Modern Christianity’s Problem (1/3)

For Lent this year I did an interesting experiment. I did not give up anything but instead added an exercise as a discipline. My goal was to engage both the earliest days of the church’s past and stretch myself to imagine the church’s future. I did this by engaging two things:

  • I downloaded a lecture series on the History of Christianity from the 1st Century to the 12th. I listened to this as I biked to work and walked my dog everyday – instead of my normal diet of podcasts and news programs.
  • I bought and read a series of books from the most forward thinking theologian I have ever encountered. I read these in the morning over a french-press of coffee.

This has been a profoundly enriching experience and I am left with several observations as this season comes to an end.

1) I have never been more impressed or moved by the passion of the early centuries. What they were attempting to do was so formidable and expansive that a great deal of respect must be paid to them by anyone attempting to engage in a theological endeavor. From figuring out how a concept of Trinity could work with monotheism, to the incarnation within greek metaphysics – from eternal begotten-ness to the double procession of the Filioque clause controversy … one has to respectfully give a nod to what they were up against the overwhelming effort that was exerted. This is the first time that I have revisited either the patristic or the Middle Ages since I took on as conversation partners Process thought, Post-Colonial concerns or Critical Theory. This is the sixth time I have cycled around to the early church studies in the 20 years since I trained for ministry. It has been, by far, the most enlightening.

2) I have never been more convinced of both the situated and contextual nature of the church’s theology and practice. It is not just that those saints of the past lived in a different time, a different place and spoke a different language than we do – they were dealing with entirely different sets of concerns and with totally different sets of data. From Augustine, to Abelard – from Anselm to Aquinas, once you enter into the intricacies and nuanced argumentation of these doctrinal concerns, you can’t escape the fact that they were a product of their time. All theology is contextual and an honest examination of any doctrine or teaching reveals that their situated nature and specific location (time and place) played as much of a role in their development as any formulation that might have come out of them. The pre-Moderns were not only asking different questions than we are, they were working with different material than we are. Their philosophical assumptions, their metaphysical frameworks, their limitations of language and their pre-scientific world-views all have to be taken into account when evaluating their writing and thought.

3) I have never been more aware of our contemporary situation and how modernity has completely changed the game. To contrast the examination of the early centuries I have been reading the work of Gordon Kaufman, and more importantly, those who attempt to answer the questions that he raises. Kaufman is famous for his ‘Theology for a Nuclear Age’ but I am far more impressed with those who responded to him in ‘Theology at the End of Modernity’. Sheila Greeve Davaney, Sallie McFague, Linell E. Cady, Wayne Proudfoot, Francis Schussler Fiorenza, John Cobb and Mark C. Taylor have been rocking me.MP9004065481-196x300

Kaufman says that we live in an unprecedented time after a) the Holocaust b) Hiroshima and c) global environmental degradation. Human’s capacity to destroy life and wipe out humanity means that we are in a different epoch (era) that comes with unique concerns and an unequaled intensity. I agree with him.

We have to be concerned with things that Origen and Augustine simply never had to consider. We also have access to information that Aquinas and Calvin would have had no reference point for. We live in a new day. We have different concerns. We deal with levels of consequence they never had to consider. This is a new epoch – where the threat isn’t from the heavens or a realm beyond (super-natural). It is all too present and in the natural.

This admission leads to/calls for some significant adjustments to ones approach to life, thinking, theology and practice. We can’t go on just saying the same things (parroting / repetition) without variation. At some point it becomes unfaithful.

Take the foot-washing ceremony that often accompanies Maundy Thursday services. The unique element of the Biblical accounts is that Jesus shocked his followers by doing something that they would have been very familiar with. The novelty was who did the foot-washing. We live in an era where the novelty is the foot-washing itself. It has also changed from an everyday and practical occurrence to ceremonial and liturgical one.

“So even when we do the same thing that they did we are not doing the same thing they did.”

We live in a different time and in a different culture, which asks us a different set of questions, so that even when we give the same answers we are not saying the same thing.

4) It has never been more obvious that we can not go back. By looking at both the first 12 centuries and the last 30 years at the same time, it has deftly illustrated how extreme the gap is. What rests in the gap is modernity. It has become so clear why some want to go back to primitive or ancient expression of the Christian faith. I get the impulse to reclaim Augustine or Aquinas. I get the notion of converting to Greek Orthodox or Catholic. I feel the pull of retreating into insulated or isolated language games like the Post-Liberal or privileging an antiquated notion polis or habitus like the Radical Orthodoxy camp.

