Category Archives: Quotes

The Devil, the Spirit, and the In-Between

I came across a fascinating quote from Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI in an essay entitled, “Farewell to the Devil?” It also reminded me that I had intended to draw attention to Phil Ziegler’s recent Warfield Lectures at Princeton, entitled, “God’s Adversary and Ours: A Brief Theology of the Devil.” The whole series of lectures can be viewed here:
2024 Warfield Lectures: Satan—A Motivational Talk ( I share a longstanding interest in apocalyptic eschatology with Dr. Ziegler and I was fortunate to have him as a member of my dissertation examination committee back when I was a doctoral student.

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Scripture and the Metaphysics of Modernity: A Jensonian Polemic

“We must summon the audacity to say that modernity’s scientific/metaphysical metanarrative―at the moment told by astrophysicists and neo-Darwinians―is not the encompassing story within which all other accounts of reality must establish their places, or be discredited for failing to find one.  It is instead a rather brutal abstraction from reality.  The abstraction has proved to be magnificent in its intellectual power and practical benefits.  Nevertheless, by these disciplines’ methodological eschewal of teleology, they prevent themselves from describing what actually is.  As pop scientists urge over and over, the tale told by Scripture and the creed finds no comfortable place within modernity’s metanarrative.  It is time for the church simply to reply: this is certainly the case, and the reason it is the case is that the tale told by Scripture is too comprehensive to find place within so drastically curtailed a version of the facts.  Indeed, the gospel story cannot fit within any other would-be metanarrative because it is itself the only true metanarrative―or it is altogether false.”

  • Robert Jenson, Canon and Creed (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2010), 120.

Atonement and the Ordinary

Last year, I read Julie Canlis’ wonderful, little book A Theology of the Ordinary (2d, ed.;Godspeed Press, 2018). The book emerged from the author’s “extended meditation on this cultural obsession with greatness and being ‘impactful'” (2). Canlis ponders whether “our culture’s emphasis on supercharged emotions and measurable success blinded us to Romans 12 and the fact that our ordinary lives are our ‘spiritual act of worship'” (3)? In the rest of the book she precedes to sketch out a brief “theology of the ordinary” organized around the themes of creation, redemption, and new creation.

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On Pilgrimage

A short quote from Jim Forest’s devotional book, Pilgrimage as a Way of Life (Maryknoll: Orbis, 2007):

“You can walk to some great shrine on a journey that takes weeks or months and fail to become a pilgrim.  Walking a pilgrimage route, wearing a pilgrim’s badge, and sleeping in pilgrim’s hostels, are not what make a pilgrim.  Pilgrimage is more an attitude than an act.1  If all you are seeking is exercise, diversion, or a deed that will slim your body or impress your friends, you might be happier racking up miles on an exercise cycle at the local gym.  Pilgrimage is a conscious act of seeking a more vital awareness of God’s living presence.  As was said in medieval times, ‘If you do not travel with the King whom you seek, you will not find him at the end of your journey.’”

  1. I would be inclined to say that pilgrimage involves both the activity and the disposition.

The Theological Task Today

In preparation for an upcoming paper I will be delivering at the annual conference of the Canadian American Theological Association entitled, “Reimagining Ethical Preaching,” I have had the opportunity to immerse myself in Garrett Green’s insightful work on imagination. Here is a particularly rich passage from his recent book Imagining Theology: Continue reading The Theological Task Today