Costly discipleship in the discount bin

The latest poll from Southern Baptist-related LifeWay Research includes one self-reported response that strikes me as dubious. The poll found that “higher levels of Bible engagement were correlated to six actions,” including: Making a decision to obey or follow God with an awareness that choosing to do so might be costly. (63% of churchgoers say [Read More...]

‘Gay Conversations With God’


I’m not sure this is a book. It’s in book form, mostly — type is set on pages in a binding, words on paper — but it reads more like the transcription of a one-man show. In Gay Conversations With God, James Langteaux gives us a spoken-word performance, with the rhythm and rhyme of speech. [Read More...]

Two more thoughts on ‘Miracles’

A couple more stray thoughts in response to reading Tim Stafford’s Miracles for the Patheos Book Club. 1. The miraculous selection of Matthias Since interest in the miraculous seems bound up with concern for evidence of direct divine intervention, I wonder why Acts 1:12-26 is usually not included as part of the discussion of biblical [Read More...]

Miracles and X-Files: Tim Stafford and Dana Scully


This month, the Patheos Book Club is looking at Tim Stafford’s Miracles. I might have better been able to enjoy this book if it hadn’t come with a misleading subtitle that created a set of false expectations. That subtitle is “A Journalist Looks at Modern-Day Experiences of God’s Power,” but that has very little to [Read More...]

Letters to the present church (with an eye to the future)


Letters to a Future Church is a pithy, lively little book. It features more than two dozen contributors crammed into 164 breezy pages. The book, edited by Chris Lewis, comes out of a 2010 conference in Toronto for which speakers were asked to compose short letters to the church, modeled after the seven letters to [Read More...]

On ‘Fixing the Moral Deficit’ (part 2)


(Part 1 of this review here, by proxy.) At the end of Ronald J. Sider’s most recent book, Fixing the Moral Deficit: A Balanced Way to Balance the Budget, there’s an appendix of “Action Steps” for readers. The first of these reads as follows: Read and reflect on a few dozen of the hundreds of [Read More...]

Books one doesn’t want to be seen reading

The girls got an early Christmas present yesterday — tickets to a big concert at the Spectrum II CoreStates Center First Union Center Wachovia Center big arena where the Sixers and Flyers play. For the chauffeur (me), that meant several hours in coffee shops and diners, which was good because I had a lot of [Read More...]

‘Broken Words’ and the freedom to ask questions


I recently listed Jonathan Dudley’s Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics along with other spiritual memoirs by younger writers challenging aspects of what they have been taught in the American evangelical subculture. “Memoir” isn’t really the right word for Dudley’s book, which is more impersonal and analytical than that implies. [Read More...]