Is This Bill a Hill to Die On? (We’ve Got to Do Something About Guns)

Like so many Americans, I've been amazed and disgusted at the unwillingness of our elected officials to deal effectively with the problem of gun violence.The NRA has a clear stranglehold on the Republican-controlled Congress.And so, like many Americans, I've been inspired and encouraged at the images of the sit-in by fed-up members, demanding a vote on a new proposed bill, the so-called "No Fly, No Buy" regulation.If passed, this would prevent people who've been placed on the … [Read More...]

The “Daisy Girl” and the Politics of Fear

Remember the Daisy Girl ad?It's known as the commercial that ushered in the age of the "attack ad," run during the 1964 presidential election by the (incumbent) Lyndon B. Johnson campaign , and it changed the course of campaign advertising in politics.The ad was a response to suggestions or hints by Republican opponent Barry Goldwater that the U.S. could use a nuclear weapon to end the Vietnam war. The ad clearly indicates (without mentioning Goldwater by name), if you vote … [Read More...]

The Question I’d Ask Trump at the Evangelical Gathering

Donald Trump, amidst some apparently bad news about his campaign's meager bank account, is meeting this morning with nine-hundred or so evangelical leaders to court their support.He's got people like Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Eric Metaxas (really?) speaking on his behalf. Other usual suspects of the conservative evangelicals (Ralph Reed, Gary Bauer, Tony Perkins, etc.) will be attending, while many others are coming armed with questions for the candidate.A Time … [Read More...]

Pastors, Don’t Miss This Resource (“Teach the Text” Commentary Series)

Pastors and teachers, you're busy, you're over-loaded with meetings, budgets, and putting out little or big fires that keep popping up. You'd love to spend all day reading commentaries, preparing the perfect sermon.But you just don't have the time to pour through commentary after commentary, and then hop online to find the fitting illustration or application point.May I commend to you the "Teach the Text" commentary series by Baker Academic? Scholars have done the academic work, … [Read More...]

An Important Answer to the Question, “Why Are Conservative Christians Being Blamed?”

Isaac Archuleta, at the Huffington Post, has a powerful answer to that question that keeps popping up online: "Why are conservative Christians being blamed for what happened in Orlando?"Read his entire letter, "To My Conservative Christian Family: A Response to the Orlando Shooting."Here's a small bit, to give you an idea:Conservative Christians are being lumped in with the homophobic shooter, ISIS, and religious radicals because, to the LGBT+ community, these are the groups who … [Read More...]

God, the Motherly Father

"Our Father, who art in heaven..." This phrase is repeated countless times in countless churches across the globe. This coming Sunday, with celebration of Father's Day on the minds of many, that line will be said with invigorated significance.By Stephencdickson (Own work)[CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia CommonsBut when we call God,"Father," what do we really mean?Theologian Jürgen Moltmann, in an article called, The Motherly Father, (see reference below for the fancy subtitle) argues … [Read More...]

“You Are Accepted”: What a Strange Idea (Paul Tillich)

Theologian Paul Tillich's sermon, "You Are Accepted" is a powerful piece of pastoral theology.The sermon is a reflection on Paul's words in Romans 5:20: "Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound."After noting the strangeness of the ideas of both sin and grace, Tillich goes on to elaborate how he thinks these words should be understood in the context of the modern situation.In that modern situation, we find … [Read More...]

After Orlando, the #1 Rule of Religion Must be Love

Following the immediate shock and grief of the terror and tragedy of Orlando, the media discussion has turned to the causes. How--and why--would someone carry out such a heinous act?Should we attribute this evil to mental/emotional instability, to militant religious fanaticism, to extreme homophobia, or simply to an unleashing of raw unabashed hatred?  And what role does the ridiculous laxity in gun regulations (ease of access) play in how we assign culpability?The question that's … [Read More...]

Richard Beck Wants to Bring the Devil Back (Sort of)

If you've followed this blog much, you're probably aware of my appreciation for the work of Richard Beck. I've written about his two books, Unclean and The Slavery of Death, I assign Unclean for my seminary senior seminar. Students sometimes say it's the best book they read in seminary.I haven't read his latest book yet, Reviving Old Scratch: Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted, but it looks like a good one.Josh de Keijzer, over at HelloChristian, has an interview … [Read More...]

Free Upcoming Webinar: From Facebook to the Pulpit

It's a good time for this conversation, so check out this free webinar I'll be doing in July: "From Facebook to the Pulpit: Election Year Theologizing," hosted by the zesty folks at Homebrewed Christianity.   … [Read More...]