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How Cancer Made Me Less of a Bastard (and More Human)


There is a beloved story among whiskey-drinking Nashville Christians involving the regional oddity that is Will D. Campbell. He was a double-traitor of sorts, first to poor, white southerners when he became a civil right activist and then later to his fellow activists who wondered what would possess a man to minister to the racists. The story goes that an unbelieving friend, who... Read More

On Boyhood, Tralfamadore, and the Meaning of Life


I am a Tralfamadorian, seeing all time as you might see a stretch of the Rocky Mountains. All time is all time. It does not change. It does not lend itself to warnings or explanations. It simply is. —Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five   Tralfamadorians, of planet Tralfamadore, where flying saucers come from, cast a bleak vision of life outside time. These extraterrestrial... Read More

Salvific Communities and Practices of Resistance: A Feminist Theological Response to Trauma


In Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman argues that trauma healing is only possible within healthy relationships.[1] She says that survivors need an empowering community of support in order to heal. In the United States, the normative community is the nuclear family, but how do survivors of domestic violence heal if that community is a source of violence and trauma? Given the familial... Read More

The Trauma of God

Lightning Tree Silhouette Black and White

It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. —Hebrews 10:31 NJB   god (n.): Old English god “supreme being, deity; the Christian God; image of a god; godlike person,” from Proto-Germanic *guthan (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch god, Old High German got, German Gott, Old Norse guð, Gothic guþ), from PIE *ghut- “that which is invoked” (cognates:... Read More

Pilgrimage, Geography, and Mischievous Theology

Durham Cathedral - Pilgrimage

One hundred years ago, the Scottish poet Edwin Muir mourned that Christianity had apostatized by abandoning its incarnate, embodied grounding. In his poem “The Incarnate One,” he laments that “The Word-made-flesh here is made word again.”[1] In our generation, Charles Taylor coined the problem even more succinctly: excarnation. This inclination to strip Christianity of its... Read More

The African Woman’s Suffering: Hermeneutics, Geography, and Liberation Theology


When it comes to suffering, geography matters.[1] Where we live determines how we suffer and how we respond to that suffering, how we search for healing and hope. It is unsurprising, therefore, that the collective suffering wrought by colonization has molded indigenous theologies toward a hermeneutic of liberation. In many ways, African women’s theology arose as a direct response... Read More

On the Possibility of Death in Advent


In the face of death we cannot simply speak in some fatalistic way, “God wills it”; but we must juxtapose it with the other reality, “God does not will it.” Death reveals that the world is not as it should be but that it stands in need of redemption. Christ alone is the conquering of death. —Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Circular Letter to the Confessing Churches,” 1941   They... Read More

Desire and Its Inversions: On the Roots of White Racial Terror(ism)


That moment . . . between the release of the trigger and the fall of another black body, of another brown body, and another . . . haunts this book. What is there to do? To capture, to resignify as one remembers, reconfigures, and disassembles what lies before those elusive moments. —Denise Ferreira da Silva, Toward a Global Idea of Race   Throw a rock any direction and it’ll... Read More

On Hollowed Ground? The Ambivalent Territoriality of Saint Justin’s Interpretation of the Kingdom of God and Its Implications for Contemporary Christian Theological Reflection


One of the trends to emerge in recent theological discourse is a renewed focus on Jesus’s proclamation of the kingdom of God. In particular, leading scholars have argued that Jesus’s kingdom vision was steeped within the first-century Jewish hope for Israel’s national restoration.[1] At the same time, however, several scholars have also argued that Jesus deterritorialized... Read More

Reclaiming Christian Marriage: What the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) Needs to Learn from the Southern Baptists


On June 19, 2014, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to allow their pastors to perform “same-gender marriages in civil jurisdictions where such marriages are legal.”[1] As expected, this has caused no small hubbub among American Christians. While gay rights advocates and Christians on the left have lauded this progressive decision and praised the denomination for changing... Read More