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Evil in the Classroom: Deception and Desire


It was my first year as a college professor, and I (Kent) was halfway through a large stack of essays when I thought, “This one doesn’t sound quite right.” It was not that the essay was terrible but that it was way too good, and inconsistently so—I noted that the quality of the prose subtly shifted between the introduction and the middle part of the essay. My idealistic... Read More

Recovering the Gospel Behind the Creeds? A Review of How God Became King


N. T. Wright, How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels (New York, NY: HarperOne, 2012). * * * N. T. Wright describes his most recent book as a solution to a problem. The problem is that “we have all forgotten what the four gospels are about,” namely a revolutionary new vision of God’s mission in the world (ix, Wright’s emphasis). The Gospels share this vision,... Read More



like a weaned child is my soul within me Psalm 131:2 No, my soul is like my infant grandson, left alone with me one bleak hour. Here, hungry baby, suck on my finger ’til your mommy gets home. Harder and harder he worked, then drilled dark eyes into mine. Six weeks—old enough to reckon there’s no such thing as weaned.  Read More

Evil, the New Atheism, and the God of the Trinity


Recently the so-called Four Horsemen of the New Atheism lost one of their members, as Christopher Hitchens succumbed to esophageal cancer in December of 2011. Although the remaining horsemen—Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris—often irritate more than intrigue, with their crass materialism and strident rejection of all things religious, I always found Hitchens too... Read More

The Faces of Hell


I It is easy to go down into Hell; Night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide; But to climb back again, to retrace one’s steps to the upper air— There’s the rub, the task —Virgil, The Aeneid, bk. VI, l.126   I came to recognize hell on a typical, sultry mid-summer day at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. The church, usually... Read More

Enduring Freedom


She had no time to admire how the jets, pirouetting above the snowy ridge, caught the morning sun just so, enflamed in dazzling white like twin homing doves. So sudden and dreadful was their arrival, she failed to appreciate how their deliberate curve recalled another morning sky, two planes, a pillar of smoke ascending. There was time enough only for a mother to turn, to run toward as... Read More

By Name

By Name copy

Paul Hobbs, By Name, 1995, woven cloth and discs, 106 x 98 cm, artist’s collection. Courtesy of the artist. On the left I have placed a gray board covered with black plastic discs, each engraved with a sequential number. They remind me of cloakroom discs, soldiers’ dog tags, perhaps prison numbers. The discs are identical except for a change of digit. The first is 7,039,... Read More

A Mall is just a Mall, and (Sometimes) That’s All We Want


In their recent essay in The Other Journal, Cory Willson and Robert Covolo position themselves between James K. A. Smith’s approach to culture and cultural practices, as depicted in Desiring the Kingdom, and my own, as they see it depicted in Poetic Theology.1 I basically agree with both their analysis and their creative response to these two approaches. As far as our cultural... Read More

The Canyon, Age 8

Albrecht Dürer - The Little Owl

Though we’ve never heard the word before, Dad calls this fort we’ve built “The Delf.” It’s just three two-by-fours in branches, Covered in thick plywood. And I learned A second word today from Dad When a beam fell, hit his head, and “Shit!” slipped from his mouth. He points out White pellets on the ground below. He says owls vomit Out their food each night— It comes... Read More

Race, Theology, and the Politics of Abjection: An Interview with J. Kameron Carter, Part II


In this two-part interview, the theologian J. Kameron Carter discusses his current work regarding political theology and the construction of the modern racialized world, speaks about the Obama presidency and the recent Occupy movement, and reflects on theology’s ongoing work in the wake of colonialism. In part II of the interview, Carter addresses the Obama presidency and the... Read More