I had some really impressive creative products emerge from my class on the Bible and music this semester. But I think the one that blew everyone away more than all others was by Madi Blair. It provided one of those moments that an educator knows immediately they will remember for the rest of their career. Listening to the song, I started off by saying that clearly this was not the first song this student had written. She said that, in… Read more

The third episode of The Handmaid’s Tale is as profoundly religious as the previous one. In the details that it presents, as June tries to make her way to Canada, the show once again does something incredibly powerful. It tells a story of a white middle class American woman as first slave and then as displaced person seeking to become a refugee. Her experiences could be compared to the Underground Railroad, a form of which we learn has emerged to… Read more

It is ironic that some have treated the TV show The Handmaid’s Tale as anti-religious, when the show is profoundly religious in ways that this blog post (about the second and third episodes of the current second season) will explore. The reason for that reaction, however, relates very precisely to an aspect of the show’s message, which I may as well highlight from the outset: religions that start out as persecuted minorities regularly fail to recognize when they have transitioned… Read more

I leave the theme of creation until well into the semester when I teach the Bible and music. When we get there, I try to use it as an opportunity to explore and reflect on not only the meaning of the texts, not musical settings of those texts, but also students’ own creative activities. For their final project for the class, students are expected to produce a song or piece of music of their own. Since many of them do… Read more

Fred Clark wrote recently: Young-earth creationism is a cruelly efficient machine for manufacturing spiritual crisis. It has created more atheists than all of Richard Dawkins’ books put together. It exchanges the truth of God for a lie — a lie that’s spectacularly indefensible because none of the people caught up in that lie lives on a young Earth. They live, instead, on this one — this ancient Earth that confronts its inhabitants with its vast and incomprehensible oldness at every… Read more

Here’s a natural follow-up to yesterday’s post, one not inappropriate for the “Revenge of the 5th” even if it is not as directly connected with the occasion as yesterday’s post was. Bob Royalty shared this call for papers for a special issue of the open access journal Religions, of which he will be the guest editor, and which I know that numerous readers of this blog will be interested in: Call for Papers: Special Issue on Apocalypticism in the 21st Century Dear… Read more

For Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You!) I thought that I should highlight the future special issue of Religions on science fiction, which is accepting submissions. I’m hoping to submit something myself, if I can make the deadline. Here’s the call for papers from the journal’s website: Dear Colleagues, Science fiction wanders perennially in realms traditionally considered the purview of religion, asking questions about the ordering of the universe, the nature of existence, and the proper basis for human… Read more

J. K. Gayle wrote something in a blog post last year that I’ve been meaning to follow up on and blog about since then. Here’s an excerpt from the post, which is engaging some statements that emerged from the Southern Baptist Convention, as well as Jesus’ statement about eunuchs: Jesus’s discussion of marriage from the beginning between those grown up being boys and those grown up being girls is followed by a discussion of a different sort of sexual human…. Read more

There are two conferences coming up in July 2019 that ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies will be organizing. I’ve heard conflicting dates for the one on the Mandaeans (July 11-12 or 12-14) but we can at least mark our calendars approximately for the time being. Here are the details from the ARAM website: The Gnostics of the Ancient Near East, 8th– 10th July 2019 (University of Oxford) ARAM Society for Syro-Mesopotamian Studies is organizing its Fiftieth International Conference International Conference… Read more

Vance Morgan recently posted snippets from an imagined conversation between Jesus and Karl Marx. It includes Jesus telling Marx thing like, “The percentage of your “followers” who have studied your book carefully is probably about the same as the percentage of my “followers” who’ve read mine carefully.” He started the post with a quote from Richard Rorty which is also worth sharing: “We should read the New Testament as saying that how we treat each other on earth matters a… Read more

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