June 6, 2005

I had never heard of Orvieto, I confess, before Kris and I begain reading Rick Steves’ guide to Italy. It is one more of what Italy is full of: cities on the top of some hill, a city of stone buildings, stone, narrow walkways, and composed of what appears as an endless maze of little pathways.But every Italian city has its story, and most of the stories go back to the Medieval age. Orvieto’s story got its push when a… Read more

June 5, 2005

We couldn’t stay away from Assisi, the home of St Francis and St Clare. We planned to visit Assisi for one day, but found our way back two more times and, could we have justified not seeing other places (like Siena, Orvieto, Civita, Montefalco, Trevi, and Norcia), we may have spent our entire week peering into the history of what Paul Sabatier dubbed a reformation before the Reformation — namely, the Franciscan revival.The difference between Rome’s ruins and Assisi’s continued… Read more

May 29, 2005

We have been to Rome for just a few hours, but I loved the Forum and could have spent days walking amongst the ruins.Today we are in Assisi, and must admit that Francis continues to impel a sense of detachment from the world — even when the streets are lined with trinket shops and sales. Seeing the crypt of Clare, with Francis’ garb and rope, is a sight to behold.Thanks for all the blogs; I’ll get back to you when… Read more

May 25, 2005

The question comes to me as to why I think it is that we so often see sin most systemically in the urban context. Good question. Here are my thoughts:Because the operative word for defining systemic sin is “social justice.”Because, when we define “justice” in general terms and “social justice” in sociological terms, we bifurcate the two and see the biggest problems in the urban context. This is a mistake.Here’s why: the word “justice” is no different than “social justice”… Read more

May 24, 2005

McLaren’s The Last Word and the Word After ThatThis is a slightly edited version of an earlier blog.In this blog I will interact with Brian McLaren’s helpful and provocative new book that seeks to deconstruct “hell” language as a rhetoric that sets people on edge in order to persuade them to embrace a gospel that creates a community of persons who live a life of love of God and Others for the good of the world. Overall, I could not… Read more

May 23, 2005

I’m not quite done with McLaren’s The Last Word and the Word After That but I’ve come to a point where I want to put some of his book in perspective. Two observations tonight.First, a smaller one but one that needs to be said. McLaren’s essential stance in this latest novel (or whatever one calls a book where we’ve got two fellas sorting out their theology) is rhetorical. That is, he’s trying to get a conversation going about hell and… Read more

May 22, 2005

If you’ve followed these blogs about hell, you’ll know that I got them going before I started reading The Last Word and the Word After That. And of the blogs I had planned had to do with the role historical judgment has played in how many speak of hell. My mind is slow after a day of chatting and drinking tea on the back porch with Kris and the kids (and their spouses). Luke and Annika are “fixin” to move… Read more

May 20, 2005

When my editor friend suggested that I blog, I balked. Mostly because I didn’t know what it really was all about, but also because I never anticipated it would be this much fun. Maybe I’ll burn out with this and someday just stop but for right now this has been a wonderful ride with others on their journey of faith.If you looked at Books and Culture to see the piece by Corcoran, and then looked above it, you will have… Read more

May 20, 2005

In yesterday’s very active blog about Dark Thoughts some commented on what they “hoped” while some others thought such “hopes” were unbiblical and misplaced. I offer here not so much what I believe and what I will eventually state in these blogs, but why it is that many of us really do “hope” Dark Thoughts, as traditionally stated, are not the Last Word. I grieve over those who think we shouldn’t “hope” such things, as if our “hoping” is somehow… Read more

May 19, 2005

As a college student, and over in Belgium on a mission trip where I learned so much about the bigness of the Church, I was fortunate enough to be able to sit daily and listen to John R.W. Stott preach.He said something that has never left me, and it pertains to what we are discussing in this series of blogs about Dark Thoughts.Here it is — and I paraphrase: “Anyone who speaks about hell as the fate of any human… Read more

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