Richard Beck wrote in a recent blog post: Certainty, conviction, and dogmatism reduces our anxiety in the face of life. Having all the answers feels good. That’s the upside. The downside is that certainty, conviction, and dogmatism makes you suspicious and wary toward people who have different beliefs. And that suspicion sows the seeds of intolerance. In contrast, if you don’t have all the answers in the face of uncertainty and tragedy, if you can’t tie a neat theological bow… Read more

In other classes that I teach, I assign essays to students with no hesitation without feeling the need to actually write the essay in question myself. My work is full of writing of essay-like articles, chapters, conference papers, and reports, and so I feel confident that the assignments of this sort that I impose on students are doable. When I taught the Bible and Music for the first time, however, I felt that if I am going to ask students… Read more

I am hoping sometime soon to turn my attention to writing a book offering a positive vision of progressive/liberal Christianity, which often gets defined negatively over against fundamentalist and conservative varieties. One question is the very name, since I’m not convinced that “progressive Christianity” is the best label, or one that resonates well with people and encapsulates their own vision for themselves and their spiritual lives. The last time I blogged about this, someone made the interesting suggestion that it… Read more

It has been fascinating to see multiple different sources commenting on blogs making a comeback, all converging (apparently independently) on the topic. Perhaps it can all trace back to Dan Cohen’s blog post about resuming blogging, which the Chronicle of Higher Education picked up on in its treatment of the subject. But I don’t think so. I wrote about the future of blogging back in January. Since then, I’ve seen discussions about the past, present, and future of biblioblogging -… Read more

The thoughts below from Jason Dueck are specifically about and inspired by Ready Player One, but they apply well to our current technologically-mediated interactions too. Online relationships are capable of being real ones; they just face a lot more barriers. Aech is one of the handful of people Parzival trusts in the whole OASIS; they spend years pouring over possible solutions to the challenge together and he still doesn’t know a single thing about her physical identity. But her appearance… Read more

In sharing a post about “loving the Bible” on Facebook, I summed up its point in this way: You can heap praise on another human being, but if you won’t let them express themselves freely, but force them to say only things that you want to hear, you do not really love, honor, or respect them, no matter how much praise you heap on them. That is precisely how fundamentalists treat the Bible… Phil Ledgerwood then left a comment of… Read more

Pete Enns shared some thoughts recently about a subject that often keeps more conservative religious people frightenedly clinging to views that were passed on to them. Here is an excerpt: I feel I need to let go of building those boundaries because my entire Christian life has been about doing that very thing—creating and holding tightly to categories, behaviors, and associations that kept my boundaries neat and clear. Only to find, as I lived more and experienced things I never… Read more

It has been a while since I’ve made a parody song, but recently I found inspiration to make the above song – a parody of the hit song “Unwell” by Matchbox 20 – in a Faculty and Staff Learning Community that I’ve been facilitating this academic year. Our focus has been on wellness and metacognition. We started off by reading My Freshman Year together. If you’re not familiar with it, that book is an ethnography of student life and culture at… Read more

Pastor Emmanuel Musinga, who spoke as a panelist at the last event in the Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs series on “Religion, Refugees, and Migration,” recently told his story on a local Christian TV station, and so I thought I should share that video with you: Video from the final Butler Seminar of the year is available, although the sound quality is not as good as it is usually – I’m not sure what went wrong, but I… Read more

Fred Clark wrote a helpful post about “concordanceism” a while back. Here is an excerpt: If you’ve spent a lifetime hearing sermons and homilies — especially evangelical sermons — then you’ve no doubt encountered concordance-ism and its unfortunate byproducts. You’ve likely heard some preacher admit to it. Sometimes this is a sheepish confession acknowledging their last-minute, I-got-nothin’ sermon-prep from the night before. But sometimes it’s not a confession but a boast, with the preacher bragging that they “looked up every… Read more

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