Archive for January 2012

Ecclesiology and Ethnography

Among the many things I’ve been learning about thus far in my PhD program is how the fields of theology and social sciences interact. One area that I’m particularly interested in, and will be using in my research, is Ethnography. There’s a growing field that discusses the interaction of Ethnography with Ecclesiology. A network of scholars has developed around this theme.  I was able to attend a terrific conference on this in September 2011, at St. John’s College in Durham. It was extremely helpful to me as a new researcher. I was pleased to receive notice of some upcoming events related to the network. There’s a new book, edited by Pete Ward, called Perspectives on Ecclesiology and Ethnography, a symposium at King’s College London, another symposium at Luther Seminary in St. Paul,MN and a day conference in Oxford on Critical Realism and Practical Theology. This fall, there will also be another […]



Loving Religion, The Atheist Way

I wasn’t planning to jump on the bandwagon of those who have watched the viral video about loving Jesus, but hating religion (which got 15 million views in its first 10 days). Not only are lots of people watching it, they’re blogging about it, from a number of angles. I’ve cynically smirked at several emerging church bloggers, because of the conundrum the video puts them (us?) in. On the one hand, they’ve been deconstructing and sniping at the religion side of Jesus-following for the past ten+ years.  On the other hand, two things are happening – first, many emerging church folks have been at the deconstruction/reimagining thing long enough to have learned that the institutions of religion aren’t all bad all the time after all; and second, even if they agree with the sentiments of the video, the viral “success” of the video means they’re not on the hipster fringe […]



Saying Goodbye to Off the Map

My friend Jim Henderson has posted the news that Off the Map, a project he started with some friends a dozen years ago, is going to walk off into the sunset. OTM hosted a number of events that were gathering places for a wide range of people over the years. The conferences were a great mix of the usual emerging church celebrities, and people I had never heard of before. One thing I’ve admired about Jim since the time I met him is his ability to identify people who are good thinkers and practitioners, but who have gone unnoticed by others. He “finds” these people, and just sticks a microphone in their hands . . . sometimes without asking permission! For all the conferences and events I’ve attended over the past ten years, Off the Map was far and away my favorite place to just hang out with people. There […]



Bringing Blogging Back

I don’t spend nearly as much time on blogs as I used to. I’ve greatly trimmed the number of blogs I follow, too. I’ve noted before how Twitter and Facebook have changed my own blogging, and I know I’m not alone in this. So many of the conversations that I used to watch taking place on blog comment boards are now taking place on Facebook walls. Reading blogs through feedreaders has also changed things significantly. At least 80% of the blog reading I do is from within my feedreader . . . so I don’t usually even see the conversations taking place in the comment sections. But I’ve noticed a trend in the past couple of weeks. Call it a widespread case of a New Years Resolution meme if you like, but I’ve seen a lot of my friends – both “real” and virtual – posting to their blogs for […]



Favorite Cover Song of 2012?*

I’m not sure how I missed this hilarious headline: “Susan Boyle Covers Depeche Mode Classic,” but apparently a couple months back, I did. Ms. Boyle, who became one of the viral-est viral video stars after her TV talent show thing, would certainly not be the kind of ‘artist’ I’d expect to cover Depeche Mode. And yet, that happened. So, was she able to do with “Enjoy the Silence” what she did with “I Dreamed A Dream”? As a big DM fan from my high school/college days, I couldn’t resist the trainwreck. I’ve often been a fan of artistic juxtaposition, but cover songs are so rarely done well. So how did she do? Stunned. She nailed it. Well sung, well produced. She actually captured the spirit of the lyrics, and added some artistry. It’s not quite as good as Johnny Cash’s cover of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, but you’d expect Johnny to […]