Is It Okay to Privatize Public Beaches?

Private Property Keep Out Sign

Is it okay to privatize public beaches? I listened attentively to NPR the other night to an account of how California is fighting with a billionaire who is trying to halt the public's access to a remarkable and remote beach. Prior to the billionaire's purchase of the property, people were coming to Martins Beach for decades. According to California law, all beaches are public from the high-tide mark to the ocean. Martins Beach is hidden from the highway and is only accessible by boat or … [Read more...]

Sifting Through and Crossing Out Dichotomies about Jesus and His Cross

Hill of Crosses II

Conservatives and liberals have often debated whether Jesus is the substitute for our sin or the one who is our representative, identifying with us in our sinful condition. I believe it is not a matter of either/or, but both/and. Jesus alone could bear the burden of taking upon himself the weight of God’s judgment for our sin; none of us can bear the burden for our own broken and sinful condition, let alone the entire world. We would be consumed and undone in the process. And yet, Jesus … [Read more...]

What Liturgy Shapes Your Church?

iStock_000016220414Small

What liturgy shapes your church—a sacred liturgy or a secular one? In asking this question, I call to mind a conversation years ago with a noted Lutheran theologian. We were talking about consumerism and secularism. He remarked in terse terms: “Secularism will either empty the church or secularize the church.” Here is what I believe this theologian had in mind. Churches that retained their traditional Christian symbolism and liturgy have often lost consumers to churches that … [Read more...]

How Moral Is Religion?

The King Templar

How moral is religion? Not very—to put it lightly, if one’s perspective parallels Christopher Hitchens’ stance in God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Organized religion has certainly received its fair or unfair share of criticisms since the Enlightenment period. Some Enlightenment thinkers wrote of the Middle Ages as the Dark Ages filled with superstition and oppression, themes brought home in the movie, The Name of the Rose. While the church and state’s alignment … [Read more...]

Can Money Buy Justice?

121203-P-Warren-Buffett-to-the-Rescue-300x226[1]

There are many things that money can buy, but can it buy justice? I thought of this question as I was reading What Money Can’t Buy: the Moral Limits of Markets by Michael J. Sandel. When we think that something can be bought and sold, we end up treating it like a commodity. We must guard against turning justice into a commodity: we cannot buy justice or pay for it; the only way to guard against turning justice into a commodity in a market system is if we live justly in community. Certainly, … [Read more...]

Casual Sex and Casual Faith

iStock_000017998380XSmall

Casual sex can refer to one night stands and non-relational sex, where there are no strings attached. How often do people approach God in similarly casual ways? Biblical prophets write of how God’s people often play the harlot (See Ezekiel 16, for example). The problem becomes so bad that God tells Hosea to take for himself a prostitute as a wife. Their marriage involving her various adulteries and Hosea’s faithfulness in the midst of her infidelities symbolizes God’s relationship with … [Read more...]

Producers, Consumers and Communers

Supply Chain Management

I originally posted this piece on February 1st, 2012. In preparing to teach on the subject of Trinitarian communion and its import for ecclesiology this semester,  I reflected upon these themes again and considered them pertinent in the present context. There is a great deal of talk about production and consumption in American society today. Such talk is found inside the American church as well. In fact, a noted pastor has called on men to be real men by moving from being consumers … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X