In a post-apocalyptic world of almost total extinction, a father and son struggle to survive. They fight against the elements, hunger, and the threats of robbery and murder, even cannibalism, to make their way south to the coast in hopes of finding warmer climate. Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer prize-winning The Road, which was also made into a film, is a classic, gripping tale of familial self-preservation. As harrowing and far-reaching in horror as the book and film are, they come close and… Read more

[**Beware: Light Spoilers Ahead for the Movie Moonlight**] All too often, we reduce people to the things they do, the things others do to them, who they are associated with, the color of their skin, the names we  give them… The list goes on. Take for example the critically acclaimed movie Moonlight (Here are a few reviews of the film from The New York Times, The Guardian, and the New Yorker). The main character is an African American, whom we get glimpses… Read more

In honor of “Black History Month,” I asked an African American friend of mine, Pastor Jeff Harley, to respond to a few questions. He graciously accepted the invitation. I had the privilege of teaching a doctor of ministry course in which Pastor Harley was enrolled as a student. Since that time, he has shaped my thought and heart in various ways. Pastor Harley has written for the journal I edit, Cultural Encounters: A Journal for the Theology of Culture. His… Read more

Do you know what February 19th is famous for in history? On this day in 197, Lucius Septimius Severus’ army defeated Clodius Albinus at Lyon. Perhaps that’s going too far back. Let’s fast-forward in time. On February 19th, 1736, George Frideric Handel’s Alexander’s Feast premiered. On this day in 1807, Aaron Burr (3rd Vice President of the United States) was arrested for treason in Alabama (later he was cleared of the charges). In 1878, Thomas Edison patented the gramophone (phonograph)…. Read more

One of the problems with sin is that we can see it so clearly at work in others, but have a hard time seeing it on display in our own lives. If only we weren’t so modest! After all, we’re basically good people. Decent, hardworking, love our kids, feed our pets. Heck—we may even recycle! One thing we don’t necessarily like to do is recycle history. It can be such a downer. People were so uncivilized then. Why should we… Read more

There are different kinds of love, some cancerous and life-taking; others are life-giving. My niece Hannah who was born on February 14th, 1983 died of leukemia in 2006; however, to the end, she brought healing to many with her life-giving love. My family celebrates her life today. As I reflect upon Hannah’s life, I am reminded of her energy, courage, and humor, and her mindfulness of others’ pain even as she suffered greatly. It is fitting that she was born… Read more

The Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said that there is no such thing as an illegal human being. While one might cross a border without legal sanction, that does not make one an illegal human. Wiesel declared, You, who are so-called illegal aliens, must know that no human being is illegal. That is a contradiction in terms. Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or… Read more

One of my favorite movies is The Mission starring Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Irons. There we find the struggle raging between the Great Commission involving God’s liberating love for the masses and the Great Compression involving colonialism and enslavement of people’s identity. One can be a Christian missionary in name only. There are different kinds of missionaries or ambassadors. So, too, there are different kinds of gospels and gods. We have to unpack what is in a name or title,… Read more

In an interview with Charlie Rose back in November 2016, Jon Stewart analyzed the Presidential election results. While liberal, Stewart had harsh words for liberals. They will tell others not to view Muslims as monoliths, as well as other oft-classified people groups; however, they often turn around and treat those who voted for Mr. Trump as monoliths. People aren’t monoliths; we are infinite contradictions, like America itself. Just because someone voted for Mr. Trump, it doesn’t make them racist, Steward… Read more

Richard Niebuhr wrote in The Kingdom of God in America, “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.” I don’t know if President Trump has ever read Niebuhr, but this quote reminds me of how the new President views his relationship with God. Watch this video clip (click here) in which then-candidate Trump responds to the following question by Republican pollster Frank Luntz during the Family Leadership… Read more

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