In previous posts, I have indicated that I accept the scientific fact of evolution, and that I don’t think this necessarily precludes orthodox Christian faith. I think there are other ways to read the creation accounts in Genesis than literally, because I don’t think the original authors were attempting to give us a pure, empirical […]


[HOUSE OF CARDS SPOILER ALERT THROUGH SEASON 3, EPISODE 4] Have you seen House of Cards? It’s not a show for the faint of heart. While some of its portrayal of American politics is fairly outlandish, watching Francis Underwood, the protagonist (antagonist? the devil incarnate?) pursue power at all costs makes the show addictive. He […]

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Last week, Elaine and I watched a movie called Take Shelter, which has been roiling in my mind since we saw it. The plot follows a father and husband named Curtis who, from the beginning of the film, has increasingly ominous and anxiety-inducing apocalyptic nightmares. The nightmares, while clear, are never long or detailed. In […]


Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of helping serve and talk through Communion with our small group that we attend weekly. I am by no means a preacher (actually, I’m really bad at it… just ask my former Biblical Preaching professor!). But Communion, as a physical space where we meet grace in unison, at […]

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Eric Seibert’s book The Violence of Scripture: Overcoming the Old Testament’s Troubling Legacy seeks to contribute to the effort of stripping Christianity of any heritage of violence or continuation of violent behavior. Seibert’s endeavor is to persuade readers that violence cannot be, in any case, virtuous. It is because of this ethical position that Seibert […]


I am something of a coffee snob. Not in the “I’ll only drink Starbucks” sort of way – oh no. More like an “I look down my nose on anyone who might think Starbucks is good coffee” sort of way. Anytime someone offers me coffee at a party or gathering, I politely refuse, secretly (or […]

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C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress: The Wade Annotated Edition, ed. David C. Downing (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014). Hardcover First published in 1933, The Pilgrim’s Regress by C. S. Lewis is “an allegorical apology for Christianity, reason, and romanticism” (in the words of the subtitle). It was Lewis’s first Christian book, written over the course of two weeks […]


 Thomas S. Kidd, George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father (New Haven, CT: Yale, 2014). Hardcover / Kindle George Whitefield is not well known by Americans today, including American evangelical Christians, his spiritual heirs. In the eighteenth century, however, Whitefield was well known not only in America, but also in his native England—well known, well loved, and widely criticized. Thomas S. […]


This is my final post in my atonement series. Previously, we discussed how humans are bound, both systemically and individually, and how Jesus’ death and resurrection saves us on both levels. *** Why is this important? Why should we care about how exactly Jesus’ death and resurrection are necessary for our salvation? Can’t we just go about […]


Yesterday’s post discussed Jesus’ role in saving us systemically from our inherent tendency to scapegoat and victimize others. In today’s post, we are address how Jesus saves us individually. *** Remember, Beck’s argument about the human predicament is that we are enslaved, or in bondage, to the fear of death. This neurotic fear produces sin in our […]


In the previous two posts, I laid out a different understanding of original sin, both systemically and individually. Today, my attempt is to address how Jesus saves us from the sacrificial scapegoating mechanism, addressed on Friday. [Side note: From this point forward, I run the risk of distilling the story of Jesus and de-contextualizing it to […]


In my last post, I discussed one side of the human “original sin” issue: systemically, we are bound to tribal ways of thinking, and we inherently blame and victimize outsiders to ease tensions within communities. In this post, I will address the individual aspect of sin. *** Along with the mimetic cycle of sacrificial violence, humans are […]


The general purpose of The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith is to provide an argument against the pervading influence of the doctrine and practice of biblicism in all arenas belonging to evangelicalism. According to Smith, the term biblicism means “a theory about the Bible that emphasizes together its exclusive authority, infallibility, perspicuity, self-sufficiency, internal […]


In my last post, we talked about the standard model in evangelicalism for atonement: namely, penal substitution. We are disobedient, deserving of punishment, and God saves us by taking the punishment for us. At the end of the post, I said that I disagreed. In this post and the next, I would like to lay […]


The purpose of this series is to create a general framework for how I think the atonement functions (in particular, why the death and resurrection of Jesus were necessary for the salvation of humanity) for humanity. My hope is to do so by taking into account Scripture, tradition, and experience while also maintaining an open dialogue […]


 Donald W. Dayton with Douglas M. Strong, Rediscovering an Evangelical Heritage: A Tradition and Trajectory of Integrating Piety and Justice, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014). Paperback / Kindle In 1973, some North American church leaders asked Billy Graham to use his influence with President Richard Nixon to try to stop the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam. Graham […]


We live in a time when social issues like sexual freedom and abortion are front and center on the stage of American culture. Both of these social issues are dear to me. Several of my posts, along with series I have organized on this blog, address those two issues. There are other issues that are […]


Social conservatism in America is difficult to describe definitively. It is a political ideology that strives at its core to protect “traditional values” typically relating to the family unit. The family unit consists of institutions like marriage and fidelity, protection of life, childbearing and rearing, as well as desirous attitudes toward the production of family […]