On Aliens

Aliens exist, there’s no two ways about it. There are so many billions of stars out there in the universe that there must be all sorts of different forms of life. Will they be like you and me, made up of carbon and nitrogen? Maybe not. It’s possible they’re here right now and we simply……

On Being a Revangelical – Merianna Neely Harrelson

I always got questions from Thinking Religion listeners when I claimed to “still be” an Evangelical. Merianna explains it much better than I ever could here… Between this statement and my partner’s parsing of the Greek meaning of the term evangelical around the dinner table, I am finally ready to say that I am evangelical……

When you tell your daughters that you collect images of Jonah and they send you one from a Basilica

Pretty cool kids… It’s always been my conjecture that the Dura Europos Baptistry had images of Jonah present as a representation of the 3-day Resurrection event in a Jewish/Chritian context. There were depictions of Adam and Eve in the Baptistry area (along with Jesus as the Good Shepherd as well as other common representations from……

Unexplainable Experiences and How the Church has Lost to YouTube and Netflix

“The Church” (admittedly generically speaking here) has become a community center / garden club / singles bar / country club / music venue in the modern American experience. There’s generally little to no real examination of the unexplainable or mysterious (especially in my Baptist circles… because of job security). So people who still go to……

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Don’t think that we can’t remember

When undergraduate students at Peking University, which was at the center of the incident, were shown copies of the iconic photograph 16 years afterwards, they were “genuinely mystified”. One of the students said that the image was “artwork”. It is noted in the documentary Frontline: The Tank Man that he whispered to the student next……

“Change within a lifetime”

Climate change is the ghosts of impacts future…. And so the most effective guard against climate breakdown may not be technological solutions, but a more fundamental reimagining of what constitutes a good life on this particular planet. We may be critically constrained in our abilities to change and rework the technosphere, but we should be……

New Reading of the Mesha Stele

Potentially huge (I appreciate Thomas Römer’s scholarship a great deal): A name in Line 31 of the stele, previously thought to read ‘House of David’, could instead read ‘Balak’, a king of Moab mentioned in the biblical story of Balaam (Numbers 22-24), say archaeologist Prof. Israel Finkelstein and historians and biblical scholars Prof. Nadav Na’aman and Prof.……

Capitalism is killing the small church

If small church becomes extinct in the next generation, it will not be because preachers failed to promote work-life balance. It will not be because younger Christians lack faith. It will be because capitalism killed it. Source: Melissa Florer-Bixler: Capitalism is killing the small church | Faith and Leadership

A Week Without Twitter (or Facebook)

I made the decision last week to attempt what I previously thought was relatively undoable for my business and/or personal life and pull out of the Twitter stream and Facebook world, and Instagram performance art gallery. Some of that was due to this liturgical season of Lent and some of that was my constant need……

The Sublime and Silicon Valley

“The sublime—whether a feature of the natural world, or of UFOs, or of religious experience—is a sense of our own vanishing smallness before something impossibly vast: a mountain range, a churning ocean, the universe, God. What we get in return for being so existentially demeaned is freedom from the tyranny of our own personalities, a……

I’m 40 now and it took me all of my adult life to come to a deeper understanding of the Lord’s Supper because of my Baptist upbringing

Similar story to mine here… reflecting heavily as we prepare to enter Lent yet again: Having been raised in a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, I never had learned to be sentimental about the Lord’s Supper; it was something we observed once a quarter on a Sunday night so that no one would confuse us……

Church prep for the economic downturn

Economic forecasts are pointing to a rocky 2019 and 2020 for the global economy due to a variety of causes. Pre-2007, the thinking was that nonprofits, charities, and churches were more “Recession Proof” than enterprise or commercial ventures due to the patterns of previous economic downturns and market corrections. While giving from individuals and foundations……

Mary’s ‘Magnificat’ in the Bible is revolutionary — so evangelicals silence it

I certainly had never heard of the term “Magnificat” until college. It’s difficult to divorce biblical passages such as these from contemporary politics when we are in a season of listening to footsteps. Good read in these closing days of Advent 2018: Why has this song been forgotten, or trimmed, for so many people who……

Patron Saint of Pit Bulls

Every morning, Flatt wakes up compelled by that simple mission: He has to save a dog—especially ones that everyone else has given up as lost. June received reconstructive surgery for her injuries and joined the ranks of damaged creatures salvaged by Friends to the Forlorn (FTTF), Flatt’s Dallas, Georgia–based animal rescue operation, which has worked……

The God of Progress

An intriguing essay on a point that has been made repeatedly about American religion, particularly its inextricable connections to cultural materialism and scientific progress… Our modern world tries extremely hard to protect us from the sort of existential moments experienced by Mill and Russell. Netflix, air-conditioning, sex apps, Alexa, kale, Pilates, Spotify, Twitter … they’re……

Churches, We Need to Talk About Website Accessibility (and Discrimination)

“Failure to comply with Section 508 of the Department of Justice’s ADA (American with Disabilities Act) Standards for Accessible Design could expose your company to hefty fines, the risk of expensive criminal and civil litigation as well as a reputation for being unfriendly to the disabled.” https://userway.org/ I’m going to make a rant here. Forgive me……