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