Reading Harry Potter… in England

I just finished reading Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. (The Triwizard Cup was a portkey… what?!?! Never saw that coming) Yeah, I know—I am 13 or so years behind when everyone else made the discovery. Over the past decade of university ministry work, I have curiously observed my Millennial friends pining away for…

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The Spiritual Life and Divine Assault (When God Hurts Us)

“God sometimes hurts us.” I said this as I sank with a sigh, exhausted and burdened, into a chair in our living room. Wisely, my wife posed the most appropriate question: “Well, does this happen in Scripture?” The answer, we agreed, is YES. God hurts us. And Christians need a spirituality capacious enough for divine…

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Matt Orth’s Tragic-Comedy for the Disillusioned

My friend Matt Orth has written a book. The two of us are both a bit squeamish about squirrelling our way into the powerful marketing mechanizations that give books a prominent showcasing in our society today, but we decided we could at least review each other’s books on our respective slices of cyber real estate…

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JUSTIN CROSS | An Artistic Project We Need to Back… Immediately

Dear Readers: I have a number of friends God has jammed to the brim with gifts for bringing theology, pain, beauty, darkness, and joy into musical expression. When we deal with the most poignant realities of life, we must regularly appeal to more artistic media forms to honor the complexity and depth. We need songs…

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How I Opened My Class on Paul and his Letters…

[I am currently teaching the Paul section in a module called “New Testament Texts: The Johannine and Pauline Literature” at Cranmer Hall Theological College in Durham. At the beginning of each class, I have tried to offer a scenario of some kind to engage our imaginations and prime our minds to think more contextually about…

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Halloween… and the Cosmic Violence of the Gospel (again)

[I am re-posting this because it is one of my favorite pieces of writing on the blog… and because it is Halloween, once again] This is the day that Evil gets festive press.  Halloween caricatures Evil, dressing it up rather innocuously in ghostly face paint, plastic masks, fake fangs.  This is the day when it…

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“Media Christology”

My favorite section in TheoMedia is “PART 4 | Media Christology: Jesus, Media Legacies, and Focal Media Practices.” Here are the chapter headings: The Page-Splitting God Who Rips Sky and Veil: An Interlude” Gospel and Incarnation: Jesus as the Ultimate TheoMedium Crucifixion: Cross-Visuality and the Eucharist Resurrection & Ascension: Word-media, Baptism, and Christ as Mediator…

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Our Primary Source for Sex Ed…? Entertainment Media

Relevant Magazine just published an article I wrote on our culture’s sexual pedagogy through screens. The piece draws on a brief “TheoMedia Note” on sex and violence in my new book TheoMedia. Since a number of folks are arriving at Hopeful Realism from Relevant’s site, I thought it might be helpful to compile some other…

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Everything Bad is Good For You… Including Preaching

In researching TheoMedia, I read Steven Johnson’s Everything Bad is Good for You where he takes to task the conventional wisdom that our entire society is “amusing ourselves to death” (so Neil Postman) and reducing our collective minds into media-saturated mush. His claim is that much of this supposedly “bad” stuff in pop-culture is actually…

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Should Preaching be Entertaining?

I asked in the previous post if preaching should be entertaining. My thinking is that preaching must ultimately be, like the Christian Scriptures, engaging. That is, preaching must arrest the mind, heart, soul, and strength (to borrow from the Shema—Dt 6:4) and compel a reimagining of reality and a reanimation of our lives. In this…

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