Leaning Into The Future: Thinking About Ethics

As I was recently reading back through some of Wendell Berry’s essays, I ran across this haunting passage: The ideal of the “informed decision” forces “decision makers” into a thicket of facts, studies, tests, and “projections.”… The problem is that decisions all have to do with the future, and all the actual knowledge we have […]

Religion in an On-Line Culture

Recently, Hemant Mehta, “The Friendly Atheist,” posted on his blog about how “The Internet Will Lead to Religion’s Downfall.” In it he notes that the internet provides resources for many questions people have. In fact, the argument begins with an observation about magic shops closing due to easily accessible explanations of various magic tricks on-line. […]

The Atheist Religious Traditions

One of the most damning indictments of the New Atheism around is in the book God Is Not One by Stephen Prothero. Prothero, a professor of religion at Boston University, is no proponent of any particular religious tradition – attempting to remain neutral – and he finds it necessary to include an excurses on atheism […]

Getting Perspective On The Church

Recently, I have been reading Lesslie Newbigin’s The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, and he offers this reminder about the perspective that the church offers to the believer. The Church is an entity which has outlasted many states, nations, and empires, and it will outlast those that exist today. The Church is nothing other than […]

Tolkien on the Self-Consuming Heart

Recently, I was re-reading J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion – the stories from ages before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  (Yes, I’m a Tolkien nerd!  I’ll try to keep the weird details to a minimum.)  In the story, the first great Dark Lord (named Melkor) jealously destroys “the trees of light” […]

The Structure of the Universe: Thoughts on the Architectonics of the Bible

  Most Christians don’t know how the universe is structured.  Despite lots of talk about creation in churches and despite pervasive terminology about heaven, few understand how the Bible describes the structure of the universe.  Put simply, there are two dimensions to reality: heaven and earth.  We know what the earth is.  It’s the place […]

The Ruined Hearts of Mad Men

  Near the end of the most recent season of Mad Men, the main character (Don Draper) has finally reached rock bottom – losing his edge with women, carrying too much baggage from all those affairs, slipping up with ad pitches, and drinking entirely too much. During the last few episodes of the season, he realizes […]

The Appeal of Heresy

  Here’s a great observation from Alister McGrath on heresy:   Yet perhaps the ultimate appeal of heresy in our times lies in its challenge to authority. Religious orthodoxy is equated with claims to absolute authority, which are to be resisted and subverted in the name of freedom. Heresy is thus to be seen as the subversion […]

On Christ-and-Culture Terminology

  Recently I’ve been thinking about the language we use about the problem of Christ and culture. The most common taxonomy comes from H. Richard Niebuhr’s Christ & Culture.[1] He distinguishes between five answers to the problem: (1) Christ against culture, (2) the Christ of culture, (3) Christ above culture, (4) Christ and culture in paradox, and […]

Unmasking Critical Approaches to Scripture

  Recently I got around to reading the Biblical Studies Bulletin from December. It has two parody pieces which present children’s literature in the same mode that many critical approaches to Scripture apply. In the first article, entitled “Reconstructing the Pooh Community,” Richard Bauckham seeks to find the community behind the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. In “Initial Critical-Exegetical Notes on […]