The Pearly Gates are never, ever closed

The Pearly Gates of Heaven are a clichĂ© image in popular culture. Every time a famous person dies, newspaper cartoonists churn out variations of the Famous Person at the Pearly Gates cartoon. The same Pearly Gates scene gets recycled endlessly in movies, TV shows, advertising, and more jokes than we could ever get written down. But in all of that pop-culture imagery and in all the religious folklore built around it, we tend to get one detail of John of Patmos’ vision completely backwards. [Read more…]

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We, Titus

This isn’t just the “Constantinian” thinking that Empire-criticism theologians constantly rail against. It’s worse than that. Ferguson’s premise isn’t just that imperial Christendom is a legitimate expression of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but that this gospel is valuable only to the extent that it enables imperial Christendom. [Read more…]

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If our dreams fall like bombs from the blue

Please join me in reading Buzzfeed’s profile of “men’s rights” champion Paul Elam. American conservatives do not like journalists and aid-workers. Why it’s dangerous to say “secular” when you actually mean “profane.” Plus more bad religious comic books, Captain Jack, and what “Caddyshack” can teach us about American history. [Read more…]

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The Second Seal: How can a permanent fixture be a prediction of the future?

But whatever you make of the rest of the book, I just can’t see how Revelation 6:3-4 can be read as a foretelling of the future. The rider on the red horse — war — isn’t some dreaded figure whose arrival will come in the distant future. He lives here. He’s always lived here. [Read more…]

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There’s a Tim LaHaye reader born every minute

This is Tim LaHaye’s umpteenth book of charts, graphs, timelines and checklists in which he purports to help readers of Revelation decipher the impenetrable mystery of what that book might possibly mean when its speaks cryptically of “the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.” [Read more…]

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This week in the apocalypse

Jurgen Moltmann on eschatology; Michelle Mikeska says “the Left Behind series should be left behind;” a short primer on apocalyptic millennialism; Nick Ahern shares Richard Hays’ look at “Three Ways to Read the Book of Revelation.” [Read more…]

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The Apocalypse of St. Peter (Garrett)

“Bible prophecy” teaches gullible Christians to mangle the words of the Bible. So I guess it’s not surprising that those poor folks would turn around and apply the same interpretive method to the songs of Midnight Oil and of 1980s hair band Europe. For those who can’t watch the video, it’s an earnest word of “prophecy” [Read More…]

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Today’s TV show, tomorrow’s ‘everybody knows’

I’m not trying to write a TV review here. What I’m interested in here is not the way that a TV show like “Sleepy Hollow” reprocesses the raw material of literature, scripture and history, but rather the way that our understanding of literature, scripture and history can be reshaped even by a weird little TV show like “Sleepy Hollow.” [Read more…]

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