Perfect Theology?

Here is a fun (weird) conversation I had the other day.

My friend and I are from very similar backgrounds. We both come from a type of church that would classified as charismatic – even if it is mildly so. In our circles there is a very popular preacher on the west coast that tons of people listen to and quote religiously.

I was out for drinks with my friend and we were comparing notes on all that we were learning and he brought up a quote that I have heard the preacher say many times (when I used to listen to the podcast every week) – a quote that is used over and over again by those who run in these circles.

My friend said “what do you think of the quote “Jesus is perfect theology” ?”   More


Clowns at every Circus

I wrote this as part of another project, but I wanted to post it here in prep for something that I will soon be up to .

I exist in a mixed environment – spiritually speaking. It is progressive (not a capital P) and also includes many people who have  ‘emerged’ (not capital E) from a predominately evangelical-protestant-with charismatic leanings type heritage. I also have many friends and conversation partners who would still identify as conservative, reformed, or some other type of evangelical.

In my circles I have always assumed and heard that when public characters like  Jerry Falwell sounded off on Hurricane Katrina being a punishment from God for the people of New Orleans – that most people rolled their eyes and knew that his was such a marginal expression that he should not be taken seriously.

or when Franklin Graham said that Islam (as if it were one thing) is a terrible religion filled with hate – that people knew he was not a spokesman for  Christians (as if we are just one thing).

or when Mark Driscoll  says that he could never worship a Jesus that he could beat up – that it carried about as much weight as a WWF wrestler mouthing off in order to get pumped up before a match, pulsing with vibrato and testosterone.

But apparently that is not the case. More

Peter Rollins – a prophet?

I get asked a lot of fun questions. Most come in from my podcast and – I love it. Here is one that I got this week and I thought it would be fun to post part of my answer and see what we see.  Peter Rollins is author of How (Not) to Speak of God, the Orthodox Heretic  and the Fidelity of Betrayal [link]. he is also really cool, has a tough Irish accent,  and makes great videos.

Here is the question from my friend: I wanted to get your thoughts on Peter Rollins. I’ve been reading his stuff, and I listened in on his webinar a few nights ago and not sure where I stand yet with it. I know that you are much further along with the post-modern thought. What’s your take with him…Just thought I’d get your thoughts on it…

Here is my answer: Peter Rollins is a poet.  Not a prophet.  Not a priest. Not a professor… and not a theologian. More

Football Jesus

There is an immense amount of football on the TV this month and the ‘God’ or Jesus of Football players continues to perplex me.   But recently I have found some relief!  A month ago something happened that I can not stop thinking about.

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson dropped a game-winning touchdown in the end zone Sunday in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That night he used Twitter to say the most honest thing I have ever read!


I can not tell you how refreshing it is to hear Football Jesus get it trouble! He never gets blamed for anything. He gets all of the credit when things go well and none of the blame when things go wrong. This drives me absolutely crazy. This was like the Twitter version of the Psalms of lament where the psalmist cries out “where are you God?” More

I am no Ignatius

Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuit order of the Catholic Church) said “What I see as white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it.”   This was #13 of his rules for thinking [link].

I have to admit that I am not Ignatius. I have no interest in this type of insistent loyalty. I know that may seem obvious, since I am a Protestant, but it has been troubling me quite a bit lately.

There are actually two parts of this that get to me. The first challenges me to question how I define authority. Where does authority come from and who decides that? It is clear that I am unwilling to live in the kind of authoritarian system that Christendom operated in. But where does that leave me? More

Thinking about Theology

by Bo Sanders

I was really challenged by this post entitled “The New Orthodoxy” on Homebrewed Christianity.  Over the past several years I have grown to have a very different understanding of Theology and indeed the entire theological enterprise than I had before.

Here is what I posted there (in the comments):

I like how Continental Philosophy is constantly in dialogue with another author or figure or discipline. I think about John Caputo saying the minimum requirement for philosophy is “make sense”. and to do that you have to utilize thought forms and language that is accessible and understandable to your audience and peers.

It seems to me that theology tries to do that in one of two primary ways:

1) to show continuity with the past at some level.

2) to justify a claim that one is closer to the original intent of Jesus or the early churches’ ideals than the deviations of formalized institutional constructs.


Buying Books

I had a wonderful opportunity to buy some books this week. I had not seen my folks since I finished my Masters (they had been out of the country) and as part of my graduation gift I got to shop on Amazon!  What a gift.

It was especially fun since I am in this new program and have some books that come up frequently in my classes – books that I have not read and do not have in my collection.  So I got 12 new books. pretty exciting for a grad student

After the flurry of activity was over – I had to make some quick decisions between my official ‘wishlist’ in Amazon and the unofficial list in my Moleskin notebook – I got the confirmation email from Amazon and an interesting trend developed.

Most of the books that I picked fell into two broad categories: the diversity of the early church and the multiplicity of the world that we live in now. This was an interesting revelation to me and I realized that the place where those two things come together really is my passion. As a Practical Theologian in training, my concern is the intersection of the theological diversity of the tradition & the practices in the world as it exists.

“Where the diversity of the past meets the multiplicity of the present” really does sum up the great concern of my heart for the church.  It is interesting to see the juncture of these two themes in a single book order.

Books that I am most excited about:

The Past

– The Churches the Apostles left behind  by Raymond Brown

– Unity and Diversity in the New Testament by James Dunn

– The Emergence of the Church by Arthur Patzia

The Present

– God is not One by Stephen Prothero

– Transforming Christian Theology by Philip Clayton

– A New Religious America by Diane Eck

– Modern Social Imaginaries by Charles Taylor

honorable mentions

– Oil & Water: Two Faiths – One God by Amir Hussain

– Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington

– Theology for the Community of God by Stanley Grenz

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