April 9, 2019

Melissa Florer-Bixler’s book Fire by Night: Finding God in the Page of the Old Testament is out today from Herald Press! As I mentioned in my introductory post on the book, instead of writing a traditional review, I plan to blog through the book chapter-by-chapter. Pick up a copy ASAP so you can join the discussion! Today we look at chapter 1, “God of Reckoning.” In this chapter, Rev. Florer-Bixler describes her practice of retreating to St. John’s Abbey in Minnesota… Read more

April 8, 2019

In the winter of 1995, a group of homeless families in Philadelphia took a dramatic action. They broke into the abandoned St. Edward’s Catholic Church to seek shelter from the cold. One of the organizers, Liz Theoharis, describes their action this way in her book Always with Us?: We broke the locks, moved in, and posted passages from the Bible on the walls. . . . We hung posters asking, “Why do we worship with a homeless man on Sunday… Read more

April 2, 2019

In the case of the Prodigal Son parable, I’m on Team Big Brother. Across the two millennia that the parable has been preached, Team Big Brother consistently gets a raw deal. For one thing, even though the parable literally begins with the phrase, “A man had two sons,” many tellings forget about the older son entirely. Even one of my all-time favorite songwriters, Keith Green, wrote a song about this parable from the perspective of the younger son—without ever mentioning… Read more

March 29, 2019

Anabaptists are often accused—and only slightly less-often guilty—of a Marcionite reading of the Bible. Marcion was a second-century Christian considered a heretic by his contemporary Tertullian as well as most Christians after him. He believed that the God of the Old Testament was a wrathful tyrant, whereas the God of the New Testament is a loving heavenly Father. So he rejected the former in favor of the latter. Likewise, Anabaptists have a tendency to focus on the New Testament God of… Read more

March 21, 2019

In 2008, Houston-area mega-church pastor Kerry Shook and his wife and mission’s director Chris published the book One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life. It went on to become a New York Times bestseller, so perhaps you’ve read it. I confess that I have not. But I do know that the major premise of the book is to imagine what you would do with your life if you knew that you only had one month to live… Read more

March 14, 2019

Ever since the extent and gravity of John Howard Yoder’s sexual offenses have come to public light, it’s common to hear the question, Where does Anabaptist-Mennonite theology go now? This week the Institute of Mennonite Studies is hosting the conference Liberating the Politics of Jesus, which promises to provide a compelling answer to that question. One of the conference organizers, Darryl W. Stephens, provides a bit of background: The vision of liberating the radical political ethic of Jesus Christ, as witnessed… Read more

March 12, 2019

This weekend, after three years of regular bedtime readings, my 9-year-old and I finally finished the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For those who haven’t spent three years reading the books or twelve hours watching the movies, I’ll summarize briefly. The evil Lord Sauron forges 20 rings of power, 3 for elf kinds, 7 dwarf kings, 9 for human kings, and 1 for himself to rule over them all. After Sauron is killed in battle, his ring still gives his… Read more

March 7, 2019

Last weekend I had the good fortune of hearing Lisa Sharon Harper speak in South Bend on the theme of her book The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can Be Made Right. Harper is the founder and president of Freedom Road, a consulting group that aims to “help communities shrink the narrative gap, by identifying core issues and building community capacity so they might work toward common solutions for a just world.” In her sermon based on her book, she… Read more

March 4, 2019

One cool thing about working at AMBS is that there’s a table of free books in the lounge—books that have been remaindered by the library or donated by retired faculty or alumni. And sometimes those books include John Howard Yoder’s personal bound copy of the first eight issues of the Concern pamphlet series.* As GAMEO describes, Concern is the name given to a series of pamphlets initiated by a group of young American Mennonite graduate students, relief workers, and missionaries who… Read more

February 28, 2019

A few years ago the good people at Sojourners invited me to write a short article on the varieties of approaches to Christian nonviolence. In “A Field Guide to Christian Nonviolence,” Sojourners (January 2016), I describe eight distinct approaches to nonviolence, each exemplified by a Christian thinker or activist: 1. ‘Realist’ Nonviolence Walter Rauschenbusch (1861- 1918) Key Work: A Theology for the Social Gospel (1917) 2. The Nonviolence of the Disinherited Howard Thurman (1899-1981) Key Work: Jesus and the Disinherited (1949) 3. The Nonviolence of Christian… Read more

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