Presbyterian Reflections on the Death of Prince

Strange things happen at summer camp. Even Christian summer camp. Away from parents, out in the woods, under the supervision of mildly responsible college students. It was at my Christian summer camp in 1985 that I first heard the music of Prince.There in the meadow shelter at Camp Wildwood, the picnic tables had been pushed aside for the talent show. Some of the performers were doing lip-sync. (When did this even become an art form? With the invention of more portable music on cassette? … [Read more...]

“The Wise Kids” and the Apocalypse of Young Adulthood

“…And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20.I am of the notion that there is not a singular Apocalypse. Apocalypses happen multiple times in one’s life: those moments when the ground beneath you shakes and the veil of reality rips, and whether you're ready for it or not, one age is over and a new one begins.For many young adults, the first great apocalypse is high school graduation. The highly structured environment of high school begins to rupture and fall … [Read more...]

New Songs for Springtime

PopTheology contributor Benjamin Griffin gives your ears a workout with some of the warmest and most fertile tunes for spring. New Songs for Springtime by Benjamin Griffin These first few months of 2016 have been an embarrassment of riches when it comes to tunes. I want to write an individual review for all of them but, in the interest of time and space, I’d like to instead offer a little sampling for your springtime listening pleasure. Without further ado, here’s a small review of what I’ve b … [Read more...]

“The Witch”: A Theological Horror Story

You have solemnly professed before God, Angels and Men, that the Cause of your leaving your Country, Kindred and Fathers houses, and transporting your selves with your Wives, Little Ones and Substance over the vast Ocean into this waste and howling Wilderness, was your Liberty to walk in the Faith of the Gospel with all good Conscience according to the Order of the Gospel… “A Brief Recognition of New England’s Errand into the Wilderness” – Samuel DanforthThe problem for Pilgrim William’s fami … [Read more...]

‘Hail, Caesar!’ The Coens’ Latest Study of Human Frailty

To watch a Coen Brothers movie is to take a meandering existential journey through red herring subplots, eccentric characters, and entertaining discursions into philosophy. (“Nihilists! …I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.”) Whether or not it all makes sense in the end is largely a matter of interpretation. The only certainty is that human beings will be found fallible—sometimes tragically, sometimes hilariously—but always fallible. … [Read more...]

A Christian Renounces His Right to Bear Arms

The latest mass shooting in San Bernadino has given me a feeling of despair I have not experienced from the evening news in some time. Like many of you, I am absolutely sick at the continuing cycle of gun violence in this country, and the seeming lack of ability for our political leaders to do anything about it.I’ve had numerous arguments with friends and relatives over social media this past week. This has not made me feel any better. Living and teaching in the Deep South has convinced me t … [Read more...]

A Gay Presbyterian on a Jesuit Retreat

For a Protestant, doing things in a Catholic setting is like going to a foreign country where they speak English. You can understand what they’re saying, but you’re in a land of different cultural cues. You spend a lot of time playing the Venn-diagram game of What’s the same/What’s different. So it was when as a Presbyterian I found myself on a silent retreat at a Jesuit spirituality center in Louisiana.I went on the retreat because I had heard about the Jesuit discipline of discernment. This … [Read more...]

Three-Fourths of NFL Quarterbacks are Evangelical Christians

 Football is a sport that has clear religious connections, from the Hail Mary pass to Touchdown Jesus to the Immaculate Reception. The likely permanent exit from the league of the NFL’s most famous Christian, Tim Tebow, left me wondering how many other quarterbacks have expressed their Christian faith in overt terms. The answer was eye-opening: based on my research, 24 out of 32 starting NFL quarterbacks (75 percent) are evangelical Christians.In some ways, the results are not s … [Read more...]