Is theology arrogance?

“Doing theology” often implies that we understand God better than the apostles or their disciples, and Jesus would really have benefited from a background in textual criticism. But has everything orthodox already been taught? Read the rest of this entry »

The root of all knowledge?

“Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge.”

Abraham Joshua Heschel

World of Farmcraft

Announcing the first massively multiplayer online role-playing game for Amish, Mennonites, and other historic peace churches:
World of Farmcraft

Bad things don’t happen to good people

Unjust things often happen to good people. Inconvenient things constantly happen to good people. Unpleasant things frequently happen to good people. Tragic things sometimes happen to good people. But nothing happens to God’s people that God doesn’t allow and bless. Read the rest of this entry »

Theatrical illusion in the service of reality

The email appeared to be Christian spam, advertising a book and no personal greeting, but why did it come to me? I looked over the website it referred to, and then I could see why.

For thirty years Paul Kuritz was a respected (and atheistic) theater professor. Then, faced with personal crises and divine interventions, he found himself praying that God wouldn’t make him a born-again evangelical Christian. God did anyway, and Kuritz wrote more about his new perspective in the Porpoise Diving Life.

I wouldn’t agree with everything in the book The Fiery Serpent, which I haven’t read. For example, the email refers to the supposedly “undeniable truth: that Christian filmmaking and theatre… are having global impact on our world today.” I’ve already summarized my disappointing first-hand experience with imaginative conversions and Christian theater here. There really is a difference between drama and real life. You might also wonder how he can use Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Kazan’s On the Waterfront as examples in a book on Christian film and theater. But Kuritz is no wooly-minded, starry-eyed artiste. He doesn’t baptize the status-quo so much as he is calling for it to change. And he is calling for filmmakers and theater people to change.

Adorn yourself with the fine linen of righteousness.

“Therefore my dear sister in the Lord, adorn yourself with the fine linen of righteousness, in honor of your Bridegroom until the days of tribulation shall be at an end.”

– George Kleemaecker, Martyrs Mirror, p. 966

When you can’t see clearly

You can look through your glasses, but you can’t look at your glasses at the same time. Your perspective is the same way. Only God and your brothers and sisters can give you any different perspective. That’s why you don’t see your needs. We need community, a closer community than most have ever experienced, in order to break free and be healed. In most of our religious organizations, we don’t get close enough to really see each other’s needs, let alone really help them. It’s as if your cancer surgeon greeted you warmly, pointed to the tumor bulging through your skin, waved his scalpel with a smile, but never began operating. The scalpel has to get close enough to cut before it does any good.

Progress in which direction?

At root, many modern conveniences were not developed for people’s needs, but for the Industrial Age. Your automatic dishwasher was not designed for cleaner dishes, it was designed for automatic dishes. You have become used to washing the food off them before putting them in the dishwasher, precisely because it can’t clean dishes as well as you can.