heological education has changed. When I started my first semester of seminary nearly twenty years ago, it remained a brick-and-mortar, residential experience. At the time, I served a church located 95 miles from the campus, which introduced all sorts of complexity and inconvenience. Yet, it was simply understood that suffering inconvenience was part of the effort to be equipped. Then … Read More
As with any profession, occasionally someone (a student, usually) approach me with a question: how can I do what you do? What they mean, of course, is teach ministry and theology in an academic setting. Normally, I respond with something like, “Great! Stay in school until you finish out, but don’t be an egghead. Serve a church the whole way … Read More
Theology is tricky. Among the many reasons for this, I’ll mention two. First, while theology can be studied in systematic fashion, theology isn’t a system and its primary source, the Bible, wasn’t written along a systematic, topical trajectory. Second, while doing theology requires human reason, it’s difficult to discern where biblical evidence ends and human conjecture begins—although theological maturity requires … Read More
In a recent online interview, Bruce Ashford raises an important point concerning the way Christians discuss politics—we tend to run directly to particular issues. What should a Christian think about abortion? Same-sex marriage? Race relations? Immigration? Economic disparities? National security? These are important questions but, before rushing to answer them, we should consider larger questions. What is a Christian’s responsibility … Read More
Modern Manliness I’m writing in defense of the minivan. This seems self-serving since I own one (our second, actually), and seems disingenuous because I participate in the jesterly “no-swag wagon” banter that accompanies ownership. But hear me out. According to popular perception, a minivan says all the wrong things—the surrender of individual style, a capitulation to necessity, the loss of … Read More
South Carolina & the Confederate Flag I’m a South Carolina transplant, having left my beloved old Kentucky home five years ago to move from one blessed place to another. Truly, we love living in South Carolina, where our days are filled with friendly folks and family adventures (swim at a beach and hike a mountain on the same day!). The … Read More
Christians should not approach moral scenarios as biblical empiricists, searching to collect some statistically significant amount of data to tilt the scale. Rather, believers should approach ethical choices in the way the Bible itself addresses them—in context of the grand scheme God has revealed.
The reasons why an outline can kill a sermon.
My lawn looks worse than it has in a few years. Thin spots abound and bare spots appear in what was once a carpet-thick plane of bountiful blades. A sickly and yellowish color has usurped the deep, robust green. It is growing unevenly and needs mowing only rarely. This is in spite of summer’s favorable weather. During 2013’s summer deluge … Read More