I get why that is desirable – It’s just that it is impossible. Like foot-washing on Maundy Thursday, even when you are doing the same thing you are not doing the same thing. It only appears that way.

This is Modern Christianity’s problem (the title of this post).

“ While science gained as the model for truth and the traditional arguments for God’s existence were eclipsed, theologians increasingly turned to the depths of human subjectivity as the source of religious experience and belief.”

Thus the attraction of reverting to former notions of tradition, revelation or isolation.

In “an autonomous and protected location in a modern world where science reigned and religious claims had lost their rational force … by positing that religious experience was a unique dimension of experience, differentiated by its unmediated and nonlinguistically interpreted character and hence not accountable to the canons of scientific inquiry and explanation. Thus religious and theological spheres, without legitimacy or security … appeared to have found a new and unassailable place in the modern world.”*

I am not saying there is only one way forward. I am saying that there are hundreds of ways forward – it’s just that there is no way back.

In part 2 I will address the new need.  In part 3 I will cover the two most obvious and wrong responses.


* Devaney in the introduction 



TNT: Easter, Cross, Songs & Demons

Tripp and Bo talk about Easter, the cross, bridging gaps and demons.TNT

First up is Bo’s blog on Blood and Easter - then they talk Concerns about the Cross.

They listen to an amazing song about differences and they tackle the topic of demons.

If you want to look into the background of these conversations, check out previous TNTs about

We appreciate all of the feedback on the speak-pipe! Keep the comments coming.

You may also want to check out the HBC interview with Michael Hardin about Easter, Jesus, the cross and the Bible. 

*** If you enjoy all the Homebrewed Christianity Podcasts then consider sending us a donation via paypal. We got bandwidth to buy & audiological goodness to dispense. We will also get a percentage of your Amazon purchase through this link OR you can send us a few and get us a pint!***

Barrel Aged Graphic_crop2_rev1

Subscribe to the new stream.


Subscribe on iTunes Here!

Subscribe on iTunes!

Subscribe on iTunes Here!

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on iTunes




Michael Hardin on the Bible & Atonement

Michael Hardin is the author of several books hardin

Stricken by God?: Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ

Compassionate Eschatology: The Future as Friend

The Jesus Driven Life: Reconnecting Humanity With Jesus

among others [you can find here] 

He is the Executive Director of Preaching Peace, an organization co-founded with his wife Lorri. You can see all that they are up to at

“Our hope is to see the church re-examine its theology in the light of the good news of Jesus who proclaimed a truly distinct and unique vision of God. When we do so we encounter a God of radical free grace, forgiveness and love and our lives are transformed by the Spirit of God sent to us through Jesus.”

At minute 46 he walks with Bo through Easter week and the Biblical account that brings the whole theory together.

You may also want to check out the blog and the responses about Easter last week.
*** If you enjoy all the Homebrewed Christianity Podcasts then consider sending us a donation via paypal. We got bandwidth to buy & audiological goodness to dispense. We will also get a percentage of your Amazon purchase through this link OR you can send us a few and get us a pint!***

Barrel Aged Graphic_crop2_rev1

Subscribe to the new stream.


Subscribe on iTunes Here!

Subscribe on iTunes!

Subscribe on iTunes Here!

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on iTunes


Concerns About ‘The’ Cross

I want to thank all of you who shared, commented and emailed about this past weekend’s post on Blood: Easter, the Cross and that quote about Liberals.  I have received lots of feedback via email, FaceBook and text.

It seems that most people get the main thrust of the article but have one doubt/hesitation they can’t shake/make sense of. I was asked to write a response at a non-grad school level (which I love to do).

I have two requests:

  1. If you are looking for something more academic please read Heim’s Saved From Sacrifice. It is wonderful.
  2. If you are a big fan of a penal substitution theory of atonement, understand that I am not. I’m willing to talk about it – just understand that it would be unhelpful for you to simply repeat that view as a defense of that view.

So let’s get started!

  • You said that we focus too much on the cross, but I love the cross and think we don’t focus on it enough! Jesus said to take up our crosses – we are a resurrection people and resurrection only happens after crucifixion. 

There are several problems here. cross-150x150
First, there was more than one cross. There were three just in our Easter story (but not in most of our pictures – like the one to the right). So you can’t say ‘the’ cross. You can say ‘that’ cross. It is vital to get just how many crosses there were. Roman use of crosses was systemic. Jesus’ cross was not an exception in that way.

