Weekender: July 8, 2017

Weekender: 07/08/2017

Welcome to the weekend! Each week, we like to offer a few quick highlights from our week that we think will give you something worthwhile to think about over the weekend. Enjoy this week’s Weekender and add to it in the comments below!

Quote Worth Repeating: “Whoever believe, knows, and confesses that he cannot ‘by his own understanding and power’ in any way believe. He will simply perform this believing, without losing sight of the unbelief that continually accompanies him and makes itself felt. Called an illumined by the Holy Spirit as he is, he does not understand himself; he cannot help but completely wonder at himself. He will say ‘I believe’ only in and with the entreaty, ‘Lord, help my unbelief.’” Karl Barth in a lecture titled “Faith,” in Evangelical Theology (1979 ed., p. 104-105).

Blog Post to Read: Christianity Today editor-in-chief Mark Galli writes about sabbath play in “A Theology of Play.” “Thomas Aquinas concluded,” Galli writes, “as one scholar summed it up: “God plays. God creates playing. And man should play if he is to live as humanly as possible and to know reality, since it is created by God’s playfulness.”

Image to Contemplate: “The Prophet Jeremiah” by Michaelangelo. In the Sistine Chapel.


In Case You Missed It:
Two giveaways (and they are good giveaways!) are still open for entry. Theology Curator is giving away 30 books by N.T. Wright and Greg Boyd. You can sign up here. Homebrewed Christianity is also giving away books by the renowned Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann. You can enter that giveaway here.

Recently Posted on Theology Forum:

  1. Biblical Preaching: For the Love
  2. Another Not-To-Do List
  3. Don’t Say Nothing: Preaching and Racism

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Weekender: June 10, 2017

Weekender: 06/10/2017

Welcome to the weekend! Each week, we like to offer a few quick highlights from our week that we think will give you something worthwhile to think about over the weekend. Enjoy this week’s Weekender and add to it in the comments below!

Quote Worth Repeating: “It hardly needs to be argued that “kingdom” is a political term; the common Bible reader is less aware that “gospel” as well means not just any old welcome report but the kind of publicly important proclamation that is worth sending with a runner and holding a celebration for when it is received.” By John Howard Yoder in The Politics of Jesus (Eerdmans, 1994), p. 28.

Blog Post to Read: In “How Karl Barth Preached the Gospel in a Time of Crisis,” Walter Brueggemann reviews A Unique Time of God: Karl Barth’s WWI Sermons (translated and edited by William Klempa). “Barth’s time was indeed a ‘unique time of God.’ But Barth would surely have said that every sermon is a unique time of God. Beyond historical interest, these sermons invite reflection on preaching in our own context of crisis.”

Speaking of Walter Brueggemann, have you signed up for Homebrewed Christianity’s giveaway yet? Click here to enter to win TEN books by the highly acclaimed Old Testament scholar. (You will be redirected to Homebrewed Christianity’s website.)

Video to Watch: Some weeks, I need a reminder that God is good. This song takes me back to my time in Durham, worshipping with the folks at City Well UMC. Enjoy!

Questions to Ponder: In a review of two books about the pastors and ethics, I asked “How should we preach against racism in our congregations?” While we need to answer that question according to our own contexts, I think the insights could be valuable. How have you addressed racism in your own congregation? Whether in preaching, teaching, counseling, or activism?

Recent Posts on Theology Forum:

  1. Don’t Say Nothing: Preaching and Racism by Zen Hess
  2. A Pentecost Prayer by Zen Hess
  3. We Are Always Beginners: Barth on Discipleship by Kent Eilers

Ascension Thursday: Salvador Dali and Karl Barth

As an intern at Anchor Community Church (United Brethren), I have the opportunity to plan an Ascension Thursday service. This is something new for this community and, quite honestly, for me. Several things make this a tricky service to plan. Some of them are practical: the church never gathers on Thursday evenings. Others are theological: many of the congregants aren’t sure why the ascension matters. I have a few ideas to draw folks to the service and a few others to help them leave praising God for presiding as the Church’s heavenly priest.

One way that I hope to do this is to encourage the church to see the bizarreness of the ascension. This, I hope, will not leave them confused, but help them to experience the wild reality that Christ’s ascension, similar to the incarnation, unites creatureliness within the divine mystery. To do this, we will reflect together on Salvador Dali’s The Ascension of Christ (see below).

dali_1_3 Continue reading

Weekender: May 13, 2017

Weekender: 05/13/2017

Welcome to the weekend! Each week, we like to offer a few quick highlights from our week that we think will give you something worthwhile to think about over the weekend. Enjoy this week’s Weekender and add to it in the comments below!

Quote Worth Repeating: “As long as even a poor theologian is capable of astonishment, s/he is not lost to the fulfillment of her/his task. S/he remains serviceable as long as the possibility is left open that astonishment may seize her/him like an armed man.” From Evangelical Theology: An Outline by Karl Barth.

Blog Post to Read: Robert Jenson’s “How the World Lost Its Story” is over two decades old. Yet, in the past year, I’ve read it numerous times. Its relevance for today is striking.

Watch this: In this video, Yale professor Willie Jennings reflects on a theology of Joy. “I look at joy,” Jennings says, “as an act of resistance against despair and its forces. And joy in that regard is a work that become a state that can become a way of life.”

Questions to Ponder: Following the conversation between Jennings and Volf in the video:

  • What do you think joy is? Is it resistance to despair? Is it a gift? Is joy a virtue?
  • How do you cultivate joy? As a community? As an individual? As a pastor? A theologian?
  • How do we resist the commercialization of joy?
  • How is your joy shaped by your space, and the elements that make your space unique? And how does joy act as a unifier across spatial, and perhaps other, divisions?

Who is the Christian Theologian: Part 1

Summer tiiiime and the livins easy. We are on the other side of July now, but summer (in Nashville) is still alive and well: the Olympics are just starting up and iced coffee is just as refreshing as it was back on July 4th! I have had the gift of taking the summer off — save my “house hubby” duties — from work. A great deal of my time has been committed to reading, and applying for jobs. But, I haven’t eked out the quantity of writing that I would have liked. That being said, I have decided to revisit a paper I wrote for a class during my time at Duke. The paper attempts to describe “the Christian theologian.” It was a bit longer than the average blog post ought to be and, in any case, I am unsatisfied with some of my own conclusions. So, in an effort to continue thinking, I will be posting it, bit by bit, and revising it along the way. Please do feel welcome to disagree and help me to clarify my thoughts. I take myself to be a Christian theologian, so if I go astray here, then I am mistaken in who I think I ought to be!


A picture of several theologians with the text "Who is the Christian Theologian?" Continue reading