The Detritus of Dreams

I saw this photograph today from Parsons School of Design in a New York Times article. It contains the backpacks left behind by migrants coming across our border.Of course, it is a powerful image of loss and naivete. Of dreams shattered. Of panic. Of giving up--both things and hope.That is where the photo took me. But it also took me to the days I watched my kids put on their jackets and climb into their daypacks to head off to school. "Have you got your assignment?" Check. "Your … [Read more...]

The Cross and the Old Testament (with a little help from NT Wright)

In 1978, it became clear to my director of studies at Christ’s College—a little-known, shy, heavily-bearded young Anglican theologian named Rowan Williams—that I had no clue about how to take a Cambridge University tripos examination in theology. That’s not quite right. I knew how to take it. I just didn’t know how to succeed in it.So Rowan Williams sent me to the equally young chaplain of Downing College, Cambridge, a New Testament scholar named N. T. (or Tom) Wright. Tom painstakingly led m … [Read more...]

Refugees: The Great Reversal

What's the most cherished verse of the Bible? For many Christians, it has to be John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." It's so popular that it has season tickets to sporting events. If you watch football, you'll see it, with its own placard, right there behind the goal post: JOHN 3:16. (I didn't happen to see it at the Super Bowl, but I bet it was there, in one heck of an expensive … [Read more...]

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...]