April 4, 2020

Where Is God in This Pandemic?   Several people have asked me “Where is God in this pandemic?” One person rather pointedly put me on the spot and said “You’re a theologian; you ought to know.” I understand that. If anyone ought to know, I ought to know. But, of course, that question and statement could mean two different things. One is where is God in this particular disaster, this particular pandemic, out of all disasters and epidemics? The other… Read more

April 1, 2020

“This World Is Not My Home” A Reminder to Evangelical Christians I know what some evangelicals’ and others’ immediate reaction will be. I have taught it myself. “The old gospel song ‘This World Is Not My Home’ ought to be left behind because it leads to neglect of the biblical mandate to take care of this world in this “time between the times.” I can’t quote all the words here, but for those of you who don’t know, this gospel… Read more

March 28, 2020

The “Ultimate” and the “Penultimate”: An Important Distinction in Christian Ethics Lately I’ve been re-reading Bonhoeffer’s Ethics. It’s a collection of essays edited by Bonhoeffer’s good friend and protégé Eberhard Bethge. Many of the essays were found after Bonhoeffer’s death. Some of them were hidden in his parents’ attic and others were buried in their backyard. Bethge collected them and put them some kind of order, although, as many commentators and reviewers have mentioned, the order seems odd. But my… Read more

March 26, 2020

Why Should the Human Species Survive? Someone here repeated a comment I have heard many times in my conversations with atheists and others—that people ought to live their lives for the common good of humanity so that the human species may survive. Backing up to my previous blog post for a moment. I argued there that meaning and morality depend on there being some transcendent ground. That is, if there is no God or anything like God, then there can… Read more

March 22, 2020

What Matters More Than Anything Else at All, Whatsoever? I’m not asking what matters to you or to me personally, subjectively, in our own temporal lives? My question has to do with the overall scheme of things—reality itself. What matters more than anything else—period? That includes us, but is not limited to individuals or even groups of people. What I am asking is hard for some people to understand. I get that. But please try to understand what I am… Read more

March 21, 2020

Why I Am Disobeying the Bible I was brought up to believe, as I was taught, that a true Christian always obeyed biblical commandments with certain rare exceptions. One such exception had to do with the Old Testament. We did not believe Christians were expected to observe all the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament that pertained to Israel, to the Hebrew people. For example, we did not believe circumcision or strict adherence to dietary laws or observance of Saturday… Read more

March 18, 2020

Can God Change? Can God change? This question is here and now only for biblically- committed, evangelical Christians (broadly defined). In one of my seminary classes I am using a book entitled The Color of God by Methodist theologian Major Jones (Abingdon Press). It was published in the 1970s—well before “open theism” became a “thing.” And yet Jones anticipated open theism by arguing very strongly that the God of the Bible, the God believed in and worshiped by Black Christians… Read more

March 15, 2020

Can a True Christian be Demon Possessed? I know this is one of the strangest questions I have discussed here. And yet, it is still a live question—especially among conservative, evangelical Christians—especially those in churches (or raised in churches) that are intensely experiential as well as biblically-committed. I like to hear this question, and I do hear it from some of my students, because it tells me there are still Christians, even American Christians, who believe in evil “powers and… Read more

March 13, 2020

Responding Theologically to the Coronavirus Epidemic Let me just say up front that I am not a medical professional so read what I write here with that in mind. Please do not quibble over terms like “epidemic” versus “pandemic,” etc. Thank you for that. Over the last week (March 8 through March 13, 2020) it has become clear that 1) the world is facing a disease crisis that some medical experts are calling a pandemic, and 2) many people are… Read more

March 10, 2020

My Case for Greater Inclusion in “Diversity” I live and work in the academic world. There, let’s get that out of the way. However, I know from my students (over almost forty years) that many American corporations and businesses, government agencies and offices, etc., are also obsessed (no judgment implied) with diversity. (One can be obsessed with something with good cause; obsession with eradicating evil, for example, is a good thing.) I am going to say that “diversity” has become… Read more

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