Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on May 22, 2015 | 0 comments

Dare We Hope: Jesus, Don Draper, and Tolkien

Dare We Hope: Jesus, Don Draper, and Tolkien

The world does not offer itself to us objectively. We all have our angle and experience that acts as a lens through which we view everything. If one interpreted their life,  the events around them, and history as a narrative to be read, would it require one to surmise a happy ending? It may very well strike you that hope is foolish. Life certainly strikes me this way sometimes. Perhaps Don Draper was correct in the early episodes of Mad Men: “I hate to break it to you, but there is no great lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.” Sometimes, it certainly seems that way. J.R.R. Tolkien, however, would disagree with this. Anyone who has read (or watched) Lord of the Rings knows that, though the odds are stacked against the protagonist, and though it seems as if doom is the only outcome, goodness triumphs. Thus, Tolkien coined the term “eucatastrophe” to provide language to those stories where tragedy unravels to joy and victory for the protagonist. This is not to be confused with...

Read More

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 | 2 comments

The Ignorance of the Christian

The Ignorance of the Christian

It seems to me that there are certain social issues so obvious, so popular in the media, that they’re impossible to ignore. Considering the amount of data we skim every day on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other media apps we use, it is hard to imagine that a little information about the world’s problems fail to seep into our actual consciousness. Even in our non-digital lives, we walk and drive by things every day that show clearly social issues that need addressing. But somehow, we have the incredible ability to be willfully ignorant. A friend of mine, a teacher of rhetoric at a rather prestigious and explicitly Christian university, recently told me a story about his undergrads. He assigned them a speech on any social issues that moved them or thought warranted discussion. One student raised her hand and said she could not think of an issue to speak on. Nothing moved her. What is worse is that a good portion of the class felt the same way. My first...

Read More

Posted by on Feb 16, 2015 | 0 comments

How does Ash Wednesday Speak to Culture?

How does Ash Wednesday Speak to Culture?

For me, Ash Wednesday is a time of serious reflection. The season draws out my intellectual and personal interests in justification and the atonement, as well as humanity’s general experience of death and mortality. And this is the point of Ash Wednesday. It is a summoning to inspect our souls in relation to the fallen state of the human condition, and a re-recognition of our humble beginnings. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” This remembering is an active revisiting of the union of flesh and dirt, and that we are always already encountering our certainty of death, whether we admit it or not. A finitude laced with inevitable death and decay—this is a different message than what much contemporary western culture offers us, but I think Ash Wednesday responds rather powerfully to two powerful milieus in culture: one of human progress and the other of human consumption. There is today a cultural dogma that asserts a mythos of human progress, the power of the human...

Read More

Posted by on Jan 15, 2015 | 1 comment

Must the Starting Point of Theology Be Intellectual?

Must the Starting Point of Theology Be Intellectual?

Various cultures within the Church have an inherent concern about academic theology. Barney recalls in his latest post a discussion he had before leaving to attend a theological graduate school on this very issue. There is an assumption by anti-intellectual Christians that academic study somehow warps the mind, and thus the soul, and takes our gaze away from God. Considering what Barney said about intellectual elitism and my own experience of theological higher education, I cannot say I disagree. Academic theology is oft reduced to the perfection of a method or the assertion of a particular text over others. Ironically, it is this focus on intellectual mastery, especially when combined with the cognitive dissonance of the complexity of theological matters, that slowly chips away of the faith of many seminarians. But this is a failure of our general approach to theology. It is not that intense academic pursuits in the field of theology inherently entail a loss of faith, or a radical bracketing of it. It would seem to me that when...

Read More