Dark Night

the gift of darkness (or, why being bored in church might be God telling you something)

St. John of the Cross writes, in his prologue to The Ascent of Mount Carmel: “A deeper enlightenment and wider experience than mine is necessary to explain the dark night through which a soul journeys toward that divine light of perfect union with God that is achieved, insofar as possible in this life, through love. The [Read More...]

God and true freedom

Only love can know love, only mercy can know mercy, only the endless mystery I am to myself is ready for God’s Infinite Mystery. When I can stand in mystery (not knowing and not needing to know and being dazzled by such freedom), when I don’t need to split, to hate, to dismiss, to compartmentalize what I cannot [Read More...]


if historical criticism is so bad for you, how come it’s so convincing? huh?

So we face a curious paradox. If biblical criticism leads to false and destructive results, and if it is indeed as intellectually bankrupt as some conservative theologians aver, then why have so many thoughtful believers entered university graduate programs with a vibrant devotion to God only to emerge on the other side of their studies with a [Read More...]

diagnosing conservative evangelical biblical scholarship

One of the chief marks of conservative evangelical biblical scholarship is that it claims to accept the validity of historical criticism but limits or adapts the critical method in order to avoid or reverse the standard conclusions of modern biblical scholarship…. [C]onservative evangelicals claim to be as interested as anyone in playing the academic game with historical-critical [Read More...]

God is right here, always: thank you, incarnation; thank you, Eucharist

I just needed to hear this today–and no I’m not becoming Roman Catholic, so calm down, though it’s not the worst things that could happen, and some of my best friends are Catholic, and even if you’re rabidly Protestant and think Catholics are just plain wrong and unbiblical and shouldn’t allowed near your children and pets [Read More...]

on writing gooder and even more gooder books

I’m asked from time to time how I went about finding a literary agent and the whole “pleasepleaseplease publish my book” process. So I thought I’d say it in a brief blog post so I can refer to it when asked. The process isn’t complicated, but it’s time consuming. What helped me most was contacting people who were already doing [Read More...]

“the Bible is the Christian holy book” and other distortions of Christianity

A friend sent me this post by Fr. Stephen Freeman, “Has Your Bible Become a Quran?” Freeman makes several points in his post, but what drew me in was his provocative view that modern Christianity, especially in its view of the Bible, has more in common with Islam than with historic Christianity. I have to be [Read More...]

Was George Washington a Christian? (and the answer is….)

I came across this article written back in 2008 by Dr. Robert Duffett, president of Dakota Wesleyan University at the time, and now president of Eastern University for just over a year. Duffett offers a perspective on the faith of our “founding father” that sobers popular notions of Washington being a church-going evangelical–not to mention our country founded from [Read More...]

my interview with Brian McLaren (part 3)

Today’s post is the third and final installment of my interview with Brian McLaren. As you may recall, Brian asked me three questions about my book The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It and I in turn asked him three questions. We are posting the exact same post on each other’s blogs [Read More...]

Eucharist: a wedding table decorated with a cross instead of a cake

While the Eucharist has always been a consoling mystery with an ecstatic, mystical language surrounding it (such as “Happy are those who are called to the wedding feast of the lamb,” Revelation 19:7-9), it has also been clothed in the language of suffering, blood, and death. It makes clear the connection that the mystics always confirm: [Read More...]

my interview with Brian McLaren (part 2)

Today is the second of three installments of my interview with Brian McLaren. He asked me three questions about my book The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It and I in turn asked him three questions. We are posting the exact same post on each other’s blogs simultaneously; we figured [Read More...]

no, really, I’m not self-absorbed–but read this about me anyway

I am posting below–anonymously and with permission–(1) an Amazon review of TBTMS and (2) an email I received the same day. Both say nice things about me, but that’s not my point (believe me or not). (And if you’re still annoyed, remember that plenty of people say bad things about me, so it balances out.) I’m posting them [Read More...]

Evolution, the Bible, and Presbyterians in the Civil War South (or, please stop the merry-go-round I’m getting nauseous)

Today we have an interview with Monte Harrell Hampton (PhD, University of North Carolina), visiting instructor of U.S. history at North Carolina State University and a pastor in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. He’s written Storm of Words: Science, Religion, and Evolution in the Civil War Era. The title sort of gives it away, which [Read More...]