March 22, 2016

Author’s note: Because I hold to the doctrine of universal reconciliation—and brazenly so—I take a lot of heat from a lot of fellow Christians. Not only do I get to hear how I am a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” “a false prophet,” and even, “a satanist”—how spooky!—but I then get to deal with what I call “machine-gun questioning.” What I mean by that is, for example, if I am talking about Pauline theology, arguing that it is much more inclusive… Read more

March 18, 2016

With so many horrific things going on in the world right now, it is hard not to think that everything is simply hopeless. And so, it is then hard not to look at the overall picture and feel as if there is nothing one can do. With all this violence in the world, how can I make a difference? Well, even though a part of me is pessimistic and thinks like this at times, the core of me believes in peace… Read more

March 14, 2016

There are so many stories throughout the Hebrew Scriptures that are, well, simply perplexing. Tales of genocide and ethnic cleansing, of warring tribes, backed by violent tribal deities, fill the pages. Cities are crushed by fire and brimstone that falls from the heavens. Disobedience gets you turned into a pillar of salt, while “pulling out early” lands you the punishment of instant death. And don’t even dare think about trying to (non-consciously) catch the Ark of the Covenant before it… Read more

February 28, 2016

In The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul, Pauline scholar Douglas Campbell offers a radical rereading of Romans, with great emphasis being placed on how one should really be reading Romans 1–4. He argues that, instead of Romans 1:18–32 being the voice of Paul; it is instead the voice of the false teachersthat were either in Rome or on their way to Rome. Thus, in the first four chapters of Romans, Paul will be “talking through” two dissimilar gospels: his and the false teacher’s. Actually, in reality, it would have been a speaker (Phoebe, see Romans 16:1) sent by Paul who would do the reading. Campbell explains Paul’s method: Read more

February 23, 2016

It is becoming more and more obvious as to the kind of fruit this 2016 election crop is bearing. With accusations being flung around left and right, and judgment being placed by those in no place to judge, the fruit seems to be spoiling on the vine. Let us hope that this changes before it is too late. Read more

February 17, 2016

You and I claim to worship the same God. We probably read our Bibles a bunch and, only because I recently started attending a Methodist church, our Sunday mornings are probably spent in “similar” fashion. But, in light of some of the things you and your “people” have said on the campaign trail, I cannot help but think we actually worship a different God—at least one with very dissimilar qualities. No doubt if you knew my theology you would agree with me on that one. And so, instead of simply prattling off all the reasons why I believe you are in the wrong and I am in the right (as if that would get us anywhere), please allow me to ask you three quick questions about how you approach faith, the Bible, and the like. I think this will help me understand just how you arrived at some of your conclusions. Thanks. Read more

February 1, 2016

So, how did Jesus read the “Bible?” Well, he cherry-picked it. Gasp! It’s okay though, so did Paul. Double gasp! That’s okay too because there’s a pattern, which I am going to show you now. Read more

January 20, 2016

As I have pondered my own death over the past few months, I have become increasingly grateful that I believe in a God who will always work toward my good. Death still causes anxiety at times (I’m not quite ready to follow Paul in mocking death itself), but there is comfort in knowing that it will also be what brings me to God and therefore, toward reconciliation with everyone. Isn’t that the greatest hope we can have? To live in perfect harmony with everyone who has ever lived, to have perfectly restored relationships, to see Christ in each and everyone, for God to truly be “all in all.” I think it is. But realizing this would not have been possible without understanding the truth that God will save everyone whom he wants, which is indeed everyone. Anything short of that, as St. Silouan the Athonite might say, would be unbearable for love. We are just too interconnected, anthropologically and psychologically. And because love is the reason for all of this, we must hope that love wins in the end. Read more

January 7, 2016

When a culture uses dissimilar language to define similar behaviors between different ethnic and religious groups, then that is a tell-tale sign that it is in the midst of scapegoating. Labeling a group as “occupiers” and “armed activists” sends a very different message than “thugs” and “terrorists.” It seems we like using the former for good ole white Christians while reserving the latter for blacks and Muslims. Read more

December 27, 2015

Well, I do not believe any of these options or any similar are satisfactory and over the course of this book, will attempt to offer a better way to engage the Bible. I will argue that, rather than one unequivocal voice (God’s) in Scripture, there are multiple voices present (religion vs. revelation) and that the lens from which we discern what is what is that of Jesus hanging on the cross. It is this Christocentric lens, I will assert, that has the power to save us from ourselves and our fundamental human problem, namely that of violence (which I will introduce in chapter one). It has the power to save us from our propensity to create victims in the name of God, and, to use Pauline language, from the powers and principalities that structure our fallen world (Ephesians 6:12). It is the love Christ has for us that places him in the center of our death-dealing systems but it is also the love the Father has for him and for all of humanity that resurrects him three days later. This is the Good News and it is within this book called “The Bible” where we find hope; hope of a future where violence is no more, where the nations are indeed healed by the tree of life, and where the peace of God reigns forevermore. At least, that will be the case I am attempting to make in this book. Read more

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