Churchless and Secular (RJS)

My world ... and welcome to it. (HT James Thurber) I'm not churchless or secular, but by far the majority of my friends, peers, and coworkers are. Although my university community is not yet the norm for the country as a whole, it may reflect a growing trend. Churchless is an increasing phenomenon in the US. Dave Kinnaman and the Barna Group have published the results a series of surveys in a new book Churchless: Understanding Today's Unchurched and How to Connect with Them. The surveys … [Read More...]

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The Ultimate Modern Theologian?

According to Roger Olson, in his The Journey of Modern Theology, the "ultimate modern theologian" is Rudolf Bultmann. His words: "No one embraced modern naturalism and rationalism more fully, except that he cordoned off Christian faith from rationalism. Everything in the physical world and in history is subject to reason, and it limits religion severely. Bultmann made a virtue out of what he saw as a necessity. He made it impossible for Christianity and science to conflict" (344).Olson … [Read More...]

His Greatest Imprints (by Jonathan Storment)

Time for our readers to offer a big congrats to Jonathan and Leslie for the arrival of their 4th child!If you aren’t from Churches of Christ, then you probably haven’t heard of the Siburt family, but inside the tribe I belong to, they are like the Graham family of our movement.  Specifically Charles Siburt, who spent his entire life serving, recruiting and blessing ministers for local churches all over the world.  Despite having severe physical limitations (including being legally blind) he t … [Read More...]

What Does Kingdom Mean?

The burden of my new book, Kingdom Conspiracy, is answering this question: What does “kingdom” mean?I want to begin this session by tapping on a few doors to see who opens the door and asking them what kingdom means. This gives us a sampling of kingdom usage in the church today. It is in no parti … [Read More...]

A Spirit-Filled Church: What is it like?

Roger Olson:First, how do I recognize a Spirit-filled and Spirit-led church? I would not consider any church Spirit-filled or Spirit-led that is not evangelical in the broad sense of that word. It must embrace, live from, worship within, and promote the gospel of Jesus Christ. To put it another … [Read More...]

It Isn’t Love – But it Should Be (RJS)

What is the first word that comes to mind when I say Christian? This question, and the answers given by non-Christians shape the second chapter of Philip Yancey's new book Vanishing Grace. Yancey is convinced that all people long for meaning, a sense of purpose, that our life actually matters. We … [Read More...]

When Worship becomes Formative

There is a lot of chatter today about the formative dimension of church worship. One can be forgiven for thinking that if we would just get our worship right we'd all be formed into model Christians. My observation is that if gathered worship is formative then the best liturgies should produce the … [Read More...]

The Way of Wesley

From George Sumner:Here is a thesis: that the dynamic “x-factor,” the key to the upsurge of Anglican mission in the modern era, and its common feature still today, may be found in the lineage of Wesleyanism. Wesley’s ministry had a shape that has been repeated and reappropriated over and over aga … [Read More...]

Tim Keller’s Rules for Prayer

Most of the great theologians of the church have addressed the topic of prayer, and it is one of the highlights of Tim Keller's book on prayer (Prayer) to sketch what Augustine, Luther and Calvin said about prayer -- each expressing a pastoral theology of prayer in a letter to someone. Luther, for … [Read More...]

What Happens to Church Ministry When…?

What happens to church ministry when we turn from the "phraseological" to the "real"? The terms need fleshing out. The phraseological is theology as words, ministry as didactic and indoctrinating, the congregation/members/Christians as empty minds in need mostly of filling or the congregation in … [Read More...]

The Shroud of Turin

Charles Freeman (click to read the whole article): No one has found any significant evidence of the Shroud’s existence before 1355, when it appeared in a chapel at Lirey, in the diocese of Troyes, supposedly advertised there as the burial shroud of Christ. Such sudden appearances of cults were c … [Read More...]

If You Can’t Say it about Jesus, Don’t Say it about God (Jason Micheli)

If You Can’t Say It About Jesus, Don’t Say It About God - Phillipians 2.1-11By Jason Micheli, pastor at Aldersgate UMC in Alexandria VA. This is classic Jason. Classic.     It might surprise some of you to hear that, as gentle and considerate as I appear to be, I have a tendency to be contra … [Read More...]

A Special Sunday Around Here

Today is a special day for our home, a day we can call Jesus Creed Sunday. The lectionary's Gospel today is from Matthew 22:When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which … [Read More...]

Increase in us

Almighty and everlasting God:Increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity.And, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command.Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen.BCP … [Read More...]


Source: A recent regulatory change in California now requires all employer health plans in the state — including those offered by churches and faith-based organizations — to cover elective abortions, according to a conservative legal firm.Casey Mattox, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Fre … [Read More...]

Weekly Meanderings, 25 October 2014

The dogs of the Canadian slain soldier paying tribute.A Texas-sized spider in Guyana: (NEWSER) – Strolling through a Guyana rainforest one night, a scientist heard some rustling and thought he'd encountered a furry mammal.Well, he was right about the furry part.The creature was actually … [Read More...]

To Whom Do You Preach?

Helmut Thielicke, perhaps Germany's post influential-in-America pastor-theologian of the 20th Century, when shuffled to an area for pastoring for which he was not prepared -- he was an academic sort who suddenly had to start communicating with more ordinary folk -- relates what he learned about … [Read More...]