07 Jul 2017

Looking Inward and Upward: The Inner Life of the Church

Renowned church historian, Robert Louis Wilken, penned an essay for First Things back in 2004 entitled, “The Church as Culture.” Therein he outlines how the Church is a culture unto itself, rather than merely a mechanism for effecting change on secular culture (the world). Contra H. Richard Niebuhr, who formulated the Church’s mission as part of Christ penetrating the world as a theological idea, to Wilken, Christ is culture, “the fullness of life in the

Timon Cline 1
03 Jul 2017

A Reflection on Christian Patriotism

Throughout my college years I experienced a religious awakening of sorts. Having recently involved myself in a local church and young adult ministry, I was beginning to grow in my faith and see the world in a more Christian way. This development of faith, in my life, was preceded by a more robust understanding of civic life, political spaces, and politics more generally. For me, government and politics was a place for people of diverse

Creighton Coleman 0
28 Jun 2017

Recovering Meaningful Travel

Over the past month, Senator Ben Sasse (R- NE), recently dubbed “the most interesting man in Washington,” has created a buzz with his newly published book, The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis– and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance, mainly because it talks about more than his next reelection campaign. Among other things, the book bemoans the demise of a virtuous citizenry, a lackluster work ethic among millennials, and the shortcomings of an

Timon Cline 0
21 Jun 2017

And then the crowd roars

And then the crowd roars And then the crowd roars– but why are they roaring? What are they roaring for? When you repeat a word like roaring several times it starts to come undone inside your head. It turns inside out, or upside down and lurches side to side without explanation. Before you can speak or look, the whole thing’s over. Like conviction meaning proves a co-dependent thing. The shape of the sound the shape

Daniel Hyland 0
08 Jun 2017

The Ratzinger Option

At the end of The Benedict Option (2017), Rod Dreher writes, “At the risk of sounding grandiose, I also want to express my gratitude for the life and work of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, who I consider the second Benedict of the Benedict Option.”1 This is not a random shout-out; the reason is pretty clear in Dreher’s introduction: “Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI foretells a world in which the church will live in small circles

Peter Schellhase 1
05 Jun 2017

House of Cards: Is it good?

Netflix recently released the fifth season of the hit political drama, House of Cards. The same viewers who once broke Netflix’s streaming service upon the release of a previous season will now have the opportunity to continue following the Underwood’s pursuit of power. While there are certain parts I could do without, I am a fan of the show and think that Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright have both been brilliant throughout the series. With

Creighton Coleman 0
18 May 2017

Throwing Grace to the Dogs

“Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs.” 1 A recent New York Times article calls out evangelicals on their willingness to excuse scandal within their ranks. The proof case in focus was the Bill O’Reily sex allegations and subsequent firing. Katelyn Beaty, the author of the piece, laments the evangelical sympathy and loyalty expressed for O’Reily that followed. She then chastised

Timon Cline 3
05 May 2017

Stay Human, My Friends

In recent years and months it has become undeniable that the foremost social issues pervading our culture involve personhood and identity. The transgender debate is the most obvious manifestation of this. But the broader, or perhaps underlying, debate of how personhood is to be defined is rapidly expanding beyond gender neutral bathrooms at Target. Indeed, even rivers are being declared ‘persons’. And it is becoming evident that technology will be interwoven into these questions, or

Timon Cline 2
01 May 2017

Nouwen On Christian Leadership

For Christian leaders, each year offers a whole slate of conferences to attend for the purpose of honing and developing the skills needed to lead the church in the next millennium. A few notable examples of popular conferences, especially with younger evangelical leaders, are Willow Creek Leadership Summit, Catalyst, and Q. These conferences host keynote speakers from both within the church and from the wider culture. Attendees listen to talks from pastors, military leaders, business

Jarrett Dickey 3
28 Apr 2017

The Dark Theology of Stephen King

Stephen King’s brand isn’t exactly synonymous with spirituality. He’s undoubtedly best known for his prominence as a writer of horror fiction—from “Carrie” and “Cujo” to “Pet Sematary” and “Desperation.” His books are drenched in macabre darkness, packed from start to finish with imagery that ranges from horrifyingly visceral to utterly surreal. I’ve been a King aficionado for the better part of a decade (and have written about this subject before). I continue to find myself

