I once had a fight with a more evangelical friend about the nature of resurrection. He would go to the mat for the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I agreed. And he was equally adamant that we will not be bodily raised. “How could it possibly make sense?” he asked, amid references to Night of the Living Dead and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Wondering what it would be like to have his life turned into a screenplay for a movie, Donald Miller asked himself whether “the experience would be like taking a picture of yourself in front of a mirror taking a picture of yourself in front of a mirror.” That sort of multiplied self-reflection is precise
When I arrived as pastor at Beech Grove United Methodist Church, the community was bitterly divided because one member was running against another to be county commissioner. The primary issue in the campaign was whether to zone Beech Grove Road, on which sat Beech Grove Church. Issues of class weren’t far behind.
Every week tens of thousands of people attend virtual worship services that use an online ministry called LifeChurch.tv. A hundred churches worldwide are part of the LifeChurch network, and 23,000 additional churches have downloaded LifeChurch resources—for free—from open.lifechurch.tv.
Occasionally I’ve tried to hide what I am reading, lest someone catch me perusing a work that they think is too salacious for a minister to read. I’ve never done that while reading the Bible. But then I’ve never before read a book of the Bible illustrated by R. Crumb, godfather of the graphic novel.In turning his talent to producing The Book of Genesis Illustrated, Robert Crumb—usually credited as R. Crumb since he made a name for himself in underground newspapers of the 1960s—has found more sex and gore than even he can represent on the page, though he makes a game effort at getting it all in.
I told a friend that I was planning to visit the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte and he said, “There are no books. They should call it the ‘Billy Graham Experience.’” He was right. The experience is both tackier and more interesting than I'd imagined. The schmaltz has been well documented, like the mechanized talking cow that tells visitors how cold young Billy’s hands were before sunrise on the dairy farm where he grew up. Fortunately, the physical artifacts of Graham’s life have an eloquence that the cheesiness can’t quite spoil.
I remember once defending the doctrine of divine immutability to a renowned New Testament scholar at an academic conference. I was a graduate student at the time, and had not yet decided that I would work on Augustine’s biblical exegesis for my dissertation.
I got this problem. There’s this guy I want to be better friends with. We’ve been out with other people for drinks, talked at professional events and had a few laughs. But when I ask him out on a man-date (strictly defined: lunch or drinks after work) he’s always busy. Should I take a hint or try some other approach?
At the annual banquet of the University of Chicago Divinity School, first-year student Rebecca Anderson knocks ’em dead with a stand-up comedy routine. But then she should: she was previously a stand-up comic. “When I tell people here I grew up in a fundamentalist family, they treat me like I just got out of a POW camp. 'Oh my God,' they say, 'Are you OK?'"
“You can’t understand Africa without understanding religion,” said Emmanuel Katongole, a Catholic priest from Uganda. As he led a tour of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, it was soon clear what he meant. Slogans such as “Jesus cares” and “Try Jesus” adorn taxicabs. Ads for a Catholic bank named Centenary print the letter T as a cross.
Perhaps the validity of a theological proposal can’t be properly assessed until it has been kitchified. William P. Young’s novel The Shack, a runaway success—it’s been on top of the New York Times best-seller list and has sold 2 million copies—features a particular vision of the Trinity.
Karl Barth famously attacked apologetics—the attempt to offer a persuasive account of Christian belief on mutually agreed-upon grounds of reason—as a misguided task, part of the failure of theological liberalism. When you focus on making sense to those outside the faith, Barth warned, you end up adopting their worldview.
"You pays your money and you takes your choice.” Several generations of students at Duke Divinity School have heard James “Mickey” Efird use those carnivalesque words to conclude debates over the meaning of a biblical passage.
One of the teenagers killed in Colorado’s Columbine High School shootings in 1999 was Cassie Bernall. Soon after her murder, reports emerged about how one of the shooters had found Bernall under a table, pointed a gun at her head and asked, “Do you believe in God?” She said yes and was promptly shot.Within weeks of that event I heard a sermon at an Episcopal church praising Bernall’s witness and urging Christians to imitate her faithfulness. Prognosticators predicted another Great Awakening in American life sparked by Bernall’s martyrdom.