God and Time (June 10, 2017) - As a follow-up to my somewhat befuddled post on Open Theism here’s a YouTube clip of John C. Polkinghorne discussing the nature of time. The clip is part of the Closer to Truth PBS series (US, Corporation for Public Broadcasting).  Polkinghorne* is a theoretical physicist and an Anglican priest. He appears to view God’s interaction with… Continue reading God and Time
Blood on the Floor (May 29, 2017) - A couple of years ago my wife and I read The Gifts of Imperfection* together.  The book resonated with me.  Since then other bits by the author, Brene Brown, have tended to get my attention.  Here’s a video clip from Brown talking about forgiveness. Why the church should be more like a midwife than an… Continue reading Blood on the Floor
Faith as Allegiance (April 15, 2017) - When I was introduced to faith as allegiance last summer it was like a strobe going off inside my head.  It provided some much needed illumination to clarify some pretty muddled thinking.  I got to the idea through reading about Greco-Roman history via both modern and ancient authors. I’m currently reading Salvation by Allegiance Alone:… Continue reading Faith as Allegiance
Open Theism and the Nature of Time (March 1, 2017) - I am clearly in over my head. Several years ago, a leader in a local church introduced me to Open Theism.  The theology  appears grounded in the idea that the future is open and subject to chance and choice.  God knows all there is to know about what is settled reality but can only know… Continue reading Open Theism and the Nature of Time
PublicDomainPictures.Net Size Matters (February 5, 2017) - During our years in a former church my wife and I heard repeated admonitions from the leadership to greet visitors.  Then a couple years ago we found ourselves visiting churches looking for a new church community.  Now we were the newcomers.  In some of the communities I noticed obvious personal connections between congregants that were… Continue reading Size Matters
Thoughts on Packard and Hope’s “Church Refugees” (December 18, 2016) - I recently finished Church Refugees, authored by sociologists Josh Packard and Ashleigh Hope.  It is a book about the exit from American churches of the talented and committed.  The book challenges preconceptions about the dynamics of this exodus.  Packard and Hope discovered something during their research that was rather different from what they expected to… Continue reading Thoughts on Packard and Hope’s “Church Refugees”
Mark Buchanan on Reconciliation (November 12, 2016) - Reconciliation is what Christianity is supposed to be about.  Just over a year ago I posted about shredding the toxic lists we keep of the wrongs others have done. Here’s another view of it.  I just listened to a podcast by Claire Perini and Mark Buchanan at Regent College in Vancouver, BC.  They unpack what… Continue reading Mark Buchanan on Reconciliation
(Lost in) Permanent Translation (September 23, 2016) - The non-profit publisher Crossway is releasing what they are describing as a “permanent” English biblical translation.  I am having some difficulty with what I think I hear them saying: “Beginning in the summer of 2016, the text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged—in the same way that the King James Version (KJV) has remained… Continue reading (Lost in) Permanent Translation
A Faith of Trust, Allegiance, and Loyalty (August 13, 2016) - Skeptics ridicule the truth of the Christian message because of the discontinuity they see between Christian belief and behavior. They may have a point. Modern Christianity seems grounded in cognitive experience, more or less anchored by formal theologies expressing ethics governing what we think and how we behave. The problem is that what we think… Continue reading A Faith of Trust, Allegiance, and Loyalty
contributed to Flickr by Charles Nadeau The Wrong End of the Telescope (June 1, 2016) - I am really wondering how there could be such a thing as explicitly “Christian” economics.  I bumped into this question in a blog where the writer, Roger Olson, surveyed major strains of economic thought in the context of distributive justice and gave examples of prominent Christian proponents.  But what especially caught my eye was this… Continue reading The Wrong End of the Telescope
Alexamenos Graffito Abusing Tacitus (January 9, 2016) - Lots of people throw around quotations attributed to ancient authors.  Last year I read the Annals and Histories by Tacitus.  Since then I’ve found writers who seem to have reason to beat up on him.  But not everyone who refers to ancient authors actually reads the works they use and abuse.  The early Christian writer… Continue reading Abusing Tacitus
Shredding The Lists (November 1, 2015) - There is this difficult story in Matthew’s Gospel about a slave who owed a staggering sum of money – something probably in the neighborhood of sixteen years wages for a worker of the time. The king to whom the debt was owed put the ledger into the shredder and forgave the account. But the slave… Continue reading Shredding The Lists
(Mis)reading the New Testament (and other ancient texts) (October 3, 2015) - Protestants have been dividing from one another pretty much continuously since Luther’s excommunication.  Before your next disagreement with another Christian I would like to suggest trying an experiment: Pick an issue over which Christians divide. It doesn’t matter which one. Pick a book of the New Testament that contains verses addressing your view of the… Continue reading (Mis)reading the New Testament (and other ancient texts)
Calling in the Romans (August 15, 2015) - In the middle third century a Church council assembled at Antioch and deposed the local bishop, Paul of Samosata. Paul appears to have taught that Christ was a mere man infused with the divine, a view at odds with the dominant consensus about Jesus’ pre-existence. Unfortunately for the council Paul held a government position and… Continue reading Calling in the Romans
Jewish Names in the Gospel Accounts, and Roman Historical Context (June 14, 2015) - Anyone thrashing about over the origins of New Testament texts and how we read them ought to pick up a copy of Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, by New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham. The book provides an analysis of oral tradition, first century personal names, and literary evidence relevant to the Gospel accounts. The analysis is… Continue reading Jewish Names in the Gospel Accounts, and Roman Historical Context
Loss of Context (April 8, 2015) - Exploring the world in comfort. That’s the theme of a recent commercial for the European travel company, Viking River Cruises. Scenes of Europe flow by to violin strains and a poetic cadence: “Sailing through the heart of cities and landscapes with Viking, you’ll see things differently. You’ll get closer to iconic landmarks, to local life… Continue reading Loss of Context
Making Peace with Church (March 15, 2015) - I recently watched an online panel discussion, Making Peace with Church – Finding Grace and Authenticity in an Age of Skepticism . The event was sponsored by Regent College, in Vancouver, BC, and Christianity Today Magazine. It is well worth the time. The participants discussed what “church” actually means and why Christians need to be… Continue reading Making Peace with Church
Personal Relationships (below the surface of “church”) (January 24, 2015) - Lots of people are critiquing church and lots of people are leaving.  The critiques run the gamut from worship to doctrine to cultural relevancy.  In of itself this is nothing new. But something seems to be crystallizing in a growing number of formerly committed but still believing Christians described in an article by Thom Schultz… Continue reading Personal Relationships (below the surface of “church”)
Awe (and arrogance) (January 1, 2015) - In a post at Biologos Daniel Stork Banks sketches out a personal journey.  It starts with the sense of awe at the natural world he felt as a child growing up in a non-religious home, continues with encountering with young-earth creationism at university, and then onto engagement with theistic evolution. He notes sharing that sense… Continue reading Awe (and arrogance)
Enough for Troubled Guests (November 15, 2014) - My problem has never been believing that God is. It's been believing that he gives a flying chimpanzee turd about humanity in general and me in particular. Last night I went to a local church to see "We Are Not Troubled Guests." This is a one-man play by artist Scott Erickson in which he describes… Continue reading Enough for Troubled Guests
Writing Without Spaces (November 11, 2014) - I’ve been reading The Shallows, a book by Nicolas Carr in which he argues that the Internet and devices which provide access to it are essentially rewiring the way we think. What we’ve discovered in the last few decades is that the brain is very malleable and responsive to changes in how we interact with… Continue reading Writing Without Spaces

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