Wednesday Miscellany

A few unfinished scraps and fragments are cluttering up my “drafts” folder, so it’s time for another “Miscellany” post. There’s a common thread that runs through what follows—something like “the truth and how we tell it”—but nothing cohesive enough for a single post, evidently. 

The Great Flight From Pain

A clergy friend and I were talking over coffee yesterday about how being in this line of work is something of a magnet for human pain. As soon as people find out you’re a pastor or a priest, they will often begin to rehearse their own private litany of suffering or their grievances against the church […]

Hints and Glimmers (A Tale of Two Movies)

I have always been interested in the reasons people have for accepting or rejecting the existence of God. It’s even more interesting to look at how people frame their own reasons for these decisions. So often, things are framed in stark terms of darkness and light, good and evil, obvious willful stupidity and luminous intellectual […]

The Resurrection of Jesus (Gil Dueck)

I read the following words this morning on a Christian publication’s Facebook feed: Easter is a notorious time for skeptics to launch attacks on Christianity. Christians should be ready to respond to skeptical arguments. I confess that the way this is worded makes my skin crawl. “Calling all Christians, the skeptics are coming! Easter is nearly […]

Riding with Richard in the Land of Atheist Devotion

It’s Ash Wednesday, a day for sober reflection on, among other things, what it is to be a human being. And what better person to usher us into a conversation on this weighty and important matter than… Richard Dawkins. Wait, what? Richard Dawkins? As in the crusading evangelist for atheism? As in that famous biologist who […]

“How Do We Know That God is Real and Zombies Aren’t?”

What if we just made God up? The question came not from a despairing parishioner or a reader of my blog or an inquisitive university student at a trendy coffee shop. No, the question came from my twelve-year-old son at a sushi joint last weekend while drumming on the table with his chopsticks in between […]

What We Talk About When We Talk About God Is Often Ourselves

Last week, I read Rob Bell’s latest book What We Talk About When We Talk About God. It was, I don’t know, underwhelming? It wasn’t bad or heretical or even really very controversial, much as his promoters and publishers may have tried to ratchet the excitement level up by bringing up his views about homosexuality […]

Why Do I Have Faith?

Last week, I found a message from a reader of this blog buried off in some dark corner of Facebook-land that I hadn’t noticed for at least a month. It was a message that was both encouraging on a personal level, as well as provocative in the best sense of the word. As it happens, […]

The World We (Don’t) Want

Our daughter belongs to a swim club, and swim clubs mean—hooray!—fundraising. Bingo, specifically. I have discovered that one of the (very few) benefits of spending five hours at the Bingo hall on a Thursday evening is the opportunity to catch up on a bit of reading (I was the “pay runner” last week, which meant […]

A Place for Religion

So, this one has been making the rounds in the social media universe… Apparently, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has “defeated” the world’s leading atheist evangelist Richard Dawkins in a recent debate at Cambridge University. Quite handily, in fact—324 votes to 136. The resolution under discussion was “religion has no place in the […]

Merry Meaningless Christmas!

The story of Christmas is little more than one enormous fiction. So I was grimly informed by an essay from a while back that I chanced upon today. Emmanuel, “God with us,” the “humble king” and all that—just pleasant illusions that we entertain ourselves with each year on our naively hopeful and recklessly irresponsible way […]

Jesus is Weird

Have you ever thought about how utterly weird the Christian message about Jesus is? The hope of the world, Christians claim, is a crucified Jew who was born of a virgin over two thousand years ago, lived a very peculiar and provocative life, taught and modeled a bizarre mixture of love, compassion, and peace alongside […]

“Our Idea of What a Human Being is Has Grown Oppressively Small and Dull”

I finished Marilynne Robinson’s excellent book When I Was a Child I Read Books over the course of a weekend trip to Edmonton. Amidst a wonderful collection of very stimulating essays, one in particular stood out, and I wanted to record a few of the more interesting passages here. The essay is called “The Human Spirit […]

“God Has Bound Himself To Us”

One of the interesting things about participation in the wild world of social media and online interaction is the many and varied mediums through which feedback and conversation can take place. Blogs are synced with Facebook and Twitter and who knows what else, and feedback can (and does) arrive from any number of sources. I […]

The Challenge of Pluralism (Gil Dueck)

Over the last few months, one of our adult classes at church has been reading through Brian McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity. We’ve had some very interesting conversations, a few of which have revolved around the issue of what the Christian approach to pluralism ought to be. Is McLaren endorsing universalism? Relativism? Do all paths […]

We are Always Talking About Jesus

A fairly healthy number of my academic pursuits over the years have been devoted to some form or another of apologetics—a rational “defense” of the faith, whatever that might mean. Indeed, a quick glance at my blog archives yields a similar conclusion. So many words spent clarifying, unpacking, rephrasing, rehabilitating, or somehow defending God or belief […]

Wondering at the Fair

I’ve been tracking the evolution of the blog Wondering Fair over the past year with great interest, not least because of the excellent writing and theological engagement with culture that it contains. I have appreciated the diversity of voices, the spectrums of issues raised, and the overall vision of a safe and interesting place to […]