Italy

We have been to Rome for just a few hours, but I loved the Forum and could have spent days walking amongst the ruins. Today we are in Assisi, and must admit that Francis continues to impel a sense of detachment from the world — even when the streets are lined with trinket shops and [Read More...]

Why is sin urbanized?

The question comes to me as to why I think it is that we so often see sin most systemically in the urban context. Good question. Here are my thoughts: Because the operative word for defining systemic sin is “social justice.” Because, when we define “justice” in general terms and “social justice” in sociological terms, [Read More...]

McLaren: A Response to The Last Word and the Word After That

McLaren’s The Last Word and the Word After That This is a slightly edited version of an earlier blog. In this blog I will interact with Brian McLaren’s helpful and provocative new book that seeks to deconstruct “hell” language as a rhetoric that sets people on edge in order to persuade them to embrace a [Read More...]

Pilgrim’s Progress or The Last Word?

I’m not quite done with McLaren’s The Last Word and the Word After That but I’ve come to a point where I want to put some of his book in perspective. Two observations tonight. First, a smaller one but one that needs to be said. McLaren’s essential stance in this latest novel (or whatever one [Read More...]

Hell as (at times) the Historical

If you’ve followed these blogs about hell, you’ll know that I got them going before I started reading The Last Word and the Word After That. And of the blogs I had planned had to do with the role historical judgment has played in how many speak of hell. My mind is slow after a [Read More...]

Hell as a Warrant among postmodernists

When my editor friend suggested that I blog, I balked. Mostly because I didn’t know what it really was all about, but also because I never anticipated it would be this much fun. Maybe I’ll burn out with this and someday just stop but for right now this has been a wonderful ride with others [Read More...]

Hoping Dark Thoughts are not the Last Word

In yesterday’s very active blog about Dark Thoughts some commented on what they “hoped” while some others thought such “hopes” were unbiblical and misplaced. I offer here not so much what I believe and what I will eventually state in these blogs, but why it is that many of us really do “hope” Dark Thoughts, [Read More...]

Thinking about Dark Thoughts

As a college student, and over in Belgium on a mission trip where I learned so much about the bigness of the Church, I was fortunate enough to be able to sit daily and listen to John R.W. Stott preach. He said something that has never left me, and it pertains to what we are [Read More...]

Dark Thoughts

Kevin Corcoran, from Calvin, writes in Books and Culture on a topic that many of my students have recently asked me about: hell. The questions came up well before McLaren’s book, which I’ll be working my way through shortly. Corcoran is asking a question that needs to be asked at some serious levels, both lay [Read More...]

Protestants, Individualism, and Emergent concerns with the Great Traditions

Robert Bellah is not the only social historian who has observed that Protestantism and individualism are related — and some have contended that the former gave rise to the latter, making America a “Protestant nation.” Andrew Delbanco’s The Real American Dream would be one such example. Perhaps so — maybe individualism is a Protestant thing. [Read More...]


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