Second, you are using ‘the cross’ as a shorthand for the whole story. The incarnation, crucifixion, empty grave and pentecost provide a much better snapshot. To try and sum them up in ‘the cross’ is too limited.

Third, we are people of the resurrection. That does not mean that ‘the cross’ is a good thing. What happened there was unjust. That God redeemed it and brought something good out of it … does not change that it was tragic.


  • How do we engage the cross still as people who follow Jesus?

It seems like most of the things that we say about the cross are the first half of what should be a longer sentence.

“We preach the cross and Christ crucified” … yes but what do we preach about the cross?  That is was unjust? That ‘it is finished’ (the sacrificial system)?

“Jesus died our sins” …  yes but also because of our sin? And to what end? To move us away from the scapegoating impulse? To expose and unmask our unjust propensity toward violence?

Here is the problem: if we are not careful, we miss the radical reversal that Jesus’ cross is supposed to provide and we end up simply absorbing it into the system that it was meant to expose. This is a tragedy that ends up normalizing the violence Jesus unmasks and continues the cycle of victimization Jesus was trying to break.

Because of the way talk about the cross in half-sentences and short-hand phrases, we end up siding with the Romans’ use of power and violence and miss the fact that on Good Friday, God was not on the side of the Romans but that God was with Jesus on that cross.


  • What do we do with the sacrificial lamb imagery? 

 I will withhold my real answer (that it was contextual and historically located) and will instead present what I think is a more helpful response!

We see a trajectory in our canon. God moves Abraham from human sacrifice to animal & grain … later God moves on from that system ( you see this in passages like Psalm 40:6 “sacrifice and offering you did not desire” and Hosea 6:6 “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice”)

People will often quote Hebrews 9:22 “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins”. The half they leave out is that it actually says “under the law …”

You see what has happened? By not saying the first half (under the law) and only saying the second half, we actually miss the entire point of Jesus’ sacrifice and end up reinforcing the system Jesus came to move us on from!  We live and think as if we are still under the law!

The way talk and think about the cross of Christ actually undoes the very thing that Jesus came to do.

The rest of Hebrews 9 says that Jesus died once of all. So we don’t need to kill ‘them’ – they are ‘us’. We are all them – the all. Jesus died once for all so that we could stop this us-them thinking and stop victimizing and scapegoating. We miss this and then absorb ‘the cross of Christ‘ into the very system of power and violence that Jesus came to destroy.


  • I thought that the blood shed on the cross provides the forgiveness of sin?

Jesus forgave sins before the crucifixion. Part of the problem with saying ‘the cross’ as a form of shorthand for the whole story is that we skip both the life and teaching of Jesus. Jesus got in trouble for forgiving sins. How could he do that if what you are saying is true?

See? God forgives sin. How can God do that? Well if the debt that is owed is to God … then God can forgive them. The problem with they way we have been taught to think and talk about ‘the cross’ is that God is not free to forgive. God has to play by some external rules and ‘with out the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness’. But remember that the law is that way. God is not.  Jesus, and this true wether you think Jesus was a messenger of God or God incarnate, forgave sins before the shedding of blood. How did he do that if they way were taught is true?

God forgives sins. Thank God! And we need to repent. We have made God into something Jesus was meant to destroy. We have placed God on the side of the powers and violence that God was trying to combat. We have returned to the very thing God was attempting to redeem us from and release us from. We have absorbed Jesus’ cross into the very system Jesus was attempting to unmask and expose. We have missed the very lesson that Easter is supposed to teach us.

I will contend that God was with Jesus on that cross and that the empty grave is the vindication of the victim so that we might be freed from the cycle of violence and victimization … once for all.


I look forward to your ongoing feedback and I will try to respond throughout the day to any honest questions that come up.


Blood: Easter and That Damn Liberal Quote

It is almost Easter – my most conflicted time of year as a pastor.

I am smitten with the empty grave. In fact, I am almost as excited about the Easter imagery as I am horrified by N. American protestant’s fascination with the cross.
I have written and talked about this disturbing trend in the past so I won’t take the time to elaborate on it here.

This whole subject has been intensified for me this year. I have been leading a discussion at my church through Lent about historic atonement theories. The hope in doing so has been twofold.

  • We wanted to look at how the churches’ understand of the cross has changed over time.
  • I wanted to suggest a way to move past those previous and limited views.

