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Theology


When Your Theology of Pain Is Painfully Bad

All too often have I heard — and thought myself — that from a Christian perspective suffering is the doorway to new life and to freedom, even that suffering is good. Even that it is beautiful. Yet as Kate Bowler and others have so eloquently pointed out, this concept seems misguided at best — though […]

One Thing You Can’t Say About Pope Pius XIII

The following comes to us from Alan Jacobs. There are many things you could say about Pope Pius XIII, AKA Lenny Belardo. You could say that is he a saint. You could say that he is a con artist. You could say that he is a man of great humility, who wants to become “the […]

The Top Theology Books of 2019

Farewell 2019! Lots to love about the books that came out this past year. Several of these are instant classics I’ll be paging through for years to come! As always, feel free to let me know in the comments if I’ve missed a deserving book! I’m always on the hunt for a good read… In […]

The Weight of Advent: Speak What You Feel, Not What You Ought to Say

As Black Friday reaches further back in time each year, so as to even colonize the twilight hours of Thanksgiving Day, we in North America are no strangers to the porousness of time. Commercial interests can collapse chronology such that two times can overlap in a way purely linear calendar time can’t countenance; we can […]

Who Killed God? (Christians, with the Ethics, in the Renaissance)

Currently reading and enjoying Alec Ryrie’s Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt. For anyone who likes the work of John Gray or Francis Spufford, this could be natural next steps, fitting snugly between those two, in terms of friendliness/approachability. Cleverly, Ryrie introduces his concept as a whodunnit. If, as Nietzsche argued, God is dead, then […]

The Elusive Strangeness of Jesus

People don’t say it often enough: Jesus was pretty weird. He cleared out the Temple with a butter knife (so to speak), he laughed off death threats from Herod, and he regularly insulted his dinner hosts. Jesus held a patent disregard for social graces and conventions. When given the chance, he did or said the […]

Above the Noise: A Word of Comfort in a World of Sound

The ears, Martin Luther said, are “the only organs of the Christian.” His point was not to contradict Paul’s “body of Christ” analogy but that hearing is the most passive of the senses. While the watchful eye and the grabbing hand both suggest a more aggressive mode of action, the ears simply receive whatever comes […]

When the World Turned Upside Down in Galatia

One of many fantastic portions of the “Galatia” section in Tom Holland’s Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World, which finally arrived on US shores two weeks ago. Holland has essentially crafted a 600-page sequel to Francis Spufford’s “Yeshua” chapter in Unapologetic: This conviction, that a crucified criminal might somehow be a part of […]

Blood on the Chalkboard: Faith, Fear, and Education

“Instead of the schools existing to educate, they exist to provide a safe space from education.” So a friend described the goals of a certain party within her church. In a panic that their colleges are “liberalizing” (which is to say, scattering weeds within a carefully tended garden of white conservative Protestant subculture), they want […]

Another Week Ends: Religious Decline, Peloton, Halloween Righteousness, Reformation Day, and Kanye

1a. This week featured a point-counter-point on the religious decline in America. Fewer people are going to church, particularly millennials. Accordingly, Christine Emba sees genuine cause for alarm. Millennials prefer low-cost, substitute religions (read: seculosities!), and the church may not be there as a fallback option in the future: Faith and practice can’t persevere through […]

Paul and the Person: An Interview with Susan Grove Eastman

Recently I had the privilege of sitting down to interview Susan Grove Eastman to talk about her recently published book, Paul and the Person. Dr. Eastman is the Associate Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School, and her book is a fascinating read. Paul and the Person breaks new ground on the complex issue […]

Mining Netflix: “Father Brown”

What do you get when you cross Sherlock Holmes with Pope Francis and Arthur Weasley? You get a slightly bumpling but brilliant Catholic priest who moonlights as a murder detective. “Father Brown” is the literary creation of G.K. Chesterton, and the BBC show based on him is now airing on Netflix in its entirety. I […]