So Augustine, Calvin and Barth are at the Pearly Gates…

My pastor here in England told me a good theological joke (yes, there is such a thing). Augustine, Calvin and Karl Barth are standing before the Pearly Gates, awaiting entrance into heaven.  Augustine’s name is called and he goes in.  A half hour later he returns.  Overjoyed, he reports that he has conversed with God…

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Pastors, Preaching, and the Academy’s Process of Peer-Review

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3:1) After almost a decade of pastoral ministry, I am now firmly ensconced within the academic world, getting my feet wet in a New Testament doctoral program.  Being situated quite deeply within…

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Johannine Scholarship: It’s Personal

My doctoral thesis at Durham University focuses on narrative and theology in the Gospel of John.  For the past decade I have been reading Johannine scholarship and attending the sections on the Fourth Gospel at SBL.  For the past few days, I have been reading through essays in What We Have Heard From the Beginning:…

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History, Media, the Bible, and the Poor

“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth… ” (Proverbs 31.8-9a). Whose stories survive the wheels of time? The stories of the powerful.  The stories of the famous and infamous.  History is the reconstruction of the past based on extant media, that is, the words and…

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A Cynical Donkey

Since writing a book on cynicism, I have been wondering about the portrayal of cynics in literature and film.  So far the list is quite short: Melvin Udall in As Good As it Gets (played by Jack Nicholson) and Ivan Karamazov in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.  Holden Caufield of Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye…

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