We have been working through this in conversation with several resources: Saved From Sacrifice, The Non-Violent Atonement and the work of Michael Hardin.
It has been a powerful excersise and I have learned a great deal in the process. It is the week before Palm Sunday and I have two things in the back of my mind:lamb

  1. It bothers me that our most well attended services with the most visitors are our bloodiest (in imagery).
  2. That damn H. Richard Niehbuhr quote.

His famous jab at ‘liberal’ christianity:

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

This quote gets under my skin so much. Here are 3 reasons why:
1) It is so true. I suspected it when I migrated out West and it is has only been confirmed as I have emerged from an charismatic/evangelical context to a more mainline one. I can not tell you how many people would be covered by Niehbuhr’s concern.

2) We live in a sanitized and sterilized culture (to paraphrase Cornell West) where most people have no connection to the meat on their table. They pick it up at the grocery store in plastic wrapped styrofoam containers. I say this as an avid hunter descended from farmers. We live in a horrifically violent culture (both domestic and military) but so few of us are familiar with blood. We outsource our violence.
This is why a penal substitutionary view of the cross is so attractive /acceptable for so many. The vicarious nature of god pouring out ‘his’ wrath on Jesus results in a pornographic delight that can be seen in depictions like that famous scene in The Passion and in many of our contemporary worship songs.

3) That Niehbuhr quote is thrown around too easily whenever someone wants to reexamine or revisit underlying assumptions about what happened (or how we understand) Easter.

Let me be clear about what I am saying and what I am not saying:
I am not saying that there was no cross and that there was no blood. I get both, I accept both and I proclaim both.
I am saying that something perverse has seeped into our understanding and our imagery.

  • What happened on that cross was real.
  • What happened on that cross mattered.
  • What happened on that cross was unjust.
  • What happened on that cross changed humanity’s relationship to God.

My concern is that we have misunderstood both how it changed and why it changed.
Let me end the critique there and wrap up with a constructive proposal.

When Jesus takes the bread and cup and forever changes their meaning he is saying “what they will do to me – don’t you, as my followers, do to anyone else”.
When Jesus says “forgive them, they know not what they do”, he is saying that they think they know what (and why) they are doing, but they are wrong.
When Jesus says “it is finished”, he is proclaiming the end of this type of scapegoating and violence by those who think they are doing it on God’s behalf.

2 Corinthians 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 [The one] who had no sin [was made] to be sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.*

We are to be about peace. We are to be a people of reconciliation. In Christ, God absorbed the hatred and violence of the world. The one who knew no sin – an innocent man – was proclaimed guilty and God responds by proclaiming that we who are guilty of doing that are now innocent and our sins are forgiven.

This is the good news of gospel! This is the hope for human-kind. No one needs to be sacrificed any more. No one needs to die because God is angry – Christ’s unjust death is to be the last. In the empty grave we see the vindication of the victim. God took humanity’s wrong judgement of Jesus and now judges us right with God. We who are guilty are proclaimed innocent because the innocent one was found guilty.

Easter is the great reversal and the vindication of the victimized. It is finished. We can’t afford to keep missing this and repeating the mistake. We who follow Jesus must be about peace and reconciliation. Too many have been scapegoated, placed on crosses and victimized by violence … in Jesus’ name.

God forgive us – we know not what we are doing.
Let it be finished.
In Jesus’ name.



* If that final verse reads a little different than you are used to hearing it, you should listen to the podcast with Michael Hardin.


TNT: Jesus & Bible Movies

In this throw-down Bo chats with Micky, Callid, Pete Rollins and Tripp about all of the Jesus and Bible themed movies and what they mean to our culture.TNT

Earlier, Bo had blogged some thoughts about this whole issue. Now the gang chimes in.

The Theology Nerd Throwdown is excited to welcome Chalice Press. They are the offical publishing sponsor with lots of great books and resources for theology nerds, preachers, and church planters. They just might become your #1 favorite progressive Christian publisher. So check them out.

*** If you enjoy all the Homebrewed Christianity Podcasts then consider sending us a donation via paypal. We got bandwidth to buy & audiological goodness to dispense. We will also get a percentage of your Amazon purchase through this link OR you can send us a few and get us a pint!***

Barrel Aged Graphic_crop2_rev1

Subscribe to the new stream.


Subscribe on iTunes Here!

Subscribe on iTunes!

