Christianity


“I give you a new commandment, that you like one another.”

No. We are not commanded to like anyone. From today’s Gospel reading: 13:34 [Jesus said,] “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” We are not […]

Viola sororia

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Remembering the Dead 1   Recently updated!

This past month I had the great privilege to participate in an “OLLI” course with our local funeral home director, rabbi, and Orthodox priest. I was surprised that there was less I knew about the Orthodox mourning traditions, than I did about Jewish ones. One tradition was “Soul Saturdays” which is one of those several […]


Protest Preachers and Prophets

I wrote this for the class blog, but thought it worth reposting here.  Every spring we take the Presidential Leadership Academy on a trip to some location to consider the leadership challenges facing that community. This year we took a different approach. We are visiting key sites of the Civil Rights Movement including Atlanta, Birmingham, […]

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Earliest Christianity Within the Boundaries of Judaism

Published: Article on 1 Maccabees 2 and Hebrews 11

I just received the digital offprint, available here. This was a germ of an idea in a paper I submitted for an independent research class with Dr. Barry Strauss in my senior year at Cornell way back in 1991. (Yes, I had multiple senior years.) This article is part of a Festschrift in honor of […]


Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me – The New York Times

Some Christians believe God rewards the faithful. So why did I get Stage 4 cancer? A powerful piece by Kate Bowler of Duke Divinity. She has literally written the book on the prosperity gospel and was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She notes the irony of her having written a book about the gospel of […]

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Focus or not.

“The Christian way to be ill” 3

I am reading various sources as I work on my book, “Beautiful and Terrible Things: A Biblical Theology of Suffering and Grace.” I came across a lecture at a PCA church on suffering that included this argument. The Christian way to be ill is always to give glory to God and self-searching. “Is God telling me […]


Why do we need to consider how many angels can dance on the point of a needle?  1

“The Lost Tools of Learning” is a wonderful lecture by one of my favorite authors, Dorothy L. Sayers. I particularly like this bit of clarification, one might say hairsplitting, as she addresses why logic and critical thought are important, even when applied to a purely theoretical question. A glib speaker in the Brains Trust once […]

Dorothy L Sayers portrait by William Oliphant Hutchison for National Portrait Gallery ca. 1950

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Comic: Heaven (is Hell for philosophers)

From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal  


Beautiful and Terrible Things — A Biblical Theology of Suffering and Grace 1

This is my most recent idea for the title of a work coming out of my recent writings and talks on suffering. (See the page A Biblical Theology of Suffering for those links.) The quote comes from Frederick Buechner and is oft cited. I have used it for years in graduation speeches. The fuller context […]

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Who would believe in horsemanship but not horses?

No one. This is from “Existential Comics,” always a good read, and reminded me of Lamentations. I recall coming across those who argued that the biblical author(s) critiquing/challenging God about the justice of allowing Jerusalem to be destroyed was an example of the erosion of faith. It always occurred to me that it is quite […]