Category: Theology & The Church

The Keepers Delivers the Truth about Sex Abuse

Since it released last month, the documentary Netflix series The Keepers has been compared to Making a Murderer. Like that popular true-crime drama, The Keepers centers on the mysterious death of a young woman and the police’s inept response. But that’s where the comparison largely ends. The Keepers isn’t primarily interested in solving a murder case but in probing the mystery of evil: how it…  [more]

George Saunders Imagines Life After Death

George Saunders has made a career out of telling stories about people who are caught in the gears of the universe. Ensnared in events and social systems far bigger than any individual, his characters either conform themselves to the machine or get ground up by it. That may sound like a recipe for a po-faced wallow in misery. But the magic of a Saunders short story—captured in his 2013 collection,…  [more]

Wonder Woman and the Search for Female Role Models

“They don’t want us to be priests. They want us to be obedient nuns.” That was actress Angelica Huston in 2015, telling The New York Times that the film industry is “kind of like the church” when it comes to women leaders. In the two years prior to that interview, women had composed only 1.9 percent of the directors of the 100 top-grossing films. Since the interview, the numbers have…  [more]

When Hashtags Have Prophetic Power

Authenticity and social media don't often occupy the same space, but a few hashtags recently emerged on Twitter that—for a while, at least—spurred honest, open dialogue and gave voice to those who have been marginalized in the church: women, and black women in particular. Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women, was watching a conversation unfold…  [more]

What About The Bonhoeffer Option?

Last autumn, in the midst of the tumultuous American election season, I began reading and discussing Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s magnum opus, Ethics, as part of a book club at my seminary. Fragmented and unfinished, it contains perhaps his most prophetic and political writings. Assessing Western culture during World War II, he wrote, “Seldom has a generation been as uninterested as ours in any kind of ethical…  [more]

What If My Daughter Wants to Be a Pastor?

“I had no idea that people have issues with female pastors.” One of the congregants at our church lamented this to me with shock and exasperation. She was in her early 30s and considering a change in professional direction by attending seminary. Sandra came to me for my thoughts on choosing the right school; her face went blank when I suggested she study at a place that supports women serving in pastoral…  [more]

Moord Velden: Portraits of Christians Caught in Chicago’s Crossfire

Editor’s note: This is adapted from Keri Wyatt Kent’s introduction to the Moord Velden project. The full text and all of photographer Michael VanDerAa’s images can be found here. moord (plural moorden, diminutive moordje n) 1. murder velden (plural form of veld n) 1. fields An area just under five square miles bordered by two major expressways on Chicago’s south side, Roseland was…  [more]

Sanctuary Cities and the Church

The term “sanctuary city” has been popping up in the news a lot lately. While not an official title, it is used to describe cities who welcome refugees and immigrants and refuse to completely comply with federal immigration laws. While some have referred to the practice as “jihad against immigration enforcement,” others applaud the movement as a way to serve as “a conscientious…  [more]

What TurboTax Teaches Us About Lent

There's something liturgically appropriate about the alignment of Lent and tax season. Both are solemn occasions for discipline and self-reflection, and both anticipate the promise of new life—well, at least for those expecting a refund. Perhaps it's fitting, then, that many in our congregations will likely spend as much time on the TurboTax website as they do in church during Holy Week. Like many…  [more]

Beauty and the Beast and Boycotts

Editor's note: TC is a ministry of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. The denomination's position statement on homosexuality can be found here. Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast would have gone largely unnoticed by me if not for a miniature controversy that has sprung up around it. It seems that some Christians are troubled enough by one possible element in the film that…  [more]

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