Subscribe on iTunes Here!

Subscribe on iTunes

Subscribe on iTunes



The Authority Question – Pentecostals & Methodists

Last week, at the Phyllis Tickle event, the ‘authority question’ came up, as it will/should whenever someone starts talking about ‘the Spirit’pentecost01

I was sitting out in the audience for the Fuller Seminary part of the evening. A little debate/concern arose about the issue of authority – especially as it relates to the rapidly growing pentecostalism of the Southern Hemisphere.

I leaned over to the pastor sitting beside me and jokingly said “I pastored a charismatic church for a decade, and now I am at a Methodist church … this seems like the easiest thing in the world to navigate.”  The pastor requested that I blog about it.

Let’s get all the parts on the table and see how they come together:

Element 1: in the past we talked about seats or locations. Where does authority reside? Answers have included leaders, scripture, the collective, bylaws, reason, etc. Traditionally we have talked about authority in a static sense.

Element 2: in the Methodist tradition we have the Wesleyan Quadrilateral of Scripture, Tradition, Experience and Reason. (for an interesting side-read, John Cobb questions the sequence of those four elements)

Elements 3: I read a fascinating article a while ago about developments in neuroscience. Researches have long looked for which part of the brain memories reside in. It turns out that memories are not located in any one place but in the connection made between different parts of the brain.


Proposal: Authority, like memory, is not located in any one place. It is uniquely comprised of the connection between component parts. Depending on the collected aspects, the authority that emerges will be unique to that organization, congregation and movement.

Authority, therefor, doesn’t exist (per se) in that same sense that we used to conceptualize it … OR perhaps I should say it doesn’t reside somewhere – but in the connection and configuration of collected elements.


The reason that ‘the authority question’ is so elusive is because it is different in every place and is changing all the time

Authority will look different if you are Catholic charismatic in S. America than if you are a non-denominational megachurch in N. America. This is due to its emergent nature as an evolving concept.



Hold God Loosely – Like A Lover

Fun title … but I’m serious. Yesterday, when I suggested dropping the ‘the’ as a litmus test, I mentioned that we need to revisit the way that we hold our faith.

Convictions about God and our religious experiences can be very powerful. As both a minister and an academic theologian I have given most of my life to this idea.

It dawns on me however that sometimes the way we hold those convictions can be more significant than the convictions themselves. What we do with our religious experiences can be more impactful than the actual experiences.

 Let me use an analogy.  Relationship can be tricky. For friendship, romance, siblings, parenting, even marriage I have noticed an odd sort of truth:

People are at their relational best when they are fully available to the relationship but not completely dependent on it.

There is an art to holding a treasure loosely. If one holds it too tightly it can actually warp and even endanger the prized item.
I am able to be a good friend when I can enjoy the friendship but in way that I would still be OK if it went away. I know this is kind of a dark thought but …

I am the best version of myself as a spouse when I hold my lover loosely. The tighter I hold them – the more I need them – the less available I am to participate in the marriage in a healthy and mutually beneficial ways.

 Call it a relational paradox. Call it a delicate balance. Call it a damnable balancing act. 

The more I need my friend or spouse to do this or that for my happiness, the less I am able to both be there for them and to enjoy them as they are.

Believing in God and participating in religious experience is the same way.


I believe in a personal god. I act as if that is true. I want that to be true.

I need, however, to participate in that conception in such way that I would be OK if it were not. If, in the end, it turns out that ‘god’ is merely the ground of being that gives rise to all existence – or a benevolent force – or our conception of the greatest good … my faith wasn’t in vain.
The reality is that if I would be devastated that my conception of God turned out not to be true, I participate in my religion in a way that is not best for the world and my view. I need it too much.

This is the beauty of perhaps.

If I am unwilling to say ‘perhaps’ I will be too heavy handed, dogmatic, inflexible, and closed minded.


This comes up sometimes when people hear a new idea and are immediately resistant. I will ask them why they recoiled so strongly and they will often tell me about an experience they had.  I acknowledge that they had that experience … my question is about how they interpreted that experience. giant-jenga
The problem comes when they need that exact interpretation to be true. They feel like you can’t move even one Jenga piece or the whole thing is in danger of coming down. At that point we simply are not free explore other ways of looking at it. Perhaps that will come down the road.


When I run this idea past my PhD friends I get to use fun phrases like epistemology, phenomenology and narrative frameworks. 

