We Thank You Just the Same

Sometime ago I watched the film, “Shenandoah.” James Stewart plays Charlie Anderson, a Virginia farmer who becomes embroiled unwillingly in the mayhem of the War Between the States. His family gathers at the dinner table, and Anderson prays, “Lord, we cleared this land. We ploughed it, sowed it, and harvested. We cooked the harvest. It wouldn’t be here, we wouldn’t be eating it, if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog bone-hard for every crumb and morsel, but… Read more

A Reflection on the Shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas

All Saints Day, 2017   The Church witnesses to a world that is broken and enthralled to darkness. It also witnesses to God’s victory over that darkness in the person and work of Christ. But the very shape of that victory is one marked by a time in between and it is into that struggle that the Christian is invited.   That is why the Saints whose lives we celebrated today are not easy people or even likable. They are… Read more

I Come to Bury Evangelicalism, Not to Praise It

Coming from Scot McKnight, who is himself a leading evangelical voice, the summons to bury the movement this last week came as something of a theological earthquake. But in not very different terms from the title above, that was exactly what he suggested. You can read the article here. I am not an Evangelical, but I do owe a good deal of my early education to teachers who would have described themselves as such. I also think it is important to… Read more

I Come to Bury Evangelicalism, Not to Praise It

Coming from Scot McKnight, who is himself a leading evangelical voice, the summons to bury the movement this last week came as something of a theological earthquake. But in not very different terms from the title above, that was exactly what he suggested. You can read the article here. I am not an Evangelical, but I do owe a good deal of my early education to teachers who would have described themselves as such. I also think it is important to… Read more

All God’s Children Got Dogma

A few weeks ago a firestorm erupted over an announcement at Patheos that former mega-church pastor, Mark Driscoll would be writing for the website. The complaint lodged by fellow Progressive Christians was that Driscoll’s views on women were not only backward and demeaning, but that he had also done women and others real harm. I don’t doubt it. Driscoll has described himself as William Wallace II (of Braveheart fame) and as “a prize fighter with a tattoo down His leg,… Read more

Las Vegas: The Brutal Truth and the Only Hope

By all means, let’s discover as much as we can about why Stephen Paddock fired blindly into a crowd. By all means, let’s enact any safeguard that might make it more difficult for this kind of thing to happen. But let’s not pretend that it won’t happen again, because it will. Gunshot and death will not always be the outcome. Sometimes, there will be more, not fewer victims. In fact, other kinds of mayhem went largely unnoticed around the world… Read more

Hugh Hefner: Let the Dead Bury the Dead

In the wake of Hugh Hefner’s demise this week, the BBC solemnly promised, “we’ll discuss whether he empowered women or turned them into sexual objects.” Damon Linker at The Week led with the question: “Was the late Hugh Hefner a friend or a scourge of feminism? The honest answer is: Both.” And those are just two examples of the pseudo-sophisticated efforts that the press and the media made to introduce sage conversation into the obituaries for the twentieth century’s leading… Read more

The Flag, the NFL, and the Freedom to Protest

  I believe in freedom of speech and, therefore, the right to protest. Unless anarchy, revolution, or self-aggrandizement are the goals, I also believe that at the end of any and every protest, the only way in which to achieve the goals of that protest is to define the legislative objectives one wants to achieve, frame it in language that is actionable, win approval for its content, and apply the law. The reverse, however, is not necessarily true: Legislative goals… Read more

God-given Weirdness

Much of the literature on the fundamentalist – modernist controversy of the 1920’s and 30’s is described as the struggle of fundamentalists against modernity — its science, its ways of thinking, approaches to Scripture, and, in particular, the theory of evolution. But what we don’t talk about very much is the way in which the desire not be thought of as fundamentalist has shaped mainline Protestantism. If you read the history of that period, you will discover that big donors… Read more

The Limits to Professional Boundaries

Over the years I’ve seen and read a number of articles about professional boundaries and their application to work in the church. Much of that literature is very helpful and stakes out areas where abuse and exploitation are all too possible. One has to be grateful for the reminders that literature provides and the protection that it offers for those who might be vulnerable in one way or another. The literature on boundaries also serves to remind people who work… Read more




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