A Mind Curved in on Itself

“So, what are you working on?” she might ask. This is how these grad school parties go. “Sin,” I would invariably reply—sometimes saying a bit more, to make the pill go down smooth. Other times I’d utter just the one word, knowing the potential for a good, awkward laugh. Though at one point I thought [Read More…]

How Do I Learn From Experience If I Don’t Have Any?

Earlier this summer, I got an email from John Buchanan, a current student in the Torrey Honors Institute: Hello, Dr. Jenson. As you may be told from time to time, you are the mentor that seemed sensible to talk to regarding the subject of this email… Probably because you are a younger male but who [Read More…]

Charles Stang: Apophasis and Pseudonymity in Dionysius the Areopagite

Charles M. Stang, Apophasis and Pseudonymity in Dionysius the Areopagite: “No Longer I” (Oxford: OUP, 2012) (review copy courtesy of OUP) This is my kind of radical thesis–that that most exotic of Christian writers, Dionysius the Areopagite, is really, deep-down, Pauline. What makes things better is that the one putting forth the thesis, Harvard’s Charles Stang, knows what he’s [Read More…]

Karl Barth: The Word of God and Theology

Karl Barth, The Word of God and Theology, trans. Amy Marga (New York: T&T Clark, 2011), 242 pp. (review copy courtesy of T&T Clark) Annie Dillard once wrote that she did ‘not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? [Read More…]

Whither Trinitarian Theology (Holmes pt. 3)

Fred Sanders and Matt Jenson finish their series of posts on Steve Holmes’ new Trinity book (the others are here and here) with a discussion about his overall project and what it suggests for trinitarian theology.  Jenson: Holmes steers awfully close to despair at the end of his book, Fred. On the last page, after a [Read More…]

Stop Using the F-Word

As we careen at breakneck speed towards the legalization of gay marriage, as people yell and stamp and scream and justify and demonize, consider this moving, quiet, patient, eloquent plea (with a follow-up) by an anonymous writer to just stop using words that freeze, reduce, diminish and thrash gays and lesbians.  I was attracted to comic [Read More…]

What Rob Bells Talks About When He Talks About God

Rob Bell’s new book just came out. In its title, borrowed from one of Raymond Carver’s short story collections, Bell promises to lay bare What We Talk About When We Talk About God. Carver’s quietly aching scenes of love, or perhaps more of the reality of failed and blocked and misconstrued gestures towards intimacy that pass [Read More…]

The Difficulty of Ecumenism

Every Christian must be ecumenical. That is, every Christian must devote herself to the unity of Christ’s church–a unity that witnesses in the world to the love of the Father for the Son and to their love for those sealed by the Spirit of adoption. Ecumenism is part and parcel of the church’s mission, and [Read More…]

Does It Make a Difference? (Forsaken pt. 4)

In our final installment talking through Tom McCall’s Forsaken (here are the other ones), we consider McCall’s fourth chapter and conclusion, in which he takes two looks at the question of “why it matters”. Jenson: Continuing on from the last post, where Fred pointed out that each of these chapters involves a holding together, in the [Read More…]

McClymond & McDermott: The Theology of Jonathan Edwards

Michael J. McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott, The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2012), 757 pp. (review copy courtesy of OUP) “Imagine a Christian dialogue today that included adherents of ancient churches–Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic–with various modern church bodies–Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, Disciples of Christ–as well as an ample representation from [Read More…]