in Sociology of Religion, but since so few read journals, here it is on my blog, for your enjoyment. The task of resurrecting the liberal Protestant vision is getting more difficult, not less. I show why in this review of David Hollinger’s After Cloven Tongues of Fire: Protestant Liberalism in Modern American History.  After Cloven Tongues of Fire is an ode to, a critique of, and lament for liberal Protestantism. It’s been awhile since I perused the latest… Read more

Driscoll on Patheos: My Request for an Apology

Several have wondered how can I stay on Patheos, since Patheos just invited Mark Driscoll to be a blogger on the Evangelical Channel. Good question. I had hoped I’d never have to respond or talk about Driscoll again, ever. He resigned in shame from Mars Hill, hurt hundreds and even thousands of people, and now gets to be back on a public forum, giving advice of all things? Huh, you might say, or what? Well, we know its about eyes,… Read more

More Blood at the Altar of the Gun

Previously published in The Seattle Times Special to The Seattle Times IN religious circles, many of us complain that nothing is sacred anymore. Whether it’s our holy scriptures, our temples, our clergy or our symbols, most are now sidelined or commercialized. Some of us talk about our religious figures with disdain, and others suggest that our religions are the source of our pain and suffering. So, what is the “sacred” in our American civil religion? The sacred, in the history… Read more

We are all Hagar

Texts for this Sermon: Genesis 16:1-16; Genesis 21:1-21. On occasion I get asked: “Why are you a Christian?” And to be truthful, it would probably benefit me at the University if I weren’t identified as a Christian. Indeed, I’ve had students tell me that they’ve been attacked for their faith in classroom settings. Christianity for many elites has become a term of opprobrium. With a majority of American evangelicals supporting Mr. Trump, this pattern may well intensify. And among my… Read more

Everything Belongs and the End of Religion

Recently I’ve been thinking that in Evangelical culture in the Pacific Northwest there is a strain of a radical gospel that is post-religious, or even a-religious. It doesn’t bind people back to a doctrine, or scripture, or the ecclesia, but frees them into a radical kind of Christ-consciousness that I find myself saying, well, yes to…. Once again, I sat and listened to Richard Dahlstrom’s sermon today at Bethany Community Church. He preached what I thought was a profound sermon…. Read more

Weak theology and the anti-gospel of American exceptionalism

(Originally published in The Immanent Frame, April 3, 2017).  http://blogs.ssrc.org/tif/2017/04/03/weak-theology-and-the-anti-gospel-of-american-exceptionalism/. A few years ago, I reviewed David Martin’s On Secularization. In it, Martin argued, “America is a religious country, Hebrew and philosemitic, progressive and providential, enlightened and pious, religious in its secularity, secular in its religiosity, this-worldly in its apocalyptic, Protestant in its Catholicism and offering immortality not so much by faith as by natural right.” In a word, Americans lack irony; we perceive no gap between our aspirations and our actions…. Read more

I’m Praying for Sean Hannity

This blog was inspired by Ted Koppel’s take down of Sean Hannity on TV. Koppel languidly responded to Sean’s question, “You think I’m bad for America?” By saying, “Yes, you have attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts.” I’m sure most of those reading this blog are progressives or liberals, or left-leaning folks of some kind. And I lean that way as well. But my real life has taken me in many directions that have… Read more

A Shack of Grace

The movie, The Shack received an 18 percent rating from the “top” critics. They say its “sappy and simple-minded,” a Christianity that is “positive, open and loving,” (as if that’s a problem), and an “idealized form of spirituality that’s inclusive, relaxed and open,” again, is this wrong? And, of course, for some it “plods,” and it is “dispiriting” and full of opportunities to “sob for two hours,” which I assume they think is a bad thing. Finally, it “feels like… Read more

Bread and Breasts

We go to a church near us; we can get there in five minutes. We are usually late. The preacher is Richard Dalhstrom. After retiring from ministry at my church on Bainbridge Island, I’ve taken a break from active ministry—okay, I burned out. I knew about Richard because he was one of the pastors in my book on vital, Pacific Northwest churches, called Evangelical vs. Liberal. Richard stood out, unaffected, blunt, Jesus-centered, and crazy for justice—my kind of guy. So… Read more

Princeton Theological Statement Against American First

An important message from my alma mater, Princeton Theological Seminary, no bastion of liberalism, but nonetheless a strong message of resistance to the corrosive effects of “American First” as an ideology that is not consistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For those of you who disagree, read it first, pray on it, search your conscience before you sound off, especially if you claim Jesus Christ as your Lord. In Defense of Christian Faith and a Democratic Future On the… Read more

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