Tag Archives: church

A Letter from Paul to Christians in the U.S.

Michael Gorman, a New Testament scholar whose work I have found to be both insightful and refreshing, has recently published a fictional letter from the Apostle Paul to Christians in the United States in the Christian Century.  I heard Gorman present an earlier version of this letter during an address at a theological conference at Northeastern University in Rochester, NY, a couple of years ago, which was subsequently published in the Canadian Theological Review.  It is well worth the read.  I will be incorporating it into my upcoming Christian Ethics course.  You can access it here.

It’s Still the End of the World!

It was able to share an enjoyable evening last night with an engaged group of people at the McNally Robinson bookstore in Winnipeg.  One of the things I was attempting to do in my lecture was to recover the eschatological character of the Christian faith, bound up as it is with the coming of Messiah and the pouring out of the promised Spirit.  The irruption of the eschaton introduces the distinction between church and world, which is clearly elucidated by Hauerwas and Willimon in the following quote which appeared in my lecture: Continue reading It’s Still the End of the World!

The Church Lives in Advent

“The church lives in Advent. That is to say, the church lives between two advents, Jesus Christ has come; Jesus Christ will come. We do not know the day or the hour. If you find this tension almost unbearable at times, then you understand the Christian life. We live at what the New Testament depicts as the turning of the ages.  In Jesus Christ, the kingdom of God is in head-on collision with the powers of darkness. The point of impact is the place where Christians take their stand. Continue reading The Church Lives in Advent

The Failure of the Triumphant Church (Series on “Minding the Web”)

This is the sixth in a series of posts highlighting captivating, provocative, or simply entertaining quotes from the forthcoming book Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections by Stanley Hauerwas with Robert J. Dean (Cascade).

“In contrast to the triumphant church, the early church was a mili­tant church. The militant church, moreover, alone is the church. The triumphant church, as well as the very concept of Christendom, is but vain conceit. Nowhere is that vanity more apparent than the triumphant church’s inability to produce martyrs. Continue reading The Failure of the Triumphant Church (Series on “Minding the Web”)

Bonhoeffer on “Stolen Words” (Series on “Minding the Web”)

This is the fourth in a series of posts highlighting captivating, provocative, or simply entertaining quotes from the forthcoming book Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections by Stanley Hauerwas with Robert J. Dean (Cascade).

“To find the proper words” strikes me as the great challenge for the recovery of the church’s visibility. Consider, for example, Bonhoeffer’s reflections in the Ethics—tellingly in the section “Ethics as Formation”—in which he describes how Hitler, the one who tyrannically despises humanity, makes use of the meanness of the human heart by giving it other names. Continue reading Bonhoeffer on “Stolen Words” (Series on “Minding the Web”)

Bonhoeffer on What it Means “To Believe in the Church”

I taught an intensive intercession course on the “Life and Thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer” during the first week of January this year.  While the students were responsible for completing some reading prior to our week together in class—including Christianne Tietz’s excellent, new short biography, Theologian of Resistance: The Life and Thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer—most of the major engagement with the primary sources in the Bonhoeffer corpus has been taking place over the past few weeks following the conclusion of our time together in class.  In recent days, the students would have encountered this remarkable passage from Bonhoeffer’s doctoral dissertation in which he addresses the question of what is means “to believe in the church.”  The passage is noteworthy not only because it was penned by a theology student who was a mere twenty-one years old at the time, but also because it anticipates in many ways the central themes of Bonhoeffer’s ecclesiology that will come to the fore throughout his life. Continue reading Bonhoeffer on What it Means “To Believe in the Church”