Jesus Laughed and So Should You

The fact is, most Christian kids are familiar with the verse “Jesus wept.” Why? In some English translations, it’s the shortest verse in the whole Bible. It stands out. What is so beautiful and comforting about this prominence is that it emphasizes the humanity of Jesus. Believers can know God cries for his friends, as his grief comes at the death of his friend Lazarus. But what is so unfortunate and misleading about the prominence of this verse is that there is no equivalent that pops to mind which reveals that Jesus’ humanity also included his laughter. … More Jesus Laughed and So Should You

Post-Christendom Ethics: Evangelism as Immoral, Confessional, Embodied and Beautiful

If sharing Good News can never be a bad thing, how come its such a turn off in North America? Can a professor “evangelize” in his university class if evangelism is understood as a form of persuasion? How does evangelism relate to sex and beauty? Here I review two books on the ethics of evangelism in a post-Christendom world. … More Post-Christendom Ethics: Evangelism as Immoral, Confessional, Embodied and Beautiful

A Quiet Celebration? Global Scholars Canada at 25 (+1) Years

In the West there is a growing assessment of the wider legacy of Christian mission that may subdue any celebration of global missions because it indites missionaries for their part in colonization, enslavement, and the cultural and racial genocide of countless peoples—a terrible legacy that is said to be the direct cause of global geo-political injustice and strife to this day. This narrative is no doubt the dominant narrative about Christianity on our public university campuses across Canada. But there is more to be said here… … More A Quiet Celebration? Global Scholars Canada at 25 (+1) Years

Imagine A New World: The Stretching and Chastening of Our Creative Powers

At every university student poster sale, Einstein’s wild hair (and sometimes protruding tongue) accompanies his quip that “Imagination is more important than logic.” Imagination is not the sole domain of the artsy and literary types, and its good that we have a scientist promoting more than rationality. But Einstein’s next line opens up all kinds of surprises: “Imagination is the language of the soul.” Yes, the imagination is religion’s home country, and every Christian’s gift to steward. Survival is insufficient, as Star Trek’s famous quote tells us. We must all explore beyond the visible and the known to somewhere better. … More Imagine A New World: The Stretching and Chastening of Our Creative Powers

Accented Antithesis: Rich, Creaturely Life or Ruinous Hell in the Book of Proverbs

If you dare, crack open this book and be ready for a jolt. It’s a book that strives to refresh the “literary verve and contentious bite” of Scripture. It’s a call to get with the Holy Spirit in obedience to God’s creation ordinances, his Word for life, or ruin your life in a slide down to hell. … More Accented Antithesis: Rich, Creaturely Life or Ruinous Hell in the Book of Proverbs

Summer Reading: _People of the Book_ by Geraldine Brooks

Like the film The Red Violin (1998), the plot of People of the Book (2008) follows hundreds of years in the life of an object–but rather than a violin, the focus is the famous Sarajevo Haggadah (a rare illustrated Jewish devotion book). This history, too, is a series of dramatic episodes (from 1480 to 2002) that keep returning to a modern present that is full of intrigue. So this is a historical fiction page-turner by Brooks, a Pulitzer Prize winning author who can’t stop writing about religion. Remarkably, the story of a religious book turns out to read like a spy novel. … More Summer Reading: _People of the Book_ by Geraldine Brooks

Songs of Lament as a form of Protest against COVID, Racism, Climate Change, and other Wounds

I’ve written and preached on the bedrock of joy that animates faith, but its equally true that church should be the best place for a broken heart to find welcome. But few of our worship songs today want to go to the dark places, ask the hard questions, and complain to God. Here I examine a few lament songs possible for Christian worship. … More Songs of Lament as a form of Protest against COVID, Racism, Climate Change, and other Wounds

Sing A New Song for Cultural Renewal: Hymns that Mention the Economy, Media, and Justice

Why are there so few spiritual songs about life on our planet–about the things that most Christians do with most of their time–tend gardens, buy groceries, engage in business, build homes, create artworks, do scientific experiments? There is an inherent dualism in much of our singing that confines it to “spiritual” matters of prayer, praise, church, and loving and serving our neighbours in generic ways. But Christians are called to be culture makers first–this is the blessing that God gives right off in Genesis 1:28: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!” (MSG) … More Sing A New Song for Cultural Renewal: Hymns that Mention the Economy, Media, and Justice

The Hillsong Worship Industry: Praise, Performance, and Prosperity

This blog was originally published in the Christian Courier April 23, 2018, but its been getting numerous views on my academia account, and so it appears people continue to seek some discernment when it comes to the powerful influence of this Australian church on global worship. I do believe this music is something to resist and use discriminately, even as I play guitar in worship bands that deeply enjoy it. … More The Hillsong Worship Industry: Praise, Performance, and Prosperity