Christian America and the Cruciform Church

121119 P I Can't Wait for Christian America to Die

"Christian America" is that form of American Christianity that operates by way of seeking to show the importance of Christianity for culture at large in terms of its strength, sustainable solutions and resilience to gain and maintain control. But is this the way God in Christ always or even chiefly operates?Perhaps we can learn from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's approach to German Christianity and the surrounding culture in the mid-twentieth century. Bonhoeffer wrote about being dead to the "God of … [Read more...]

Why Is the West the Best?


Why is the West the best? Or is it?I asked my Japanese wife to respond to the question, “Why is the West the best?” She answered, “Because that's what the West says.” Edward W. Said has said as much, too, and more. The author of the highly influential and controversial work, Orientalism, Said claims that the West (Europe and the United States) has objectified the East, specifically, the Middle Eastern peoples, framing them as foreign, strange, and threatening.Said argues that Western … [Read more...]

On the Damaging Dualism of Proclamation vs. Demonstration


All too often I find Christians falling prey to the damaging dualism of proclamation vs. demonstration. We should not pit words (proclamation) against deeds (demonstration), for they are inseparably related in the person of Jesus Christ. The very Word of God through whom God created the world became incarnate and acted out God’s love in words and deeds throughout his public ministry. I fear that some use the statement attributed to St. Francis of Assisi—“Preach the gospel, and if necessary, use w … [Read more...]

How Relational Is Your Worldview?

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Worldviews are important, but they must be framed relationally. I cannot approach people simply in terms of what I take to be their Christian or Hindu or Secular Humanist worldviews and address them from the vantage point of my worldview in a static manner. There must always be relational give and take. People are not robotic minds and mechanical wills. They have affections and experiences that also serve to shape them. Moreover, the ground of the Christian faith and basis for a distinctively … [Read more...]

Simmering Thoughts on Smaug: Why the Enduring Fascination with Dragons?


I went to see “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” with my children last night. I came away with simmering thoughts on Smaug and his family line. Why such great interest in this dragon and dragons in general?Fascination with dragons is an enduring phenomenon in many quarters. But why? Is it because they personify evil, as in the case of Smaug the “Impenetrable,” the “Tremendous,” the "Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities" (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, Ballantine Books, 1982, pages 222, 226), o … [Read more...]

New Year Reflections on “Dust in the Wind”

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Last night, family members and I listened to Kansas’ memorable song “Dust in the Wind,” as we drove home from the store in preparation for another New Year’s Eve celebration. The haunting words and beautiful melody led us to converse about the meaning of life: are we only dust in the wind? The song claims the only things that last forever are the earth and the sky. Is that so? Left to themselves and perhaps our own activity, they will not last forever either. Even the sun is supposed to burn out … [Read more...]

We Don’t Need to Be Cave Dwellers Anymore


Have you ever slept in a cave? Years ago, a band of friends and I camped overnight in the bowels of a cave. Talk about darkness! I realized how precious light was that night. May I never take light for granted again. I doubt many people take for granted sunshine during winter months in the Pacific Northwest where I live. The clouds, the mist and the rain can dampen even the most resilient souls and fill their minds with doubts and fears concerning what lies before them.Perhaps such longing … [Read more...]