paperback, n. [pey-per-bak]: bound in a flexible manner; theology, n. [thee-ol-uh-jee]: god-talk; the study of everything in its relation to God.

Paperback Theology is a place to talk about religion, politics, art, culture, spirituality, and the church. This blog exists for those of us who are not the world’s leading expert on anything, and yet we find that we are insatiably inquisitive about nearly everything on the planet, particularly from the perspective of its relationship to God. Paperback Theology readers typically don’t have the hardback first editions; we have the dog-eared paperback version that we found on the clearance rack at Half-Price Books – the rack we obsessively check for the latest bargains – and we are usually the last to buy the book. But we read the books nonetheless and we like to talk about the intersection of faith and life, whatever life may bring. We are flexible and open to change. We expect to be challenged by what we read, and cannot think of anything more horrible than ceasing to grow. If that describes you… you’ve come to the right place.

My name is Tim Suttle, and I’m a pastor, writer, and musician – ex-musician mostly – and I’m your host at Paperback Theology. I am also, believe it or not, an Evangelical Christian. It’s not a confession I usually lead with, but I make that disclosure up front as a way of declaring that these are my people for better or for worse. I was raised by evangelicals, trained by evangelicals, and I pastor an evangelical church in KC. If the evangelicals want me out, they are going to have to kick me out.

Theologically, I am a bit of a mutt. I was raised by Southern Baptists, trained in church leadership by the Presbyterians, and did my formal theological training among the Wesleyans (Nazarene Theological Seminary). I resonate deeply with Post-liberal theology, although as an evangelical it is easier to resist connecting myself as closely with the political left as most other post-liberals would. Politically I am neither conservative nor liberal – I am Christian, and that is all-consuming. I’m not truly a progressive either – I really don’t have a home. When pressed I usually say I’m a sometimes pissy, always hopeful, passionate and yet irascible Christ follower. I like to say that I’m so conservative I am often mistaken for a liberal. This means I have a high view of scripture, a high Christology, and a high view of the church. It also means that I’m as likely to critique the political right as the political left & my views will never fit into the dominant narratives of our culture.

This blog is meant to provide a place for normal everyday Christians to come talk about all of life in it’s relation to God. This is Paperback – bound in a flexible manner; Theology – god-talk. I’m glad you found your way here & hope you’ll feel free to comment, gripe, link, post, sing and snipe (a little), your way through this conversation.