Going Green 4: God’s Junior Gardeners

You may be thinking, “Sorry, I’m not into gardening, so maybe I’ll skip this series.” Not so fast. We’re talking about something far more central to our humanity than growing vegetables and flowers. God the Creator made human begins in his divine image and likeness, and part of this likeness is our ability to join…

Loosening the Helmet: Narrative & Communal Dimensions of Salvation

In this essay from 2004, I seek to expand our understanding of salvation emphasizing the significant roles of both narrative and community in one’s conversion. Many years ago, seemingly in a different life,  I found myself on a bus full of zealous Christians headed to a San Diego music festival to pass out gospel tracts on the street corner. Only after…

Stanley Hauerwas & the Church as God’s New Language

An old seminary essay from 2004. I was eager to probe the writings of Hauerwas and looking for an excuse to dig into my recently purchased Ante-Nicene Fathers collection. For a 24 year old, I think I was on the right track. “Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you.” (2 Corinthians 3:2…

Faith Over Feelings

Theology matters.  And we all “do theology” — whether we’re aware of it or not. Theology is “thinking about God.” The question is not whether we do theology but whether we do good or bad theology. This is why my one of my biggest passions as a pastor is trying to help people begin to think critically…

Moltmann & the Parousia: Who Exactly is Coming Again?

This academic essay explores the character of Christ’s Second Coming in light of the Jesus-shaped theology of Jurgen Moltmann.   Introduction For most of Christian history, the doctrine of the parousia of Christ (his “coming” or “effective presence”, i.e., Second Coming) in glory and judgment has been neglected and pushed to the margins of Christian theology and…

What Story are you part of? (Mike Fox)

I can only answer the question, “What am I to do?” if I can answer the prior question “Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?” – Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue My granddaughter loves to act out the stories she hears.  She is the heroine of a seemingly endless stream of mysteries,…

‘A Great Cloud of Witnesses’: All Saints Day Reflection

November 1 is All Saints Day.  More familiar to Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians, this is a day we pause both to remember and celebrate all those brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone before us. The church universal is made up of those believers both on this earth, and those who have passed…

Tim Keller’s “Counterfeit Gods”

Check out Trevin Wax’s review of Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (Penguin, 2009). Keller is one of my favorite Christian thinkers these days, and I find him a very insightful, articulate writer bringing clarity to very complex theological issues.  He is a…