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Between Two Trees: A Review of Peter Leithart’s Shining Glory


Peter J. Leithart. Shining Glory: Theological Reflections on Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2013.   It’s not your average big-budget, Brad Pitt–starring movie that receives a book response from a systematic theologian. But Peter Leithart is not your average systematic theologian. And Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life is not your average... Read More

Reinhabiting Place: The Work of Bioregional Discipleship

The estuary of the Little Campbell River, the author's place

Tell me the landscape in which you live and I will tell you who you are. —Ortega Y Gasset   Alan Durning, founder of the Seattle-based Sightline Institute, recounts the story of a trip he took to the Philippines. After interviewing several elders as part of the trip, he was introduced to a frail old priestess who, through a translator, turned one of his questions back on... Read More

Hospitality and Domesticity: Where Can These Black Women Live?

my mother

One’s neighbor is often not even the people next door but the people of one’s home, household, workplace and religious community. One’s neighbor is the person of the opposite gender. —Mercy Oduyoye, Beads and Strands   Flawless Execution Beyoncé Knowles has done myself, and many like me, a huge favor. Through the popularity of her hit single “Flawless,” from her... Read More

The Transfigured Earth: Jubilee and the Transformation of Watersheds


Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you. —Wendell Berry   The World and the Earth On a July evening, I sat in a hotel outside the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City. Mahmoud Abu Eid, a Palestinian Muslim and family friend, told his story to a group of American travelers. He talked about checkpoints and home demolitions, about color-coded... Read More

Immanuel: Finding Integration and Wholeness


In the birth narrative of Jesus in Matthew 1, the gospel writer displays a deep awareness that Jesus is the one who has come to rescue humanity from all the things that mar, deface, and thwart life, preventing it from being everything that it is supposed to be.[1] But there is more at play in the person and work of Jesus than just his address to evil. While Matthew primarily argues... Read More

There’s Another Country: The Conceptual Geography of the Letter to the Ephesians


Newspaper columnists insist that my country, the United Kingdom, is a Christian country, while their counterparts at different papers rail against our military misadventures in Muslim lands. In parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland, particular streets or neighborhoods are thought of as Protestant or Roman Catholic, with flags, murals, or painted curbstones to mark the differences.... Read More

Conciliar Reception in the Early Church as Traditio and its Contemporary Implications


The phenomenon of conciliar reception—the process by which the church accepts the decisions of legitimate councils into her life and thought—has fascinated theologians because it constitutes simultaneously the most mysterious and the most decisive factor in establishing a council’s authority. Assemblies of bishops occurred quite frequently in the early church, but it was soon... Read More

Spirit, Tradition, and the Pneumatology of Liberation


The Holy Spirit and the Logic of Tradition According to the French Dominican theologian Yves Congar (1904-1995), the term “Tradition” [1] (from the Latin, tradere) was originally used in Roman legal documents, where it signified the transfer of property from a donor to a beneficiary.[2] When the term was adopted by Christian theologians, it came to signify a transmission from... Read More

Scandalizing John Howard Yoder


In the years following, some say preceding, the 1972 publication of his monumental The Politics of Jesus, the celebrated Christian ethicist John Howard Yoder emotionally manipulated and sexually violated numerous women.[1] Yoder’s conduct troubles us on multiple levels. Because these behaviors strike us as profoundly dissonant with the ways in which his thought has deeply influenced... Read More

Three Construals of Scripture and Tradition, Canon and Church: George Lindbeck, Kevin Vanhoozer, and Robert Jenson


There was a time when almost no scholarly work was being done to relate Christian theology and ethics to the Bible.[1] We therefore owe a great debt to George Lindbeck, who spent much of his career seeking to recover what he called the “classic pattern of biblical interpretation” for today’s church.[2] The mainline churches, Lindbeck contended, exist in a state of “methodological... Read More