Latest Articles

18 Jan 2017

A Reflection on the Academic Study of Religion

John Ehrett’s recent essay, “Why Millennial College Students Should Study Theology,” argues against the dominant paradigm of contemporary academic liberal arts departments. He argues that “contemporary academic society overwhelmingly filters social phenomena through three primary lenses: race, gender, and class.” This filter gives the liberal arts student a framework for “discern[ing] the hidden reasons for action underlying conduct,” which inevitably fall into the racist/sexist/classist “conceptual trifecta.” In my experience, this was the dominant paradigm at

George Aldhizer 1
17 Jan 2017

On Baptism (Part II)

This post continues my reflections on baptism, focusing on the covenantal and sacramental aspects of Christian baptism. Covenantal Theology Those beginning an exploration of historic baptismal theology will almost immediately run into the concept of covenantal theology. As commonly defined, a covenant is a formal agreement made between God and humans, typically one that only God is capable of upholding in its entirety. Christians of various stripes will interpret covenants and their implications differently, but,

Jacob Prahlow 2
16 Jan 2017

Repite, por favor

I recently mentioned an article I had seen in First Things to a Baptist friend of mine as we were driving around the Greater LA Area. The article points out that societies without a deep appreciation for ritual often find themselves on a never-ending quest for sincerity. This observation corresponded with the experiences of both my friend and myself; our common evangelical upbringing was steeped in a desire for “realness”—undoubtedly a good-hearted phenomenon, but a

Christian McGuire 2
13 Jan 2017

In Defense of Passing the Collection Plate

When I was in high school, I really started to get serious at my faith because of a Calvary Chapel church in my area. While as an Anglo-Catholic my faith is quite different now, I greatly appreciate my brief sojourn with Calvary Chapel. I was reminiscing about those days recently and was reminded that one of the major distinctives of Calvary Chapel churches is that they do not pass a collection plate. Instead, churchgoers are

Wesley Walker 0
12 Jan 2017

The Book of Job and the Dangers of Certainty

My idea of God is a not divine idea. It has to be shattered from time to time. – C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed. Too often, I come across fellow Christians who exude a sort of theological swagger, a sophomoric arrogance about correct beliefs and proper doctrine. Though they might not say as much, they hold themselves up as self-proclaimed arbiters of the faith. A reasonable conviction, belief, doctrine, or theology, according to the

Guest Author 9
11 Jan 2017

Water and Fire

There’s water in everything and everything is in water— except fire. Fire changes water completely: too much fire makes steam, which returns back to water as it cools; and too little fire makes ice, which melts. We are all steam engines: mostly water, with a fire in our bellies making us do more or less based on temperature and control. We can be hard to keep stoked up and fed with enough coal. Jesus didn’t

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
10 Jan 2017

How America Turned Its President Into a God

Gallons of e-ink have already been spilled over the 2016 presidential election outcome, and barrels more will undoubtedly be required by journalists and scholars in future decades. Until President-elect Donald Trump actually takes office, I have few concrete thoughts about the nation’s future trajectory. One element of the 2016 campaign, however, seems to have been underexplored in the flood of post-election hot takes: over the last ten years or so, some Americans have developed a

John Ehrett 1
09 Jan 2017

The Key to Christian Growth

The Key to Christian Growth “If man were happy, the less he were distracted the happier he would be, like the saints and God. Is therefore the man who finds delight in diversion not happy?” Blaisé Pascal, Pensees As most battle hardened christians know, seasons that contain suffering and hardship can produce vast amounts of growth in one’s life. In a sense, suffering and hardship is simply the lock on the door which leads to

Micah McMeans 14
06 Jan 2017

The Beauty of House Church: Communalism-Lite

My second year of theology school I took a course on Christian communalism. My instructor, Luther E. Smith, utilized a book he had written on the topic as one of the course texts. Throughout the semester we studied a variety of spiritual communities– some good, some bad, and some ugly. In the context of the course, I remember being profoundly impacted by three different expressions of Christian community– L’Arche, Koinonia Farm, and the Amish. We

Jarrett Dickey 0
05 Jan 2017

On Baptism (Part I)

Baptism has been on my mind lately, not only because there are some intriguing conversations taking place in the blogging world about baptism and American Christianity, but also because a member of my family is being baptized soon. In this two-part article, I offer some reflections on baptism, beginning in this post with the Bible and history and wrapping up with some musings on covenant and sacrament in the next. Baptism in the Acts of

Jacob Prahlow 2

Recent Articles in Christian Traditions

17 Jan 2017

On Baptism (Part II)

This post continues my reflections on baptism, focusing on the covenantal and sacramental aspects of Christian baptism. Covenantal Theology Those beginning an exploration of historic baptismal theology will almost immediately run into the concept of covenantal theology. As commonly defined, a covenant is a formal agreement made between God and humans, typically one that only God is capable of upholding in its entirety. Christians of various stripes will interpret covenants and their implications differently, but,

Jacob Prahlow 2
16 Jan 2017

Repite, por favor

I recently mentioned an article I had seen in First Things to a Baptist friend of mine as we were driving around the Greater LA Area. The article points out that societies without a deep appreciation for ritual often find themselves on a never-ending quest for sincerity. This observation corresponded with the experiences of both my friend and myself; our common evangelical upbringing was steeped in a desire for “realness”—undoubtedly a good-hearted phenomenon, but a

Christian McGuire 2
13 Jan 2017

In Defense of Passing the Collection Plate

When I was in high school, I really started to get serious at my faith because of a Calvary Chapel church in my area. While as an Anglo-Catholic my faith is quite different now, I greatly appreciate my brief sojourn with Calvary Chapel. I was reminiscing about those days recently and was reminded that one of the major distinctives of Calvary Chapel churches is that they do not pass a collection plate. Instead, churchgoers are

Wesley Walker 0
12 Jan 2017

The Book of Job and the Dangers of Certainty

My idea of God is a not divine idea. It has to be shattered from time to time. – C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed. Too often, I come across fellow Christians who exude a sort of theological swagger, a sophomoric arrogance about correct beliefs and proper doctrine. Though they might not say as much, they hold themselves up as self-proclaimed arbiters of the faith. A reasonable conviction, belief, doctrine, or theology, according to the

Guest Author 9
11 Jan 2017

Water and Fire

There’s water in everything and everything is in water— except fire. Fire changes water completely: too much fire makes steam, which returns back to water as it cools; and too little fire makes ice, which melts. We are all steam engines: mostly water, with a fire in our bellies making us do more or less based on temperature and control. We can be hard to keep stoked up and fed with enough coal. Jesus didn’t

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
06 Jan 2017

The Beauty of House Church: Communalism-Lite

My second year of theology school I took a course on Christian communalism. My instructor, Luther E. Smith, utilized a book he had written on the topic as one of the course texts. Throughout the semester we studied a variety of spiritual communities– some good, some bad, and some ugly. In the context of the course, I remember being profoundly impacted by three different expressions of Christian community– L’Arche, Koinonia Farm, and the Amish. We

Jarrett Dickey 0
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