Theology
Where do you place your faith?
This is a season when people are particularly bold and passionate about telling the world who they place their faith in.  Physical expressions of this faith are everywhere. Take a look around.  On billboards, bumper stickers, vacant lots, fences, public land, private land, businesses and in front yards you’ll see them — campaign signs!  All have the names of a person or ballot initiative, many have arresting slogans too.  You can argue the validity or truth behind the candidates and the messages, many do, but I contend that at the heart of all these is faith and hope.  Faith in...
voyage
Christian Imagination and Moving Mountains
The summer staff eats dinner together every night. We talk about the evening program and our days with the groups. There comes a breaking point where laughter erupts and the conversation devolves into mindless rumble. Last week, this laughter evolved into playful criticism towards me. I lead the music for the evening program and I am not ashamed to say I pick songs that are indie. You know, songs from bands that no one has ever heard of or songs originally sung in different languages? The staff complained of hearing the same songs each week, although the youth love the songs that I play and every week sing with a different group. They called me a pseudo-hipster, which infuriated...
messiah2
Messiah Jesus or the Military (Part 2)
As I now understand it, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that the God of Israel was faithful to the promises that were made to Abraham. As the story of Israel unfolded, additional promises were made to David and to the people of Israel through the prophets. Hopes began to formulate and swirl around how all these promises would come to pass. Various Jewish sects arose with different understandings of how these promises would come and who they would come to. These promises and hopes were fulfilled in the person, work and way of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of...
rapelling
Messiah Jesus or the Military (Part 1)
After many years of personally wrestling with questions swirling around violence, war and faith, I have come to believe that following Jesus Christ and serving in the military in any capacity represent categorically incompatible endeavors. All who follow Jesus should leave the military or refuse to enlist, they should cease espousing war as a noble and honorable venture, and they should actively work towards peace and justice by practicing the ways of non-violent active resistance. Normally I would avoid such black and white statements for a variety of reasons but I have become thoroughly convinced of these beliefs for two...
adamandeve
Does God Have a Penis?
It’s a valid question that says a lot about who we think God is. What does it mean about God that people are created in the divine image? Does God have a corporeal (physical) body or is God only some form of spirit. When God walked in the garden, did he (as that scene portrays God) take real steps or is the text metaphor? If God does have a body, is it a body like ours? Does God have a belly button, or is that a scar of humanity? Does God have reproductive organs? If so, which ones? A penis?...
Pride
The Man With All The Answers
When I took Systematic Theology in graduate school, Devlin Lucent was the best student in the class by far. Devlin knew all the answers. He never lost his cool. He was ridiculously good-looking. Sometimes he asked the professor questions so clever the professor would start to answer, stop, and then say, “That’s a very interesting question, Devlin. Class, what do you think?” One day I had to know why Devlin even bothered with this class. I caught up with him on the quad. “Hey, why do you ask such impossible questions?” “Just playing devil’s advocate,” he said. “Dr. Hallow is...
satan
The Making of an Adversary: Satan and Christianity’s Unspoken Heresy
I sat in the minister’s office on a Wednesday night, nervous with my parents seated on either side of me. “Why now?” he asked. “I’m not ready,” I replied. Confusion spread across the minister’s face, and he glanced at my parents doubtfully. My dad turned toward me and asked gently, “Then why are we here, David, if you aren’t ready?” My heart pounded and I saw this moment — my most important moment — begin to slip away from me, and I knew I couldn’t let that happen. I might not get this chance again. If I didn’t seize this...
Jesus on the cross
The Suffering God
Just before Christmas in 2008, St. John’s Church in Broadbridge Heath, England took down its 10ft crucifix after numerous parishioners complained that it frightened children. The crucifix, created in the 1960s, shows an emaciated Jesus hanging on the cross with a look of horror and despair on His face. The BBC asked two different clergymen whether or not the church should have removed the crucifix. One of the two men, Rev. John Caperon, said for any church to disregard the cross would mean ignoring the reality of suffering. “For Christians, of course,” he said, “the great comfort in the crucifix...
toy Jesus
Hijacking Jesus’ Identity
The Ongoing Identity Theft of Jesus The divinity of Jesus has been questioned for thousands of years. It’s not surprising that one of the first recorded instances of this divine doubt occurred before Jesus officially started his ministry. According to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus was fasting in the desert for 40 days when the devil approached him in the wasteland – questioning the Lord’s deistic attributes. Appealing to Appetite We read in Matthew 4:3-4 that the tempter questioned that if Jesus was indeed the Son of God, then Jesus would be able to turn nearby rock piles warmed by the...
end of war
The Death of War?
The theologian Stanley Hauerwas begins his recent book War and the American Difference: Theological Reflections on Violence and National Identity with the typically Hauerwasian statement: This is a modest book with an immodest purpose: to convince Christians that war has been abolished. The grammar of that sentence is very important: the past tense is deliberate. I do not want to convince Christians to work for the abolition of war, but rather I want us to live recognizing that in the cross of Christ war has already been abolished (Kindle 98) Is it really the case that war has been abolished?...
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