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We are creatures who cannot help but be hopeful. We speak in the future tense, we make plans that will not come about until one day, or even one year, from now, and have an idyllic vision of events that we would like to come to pass. This ranges from devising meal plans with a […]

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“Father, where are you?” he asks. Wind howls, sand bites his skin. His hair tangles in a thorn bush, an eerie foreshadowing of things to come. The skies remain silent, and the dusty desert gives more of a response than the empty echo that returns to him. The Spirit led him here only to abandon […]

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When I went through a faith upheaval a couple of years ago, one of the concepts that helped me retain my willingness to remain a Christian was a redefinition of what it means to have ‘faith’ in something. Prior to this, my understanding of ‘faith’ was that it was interchangeable with the word ‘belief.’ And […]

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Christians and Culture Humans are cultural beings. Throughout history, humans have excelled at making and changing the tapestry of their cultures. Cultures are dynamic and constantly shifting with the changing of authorities – not only shifting governmental authorities, but also shifting ideological authorities in the academy, in art districts, and in religious structures. Religion is […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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I made myself watch the beheading video of James Foley. Not out of morbid curiosity or some sick desire for a Faces of Death show. No, I watched it because I need my faith to work in reality in all its glory and horror. Initially, when I wanted to write about the video, I was […]

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I had a bit of a self-revelation this morning. It’s really nothing new, and probably something that happens to a lot of people in the Evangelical/post-Evangelical/millenial/trying-to-figure-out-how-to-follow-Jesus crowd. In a nutshell: I like to read lots of things about Scripture. I am not very good at reading Scripture. Encountering Scripture. Being changed by actually reading scripture. I don’t want […]