August 11, 2019

So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (God) Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy… Read more

August 7, 2019

So, you’d like your church to declare itself part of the new sanctuary network. You are ready to house an individual or family seeking sanctuary. What do you need to know? Step One: Read A Little Bit Read the go-to resource for sanctuary as an alternative to deportation, Church World Service’s web site sanctuarynotdeportation.org . There are a ton of great resources here, ways to participate broadly in the new sanctuary movement, in advocacy, actions, and more. In particular, for… Read more

August 6, 2019

What’s up with the progressive spiritual tradition’s almost dogmatic focus on this earthly life? As much as focus on heavenly things leads to lessened commitment to liberative action in this world, I sympathize with a focus on such things as the fulness of life, human flourishing, grounding in this world, lessons in “how to be here.”  But I wonder if this “spiritual materialism” has become the new dogmatism, worth a bit of pushback. Notice the great teachers of progressive spirituality… Read more

August 5, 2019

Some books are books, intended from inception for print. Other books arise out of vital conversations. These books are attempts to record in print the power of a speech event. The new posthumous book by Krister Stendahl is of the latter variety. It is a manuscript created from the transcript of lectures given at Dana College, a small Lutheran school in Nebraska. The manuscript was kept and edited by colleagues, and is now published together with interfaith commentary. Stendahl’s reputation… Read more

August 3, 2019

Whenever readers embark on a bible reading journey beginning in Genesis and ending in Revelation, inevitably somewhere about 1/4th of the way into the journey, you’ll hear reactions like, “The OT is so violent. I’m sick of all the bloodshed and war.” Then, you’ll get this additional comment, “Thank God for the New Testament.” So without being too snarky on the point, I thought I’d at least register the following points: 1) How did we get the notion that the… Read more

August 3, 2019

If you’ve got it all figured out, and are settled on all the answers, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re doubting and struggling and questioning and inquiring, you’re on your way. It’s unfortunate but appears to be the case that what used to be called theological inquiry is now considered by many Christians to be doubt. I wish more people who actually wonder how Jesus could be both God and man or whether he was born of a virgin could trust that,… Read more

August 3, 2019

Lately I’ve been chatting with colleagues in my denomination about our theology of the Eucharist. Or maybe I should say our ecclesiology of the Eucharist, because more than we have a theology of what the Lord’s supper means, we seem to have a structure around who can preside at it. \In this post, I’m going to try and describe why I have a “radically adjacent” ecclesiology of the Lord’s Supper compared to my denomination and many colleagues. On the one… Read more

August 3, 2019

“I submit that the ultimate religious question today is no longer the Reformation’s “How can I find a gracious God?” It is instead, “How can I find God in my enemy?” What guilt was for Luther, the enemy has become for us: the goad that can drive us to God.” (Walter Wink) Since reading this thesis of Wink’s, I’ve been gnawing at it. He’s probably right, though it’s not a thesis you can accept all at once. Like God’s grace,… Read more

July 31, 2019

In short, precisely that which was generally considered piety (religion or eusebeia), reverencing the many gods, was, for early Christians idolatry, impiety of the gravest sort (Larry Hurtado, Destroyer of the Gods). Reverencing the many gods. Reverencing the many gods. The scandal of Christian preaching is precisely this–it names idolatry among the very people who believe they’re practicing the reverse. It calls us to name idolatry in the very places those practicing it are most convinced they’re doing otherwise. Notice, for… Read more

July 24, 2019

τοῦ λόγου δὲ ἐόντος ξυνοῦ ζώουσιν οἱ πολλοί ὡς ἰδίαν ἔχοντες φρόνησιν I. Burnt Sage   The abandoned car wash shelters the ecumenical assembly orange vests become beacons of anarchist coordination and as the drums drum and the chants chant the righteous anger of a people proud of who they are   cries out, “You want to send us back but our back was always here.”   Back here is here, on the far side of an interstate inhospitable to… Read more

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