Category: Books

“Christ Did Not Die for the Good and Beautiful”

I finally got a chance to see Martin Scorcese’s Silence over the weekend. The film arrived late in our town, and even then only in the second-run theatre (I imagine its themes were probably deemed “too religious,” and therefore not profitable enough for mass consumption). The film is, of course, based on Shusaku Endo’s 1969 novel by the same name, and is set in the context of the 17th century persecution of Japanese Christians by the Inquisitor Inoue. It is a masterfully made film based on a beautifully written novel that asks hard questions about the nature of martyrdom and faith and fidelity and suffering, and, of course, about the silence of God. […]

Patmos by C. Baxter Kruger (Book Review)

Patmos by C. Baxter Kruger (Book Review)
The majority of my reading is generally nonfiction theology. But within the realm of fiction, there are few subjects I enjoy exploring more than time travel. So when I come across a novel with a time-travel plot, written by a theologian I appreciate, you’d better believe I’m going to want to read it. And C. Baxter Kruger’s Patmos does not disappoint. The story is written from the perspective of Aiden, a modern-day theologian, who is unexpectedly transported through time and space (by the power of the Holy Spirit) to the island of Patmos with John the Apostle (whom, it turns out, is no stranger to Spirit-powered time travel himself). Over the course of three days, John and Aiden discuss all manner of topics related to the church, history, and theology. Patmos I should clarify up front that if you’re looking for an action-packed adventure story, this isn’t it. The time-travel plot is mostly there to facilitate the dialog. Some earlier reviewers of Patmos likened the book to George MacDonald and C.S. Lewis, but I found it much more akin to Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, in how theological discussion dominates the text (though Patmos is graciously much shorter). I consider this to be a good thing, but it’s not for everyone. The repeated theme is “union or separation”:
“There is only one battle.” “One?” I asked, curious. His eyes flashed, and he looked straight at me. “Union or separation,” he said definitively. … I knew to the core of my soul that we had arrived at the heart of everything. I could see it in his face and in the way he held his head. I was not sure what he meant by union or separation, but it was clear that to him this was the crosshairs of the cosmos. … “The truth of all truths: Jesus. Jesus in his Father and us in him. Without Jesus, what do you have?” “Not much, I reckon. Just ourselves.” “Ourselves and ideas of separation from God,” St. John declared in his most authoritative apostolic tone. “Listen, young Aidan.” And as I did, I felt that my world was about to be shattered. “The assumption of separation is the great darkness.” (p. 91)
Throughout the book, John and Aiden discuss how nearly every bit of bad theology that has crept into the church can be traced back to the lie of separation. We are not separated from God, needing to find our way back to union. God is and always has been with us and for us. We merely need to wake up to this reality. Beyond this overarching theme, their conversation dips into plenty of other great topics as well. For example, I particularly enjoyed their discussion about the Holy Spirit. John consistently uses female pronouns when speaking of her, and for good reason, which he explains to Aiden. All-in-all, I found this book to be an enjoyable read filled with plenty of theological insights. It’s definitely worth checking out. Pick up your own copy of Patmos as a paperback or a Kindle eBook. Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from SpeakEasy in exchange for an honest review.

Look for a Child . . .

I ordered Gayle Boss' lovely advent book in mid-December and am still making my slow way through the daily reflections on how different animals endure the long, cold dark of winter.  It seems, to me, to be appropriate reading for the often long, sometimes difficult, month of January.  So, although advent is behind us, I'll keep reading and pondering how all of creation adjusts to survive in adverse conditions.  I did, however, skip ahead to the final reading for Christmas day and found this paragraph so rich that I wanted to share it with you all.

My Favorite Academic but Accessible Books on St. Paul

In this post, I continue a bit of a series on books I recommend on the Apostle Paul. This list isn’t exhaustive, in any way. In fact, I have several others I like (sometimes more, perhaps). But this is still the list that I’d say would be a ‘go to’ for where I’d invite people [Read More...] The post My Favorite Academic but Accessible Books on St. Paul appeared first on The Pangea Blog. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

2016 in Review

In a few weeks I will have been writing in this space for an even decade. Or, about nine and a half years longer than I expected when I first started blogging. As the years go by and the posts accumulate, I find it fascinating to track which posts grab people’s attention and which fade

into online oblivion pretty much from the moment I press “publish.” As I’ve said before, I’m regularly surprised how posts that I’m quite proud of generate barely a passing glance and posts that I consider to be rather average receive a much wider viewing. Such is the wild world of writing online.

 At any rate, as has become my habit over the past few years, here are the five posts that rose to the top of the pile in 2016 along with a brief description of each.

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Crucifixion of the Warrior God Update

Well, I’m happy to announce that Crucifixion of the Warrior God is now available for pre-order on Amazon! Like many of you, I found that the clearer I got about the non-violent, self-sacrificial, enemy-embracing love of God revealed in Christ, the more disturbed I became over those portraits of God in the Old Testament that depict him commanding and engaging in merciless violence. And the more disturbed I became over these portraits, the less satisfied I was with the many Evangelical attempts to defend their justice. [...] The post Crucifixion of the Warrior God Update appeared first on Greg Boyd - ReKnew.

Will the Real Gospel Please Stand Up?

In my last post, I used the philosophical problem of the Sorites Paradox to illustrate the difficulty in pinning down exactly what counts as a “real” book of the Bible. A recent essay by Ronald Hendel, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at UC Berkeley, might help to clarify our thoughts enough to offer a tentative answer.[1] In “What Is a Biblical Book?” Hendel uses the philosophy of art to propose an answer to the question we looked at in my last post. [Spoiler Alert: This post will be a little more technical than my last one.] … Continue reading Will the Real Gospel Please Stand Up?
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