December 3, 2018

It turns out publishers have dramatically under-estimated the appetite for books about Donald Trump. Even if the publishers prefer not to hyper-focus on this president, they have little choice. Trump books, or Trump-adjacent books, sell. Big time. Think Bob Woodward and Michael Wolff. Meanwhile, at the Jim Acosta press credential revocation, I had been thinking the entire press could be wise to simply not attend any press conferences or give Trump any press. Wouldn’t it be a blessed relief if… Read more

November 27, 2018

Growing Into New Urbanism I live in a growing city in a growing region. Fayetteville frequently gets short-listed as one of the best places to live in the United States. Northwest Arkansas may be adding as many as 30 residents a day (think Walmart, Tyson, and a land-grant university), which means in the next five years, we’ll add an additional city’s worth of residents to our region. This leaves many of our regional leaders hyper-aware, vigilant about the impact of… Read more

November 25, 2018

Let’s call a thing what it is. The denomination in which I serve (the ELCA) is one of the whitest Christian denominations in the United States. Statistically, we’re as lacking in racial diversity as a few other denominations like the United Methodists and Episcopalians, and overall, mainline Protestant churches are much less diverse than the U.S. population. But by any measure, we’re on the far end of the spectrum. We could talk about why so many Lutherans look like they… Read more

November 22, 2018

Here’s a little pre-turkey political theology for your day. Consider, when someone says “America first” what do they mean? What they mean, bottom line, is that the president can do whatever is necessary to sustain the life of the US.   Examples: drone strikes on US citizens, suspend asylum rules, any and all proclamations or edicts from the “sovereign” that suspend the rules (which is why almost all of these policies are then challenged by the courts, the last arbiters… Read more

November 10, 2018

Contemporary denial of climate change is not unlike the Galileo affair around 1610. The church and many religious leaders of that era resisted evidence of a heliocentric universe presented by Galileo, so much so that Galileo famously wrote, “My dear Kepler, I wish that we might laugh at the remarkable stupidity of the common herd. What do you have to say about the principal philosophers of this academy who are filled with the stubbornness of an asp and do not… Read more

November 2, 2018

Also Known As the Pareto Principle It’s sometimes called the Pareto Principle, named after the Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto, who noticed that 20% of the people in Italy owned 80% of the land. The rule in its most simple phenomenological form states that 80% of effects come from 20% of the causes.  80% of Legos are sold to 20% of the customers. It’s why Lego started making giant Millennium Falcons –they realized they had super customers who would buy everything. Or… Read more

October 25, 2018

Welcome to the 501st anniversary of the Reformation! I’ll be your host, Reverend Doctor Clint Schnekloth, long-time blogger at Lutheran Confessions and therefore pseudo-expert on all things Reformation! If you’re reading this, I thank you, because in this election cycle, most of us are simply reading posts about the upcoming election, waking up startled to the president’s lies, or burying ourselves in desperate attempts at humor over at McSweeney’s. Remember the 500th? 2017 was the 500th anniversary of the Reformation…. Read more

October 15, 2018

It’s been hard lately to make pastoral or theological sense of many things. I don’t think I’m alone in hitting the creativity wall. I often feel stalled, wondering how to push through, or why to push through, towards generativity. Hitting this wall keeps me thinking about Michael Pollan’s recent book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence. The book is mostly a history of the conservative culture war waged… Read more

October 10, 2018

There’s a big Evangelical church in most communities. Multi-site. Well known lead pastor. Prominent location by an interstate. I imagine you may have a church like this near you. The church implements a lot of very aggressive evangelism strategies. Maybe they distribute posters in the folders at elementary school inviting the whole school to a bible study, circumventing district policies. The church unapologetically evangelizes everyone all the time, regardless of church affiliation, often using youth events as a primary evangelical… Read more

October 4, 2018

Creation and Trinity A lot of Christian theology over the centuries has been focused, not without reason, on the God-human relationship. Jesus Christ was a human being, after all, so if Christianity confesses the human being Jesus as Messiah and Lord, it makes sense a lot of thought would be invested, a lot of words spilled, on understanding how it could possibly be the case that Jesus Christ was fully God AND fully human. Lost in the shuffle, on the other hand, has… Read more

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