March 4, 2024

The Political Meaning of Christianity: Chapter One, cont’d Here, today, I will take up Chapter One, “The Fallen Individual” and “The Man-god versus the God-man” (pp. 35-52). If you are reading the book with me, feel free to comment (following the guidelines below). If you are not reading the book with me, feel free to ask a question. Why are we (I don’t know how many) reading and discussing this book? Because some of us believe Christianity has more than... Read more

March 2, 2024

What I Mean By “White Privilege” Conversations about “white privilege” often bog down because of imprecise definitions. One common misunderstanding is that it means that every Caucasian person is automatically privileged socially and economically simply by being white. Some would argue that is the case. I think, however, of my own childhood in poverty. We were not economically privileged. Some would argue we were and just didn’t experience it as we could have. I wonder about that. So what is... Read more

March 1, 2024

What Does “Supernatural” Mean? I am often asked what I mean by “supernatural” and many people, including many Christians, reject the term and concept—including many Christians. I understand why. There are two reasons. First, the word itself has come to be identified in the popular mind with the occult. Second, the word itself seems to reflect a dualism between nature and God or nature and spirits. I object to these misunderstandings of “supernatural.” But I have sometimes had trouble explaining... Read more

February 28, 2024

Avoid Bullies; Speak Out about Them Bullies are everywhere, so it seems. Even in American political life. Being a bully, someone who verbally, if not physically, assaults a weaker person for no good reason, should exclude someone from public life. People who vote for bullies are likely to be bullies themselves. Bullying is one of the banes of human existence. Bullies should be cancelled. Let me offer two examples you may not be aware of. You should be aware of... Read more

February 26, 2024

Are You Brainwashed? ”Brainwashing” has been a topic of conversation and controversy for decades now. I think the first time I encountered the idea was when I heard about some American soldiers who, during the Korean War, allegedly spoke sincerely and publicly against America from Korea where they were prisoners of war. Commentators said they had been “brainwashed.” Ever since then, the term and the concept “brainwashing” has been commonly discussed and disputed. Now many pop psychologists and others claim... Read more

February 25, 2024

The Political Meaning of Christianity: Chapter One (1) Today I will comment on Chapter One, “The Exaltation of the Individual,” the first two parts: “Christian Love” and “The Exalted Individual.” Feel free to comment if you have read these pages (19-35); if you have not read them, feel free to ask a question. Author Glenn Tinder begins with “The prophetic attitude that defines the Christian view of politics is incomprehensible apart from the Christian concept of love.” (19) Here he... Read more

February 23, 2024

Christian Nationalism as Folk Religion One of the most influential articles I read was by sociologist of religion Robert Ellwood, who I got to know personally later. It was about Christianity’s “down-home turn.” Right now I don’t remember where it was published, but I cut out the article and kept it in my files. It spurred me to write my book Questions to All Your Answers: The Journey from Folk Religion to Examined Faith. According to Ellwood, folk religion is... Read more

February 20, 2024

Questions for Theology Nerds Who is a “theology nerd?” Well, I’m one. We theology nerds love theology. We eat, sleep and breath theology. Why? Well, each of us has a different reason. Mine is probably my family and the church I grew up in. They had no theology. They had doctrines, but no theology. Theology is the study of doctrines. From an early age I asked questions such as “Why do we believe that?” Such questions were not very welcome,... Read more

February 19, 2024

My Story of Being “Cancelled” Don’t misunderstand. I’m telling this story to explain why I think the word “inerrancy” is misleading, especially when conservative American evangelicals use it as a kind of litmus test for who’s “in” and who’s “out” of their club. I’m going to omit names here; some of you may be able to guess who some of the players were. Some years ago I received a phone call from the president of the Evangelical Theological Society who... Read more

February 17, 2024

A Third Testament? Malcolm Muggeridge on Youtube Who was Malcolm Muggeridge? He was a secular journalist, editor of the British satire magazine “Punch,” who became a devout Catholic Christian and prophet to “modern Western man.” One thing that made him famous was the television series “A Third Testament” in which he featured Augustine, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer, Blake, and others of his heroes. I used to show some of these episodes on VHS tapes to students—especially Augustine, Kierkegaard and Bonhoeffer. I... Read more

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