Category: Theology & The Church

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]

American Ninja Warrior and spiritual formation

I’ve developed a bit of an obsession in the last few years with American Ninja Warrior. It also happens to be one of my kids’ favorite family television traditions. The American version of what began as a Japanese program is now in its seventh season. The show takes contestants through a series of obstacle courses, presenting challenges requiring agility, quickness and upper body strength. Each stage gets…  [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]

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]

Cults and Daggers: can you fit God in the machine?

As the author of a book about Christianity and video games, I’m naturally interested in how game makers choose to represent religion. So when I read what was supposedly a review of Cults and Daggers, but was really a poignant, troubling and beautifully written reflection on author Nathan Grayson’s loss of faith, I had to play this game. And now I wish I hadn’t. It’s not because my faith has…  [more]

Imagining prayer

It was early fall and the start of another academic semester when the accident occurred. A new student, testing his long-boarding skills on the mountainous roads that surrounded our college, had hit the pavement hard without the protection of a helmet. I had yet to meet the young man, but as the college chaplain I rushed to the hospital to join his family. Once inside I was ushered to an upper floor marked by an…  [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]

Why I think Mad Men is headed for the abyss

I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 1:14 From the animated opening credits of the first episode, AMC’s Mad Men has been about holding one’s composure in the face of life’s terrifying abyss. We see a silhouette of a man entering a well-appointed office, which he claims by setting his briefcase on the floor.…  [more]

Free speech, hate speech, love speech: responding to AFDI

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer Anyone who has kept up with the news this past…  [more]

Avoiding a mouth like a sailor (or a baseball manager)

Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price recently cut loose on a five-minute rant so laden with F-bombs that it might have rivaled The Wolf of Wall Street for sheer rate of delivery. Most observers reacted with an amused “tsk, tsk,” something I found more alarming than the tirade itself. Beyond mere tolerance of the words, it suggests a willingness to accept a deeply negative undercurrent at the heart of…  [more]

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