Posts Tagged ‘ Christendom ’

A Christian Nation?

While an increasing number of USAmerican Christians would be comfortable with the notion of calling the US a “Christian nation” – primarily because of the separation of church and state, and the relative lack of Christian morality at work in the culture – we are known around the world as just that.  In conservative evangelical Christian circles, there is a lot made of patriotism blended with religious practice. And “we” (not unlike other “Christian” nations around the world) blend our nationalism in such a way that assumes that we hold a special status with God. People think that because our forefathers were mostly Christian, and prepared our founding documents with God in mind, we should hold a “most favored nation” position before God.* With that in mind, it’s been extremely interesting to spend time in Ethiopia, home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church (EOTC). (The photo for this post is […]



Review: The Outsider Interviews

I just finished a quick read through The Outsider Interviews, by Jim Henderson, Todd Hunter, and Craig Spinks.* It’s billed as a “DVB,” meaning that it’s a book and a DVD together. The DVD has a large number of video clips that are referenced throughout the chapters of the book. I would guess that if this were to be published a year or two from now, the iPad and Kindle versions of the book would integrate the video clips straight into the text. While I read about half of the book away from a TV or computer, I was able to read the other half while sitting next to my computer, and followed the cues to watch the clips. The content of the DVB was largely driven off of the authors’ interaction with material presented in the book unChristian, by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons. That book presents a lot […]



Sagrada Familia – A Cathedral Without a Community?

When I visited Barcelona, I stayed in a comfy hostel about a quarter-mile away from one of the biggest tourist hot-spots of the city – a “temple” called the Sagrada Familia, or in the Catalan language, “Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família” – Expiatory Church of the Holy Family. It’s a massive, massive cathedral that has been under construction since 1882, and is set for completion in 2026 at the earliest. This schedule is actually several decades sooner than earlier expectations, having been accelerated by contemporary building technologies and techniques. It was designed by Barcelona’s famed architect, Antoni Gaudi. His work is quite distinctive, and can be seen all over the city. He is said to have wanted the cathedral to be “the last great sanctuary of Christendom.” That’s a vey interesting statement indeed. While Christendom’s power was only beginning to wane at the time of Gaudi’s death in 1926, […]



The Questions of Caribbean Theology

Within just a couple of hours of being in Puerto Rico, I had the opportunity to sit with Professor Agustina Luvis in her office at the Seminario Evangelico de Puerto Rico.  Dr. Luvis teaches a broad range of courses, including Systematic Theology, courses on Pentecostalism, Feminist Theology, and Caribbean Theology.  I learned a lot in my brief time with her, and left with a lot more questions than I had gone into our meeting with – which is usually a very good sign. I asked her about some of the distinctive elements between Caribbean Theology and other Latin American theologies.  She has written an article about this in the Global Dictionary of Theology.  She told me that in Caribbean Theology, there is a stronger focus on the impacts of colonialism than in other Latin American theologies.  When she teaches her class on this topic, she helps her students methodically deconstruct […]



Quick Take Review: The Next Evangelicalism

Last week I got a chance to sit down with a book that’s been getting a bit of buzz in the circles I run in.  It’s called The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church From Western Cultural Captivity, by Soong-Chan Rah.  I believe it’s a very important book, and one that I hope will find its way onto many seminary course readings lists – and not just in specialty classes like “Multi-cultural Worship.”  Rah has some good words to share, but they will be put to best use in a broad marketplace. The book is an uncomfortable read, especially for a white midle class USAmerican dude.  I have attempted to sensitize myself and the people I have influence with to issues of race, power, and control, but I know I’ve fallen well short of ideal.  There’s still a lot more to be done in my own heart, as well as in […]



What if we started over?

Last week, in an effort to fool myself into thinking that I’m a tech geek (even though I know zero coding languages, don’t know most of the fancy acronyms, and don’t use the tools I have access to very elegantly), I watched the 80 minute video from Google’s I/O Conference, in which they rolled out their latest brainchild, Wave.  The video demonstrates some pretty cool stuff that will be game changing – like integrating e-mail, instant messaging, blogging, Twitter, wikis, collaborative projects, and entertainment.  If you’d like, you can watch it here. The video stimulated a lot of questions and thoughts in me, particularly about the implications of these technologies, and how they will be used (both well and poorly) by Christians.  But the statement from the video I keep going back to actually happens very early on (at about 5:00 or so).  The lead developer, who is doing the […]



Dissertate this! pt. 3

O.k., so I’ve mentioned the fact that there are major movements of growth in Christianity around the world – well, except for the Western world, where Christianity is in a bit of decline lately.  I’ve mentioned that these movements are taking place at a time in which globalization is changing everything.  One interesting thing to note as a backdrop to these discussions is the fact that globalization and Christianity have gone hand in hand for hundreds of years by now. Back in pre-Reformation Christianity, when the Church of Christendom ruled the day, explorers set sail to find new trade routes and new lands in which to trade.  They typically went with the blessing (and/or military backing) of their homeland.  When they encountered new people groups, they developed “trade partnerships” with swords and spears in hand.  They colonized these places and subdued them through physical force and intimidation.  Another of the […]



The Church You Didn't Know About

I’m not sure exactly how to go about this, but this post represents my first attempt at blogging about my dissertation.  I can’t say how many posts I’ll use to write about this, or how frequently I will do so.  I’ll start with some general framing words, though. When I began the process of research and writing, I was intrigued by the possible implications of some of the writings done by a Penn State University professor, Philip Jenkins.  I had recently read his book, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity.  In it, he gives a lot of data that proves a surprising fact: there are currently more Christians in the non-Western world than there are in the West, which has always been considered as the home of Christianity.  The past few decades have witnessed an explosion in the number of Christians in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.  All […]



It's Sunday, so I guess I won't be (fill in the blank)

According to a research study published in an online article in New Scientist, conservatives would appear to be hypocrites when it comes to practicing what they preach (HT: boingboing).  <pause to allow readers to overcome their shock>  The study has to do with online pornography consumption, and finds that states that are the biggest consumers tend to be more conservative and more religious.  8 of the 10 states that consumed the most went for John McCain in last November’s election.  How people voted doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but here’s something that does: Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays – a 1% increase in a postal code’s religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country, Edelman finds. Did you get that?  Church folks consume as much porn as […]



What to blog about when you haven't blogged lately

Despite the fact that my paycheck comes from a major Christian denomination, I don’t typically like to blog about them, er, “us.”  Partly because I shudder when using that word – us – because it means I’m complicit in a lot of things I detest.  Partly because it’s embarrassing.  Partly because I think it’s irrelevant to this blog – I’ve been blogging a heckuva lot longer than I’ve worked for the denom, so what’s it to them (er, us)? Once in a while, even when I do mention the denom, I’ll do it without naming the denom.  All the same reasons as above. Yesterday, a classmate tossed up a link on Twitter, to a news story that talked about our mutual denomination, and evangelism programs.  I literally laughed out loud at points.  Laughter was inappropriate, though, because a) it wasn’t supposed to be a funny piece, and b) I should […]