John Ehrett 0
26 Apr 2017

The stars all started going out

The stars all started going out You slowly exhaled. The wind crept, twisting through the sloping grass spanning away beneath miles of power lines. From your mouth, the smoke curled over its own shadows, dull blue on thick white under the moon. “What if the stars all started going out one by one–” I saw filaments crackling their last fits inside glass bulbs–“until they all were dark.” Another slow glow as you took another draw–the

Daniel Hyland 0
07 Apr 2017

Wayne Grudem, Donald Trump, and Christian Suffering

This past election season popular evangelical theologian, Wayne Grudem, penned two controversial articles for Townhall.com, wherein he defended, inter alia, the Christian Trump vote. The article, in a style that mimics a campaign website’s policy position statements, is lengthy and not revolutionary, especially in hindsight. Yet, at the time a particular statement caught my eye. Hopefully, now that we are more than two months into a Trump administration, my analysis and humble refutation of Grudem’s

Timon Cline 0
06 Apr 2017

Why I Share Troubling Articles (And You Should Too)

About a month ago, I shared an article concerning one Christian woman’s positive experience with Planned Parenthood (PP). In this article, the author—who is also the subject of the story—seeks to shed light on a predicament lingering within much of conservative Christianity: widespread ignorance and shame concerning sex, especially among young girls. In this article, the author describes herself as a product of a quintessentially conservative Christian environment. Growing up, she, among other things, maintained

AJ Maynard 10
13 Mar 2017

Religion and the Democratic Party: Michael Wear

If one were to observe Democratic campaigning during the 2016 election, they may well come to the conclusion that the GOP is the only party claiming to speak for Christians. Such a conclusion is particularly bizarre given that a recording of the 2016 Republican standard-bearer braggadociously describing sexual assault was broadcast in primetime. Indeed, these are odd times. Characterizations of either major party in the United States as Christian miss the mark, largely because Christians of all

Creighton Coleman 0
10 Mar 2017

Book Review: “The Benedict Option”

I. Introduction This article has been percolating for a very long time. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t reflect on how my faith intersects with the evolving American public sphere, and I’ve probably spent more time writing and rewriting this review than just about anything I’ve worked on in the last couple of years. Plainly, American Christianity stands at a cultural crossroads. And with the release of The Benedict Option: A Strategy for

John Ehrett 1
17 Feb 2017

The Telltale Heart

Do You Listen to Your Heart or Does it Listen to You? In our increasingly self-centered, self-satisfying culture we are propagandized by Hollywood happy endings and pop songs to listen to our hearts. When considering a new or an old relationship we are told to listen to our heart. When faced with personal loss we are expected to move on from it. The Roxette duo sings, “Listen to your heart / when he’s calling for

1
09 Feb 2017

Who’s Afraid of Liberal Democracy?

Liberal democracy has fallen on hard times: across the Western world, nationalism is on the rise. (By “liberal democracy” I refer not to the left-right political spectrum, but to a political structure built on participatory democracy, coupled with entrenched individual rights protections and a generally free-market economic system.) From America and England to Hungary and Russia, the liberal-democratic vision of an “interconnected global community” appears to be wavering in the face of widespread cultural blowback.

John Ehrett 0
03 Feb 2017

Deliver Us From Evil

January 27th was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. For the first time, the White House released a statement to the press which mentioned neither anti-Semitism nor Jews. Why would the US Government issue a statement on such a day that fails to mention the victims of one of the most grotesque human evils in recent history? Thankfully, Reince Priebus, President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, answered the question for us: “If we could wipe

Jacob Quick 5
24 Jan 2017

We Need More Bart Campolos

“Even as faith endures in our secular age, believing doesn’t come easy. Faith is fraught; confession is haunted by an inescapable sense of contestability. We don’t believe instead of doubting; we believe while doubting. We’re all Thomas now.” – Charles Taylor Is the contemporary North American church in decline? If you do a casual search of the Internet or glance the titles of Christian publications over the past year, you will find a number of

Guest Author 1
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