September 21, 2018

For a long time, there was nothing – at least, as far as translations of even small snippets and quotations of Mandaean literature into English are concerned. Then, translations began to be made – but not, for whatever reason, of the Mandaeans’ two most central and important sacred texts, nor of many others. When it comes to those, for almost a century there have been nothing but small translated excerpts in English, tantalizing hints at what one might encounter if… Read more

September 20, 2018

In a recent blog post, Keith Giles wrote, “The fact is that the Holy Spirit almost always contradicts what has been written in the scriptures.” While I appreciate the desire to offer a much-needed response and corrective to biblicism, I am not persuaded that this is the best way to do it. Personally, I think it is better to recognize that the texts that eventually became scripture were the result of people who believed they were moved and guided by… Read more

September 19, 2018

 I will be serving as moderator at the end of this month for a panel at the first ever TheoCon (it is better to spell it with a Greek theta, as ΘeoCon, to avoid confusion with the other meaning of the term). This will be a convention focused on the exploration of the intersection of theology and popular culture. To my knowledge this will be not only the first ever ΘeoCon, but the first event of its kind, period. And… Read more

September 18, 2018

I have asked before whether Jesus had the kinds of cross-cultural experiences that typically enable people to see beyond the culture and values they were brought up in, becoming aware of what to others is like the air we breathe – invisible and unnoticed most of the time. As the headline of one recent article put it, “Travel changed these 4 people. Then they changed the world.” Could and should Jesus be on that list? My thoughts were turned back to… Read more

September 17, 2018

Twelve years ago, Richard Beck blogged about the McDonaldification of spiritual formation. There has been a lot about that in the years since then (sometimes labeled McDonaldization instead), drawing attention to the problems when the church resembles a one-size fits all corporatization, a franchise whose local form is predictably cloned across national and cultural divides, imperialistically spreading uniformity around the globe. More recently, however, a blog post drew my attention to the fact that there are things that are far… Read more

September 16, 2018

A post on the blog Friendly Atheist noticed that young Evangelicals are less conservative than their parents, and more importantly, more open to nuance, to being conservative in some areas and less so in others. But the post unhelpfully treats this in a manner that parrots a key element of the conservative Christian script, characterizing this as a shift away from a brand of Christianity that gets to be considered normative, namely conservative Evangelicalism. But if you’ve ever listened to… Read more

September 15, 2018

Here is the video from the panel I was on at the Religion News Association conference in Columbus, Ohio, exploring the intersection of religion and science fiction: PANEL: Close Encounters of the God Kind: Religion in Science FictionReligion is everywhere these days. Even Outer Space. Both sci-fi and religion deal with big ideas and imaginary worlds and portray the conflicts between good and evil on an epic scale. Mash-ups of science fiction and faith are found in hit TV shows… Read more

September 14, 2018

Information about a upcoming event at Butler University. Mark your calendars! Read more

September 13, 2018

From the recent article by Dr. Gregg Gardner on biblical gleaning laws and the subsequent interpretation of them in rabbinic tradition: Although the agricultural allocations to the poor share some characteristics with charity, they function differently. Charity is a positive duty whose underlying premise is that it comes from one’s own personal property and the benefactor exercises some discretion over what is given and how. Thus, in their discussion of charity, the rabbis do not specify the time or place… Read more

September 12, 2018

I think this is going to be the rhythm of my weekly blogging for the foreseeable future – on Tuesdays a new ReligionProf podcast will appear, and on Wednesdays I will add additional comments, links, and other materials in a blog post to go along with that new podcast. In this week’s episode, I was delighted to have a chance to chat with Kimberly Winston, a journalist that I had spoken to previously about the topic of religion and science… Read more

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