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Theological Ethnography: Embodied

Over the past several decades, theologians have turned to new methodologies to better understand how cultural situations shape lived faith and, in particular, the church. While these new methodologies have their origins in the social sciences, their adoption by theologians has both complicated and constructed new theological thinking for contemporary ecclesiology. This essay traces the “ethnographic” turn in contemporary ecclesiology and then summarizes several key themes... Read More

Embodiment Takes Practice: The Neurological Necessity of Counter-Practices in Transforming Culture

Before it was in vogue, theologian James Wm. McClendon Jr. wrote about the importance of the body, indeed the entire organic world, to any truly holistic and coherent theological program. According to McClendon, any adequate and faithful account of Christian ethics will necessarily contain three distinct but interpenetrating strands: a body strand, a social strand, and a resurrection strand. Drawing on an image from Ludwig Wittgenstein,1 McClendon argues that just as a rope of... Read More

Eating for the Kingdom: A Response to Stephen Webb’s “Against the Gourmands” and William T. Cavanaugh’s “Out to Lunch”

Theological Reflection on Food: A Dialogue about Diet or Politics? Most Americans eat three meals a day, or thereabouts, and so what we eat is undeniably a significant part of our embodied life. But to what extent are our everyday dietary decisions part of a larger moral framework? How integrated is what we eat with who we are? The recent exchange of articles between Stephen H. Webb and William T. Cavanaugh—consisting of Webb’s “Against the Gourmands,” Cavanaugh’s response... Read More

Rethinking Visibility: Church, Repentance, and 9/11

On September 11, 2001, I was in an early morning seminary class when an administrative assistant came and told us that the first of the towers had collapsed. The class put down John Locke’s The Reasonableness of Christianity—after all, nothing seemed reasonable in those hours after we heard the news[1]—and spent the day talking on the phone with loved ones and watching CNN. My life in college and seminary had not been free of suffering—I had started and led a homeless... 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

Reclaiming Metaphysics and Truth: How D. Stephen Long Speaks of God

D. Stephen Long. Speaking of God: Theology, Language, and Truth. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2009. 352 pages.$21.12 paperback. Click on the image to purchase Speaking of God from Amazon.com and help support The Other Journal. Modern philosophers and historians were convinced of the death of metaphysics; they buried questions of existence and being deep in the grave. But according to D. Stephen Long, author of Speaking of God, even their proofs for this death... Read More

Back to the Alter: Revisiting Evangelicalism’s Problem with Race

Paul Louis Metzger. Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2007. 191 pages.$10.88 paperback. Click on the image to purchase Consuming Jesus from Amazon.com and help support The Other Journal. There has been a massive influx of Christian literature and criticism regarding the multifaceted behemoth of consumerism in recent years. What could be dismissed as a fad of cultural criticism has begun to take... Read More

Listening on the Day of Silence: Khora and Holy Saturday

When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since... 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

From Church to “Rhizone”: Reconfiguring Theological Education for the Postmodern Era

Being Relevant May Be Irrelevant A survey of the literature on contemporary theological education, and what’s wrong with it, has several persistent themes, which on the surface seem somewhat contradictory. One is that seminaries—or “schools of theology”—are becoming largely “irrelevant” to the practice of ministry and ministerial leadership. The other is that seminaries are increasingly asked to do too much and thus suffer from what in the military and to some... Read More