1 Evangelical & 1 Christology conversation

I have been working with some fun projects (beside work and school).

Here is an amazing interview with Roger Olson that Tripp Fuller did for Homebrewed Christianity (I edited it and helped intro it). He explains common misunderstandings around Arminian theology, the ethical problems of being a Calvinist, the nature and future of evangelicalism, Open theism, the Rob Bell controversy, and the impact of the homosexuality debate in American evangelicalism.

Roger Olson is an amazing Evangelical theologian who helped me greatly with his “post-conservative evangelical”  construction. Check it out here.  It is a fantastic read.

My friend Rachel Held Evans has become a go-to  even ‘must read’ blogger More


Islam and the Fringe

Last weekend the LA Times had a review of Miroslav Volf’s upcoming book  on Christian and Muslim theological concerns. It is well worth your 5 minutes to read. Volf is a renowned Christian thinker and is supremely well respected in my circles. For him to be addressing this topic is noteworthy in itself – regardless of what he says about it. But when one hears what he says about it… it is truly noteworthy.

For Miroslav Volf, an Episcopalian professor of theology at Yale’s Divinity School, (the name of God)  is a direct route over the “chasm of misunderstanding” and hatred that has separated Christians and Muslims for centuries… In his thought-provoking new book, “Allah: A Christian Response,” Volf attempts to explain how the God of Christianity and the God of Islam are, essentially, one and the same.

Here are three things, from a uniquely Christian perspective, that I would like to see addressed:

  • The name of god – Is Allah the same as Jehovah and is that the one Jesus called “Abba”?
  • If so – are these 3 legitimate covenants with the same God? (1 with Issac, 1 with Ismael and 1 with Yeshua)
  • Can we figure out how to stop A) converting each other and B) killing each other More

Churchlandia (portland)

I am fascinated by the culture clash that seems to be generated mostly out of BIG churches.

I was born in Ohio, raised in Chicago, spent 6 years on the Canadian prairies, married a girl from Montana before moving to NY  and then training for ministry in California.

It was in California that I encountered a kind of church I had not really seen before. Some call them mega-churches but I have developed a different name for them, since not all of the churches I am talking about qualify simply based on attendance figures.

After college I lived on the NY-Vermont border for over a decade before moving out to the Pacific NW. Arriving in Portland that first week was a reintroduction to these types of churches.

I call them Castle Churches. They can usually be identified them by three primary factors: More

Race and Dr. King

I wrote an article for Ethnic Space and Faith (a  project with my friend and mentor Dr. Randy Woodley).

I give four snapshots of racial issues : technology, PHDs, Biblical Archeology, and America’s Prisons.

Then I reflect on Dr. King’s word that written from a Birmingham jail in 1963.  Here is a quote:

The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will.

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation.

Head over to the site this weekend and I hope that you will post a comment as we honor Dr. King and his message this weekend.

American Graces: Robert Putman on Religion in America

I am fascinated by what is going on right now and by the research behind what Putnam is saying.

His take on the Culture Shocks from the 60’s, the after-shock reaction of the Religious Right in the 80’s and the current reaction to this by the young ‘nones’ is eye opening. There is a shifting and a settling happening that is noteworthy.

This is not simple stuff.  It is complex and it is multi-layered.  The part that is most intriguing to me is the trough that is forming – the gap between the far right and the far left (with few left in the middle).  This is an emerging theme that is showing up in many arenas. It is the collapse of the Bell Curve logic and in our era, it is an increasing trend. The Trough is showing up in church attendance, political involvement, and views on marriage.

Here is his article from the LA Times two weeks ago.


Here is the rundown of a talk that he gave last week:


Here is the video of that interview:


Top 10 books as of 10-10-10

These are the books that I have referenced more in the first 1o months of this year than any other.  (I have linked the titles to Amazon)

Top 10

Living in Color by Randy Woodley (Culture – Church)
Making Room for Leadership by Mary Kate Morse (Leadership)
Cross & Covenant by Larry Shelton (Theology)

The Next Evangelicalism by Soong-Chan Rah (Church)
The Great Emergence by Phyllis TIckle (Church – History)
A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren (Theology)

Whose is Afraid of Post-Modernism by John Caputo (Theology)
Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism by Nancey Murphy (History)
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (Culture)

The Starfish and Spider (Culture)

Honorable Mentions:
The Emergent Manifesto of Hope (Church)
Collapse by Jared Diamond (History)

Roger Olson

1. I love Roger Olson

2. His book  “the Story of Christian Theology” is so helpful.  (and in a narrative style ta boot)

3. His article on being “Post Conservative Evangelical” is  essential reading.

4. His friendship with Stanley Grenz (author of Theology for the Community of God) is inspiring.

5. His review of of 2 books on Evangelicalism – including one that is critical of Grenz is… well – you should read it.