Leaving Cranmer Hall, heading to Ridley Hall

The workload over the past few years, plus the increased ideological tension attached to social media use, has led to the inactivity of my blog. But with a big change underway, I wanted to offer some reflections in the spirit of joyful gratitude about the work I have been a part of, and about the…

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Humbled by these endorsements of my book

Writing a doctoral thesis is a journey through rough seas and dark lands. There are moments of oasis, of course, as insights emerge and connections are made. For me, there were also moments akin to worship. After all, I was rigorously studying Scripture while laboriously trying to put meaningful words to the page. One of…

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Writing for both Academy and Church (and Gospel Writing as an Act of Ecclesiology )

[My PhD thesis/dissertation has been published, and here begins a multi-post discussion about its content (after a bit of throat-clearing about the book’s audience). See the previous post for a bit more info on the book’s release…]   In his impressive study To Change the World, James Davison Hunter argues that culture is changed from…

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My Doctoral Thesis is Now Published

Six years ago my wife and I were returning to Birmingham, Alabama after a week-long scouting trip to Durham, England. There were two goals: register the kids for school in the UK, and find a place to live. A month later, we would board one-way flights with the four little ones and 19 pieces of…

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Jesus: Neither Elitist nor Populist

I have been thinking lately about populism, spurred largely by the “surprise” of Brexit and the “shocking” rise of one Donald Trump. Pundits (a vocation of ill-repute these days) are astonished by both of these sociopolitical phenomena. How can such large swaths of the populace exercise their electoral power to do the inadvisable and the…

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‘hoi polloi’: Populism, Elitism, and Jesus

“Hoi polloi” is Greek for “the people.” In a post launching a series of other posts on populist anger and elitist aloofness, use of a Greek phrase may seem a bit out of turn. Only an elitist would address or write about “the people” with such obscurantism (or use a word like “obscurantism”). I suppose…

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Pentecost and the Marvel Universe

[This piece continues a brief series on Pentecost premised on a sermon I preached on Acts 2 at Bethany City Church. See the first installment here.] Jesus told the disciples just days before Pentecost that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1.8). There are times in the Bible,…

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The Noise of Pentecost

[Adapted from my sermon this morning at Bethany City Church on Acts 2:1–13. A couple of more posts will follow…]   The first Pentecost was loud. It was an interruption. Today, we may prefer a quiet, safe, uneventful Pentecost Sunday with God minding his manners. But on the first Pentecost, we have the Spirit of…

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Pop-Christian Spirituality and Leadership Culture: Normalizing the Exceptions

I teach New Testament. I also teach ministry leadership. In my preparations, I am finding that the bestselling contemporary books on the latter stand curiously at odds with much of the material in the former. One of the most urgent points I make in Faith Without Illusions is that, like the prophets and apostles, we…

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My PhD thesis… coming soon in SNTS

I brought home the bound copy of my doctoral thesis over a year ago just after my viva. When I placed it on the kitchen table—253 pages of A4—my wife made this observation: “That is the most expensive book we own.” So right. I have paid for many books in my life. Never will I…

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