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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, to borrow a phrase from Teju Cole, “there are glories.”[1] In Robinson’s Gilead novels,... Read More

You Should Give a Shit

Shit and what you do with it is like an ecological Rorschach test—how we treat it tells us whether we are in a society of waste or a society of flourishing.1 Shit, more than food, is the stuff that ties us into the network of nutrients that make up the ecosystem in which we live. And yet we deny shit. We flush it away, treat it, and dispose of it like trash. In doing so, we turn the food we eat into a linear process—one of extraction rather than renewal. It doesn’t have... Read More

We Are the Syllables God Utters from His Mouth: A Review of Annie Dillard and the Word Made Flesh

Colleen Warren. Annie Dillard and the Word Made Flesh: An Incarnational Theory of Language. Lanham, MD: Lehigh University Press, 2010.   The use of words as a primary route to faith has fallen out of favor in many theological and philosophical circles. Scholars suggest that the body is a sexier mode for coming to know who God is, who we are, and how truth is revealed. And so we now live in a mythic world where word and reason have been divorced from bodily knowing, where... Read More

The Tree of Life and the Lamb of God

In one of the most astonishing passages in the book of Genesis, in the book’s second creation narrative, the Lord God is depicted as a gardener, out for a leisurely evening stroll in the garden he has just made, clearly pleased with his creation. In fact, there is almost a sense in the text that God is so taken up by this delight that he appears to be distracted, lost in wonder for a moment. Between God’s creation of Eve from Adam’s side (Gen. 2:23–25) and this scene (3:8ff),... Read More

The Singularity of Jesus and the Mission of the Church: An Interview with Nathan R. Kerr

In this interview, Nathan R. Kerr reflects on some of the conversations that have emerged in the last two years since the release of his book Christ, History, and Apocalyptic: The Politics of Christian Mission. In particular, he explores the connections between Christology, the nature and task of theology, and the mission of the church in our contemporary world. These reflections clearly illustrate the challenge that his work poses to contemporary theological discussions... Read More

Why Lord? Haiti and the God-Question

On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7 earthquake, the same strength quake that rocked San Francisco in 1989, brought the little island nation of Haiti to its knees. Some news outlets have reported that nearly one-third of the nation’s population, or somewhere in the neighborhood of about 3 million people, have been affected either by being killed, maimed, or left homeless. It is not an exaggeration to say that the devastation strains one’s abilities to describe. And it is just... Read More

The Jew from Nazareth and the Problem of Whiteness: J. Kameron Carter’s Theological Account of Race

J. Kameron Carter. Race: A Theological Account. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2008. 504 pages. $28.00 hardcover (Amazon). Click here or on the image to purchase Race from Amazon.com and help support The Other Journal. J. Kameron Carter’s recent book, Race: A Theological Account, is a wrench thrown into the frustratingly predictable modern academic discourse on race. In what will doubtless prove a landmark study on race, Carter engages the fields of theology, sociology,... Read More

Fiddling with the Melody: Illuminating von Balthasar’s Symphony of Truth

Truth is something of a lost art. Even a cursory reading of the primary texts of twentieth century philosophy will make us hesitant to talk about truth in any unqualified manner, and all the theology worth bothering about has listened very closely to these critiques. Here and there, however, we do find a theologian who is ready to guide us on a difficult journey, through these important critiques, to a place in which we can take up again the tools and instruments of the... Read More

What God Does Not Does and Does Not: A Review of Brent Laytham’s God Does Not

D. Brent Laytham, ed., God Does Not…: Entertain, Play Matchmaker, Hurry, Demand Blood, Cure Every Illness (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2009), 160 pages, $17,99 paper. Click here or on the image to buy God Does Not from Amazon.com and help support The Other Journal. “God helped me shoot gunman, ” reads the newspaper headline of how a security guard, allegedly under divine influence, shot a gunman on rampage in a Colorado Springs megachurch. God Does Not, however,... Read More

Death and Christology After (the Death of) God

In October 1965, Thomas J. J. Altizer, the famous theologian who popularized the phrase “God is dead” in America, proclaimed the death of God as the most radical affirmation of life and existence, an occasion for rejoicing.1 Altizer believed that God had completely emptied himself into the world, beginning with creation and culminating in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.2 Yet Altizer had not moved beyond God. In the forward to Altizer’s memoir, Mark C. Taylor states,... Read More