Is Christian Higher Education Dead? The Debate Continues

Last week, I read a post by Daniel Kirk. It (k)irked me. So I wrote a response in the Huffington Post, titled, Is Christian Higher Education Dead? Daniel and I have agreed to continue talking. If you are interested in thinking about whether Christian higher education is dead, or mortally wounded, or what not, then read those two posts—and join in. Happy to have you.I've got 9 points--7 of disagreement, 1 of agreement, 1 conciliatory--with Daniel's new post, which you can read here.One di … [Read more...]

What’s for Lent?

The Catholic kids on Long Island gave up chocolate for Lent—at least that’s what they said. I grew up in a church without Lent. Most of our band of believers had gotten fed up with being Lutherans or Catholics or Methodists, so they wanted nothing to do with high holy days, like Ash Wednesday, or church seasons, like Lent. I don’t blame them. Most of the Catholic guys on my baseball team—Ash Wednesday hit during the bracing late winter days of high school baseball, when we stood on the field froz … [Read more...]

Guns, God, and Advent

My son had two days off from work, so we headed to the Texas Hill Country. En route, we stopped at a shooting range. Yes, you heard me right.We’d only visited a shooting range once—in Seattle, with our friend from church. Bob brought his own pistols and rifles, and we spent some time learning to shoot.On Friday, we entered a different culture altogether: a shooting range in Texas. Yes, you heard me right again. We visited a shooting range in Texas.We walked in, waited a bit in line, l … [Read more...]

Phyllis Tickle Behind the Scenes

Monday through Wednesday find me buried in classes and teaching, so I didn’t receive word of Phyllis Tickle’s death until this afternoon. I did not know Phyllis personally—face to face—but, as many no doubt will tell you, I felt like I knew her personally. So I do what many of the authors Phyllis Tickle championed behind the scenes do: I write. I write to honor her.I called Phyllis one Friday evening a few years back to talk about some meditations I had written on the Holy Spirit. I expected … [Read more...]

Does It Matter If You’re Right?

Does it matter who’s right?I’m not so sure anymore.Right or wrong: we all seem to lose something in this equation.I’ve come to this temporary conclusion because I’ve reflected on Paul’s letters to the Corinthians recently. At the heart of his first letter, Paul answers a question about whether believers should eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols. He begins the section in this way: “Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ Knowledge pu … [Read more...]

Sanity About the Spirit: Not in 1 Corinthians!

Confusion. That's what we get in the contemporary church when it comes to the Holy Spirit. You've got the Pentecostals, of course, who make great hay of the Spirit. But they differ dramatically from one another. The Assembly of God, for instance, sees speaking in tongues as clear evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Not all Pentecostal churches are so strident, and some are even more strident. The Vineyard, a movement I deeply appreciate, is more lax about speaking in tongues because it sees … [Read more...]