Please Welcome Scot Miller

I’m taking a 6-day digital sabbath, my first in a long time. I’m spending a long weekend with Courtney and some friends, and I’m bringing nothing with me but books. I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve got a few posts set up for my absence. But mainly I’m handing the reigns over to Scot Miller. I met Scot in early 2010 at an event in Fort Worth, Texas, and he has been one of the most faithful — and most thoughtful — commenters on this blog in the past year. If you’ve read the comments, you’ve read Scot.

Here’s a bit about him. I ask you to welcome him heartily and engage with what he writes. And I’ll see you all next week.

Scot Miller

Scot Miller grew up in Lakewood, CO, and moved to Abilene, TX in 1977 to attend Hardin-Simmons University. After graduating in 1981 with a B.A. in Bible and English, he earned his M.Div. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1984. (He lived in the same dorm with Al Mohler before Al got married). He then did graduate work in the philosophy of religion at Boston University, Boston College, and Harvard Divinity School. He was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister in Cambridge, MA in 1985.

While in Boston, he taught as an adjunct lecturer at Tufts University and at Merrimack College. Hereturned to Hardin-Simmons in the fall of 1990 as Instructor of Philosophy and Head of the PhilosophyDepartment.

Given his philosophical, theological, and academic background, it was only natural for him to become the Office Manager in his wife’s pediatric clinic when she went into private practice in October 2004.

Happy Birthday, Theoblogy!

On this day in 2004, I wrote my first post.  It wasn’t much of anything.  In the eight years since — 1,747 posts and 22,683 comments later — I’ve become less snarky. I hope I’m a better writer — I know I’m a better blogger.

In celebration, I’m taking a digital holiday until the middle of next week. Please check back this afternoon to find out who the surprise guest blogger will be in my absence.

Thanks for your support, everyone!

Precipitating the Death of the Mainline

David Henson says, Bring It On!

I do not fear the death of the mainline church.In fact, as a postulant for the priesthood in the Episcopal church, it excites me, and it is the precipitous decline of the mainline that, in part, draws me to ministry.Death can be a fertile ground for the Gospel. Indeed, it has always been so. The specter of death can make people willing to do things they might otherwise be too comfortable to consider, like that a food pantry does not a social justice ministry make. And death can make people less afraid to fail and, as a result, more apt to try something new, something frivolous, something that won’t bring in moneyed people. It can make us more willing to experiment with creative ways to seek justice and the presence of God in houses outside those in which we worship. Death might just shake us up enough so that we can get out of the pews and on with the work of God!


Slacktivist Asks SCOTUS a Question: Who’s a “Minister”?

Fred asks the questions that lower courts are going to be figuring out for years to come: Who’s a minister? And what’s a church?

Say you’re the owner of a pizza place and you’re looking to hire a new delivery driver. You can’t put up a sign that says, “Jews Need Not Apply.” And you can’t put up a sign that says, “Only Jews Need Apply.” Either one would be an illegal form of religious discrimination. But say you’re on the board of a Conservative Jewish congregation and you’re looking to hire a new rabbi. In that case, the essential nature of the job requires that you hire someone who is Jewish — and whose particular religious values are in accord with those of your congregation. Presbyterians need not apply. Hindus need not apply. Orthodox and Reformed Jews need not apply.

That’s the “ministerial exception” at work. It’s not illegal — workplace laws forbidding religious discrimination do not apply.

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