Category: Theology

Does Donald Trump need to repent?

Donald Trump has certainly added spice to the politics-as-usual flavor of the presidential primary season. Whether it is his controversial comments about Mexican immigrants, his critique of John McCain’s status as a war hero, his support of Mike Huckabee’s much-criticized Holocaust analogy, his broadcasting of Lindsey Graham’s cell phone number or his labelling of Hillary Clinton as a…  [more]

Instead of Facebook, a book of faces

A book of photographs titled Face elicits obvious comparisons to the social media giant. The latest from photographer Bruce Gilden, the collection of portraits might be more appropriately titled Mug Shot. If these folks filled your Facebook news feed with selfies, you’d probably be tempted to click the “hide” option. In a world overflowing with Photoshopped and filtered images, Face stops our…  [more]

Restorative discipline: a gracious alternative to zero tolerance

The problem of school violence, truancy and student drug abuse needs to be addressed. No one disputes that. But it’s becoming clear that the zero-tolerance approach isn’t working. Consider Texas, where in recent years some 60 percent of middle school students will eventually be suspended or expelled at least once. Many of these students risk dropping out and landing in jail instead. Fortunately, it seems…  [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]

Inside Out and a theology of Sadness

The outstanding new Pixar film Inside Out gives walking, talking personalities to the various emotions inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley. My favorite moment takes place about midway through the movie and involves Joy, a Tinker Bell-like sprite voiced by Amy Poehler; Sadness, a blue bespectacled blob voiced by Phyllis Smith; and Bing Bong, Riley’s imaginary friend, who has the conveniently…  [more]

Dylann Storm Roof and the scandal of forgiveness

During his initial hearing this past Friday, accused murderer Dylann Storm Roof heard words of forgiveness from relatives of those who were killed last week at in Charleston, S.C. Some of the members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the shooting, even encouraged him to repent, praying that God would have mercy on him. The reaction, as represented on Twitter, has been a mixture of awe,…  [more]

Rachel Dolezal, Caitlyn Jenner and finding identity in Christ

The fluidity of self-identification has been at the forefront of the cultural conversation over the past month. Rachel Dolezal, former head of a local NAACP chapter in Spokane, Wash., and prominent advocate for the black community, has come under fire for identifying as African-American when, in fact, she was born to Caucasian parents. Despite charges of deception and cultural appropriation, Dolezal has continued to…  [more]

Where atheistic altruism falls short

In a recent New York Times op-ed titled “Wanted: A Theology of Atheism,” Molly Worthen describes Sunday Gatherings, atheist get-togethers that involve singing “hymns” like “Walking on Sunshine” or “Lean on Me,” followed by a lecture on the tenets of secular humanism. Worthen goes on to defend the movement as more than a materialistic replacement for church. She also…  [more]

I draw the line at selfie sticks (at least for now)

I went a little selfie crazy while on vacation a few weeks ago. Keep in mind, for a selfie-averse adult like myself, going “crazy” meant taking maybe a total of 15 pictures of my wife and I together while celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in Paris. But that’s about 13 more selfies than I’ve taken in the five previous years. I’ve always had reservations about the practice, largely…  [more]

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