Kierkegaard, Unmasking the Illusion of Political Revolution

In contrast to the age of revolution, which took action, the present age is an age of publicity, the age of miscellaneous announcements: nothing happens but still there is instant publicity. An insurrection in this day and age is utterly unimaginable; such a manifestation of power would seem ridiculous to the calculating sensibleness of the age.However, a political virtuoso might be able to perform an amazing tour de force of quite another kind. He would issue invitations to a general … [Read More...]

The Positive Side of Plagiarism? One More, on Melania’s Speech

I'm late on the hot-take, but so it goes.I was glad to see this thoughtful reflection on Melania Trump's obvious plagiarism--and the emotional affect that coming across such an egregious and very public display of plagiarism has on professional teachers.I've taught theology full-time now for a decade. I've come across my fair share of plagiarism: some egregious, and some minor. But plagiarism is plagiarism. Typically, when it's a clear case (whether a paragraph or two is lifted, or … [Read More...]

What Can Keep Our World From Imploding? (One Theologian’s Answer)

I just came across a great little book, called Political Theology: Contemporary Challenges and Directions.It's the result of a unique conference at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 2010. One of the contributors is Johann Baptist Metz, who along with Moltmann, was instrumental in establishing the "New Political Theology" of Europe in the 1960s.Toward the end of his essay in this book, Metz writes: What is to keep our globalized world from imploding after all in … [Read More...]

The Easiest “Attack Ad” Ever Made? (Hilary’s New Campaign Ad Just Released)

Hilary's campaign just made a very effective campaign ad.Seems pretty easy to make an effectively frightening "attack ad" against Trump's campaign. Just piece together clips of Trump talking, doing his thing, and show children watching it. to Daily Kos for sharing it.  … [Read More...]

When Jesus Says, “Blessed are the Poor,” Who are the Poor?

I love this meme James McGrath created:In a recent blog post, he reflects on the relevant Luke passage, which comes in the oft-dubbed "Sermon on the Plain."In that passage, Jesus says, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God" (Luke 6:20, NRSV).Many interpreters, particularly those of us who aren't actually poor, like to suggest that what Jesus really means by poor is humble, or meek, or "spiritually desperate for God." Jesus loves everybody, Jesus wants to … [Read More...]

My White Privilege: A Brief Reflection in a Difficult Time

I've been aware of white privilege for quite a long time.But it wasn't until Ferguson that the implications of my white privilege really set in. With the shooting of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, and the subsequent eruption of anger and frustration by the African-American community and those expressing solidarity, it began to set in, in a more deeply emotional sense, what my white privilege really means.And then, only a few weeks after Michael Brown's death, Chris Lollie, an … [Read More...]

A New Slant on Seminary (An Interview with Spencer Burke of the HatcheryLA)

Spencer Burke is the Executive Director for the HatcheryLA, which is described as an "incubator for common cause communities." The Hatchery offers a great way to get an accredited seminary degree while also learning practical skills in social entrepreneurship and developing your own project with a cohort of innovators. I have a special interest in the Hatchery, because it partners with the seminary where I teach, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.Everybody is trying to figure … [Read More...]

“True Sadness” and Christianity After Religion: Where the Avett Brothers’ Meets Diana Butler Bass:

I went for a run yesterday in north Minnesota by one of its thousand-plus lakes; it was a fine occasion for my debut hearing of the Avett Brothers new album, True Sadness.The album’s title rings true throughout, but the album speaks to more emotions than sadness. A few songs are about death—but in an uplifting way. They’re more about finding freedom and joy in the often too-brief lives we have. The album begins with the rollicking “Ain’t No Man,” which gives voice to the insistence that no o … [Read More...]

The New Testament Books Luther Liked (and the Ones He Didn’t Like)

Did you know that Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, liked some books in the Bible a lot more than he liked other books?Actually, he didn't just like them better, he even thought some were "true" and "noble," whereas others (like the epistle of James)--not so much.Here's what Luther writes at the conclusion of his Preface to the New Testament (in 1522): Which are the true and noblest books of the New Testament:From all this [what he had just previously … [Read More...]

R.I.P. Pat Summitt

Pat Summitt, legendary coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team, passed away last night at 64 years of age, five years after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.Summitt's incredible accomplishments as a basketball coach is the stuff of legend. She was the winningest coach in D-1 basketball history.I vividly recall when her Alzheimer's diagnosis was announced, because my mother had been diagnosed several years previous and was in the middle … [Read More...]