True Christian Ecumenism: Reconciled Diversity

True Christian Ecumenism: Reconciled DiversitySome Christian theologians I know believe the existence of separate Christian denominations is scandalous. H. Richard Niebuhr very strongly promoted that belief in his classic book The Social Sources of Denominationalism (1929). For much of the twentieth century especially so-called “mainline” Protestants talked endlessly about “visible and institutional unity” of the churches. Some went so far as to call for Protestants to re-join the Catholic Ch … [Read more...]

Horizontal and Vertical Churches: Where’s the Balance?

Horizontal and Vertical Churches: Where’s the Balance?I visit a lot of churches. During my adult lifetime I have attended (more than one or two times) numerous churches of many denominations. And I read about churches. “Church life” is one of my strongest interests. (I served as consultant for two editions of Abingdon’s Handbook of Denominations and I will be giving lectures about denominationalism at a Christian college in November.) I have spoken at churches as diverse as Episcopal and “Chu … [Read more...]

Why I Won’t Read “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee

Why I Won’t Read Go Set a Watchman by Harper LeeI recently read a commentary by a newspaper editor suggesting that both To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman be chosen as “books of the year” for an annual city-wide reading project. (Each year the city chooses one book and encourages people to read it and meet to discuss it.) I was dismayed by the suggestion. And I had already decided not to read Go Set a Watchman. I personally wish it had not been published.I am not advocating censo … [Read more...]

Follow Up to Musings about Whether the Past Can Be Changed

Follow Up to Musings about Whether the Past Can Be ChangedThe immediately preceding post raised the question whether the past can be changed—even by God (July 24, 2015). Therein I asked specifically whether a prayer can influence the past and, if so, why Christians generally don’t pray for God to change the past and why there are no biblical examples of such.Many people responded that a prayer prayed today can be taken into account by God, in his perfect foreknowledge, such that he acts i … [Read more...]

Can the Past Be Changed (Even By God)? Some Musings about Time

Can the Past Be Changed (Even By God)? Some Musings about TimeRecently I’ve been listening (on my ipod, as I exercise and drive) to Stephen King’s excellent novel “11-22-63.” I don’t really like King’s horror novels, but I have enjoyed listening to some of his books—especially murder mysteries (The Mercedes Man and Finders Keepers). 11-22-63 intrigued me when I read about it. I have always been fascinated by the assassination of President Kennedy. I remember where I was when I heard about it. … [Read more...]

How a Theologian’s Insight about Symbols Relates to the Present Kerfuffle about the Confederate Flag

How a Theologian’s Insight about Symbols Relates to the Present Kerfuffle about the Confederate FlagFor those of you not living in the United States I’ll briefly summarize a contemporary controversy stirring deep emotions especially in the Southern states.A few weeks ago an emotionally disturbed young man with racist beliefs allegedly entered an African-American church in South Carolina and shot and killed a number of worshipers. Afterwards it was discovered that the accused young man use … [Read more...]

Did I Belong to a Cult? The Story (in Brief) of My Spiritual Journey…

Did I Belong to a Cult? The Story (in Brief) of My Spiritual Journey (Or How I Survived Spiritual Abuse but Still Bear the Scars) Part Four (Final)Having now told my story of spiritual abuse at the hands of trusted spiritual mentors, I will reflect on it theologically and practically. That is, I will offer some thoughts about God’s role in what happened to me—to help others think about how best to consider God’s plan, purpose and involvement in difficult situations—and about handling spiritu … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X