Why Didn’t God Become a Dog?

The other day I asked my students in theology why God became a human rather than a dog. The point of the question was to get them to think through the theo-logic and significance of the incarnation. In our generation, we don’t think often of terms like nature and essence; so talk of Jesus being of the same nature as God in his deity and the same nature as us in our humanity does not always seem so important to… Read more

Interstellar and Entangled Ethics

I watched Interstellar over the weekend and reflected on some of the reviews. My favorite review is by David Brooks in The New York Times titled “Love and Gravity.” Brooks highlights themes in the movie that also stood out to me. In a world where people all too often function as if we are still operating in a Newtonian-like framework of cogs and atomistic parts where individuals and their tribes compete for survival, I found the movie refreshing and metaphysically… Read more

Jesus Forgives World Debt

Jesus came to forgive world debt. We find Jesus making this claim in Luke 4:16-30, when he reads from Isaiah’s scroll. He tells those around him in the synagogue who listen to him read that the Spirit of the Lord is on him in a singularly unique way. He will bring freedom from bondage to sin, including its hold on various spheres of our lives. Jesus is Jubilee justice. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has… Read more

How Should We Live If Humanity Is the “Biological Boot Loader for Digital Superintelligence”?

Is humanity the “biological boot loader for digital superintelligence,” as billionaire Elon Musk fears? The original source for Musk’s statement is a tweet where he writes: “Hope we’re not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.” Musk, who funds SpaceX and Tesla, fears that artificial intelligence is “potentially more dangerous than nukes.” (See James Vincent’s article, “Elon Musk says artificial intelligence is ‘more dangerous than nukes,’” The Independent, August 5th, 2014) If Musk’s fears… Read more

Framing Ferguson: If Black Lives Don’t Matter, No One’s Life Matters

Black lives matter. If Black lives don’t matter, no one’s life matters. I spoke on this subject yesterday in my contemporary theology and ethics class at Multnomah Biblical Seminary, where I teach. I reflected on this theme against the backdrop of yesterday’s class session featuring Dr. Martin Luther King and his prophetic reflections on the Vietnam War and the impending decision by the Grand Jury in the Michael Brown case. Dr. King spoke of the “triple evils of racism, economic… Read more

“Before (____) was, I AM.”

Not many of us are fixated with Abraham or allegiance to Israel. Jesus’ audience in John 8 was. In John 8, Jesus challenges those who had believed in his message to move beyond accepting his word as true to accepting him as the Truth (John 8:31-38). They placed him in the company of Abraham, but they did not see him as greater than Abraham (John 8:31-59). Jesus told them that Abraham longed to see his day and was glad that… Read more

Cloning & Racism

Are opponents to cloning racist? This question came to my mind while watching the science-fiction film The Creation of the Humanoids. The movie is set against a background of a post-nuclear war disaster, which destroyed over ninety percent of humanity; moreover, the human race is no longer able to procreate at a replaceable level because of radiation; so, the population continues to decrease in numbers. As a result, scientists create highly advanced, blue-skinned and silver-eyed humanoids of superior logical capacities… Read more

“American Beauty” & the Garden of Eden

The 1999 film American Beauty captured the imaginations of multitudes of Americans. The movie engages American middle class notions of what is deemed beautiful and personally satisfying. The film speaks to me on many levels, including the theme that things are not always as they appear. People live behind white picket fences and rose bushes in beautiful homes; they give the appearance that all is well and everything is in order, when such is not the case. The film also… Read more

Kierkegaard: Prune Juice for the Soul

Kierkegaard is good for cleaning out the system. He’s like prune juice for the soul. Kierkegaard cleans out the system of dead orthodoxies and bland generalities. The scandal of God’s particular Word Jesus confronts each and all of us and calls for a response of faith. Will we dare to draw near? We cannot hide behind clerical collars and pimp Jesus for profit; bourgeois Christendom must bow the knee to Christ (See my piece, “Can’t Pimp Jesus”). Nor can we… Read more

Don’t Spit on God

Nobody is scum or refuse. Every human has inherent dignity and worth as someone created in God’s likeness. When we spit on somebody, we spit on God, for humanity is the spitting image of God. What does it mean to be created in God’s image? Many answers have been given throughout history. Some have spoken of the image in rational terms. Humanity is par excellence the thinking or wise creature (Homo sapiens). On this view, we best image God through… Read more

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