 Today I just want to put an idea out there: 

If, god forbid, I were to lose my spouse and I could not go on … I am not free to participate in this relationship in ways that are best for the relationship.

So it is with religion. If I need my conception of God to be 100% true, then I am not free to be in my religious views the way that are most nourishing and helpful for my religion.



Drop ‘The’

It has happened again. The word ‘the’ has become a stumbling block.

The first incident occurred on TNT when I spoke up about my friendship with ‘Al’ – as in incarnational, etc. – and Tripp professed his love for the word ‘the’. ?Tripp wants to talk about the incarnation and the resurrection. ?I am more interested in a more generic, and I would add more fruitful, discussion about concepts like incarnation and resurrection.
You can read more about ‘Al’ here.

The second occasion was a little less contentious and I loved the feedback I got from the suggestion to Add An ‘S’ As A Test. ?It turns our that simple making something plural can be a great way to get away from the certitude or dogmatic cul de sac that conversation can get caught up in.
You can read more about Adding An ‘S’ here.

Last week a third incident emerged. At the Phyllis Tickle event to celebrate her new book and her life’s work, Barry Taylor (who I have studied with) offered a profound challenge. ?Phyllis’ new book is about Age of the Spirit. It became clear in the Q&R at Fuller Seminary that the Spirit was going to be a point of concern for people. You have questions about the modern pentecostal movement at one end and concern about early Trinitarian formulations at the other.
What Barry Taylor suggested at the Live3D event afterward was dropping the ‘the’ in Age of the Spirit. Why not just talk about the Age of Spirit?

Dropping ‘the’ is sometimes necessary when adding an ‘s’.fundamentals

Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that this is a cure-all formula for getting out of any theological pickle/quandary that you find yourself in. ?What I am saying is that dropping ‘the’ can sometimes open up greater possibilities AND provide much needed clarity to doctrinal or historical gridlock.

The bottom line: We are moving out of an era built around certainty and on propositional truth. Things are becoming more fractured, de-centered and relational (there is Al again). This can be a good thing – shifting from certainty.
(Now, in fairness, Phyllis had a great trinitarian answer to Barry’s concern that you will be able to hear later when the podcast comes out.)
There is a lager issue at hand, however, and that is the way in which we hold truth. I’m going to suggest in a post later this week that we revisit not just our conceptions of God and religious experiences – but that we hold our interpretations of them differently. Until then, I want to encourage you to do a little experiment and drop ‘the’.
Let me know how it goes.

Starter Suggestion: if you are someone who uses the phrase ‘the church’, try and replace that phrase with the word ‘churches’ and see if the sentence still makes sense. It probably won’t – which means that you will have to go back and look at the assumptions that underly the sentence.


Jesus (movies) On My Mind

I have Jesus on my mind a lot these days.son-of-god-movie-poster-6

The ‘Son of God’ movie was released last weekend. I was semi-interested in the conversation surrounding its release but with a trip to the East coast for family stuff and being off the internet most of time, I watched it all from a distance.

The previous week I had been up in the desert to visit a secret location of a major motion picture set about a movie involving Jesus (that is all I can say at this point). We got to talk to the big-time actor who is playing Jesus and to the writer/director who’s ideas about Jesus were some of the most interesting I have heard in a while.

Reading the script ahead of the visit to the set really hit a nerve with me – I often talk, when I preach, about the importance of both how we imagine Jesus and how we image Jesus.  [note to progressive & liberal readers: if you don't think that is a big deal, hang out after the sermon with me sometime and listen to the concerns]

I happen to be reading the script at the same time as I was preparing a series for the Loft LA called ‘A Different View of the Cross”. We are going to take the 5 weeks of Lent and explore different atonement theories that have come up through history.

It would be an under-statement to say that I have over-prepared for this series.

Now, all of this was going on at the same time that we had put our interview with legendary German theologian Michael Welker about his new constructive Christology (God the Revealed: Christology).

When you put these four things together (national movie release, reading a new screenplay, preparing a lenten series, and putting out the Welker podcast) that is a lot of Jesus – even for me.



What I  thought might be fun would be to throw this out on a Friday night and see what kind of conversation might develop over the weekend.

Here are three questions: 

  1. Did you see the ‘Son of God’ movie and what did you think?
  2. If you are not planning on seeing it, why?
  3. Why do you think there are so many Bible themed movies coming out this year? (Noah, Moses, Left Behind, etc.)


I would love to hear your thoughts!