Here’s a Good Explanation of “Missional Hermeneutics”

I occasionally hear the term, "missional hermeneutics." It's a mouthful, and it requires a little unpacking.Darrell Guder gives a good explanation of the term in a chapter in his book Called To Witness: Doing Missional Theology: The New Testament documents are addressed to communities of believers. They are living in the light of the resurrection and confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord. The diverse testimonies written to and for them serve their continuing formation for their … [Read more...]

Does Love Have a Speed? A Discussion on Disability, Time and Discipleship

In a recent summer reading list, I mentioned John Swinton's Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefulness, and Gentle Discipleship. It's the subject of an online book discussion over at Syndicate Network.I wrote the intro to the symposium, a discussion which includes a terrific lineup of thinkers and theologians, each of which offers personal connection to the discussion at hand.Here's the first bit of my intro:__Love has a speed—and it isn’t fast.That’s what John Swin … [Read more...]

When Prejudice is Holding a Gun

Philando Castile, an African-American man from St. Paul, MN, died in a hospital on July 6, 2016, from a gun wound inflicted during a traffic stop by Jeronimo Yanez, a St. Anthony (MN) police officer.This past Friday, on June 23, 2017, a jury acquitted Yanez of second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm.Video of the immediate aftermath of the shooting was live-streamed on social media by Philando’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds. The video, which s … [Read more...]

Was St. Paul an Evolutionist? (Or, Who “Subjected Creation to Futility”?)

Who did Paul think wrecked creation?In Romans 8:20 Paul uses a curious phrase: " for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God"The verse--and surrounding passage--contains some perplexing ambiguities and interpretive questions.The most interesting one is this: By whose "will" was c … [Read more...]

7 Theology Books for Your Summer Reading

Summer is already well under way, but it's not too late to post my recommended book list. You've still got plenty of time to take up and read.Some of these books are very recent (a few hot off the presses), while others not so much. Some may not qualify for reading on the beach, but each of them are worth your time and attention. And I think they're all timely books, for one reason or another. The first two of them will be featured in upcoming Syndicate online symposia. I'll … [Read more...]

“Might Makes Right”: How Evangelicals Can Still Support Trump

When Donald Trump needs a hug, he can count on conservative, white evangelicals.Yesterday he spoke to the Faith and Freedom Coalition's annual gathering. No doubt his appearance there was scheduled long before Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee was arranged. Nonetheless, he took the chance to appeal to these evangelicals' permanent (though irrational) sense of being an embattled and persecuted minority. Trump appeals to their anxiety about losing religious freedom in … [Read more...]

Dear Christian: Would You Be Angry if Hell is Empty?

When I taught theology at an evangelical seminary, I ended every lecture on heaven/hell by posing the option of "hopeful universalism."To be a hopeful universalist is to assert something like the following:I don't know whether in the end God is going to save everyone, but I sure as hell (!) hope so, and I will pray to that end, and I believe that on the basis of God's grace and mercy and love that it make a lot of sense if kindness, generosity, grace and mercy have the final … [Read more...]

Sneak Peak: Book Cover For “A Complicated Pregnancy”

Anticipated Publication Date (Fortress Press, Theology for the People series) is November 1  … [Read more...]

It’s Not About Paris, It’s About Our Planet

Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement is probably the most pompous "America First!" policy change that Trump has announced thus far.It's also the most short-sighted--and unless the 4-yr timeline prevents it from happening--potentially the most tragic.Care for the environment is not a nationalist concern, it's a planetary concern. The recognition of the looming and very real planetary crisis is why leaders from 195 countries signed the Paris Agreement in … [Read more...]

A Charge to Seminary Graduates (Demian Wheeler)

My colleague, Dr. Demian Wheeler, delivered the "charge to the graduates" at the recent commencement service of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. Demian is Assistant Professor of Philosophical Theology and Religious Studies at United. He gave me permission to reprint his text here. There's a lot here to chew on and to be inspired by. You, the graduating class of 2017, will always be very special to me. You are my first students. My father, who taught high school English for 35 … [Read more...]