Is the Emerging Church Relevant? [Liveblog]

This week I’m at AAR/SBL, and I’m liveblogging some of the sessions I’m attending. This session is sponsored by the Critical Research in Religion group, and it’s called, “Is the Emerging/-ent Church Relevant?” Xochitl Alvizo of Boston University gave the first presentation, Is the Emerging Church Important from a Feminist Practical Theological Perspective? Her thesis is that the few hipster white men who make up the popular perception of the Emerging Church Movement [ECM] are effectively erasing the truth, that the ECM is… Read more

The Big Announcement

Last night was pretty epic, at least by AAR/SBL standards. We had a standing-room-only crowd for the live recording of Homebrewed Christianity with John Cobb, Catherine Keller, and Jack Caputo. IMO, the quote of the night came from Cobb: (more…) Read more

What Happened to Evangelical Theology? [#ETS2014 Liveblog]

This weekend I’m attending the Evangelical Theological Society and American Academy of Religion, and I will be liveblogging some of the sessions that I’m attending. “Assessing Stanley Grenz’s Contribution to Evangelical Theology: 10 Years Later,” that’s the name of the session I’m attending at ETS. But Stan’s death isn’t the only thing that happened ten years ago at ETS. That was also the year that ETS voted against Open Theology, for all intents and purposes expelling people like Greg Boyd, Clark Pinnock, and… Read more

Will Preach for Hunt

I spent last weekend in Huron, South Dakota. This is the second year in a row that I’ve hunted there and preached at Grace Episcopal Church, the result of a pleading post that I put up last year. The people there are fantastic — hospitable, warm, and friendly. I attended the “High Noon” lunch at the Masonic Lodge, I hunted with the town lawyers, a guy who works for the gas company, and my host, who is a land manager…. Read more

Am I Afraid of Atheism?

Revolution Church — which was founded by Jay Bakker and has followed him from Phoenix to Atlanta to New York City to its present home in Minneapolis — is a unique faith community. Yes, it’s small (at least in person; its online footprint, via the podcast, is much larger). But the people who attend are there for something that very few churches offer, and that’s brutal, unadulterated honesty. That’s what Jay brings each week, and that’s what those who attend… Read more

With Mark Driscoll Gone, We’ve Only Got John Piper To Show Us the Insanity of Hypercalvinism

John Piper has done a 180 on cancer. That’s according to T.C. Moore at Theological Graffiti, who has smartly tracked Piper’s flip. Here’s the deal: On the eve of his own surgery for prostate cancer in 2006, Piper called cancer a “gift from God.” He scolded fellow cancer-sufferers not to “waste their cancer” by ignoring God’s design of it. In other words, if you’ve got cancer, God wants you to have cancer. But recently, Piper joined the evangelical chorus in… Read more

Theology for the People

As you may recall, I had a bit of a job transition this summer. After spending several years at sparkhouse, a division of Augsburg Fortress, and seeing the Animate series to completion, I got a month-long respite to finish my book. Then, after Labor Day, I joined Fortress Press as senior acquisitions editor. Fortress Press has a long and distinguished history. Of late, like all publishers, the leadership of FP has had to make choices about how to move forward… Read more

What We Can Learn from the Failures of Rome

As I expected, Christianity’s cultured despisers (many of them from within) took great offense at my daring to suggest that the Roman Empire was not unmitigated evil. Instead, I suggested that the legacy of Rome is ambivalent — good and bad. (As David Sessions brilliantly showed yesterday, hot-takes are swallowing the Christian blogosphere, on both left and right. Facebook and Twitter hot-takers gleefully troll me anytime I write a post that offends their sensibilities. This now comes with the territory of… Read more

In Praise of Empires

Courtney and I are in Rome this week, compliments of Focus Features and A Different Drummer, to visit the set of a movie based on Anne Rice’s novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. We are embargoed from writing anything about the movie (yet), but my fifteenth trip to the Eternal City has brought on some thoughts. Among Christianity’s critics from within — especially my own tribe of progressive Protestants — it’s fashionable to disparage empire at every turn. Empire, it… Read more

The Emerging Church Is What It Says It Is

On Friday I covered the first of two articles by political scientists Ryan P. Burge of Eastern Illinois University and Paul Djupe of Denison University. In that article, they used their research to show that emergent are not universally liberal, as opponents claim, but are really rather diverse when it comes to politics and theology. Today I turn to their second article, “Emergent Church Practices in America: Inclusion and Deliberation in American Congregations,” published in the Review of Religious Research. Here’s the abstract of… Read more

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