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Practicing Politics: A Review of Kingdom Politics


Kristopher Norris and Sam Speers. Kingdom Politics: In Search of a New Political Imagination for Today’s Church. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2015.   For decades, theologians and philosophers debated whether Christian religious convictions were admissible in public discourse. On one side, theologians touted the publicly accessible nature of Christian truth and its relevance... Read More

What You Are Is Beautiful: A Review of Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology Vol. 1


Katherine Sonderegger. Systematic Theology Vol. 1: The Doctrine of God. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2015.   This first volume of Katherine Sonderegger’s systematic theology has already received high praise. John Webster, whose comments are printed on the book’s back cover, has hailed it as a work of “enduring intellectual and spiritual substance” and “one of the most... Read More

Saving von Balthasar’s Conversation with Barth: A Review of Saving Karl Barth


Catholics and Protestants have been at odds for nearly five centuries. From the ninety-five criticisms on a Wittenberg door to the Thirty Years’ War to the bloody politics of the English Reformation this rätselhafte Riß, or “puzzling chasm,” has led to mutual condemnations, heated polemics, inquisitions, executions, and wars. In the name of the crucified and risen one Protestants... Read More

Economies and Theologies: A Review of Reggie Williams’s Black Jesus


Reggie L. Williams, Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance (Waco, TX: University of Baylor Press, 2014).   The fact that today the “black Christ” of a young Negro poet is pitted against the “white Christ” reveals a destructive rift within the church of Jesus Christ. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer   As Charles Marsh read from... Read More

Watching the World from Gethsemane: Darkness and the Devastated Self in Marilynne Robinson’s Fiction


Lila sits in the dark, tending to her mind. She opens her stolen Bible, traces its strange language—darkness covered the face of the deep—and remembers that night on the stoop, all cried out, when Doll came like wind and whispered to her: “Live!” This word of life apprehends us, summons us to light we cannot see. This is Marilynne Robinson’s darkness ablaze. In these shadows,... Read More

Failure, Queer Children, and the Kingdom of God


Despite the rhetoric of pluralism, current social, political, and economic arrangements tend toward the monolithic, primarily giving value to ways of knowing and being that align with and reinforce the status quo. In The Queer Art of Failure,[1] Judith Halberstam wants to incite new and different ways of knowing and being, ways that cut through and provide alternatives to established... Read More

Failure: A Theological Account


Verona: Burt, are we fuckups? Burt: No! What do you mean? Verona: I mean, we’re thirty-four— Burt: I’m thirty-three. Verona: —and we don’t even have this basic stuff figured out. Burt: Basic, like how? Verona: Basic, like how to live. Burt: We’re not fuckups. Verona: We have a cardboard window. Burt [Looks at window]: We’re not fuckups. Verona [Whispers]:... Read More

Shadow Feminism as Salvation: Perpetua and Queer Negativity


In the year 203 CE, Viba Perpetua and her friends were put to death in Carthage for refusing to renounce their Christian identity.  While imprisoned awaiting her execution, she keeps a journal detailing multiple visits from her father and appearances before state prosecutors.  Distraught with concern for his daughter, Perpetua’s father pleads with her to deny being a Christian... Read More

Who Can Forget? Halberstam’s Critique of Memory in Ferguson


Judith Halberstam’s Queer Art of Failure has been a constant companion as I try to make sense out of the senselessness of contemporary headlines.[1] Halberstam’s masterful book gives us several important conceptual tools to engage the injustices we are continually faced with, as well as the courage to avoid the fear of failure. For this, many (myself included) are deeply indebted... Read More

Virtue with No After? On Failure and Formation


Training of any kind . . . is precisely about staying in well-lit territories and knowing exactly which way to go before you set out. Like many others before me, I propose that instead the goal is to lose one’s way. —Judith Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure   The question about the good always finds us already  in an irreversible situation. We are living. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer,... Read More