Flotsam and jetsam (1/19)

Embarrassing-State-Facts-13-685x356

Good Reads

  • Who Falls for Conspiracy Theories? So if you’re convinced that the world’s solutions could be easily solved if everyone simply fell in line with your self-evidently correct beliefs, it’s a puzzle as to why this doesn’t simply happen. Many people, it seems, conclude that the most likely answer involves a massive conspiracy of some sort. (The Week)
  • What We Talk About When We Talk about Race in Pop Culture: But I have to first listen. I need others to help me know when I am unwittingly offensive, when I think I know what it means to be a “real” black person or to live life in another’s skin. I don’t know what it’s like to be stereotyped for having dark skin, or to have people think I’m an ish because of upward mobility. (Christianity Today)
  • 5 Simple Ways to Teach Your Children Theology: How can you weave theological teaching into their daily lives, without necessarily setting them down for an in-depth family sermon (though there is nothing inherently wrong with that)? How can you impart good theology into the lives of your children, without possessing a theological degree (though hopefully there is nothing inherently wrong with that)? (The Wardrobe Door)
  • From Seminary to the Cemetery, Fascination Persists Over Pets and the Afterlife: Questions about the religious status of animals have always been with us; popular theology refuses to deny animals their souls. Our sense of spiritual kinship is already latent in the bootees and little sweaters we buy our pets, and the sidewalk baby talk with which we embarrass ourselves, and perhaps them. Consider how we treat our pets in death. (New York  Times)

Flotsam and jetsam (1/14)

taxes

taxes

Good Reads

  • Disparity in news coverage: As many as 2,000 dead in Nigeria, but France dominates front pages: Terror attacks in France carried out by militants claiming allegiance to al-Qaida and Islamic State extremists dominate the world’s front pages. On the other hand, the Muslim militant group Boko Haram’s slaughter of as many as 2,000 Nigerians — its “deadliest act” yet, according to Amnesty International — generally settles for less-prime real estate inside newspapers. But why? (Get Religion)
  • No, the Internet Is Not Killing Culture: In some ways, creative people, broadly defined, are better off in the U.S. today than they have been throughout much of human history….Still, this contemporary outlook would have astonished the struggling writers of Gissing’s day, and reflects, in part, the spread of creative work in the current economy. (Slate)

My Unexpected Silence: A Personal Update

dog computer

You may have noticed that things have been rather quiet around here lately. No, I haven’t forgotten how to type, been kidnapped by my students, or forgotten where I put my computer. But I did realize a few months ago that I needed to focus almost exclusively on some other writing projects if I wanted to come even close to meeting my deadlines. So I had to put my online writing on hold for a while. I hope that’s coming to an end soon, though I’m still not done with my other projects. So we’ll see how it goes.

dog computer

If you’re curious, the biggest and most time-consuming piece has been trying to finish up a book on theological anthropology for Zondervan. The focus of the books is how theologians have used Christology to inform their understanding of the human person. So it’s really a series of case studies, with each chapter looking at a major theologian to see how they’ve done anthropology from a christological perpective, focusing on how the interaction shaped their approach to a particular anthropological issue.

  • Gregory of Nyssa (gender and sexuality)
  • Julian of Norwich (suffering)
  • Luther (vocation)
  • Schleiermacher (ethics)
  • Barth (body/soul)
  • John Zizioulas (personhood)
  • James Cone (race)

Needless to say, that’s kept me a little busy. The Julian chapter in particular consumed a lot of time since that was a new area of research for me. Well worth it, though.

I’m also writing a piece on Jonathan Edwards’ ontology and how it impacts his understanding of the resurrection. That should be fun.

So I’m still alive and writing, but largely offline. We’ll see if I can change that soon.

Flotsam and jetsam (1/12)

halos

halos

Good Reads

  • 5 Reasons Not to Use Gender-Based Jokes from the Pulpit: If you’re in Christian leadership, and you find yourself with a microphone in hand in front of a room full of people waiting on your every word, do everything you can to avoid using stereotypical gender jokes. (Rob Dixon)
  • Scientists Seek Religious Experience—In Subjects’ Brains: The researchers want to see more than religion’s registry on the brain. They want to know whether it differs across sects, or by intensity of belief. They want to see what genes it activates, what hormones it releases, and how it relates to social behaviors. Can the same basic circuitry produce Mother Teresa and the Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta? If so, how? (Los Angeles Times)

Flotsam and jetsam (1/5)

how worried

how worried

Good Reads

  • 15 Trends for Churches in 2015: At the beginning of every year, I attempt to present to you the major trends for congregations for the coming twelve months. I review my predictions from previous years to see how accurate I am. I have come to two conclusions. First, I am far from perfect in my predictions. Second, I do have a decent track record. (Thom Rainer)