September 17, 2019

One of the most uncomfortable and least talked about parables of Jesus is his parable of the wineskins. Jesus says that new wine cannot be poured into old wineskins without bursting them; it requires new wineskins. The implications of this parable for the continuity of apostolic tradition are highly problematic. Which is why they are usually qualified, explained away, and bracketed. Otherwise Jesus’ parable might be held guilty of Marcionism, the heresy that says Christianity must throw away the old… Read more

August 20, 2019

I’m not the best person at parsing through details. Right now I’m in the thick of a new school year in a campus ministry building that is still a disaster after a summer flood and I’m hiring dozens of new student workers, so my mind is swirling with all that. I have noticed a lot of commentary about two proposals for what needs to happen in United Methodism’s future: a UMC Next proposal that is being championed by centrists and… Read more

August 14, 2019

For those of you who weren’t following progressive Christian twitter a few days ago, there was a flareup that has come to be called #ResurrectionGate. I’m not going to try to adjudicate who started it, who was at fault, etc. There was bad behavior; there was misrepresentation of other people’s statements; there were overreactions; it was complicated. I’m more interested in offering some reflections on progressive Christian discourse and whether/how Christian orthodoxy matters. I haven’t been able to organize my… Read more

June 30, 2019

This past Friday, on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that inaugurated the gay liberation movement, the Evangelical Covenant Church did something they had never done in their history: voting to expel a congregation from their denomination. They did so because the members of this congregation, First Covenant Church of Minneapolis (FCCM) had declared themselves to be fully inclusive of LGBTQ people and a staff-person who wasn’t the pastor had presided at a same-sex wedding off-site in 2014. The… Read more

June 26, 2019

The gospel reading for this past Sunday was the story of the Gerasene demoniac in Mark 5 and Luke 8. For anyone unfamiliar, it’s about a man in the region of the Gerasenes who is possessed by a legion of demons that make it so he has to live naked among the tombs ostracized by his surrounding community. When Jesus meets him, he agrees to cast the demons out. The demons beg to be cast into a herd of pigs,… Read more

June 22, 2019

Our Virginia annual conference happened in Roanoke this year. As I drove from my parents’ house in Durham, my GPS routed me through some small towns in the Virginia foothills off the beaten path. And I came across a church sign that was very clever and expressed a sentiment that seemed worth pondering. It said, “Sugary preaching leads to truth decay.” One of the favorite passages of conservative evangelicals is 2 Timothy 4:3: “For the time is coming when people… Read more

June 12, 2019

I’ve shared before that I’m a survivor of childhood sexual trauma in a Southern Baptist congregation. I’ve had a lot of feelings this week watching the conversation about sexual abuse unfold at the Southern Baptist Convention. I feel like I’m supposed to be congratulating the SBC on the way that they amended their constitution to disfellowship from churches that don’t properly address sexual abuse. I’ve wondered if I just want them to go down in flames so badly that I’m… Read more

May 21, 2019

This is probably one of those awkward dad moments when I misuse a term like “stan” that the kids are using on Twitter. And it’s even more corny because it rhymes. But writing about Game of Thrones seems to require a less than fully serious title. There’s been a lot of backlash against this season of Game of Thrones. The plot was pretty clunky and awkward. But the one redeeming quality of the finale was the way that a disabled… Read more

May 8, 2019

I should have known that I was going to get snarky replies from conservative evangelicals when I said that Rachel Held Evans democratized theology. They said all the predictable things about ordinary people being totally depraved and untrustworthy interpreters of the Bible (with the exception of those who have infallibly interpreted scripture the way they have). Their criticism did help me realize that I need to further refine how I articulate the concept of democratized theology. Talking about theology as… Read more

May 7, 2019

I’m very new to the Game of Thrones world. Since some of my students are really into it, I decided I would start watching this season. And I got hooked. I watched enough key episodes from past seasons and read enough online summaries to get up to speed on this season. A major subplot this season has been the disintegration of the power of Danaerys Targaryen who now only has one out of her three dragons left. As she has… Read more

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