April 21, 2020

I was happy that last year, well before final exam week arrived, my university leadership noticed that Ramadan, which slowly moves across the solar calendar year after year, was coming to overlap with that period in our academic calendar. Given that this has not regularly been an issue, and that while most Muslims fast during the day in this period they expect to go about their business (metaphorically at least but often literally as well), I was surprised that some… Read more

April 20, 2020

My Sunday school class celebrated Zoomcharist (communion via Zoom), and not only did we have individuals join us who never or rarely made it to the class when it met physically at the church building on Sunday mornings, but we all saw one another’s faces. Depending on the device we used, some had to swipe between screens showing four at a time, while others could see the entire group at once. But never had I seen all these faces that… Read more

April 19, 2020

Vance Morgan writes of the story of Thomas in the Gospel of John: There is another way to read this account, a way in which Thomas turns out not to be a spiritual weakling, but rather to be a model of how to approach the spiritual life…Embedded in the middle of this misunderstood story is a fundamental truth: A true encounter with the divine is never second-hand. Hearing about someone else’s experiences, trying to find God through the haze of… Read more

April 18, 2020

If the pandemic’s isolation of us all persists for another three years, you’ll be happy I recommended all three of these volumes to you. But more likely it will simply be the case that they will be useful to you despite being able to get back out and do other things more than you currently can. Either way, it would be easy to simply wallow in distractions under the circumstances in which I currently find myself, but forcing myself to… Read more

April 17, 2020

Someone in my Sunday school class asked whether we could celebrate communion next Sunday. I suggested the acronym BYOB would work, not just for “Bring Your Own Bottle” (although wine is one of the elements) but also “Bring Your Own Bread.” I’m glad that Zoomcharist hadn’t occurred to me as a possible word yet at that point. I got there after briefly toying with the idea of calling it Comm-Zoom-ion. But lame attempts at puns aside, have any readers of… Read more

April 16, 2020

They say that when something is on Wikipedia, that’s when it is official. But that wasn’t what clued me in that the news had broken about this. It was a Google Alert about when my name appears somewhere. I feel honored to have my volume singled out for mention as one the author of the volume on The Rings of Akhaten is looking forward to. I in turn am eagerly looking forward to reading that volume! You may recall that I… Read more

April 15, 2020

“The Horns of Nimon” is a Doctor Who episode that is of particular interest to those who study religious themes on the show. A character answers Romana’s question about what the Nimon is by saying, “The great god of Skonnos. They say he’s a terrible creature with awesome powers.” Romania says he sounds like an insecure personality to her, an interesting theological judgement that might be apt for a wide array of portraits of the divine. The character of Soldeed… Read more

April 14, 2020

I was delighted when I learned a while back (in a conversation with Deb Saxon on the ReligionProf Podcast) that Natalie Renee Perkins would be setting the Odes of Solomon to music in a contemporary style. Her album Songs of Your Truth is now available. You can learn more about the Odes of Solomon and about the album on Shirley Paulson’s blog. Below is a sample track, courtesy of YouTube, but I encourage you to explore the others, since the… Read more

April 13, 2020

In my Sunday school class and fellowship on Easter morning, which met via Zoom, I shared a thought from 1 Corinthians 12, observing that this text stands between Paul’s comments on the dividedness of the church in Corinth and their resurrection faith. Here’s the text I read: 12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so… Read more

April 12, 2020

Some thoughts on blog posts related to one of my major fields of research – Christology and monotheism – as they relate to things that have appeared on blogs in recent days. Let me start with Keith Giles’ post about Jesus’ words from Psalm 22 on the cross.  I agree with Giles that the widespread popular interpretation of Jesus’ words on the cross is misguided. But the “Messianic prophecy” approach he substitutes in its place is no better, especially given the… Read more

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