August 26, 2021

I know what you’re thinking. How does something like this happen? Well, how much time do you have? It’s complicated. Or, maybe it’s not that complicated. After reading the linked dialogue between two demons, I’m a bit lightheaded. First, what might be a generous reading of the linked essay (performative dialogue/sermon)? It could be the writer is trying to talk about boundaries. In general, if a person has fallen over a cliff, we normally grab a hold of something so... Read more

August 8, 2021

Although purely anecdotal, I remember witnessing a strange dynamic in my fundamentalist/evangelical days as to decision making. While our church had a democratic/congregational type polity, there was always an undercurrent of potential pastor idolization and the authoritarian temptation or impulse. It mostly depended upon how well liked and respected the pastor was by those with the most power and influence (often those with the most money—the substantive tithers) in the church. If for some reason the pastor fell out of... Read more

July 25, 2021

I think I’ve mentioned this book before, but I finally got around to finishing it. Run, do not walk, to your nearest bookstore (wait, they don’t exist anymore)—I mean to your laptop/tablet—and buy this book. Is it a perfect book? No, of course not. I’ve come across two consistent criticisms as I’ve read other reviews. One, is that the book too often sweeps with a broad broom and the other is citations and sourcing. I don’t agree with either. My... Read more

June 26, 2021

I’m no expert on Critical Race Theory (CRT) and I doubt the reader is either. I haven’t read any books on the subject, nor spoken with anyone very knowledgeable of the theory. I’ve read more about the controversy the theory seems to inspire, than the theory itself. That’s probably true for most of us. However, I have looked into it a bit. Reading this essay, I came across this: “Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than... Read more

June 1, 2021

On May 15, 1957, evangelist Billy Graham preached for the first time at Madison Square Garden to a crowd of over 18,000 people. It was the beginning of his New York “crusade.”  He would also preach inside Yankee Stadium, filling it as well. He would end up preaching in New York clear into September. We might say on that date, what we know as modern (meaning, recent at least) American Evangelicalism was born. Why that date and event?  Prior to... Read more

May 19, 2021

Because I’m a masochist and glutton for punishment, every now and then I peruse The Gospel Coalition website. And then I tell myself, like the borderline alcoholic or drug addict, to never, ever, do that again. But I still do. Oh, well. We all have our struggles. And I came across this essay. Now, in all fairness, the author makes many good and sound (in my opinion) theological and cultural points. Christians are indeed sojourners; we are exiles in this... Read more

May 7, 2021

If one grew up in especially a Calvinist strain of fundamentalism/evangelicalism, they at some time probably heard a sermon or read something about the difference between “common” grace and “saving” grace—or common and special grace. The idea is that there are two types of God’s grace. There is the “common” sort that everybody experiences, whether they know or recognize the source or not. A typical Bible verse used to support this notion is Matthew 5:45: “[God] makes his sun rise... Read more

April 23, 2021

I doubt anyone prefers being literally homeless. Most of us probably don’t like it metaphorically either. We like to belong. We like to know where we fit politically. Having a point of reference, a North Star, gives us a sense of comfort and security. For those who have found that same or similar star or reference, it means finding a community, a home. We seem to live between two extraordinary tensions right now as American citizens. On one hand, are... Read more

April 8, 2021

It’s amazing to me. For some reason, when it comes to the internet and social media, too many people who call themselves “Christians” feel free to spread false information or misinformation. For those with college educations, what they would never cite in a paper without checking for truth and accuracy, they will happily share on social media. Yes, I know, social media isn’t an academic forum. Still, if one is going to share anything of substance, something important, something where... Read more

March 29, 2021

I came across these three words (“anarchy of charity”) while re-reading David Bentley Hart’s seminal theological work, in the chapter on eschatology (Pg. 399). I immediately fell in love with those three words, even if I wasn’t completely sure why I felt that way, or what it was they conveyed. It was just a complete interruption to my reading. I was brought to a halt by their poetic power and what they stirred within me. The context for their use... Read more

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