Category: The Church

Stephen Hawking and the body of Christ

In an interesting article in the June edition of Epic magazine, Helene Mialet writes about people’s response to her 10-year ethnographic study of the social fabric (people and machines) that surround Stephen Hawking and allow him to be the Stephen Hawking we recognize and respect. As an ethnographer, Mialet is interested in how Hawking’s ability to do what he does as a scientist is dependent…  [more]

Fewer women attending church? Here’s one way to respond

I’ll admit it: I smirked as I read the recent Barna study revealing the “surprising” number of women who are no longer attending church. My smirk wasn’t about women leaving church, precisely, but merely a response to the number of men who’ve boo-hoo-ed about the “feminization” of church (as though it were a bad thing, as if femininity reflects nothing of God) and blamed this…  [more]

A new way to marry

Wedding season is well under way, as can be seen by the many wedding photos being shared on social media. Add to this continued debate over the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on same-sex marriage, and the topic is dominating my Facebook feed. Although I’ve heard and seen much about the meaning of marriage, few have raised the question of what our wedding ceremonies say about our theology of marriage. In…  [more]

Obama’s “Amazing Grace”

American political speech has long drawn on the Bible and Christian theology. President Barack Obama’s eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine people killed in a church shooting June 17, continued in that tradition. Obama drew on the depth of Christian experience primarily to make sense of a terrible event, but also to stir us to action. I’ve argued in my academic work that when speakers evoke…  [more]

The real challenge for the church after SCOTUS’ gay-marriage decision

The United States Supreme Court has declared same-sex marriage as the law of the land. That decision puts yet more pressure on conservative denominations like mine concerning how they will respond to new cultural realities. Can we hold on to our convictions and still engage the wider culture? I first read my church’s stance on homosexuality when I was in college in the 1980s. It struck me as highly progressive…  [more]

Comedy, community and church

I’m a big fan of comedy. The schedule on my DVR will tell you that when I want to relax at the end of a day, a sitcom or sketch show or comedy talk show is where I’m likely to turn. A few comments from comedians I appreciate lately have gotten me thinking about how the comedy I like the most creates a sense of relationship and community. It makes me, the audience member, feel like a friend and an…  [more]

The pastoral implications of Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook post

I’ve been thinking about what I will do the next time I have occasion to make eye contact with Sheryl Sandberg. It will happen eventually. My husband works at Facebook. I’ve had a few brief in-real-life interactions with her (the company Christmas party and a hello in the parking lot). Even in passing, she was warm and genuine. She made an effort to look me in the eye and say hello. A few days after her…  [more]

A word of comfort as American Christianity is in decline

Pew Research released a new demographic study yesterday declaring that in America’s changing religious landscape, the Christian population is declining sharply. This caught the attention of many major news outlets, including the New York Times, which reported that “71 percent of American adults were Christian in 2014, the lowest estimate from any sizable survey to date, and a decline of 5 million adults…  [more]

Baltimore and the prevailing of peace

Freddie Gray died the other day. He was not a victim of gang violence. He was not a victim of cancer. He was not a victim of a car accident. Freddie Gray died because of injuries he suffered in police custody. And when his family went to memorialize him on April 27, their funeral candles lit a forest fire. Riots and violence terrorized Baltimore afterward - “the language of the unheard” as Martin Luther…  [more]

Questions I have after the Bruce Jenner interview

In an ABC interview last night with Diane Sawyer, former Olympian and step-patriarch of the Kardashian family Bruce Jenner confirmed his transgender identity and said that he* is in the process of transitioning from male to female. For many Christians - and, for that matter, non-Christians - the topic of transgender identity is a complete unknown. What questions can we ask that can help us formulate a grace-filled,…  [more]

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