Are There Two Kinds of Grace?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. As God created everything in the cosmos in an orderly way, we read in Genesis 1 that "God saw that it was good."  After God made it all, we read, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." (Genesis 1:31) Think about it. It was very good! How dare we think that our sin can nullify that which God has made!But that is exactly the implication we get from many of our churches - that the creation is so evil that there is nothing … [Read more...]

Why So Stressed Out?

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol' days, When our momma sang us to sleep, but now we're stressed out. — Twenty One Pilots, “Stressed Out”There was a time when pop musicians simply went by their given name, like Frank Sinatra or Duke Ellington. But then came the Beatles and the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones and Iron Butterfly. There are exceptions along the way, but now we expect musicians to name themselves U2, the Smashing Pumpkins, or maybe even Twenty One Pilots, who just w … [Read more...]

Embracing the True, the Good, and the Beautiful

(re)integrating faith and art. The true, the good, and the beautiful: through the ages, these ideals have been at the heart of what it means to be human.We seek truth, we need to do that which is good, and we need to experience beauty. Christians have forever embraced these as various aspects of the glory of God.Jesus, the logos of God, is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14) and is the personification of truth (John 14:6), and those who follow Jesus will know this truth and be set free … [Read more...]

(re)integrate Summer Reading List

So, you want to enjoy a summer on the beach (or in Bob's case in the mountains), with a good book or two (or three)? Here is the 2015 (re)integrate (re)energize summer (re)ading list!Note: All these books are available from Hearts & Minds Bookstore for 20% off the listed retail price.MUST-READ BOOK OF THE YEARVisions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good by Steven Garber (IVP, $16.00). If you subscribe to my book-review blog, BookNotes, or have heard me at nearly any p … [Read more...]

Creation Is a Manifesto

We Christians sometimes try to be holier than God, especially when it comes to creation. We act as if the world is under the sway of the evil one. And we get our escape pods ready, practically eager to abandon creation, convinced that God doesn’t really care about it either.But that’s hardly God’s take on creation. Indeed, in the Incarnation, the Word made flesh, the Creator of the universe moves into our neighborhood. The infinite, transcendent God becomes embodied like us. And did you notic … [Read more...]

Beauty is the Disinterested One

“Beauty is the word that shall be our first. Beauty is the last thing which the thinking intellect dares to approach, since only it dances as an uncontained splendor around the double constellation of the true and the good and their inseparable relation to one another.Beauty is the disinterested one, without which the ancient world refused to understand itself, a word which both imperceptibly and yet unmistakably has bid farewell to our new world, a world of interests, leaving it to its own a … [Read more...]

About Time There’s a Movie Like This!

Film Review: “About Time” - Directed by Richard CurtisTime travel. In films today, such a topic is usually connected with CGI special effects and a dystopian future or an abuse of the power to travel back through time for devious purposes.Tell me, if I told you that a movie is about a 21-year old guy who is told by his father that he can travel back in time to any point in his past and change what happened, would you not think, “Premise for an ‘80s teen sexploitation flick”?Or at least … [Read more...]

What Radiohead and Porcupine Tree can Teach Us About Theology

I am a big fan of early Radiohead. “The Bends” (1995), while accessible to the pop music ear, offered enough innovation that every song was a wonderful adventure. With “OK Computer” (1997), the band hit its zenith by progressing pop music into explorations of soundscapes and unexpected turns of mood.But then came “Kid A” in 2000, on which Thom Yorke began his eleven-year journey away from pop music and into explorations of abstractness with more emphasis on minimalism, textures, and rhyth … [Read more...]

Playing It Safe Will Never Change the World

The dust swirled in the hot humid air as I trudged home from school. I slipped the report card next to Mom’s purse, hoping she would just sign it and give it back with cool indifference.No such luck.In our home, earning a mediocre grade was a major event, close to dental surgery or transmission work. Mom saw the “C” in social studies, and for the next hour, I was on the receiving end of a one-sided conversation about what that word meant. There would be no average in our family. We came f … [Read more...]

Vocation and Occupation as Sacrament

Over lunch today at Elevation Burger, home to “burgers the way they’re meant to be,” heaven and earth, hamburgers and why ingredients matter, the sacramental life and the art of rock music were all woven into the conversation.Sometimes heaven meets earth over a hamburger. At least I think that’s possible– and when we try, working hard to figure out why food that is tasty and healthy at the same time matters, as a clear example of how our calling manifests itself in the work we do, it becomes … [Read more...]