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Category: Culture

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Images of extreme poverty motivate those with financial resources to donate their money to help alleviate poverty; or that is what the producers of the images hope occurs. However, reducing the terrible and often deadly ramifications of poverty is not as simple as signing the ONE petition or buying RED products (both of which I have done). The problem is also not as straightforward as the global 1% of wealth (the “haves”) giving of their means as handouts to the “have-nots.” The position of wealth in the Global West often leads to a mentality that says we know what is best for the Global Rest – we assume that if they just do what we did then they will get the same results. However, this classification of foreign aid ignores the resources of the Global Poor and their local churches, and instead creates an unhealthy dependency on handouts undermining the dignity of the materially poor, while “their poverty is actually deepened by the very churches and organizations that are trying to help them” (Fikkert & Mask, From Dependence to Dignity, 2015, p. 20) ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I’ll bet you’re curious to know what this post is about! Actually, I love curious people, and find those who lack curiosity to be a bit boring. Still, there are some things that are good to be curious about, and others that vie for our attention that are not edifying. Here are two things worthy of your curiosity, and three that are not ...

  • Mick Boersma — 

    ... I’ve also concluded that, metaphorically speaking, 40 miles per hour is my best speed for living life. Of course, there are those times when I have to go fast to finish a project or keep up with a host of activities particular to a certain time of year (like the little league/soccer schedules of my grand children). We all have fast times, for sure. But the life speed that will enable me to go the long haul, continue to be effective, enjoyable to live with, and strong enough to handle the load, is a cruising speed of 40. Perhaps I first started becoming comfortable with this pace as a boy on our family farm. Life came and went in seasons. Spring and Summer were frenetic at times, but Fall and Winter balanced everything out as the ice and snow forced me to slow down, look both ways, and proceed with caution ...

  • Tom Finley — 

    At a recent luncheon, the Talbot faculty were reminded about the culture of academia, a culture that permeates Christian universities as well. The typical academic conducts research by herself or himself alone. Any paper or book that results may be reviewed by colleagues, but still the research is the product of one mind alone. Sometimes there are books that contain contributions by various researchers, but each article typically has also a single author. There are exceptions to the rule—books or articles that are co-authored. They are still exceptions, though, and not the rule ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Ser mamá es uno de los más grandes privilegios, honores y responsabilidades en esta vida. El amor de una madre por sus hijos trasciende el entendimiento y supera cualquier otra expresión de cariño. Por todos es conocida la figura de una “madre abnegada” que da todo por sus hijos sin esperar nada a cambio. A pesar de su amor desinteresado es triste que como hijos y como sociedad en general tomemos este amor por sentado y no lo apreciemos como deberíamos. Qué bueno que podemos celebrar el día de las madres para honrar su servicio y legado en nuestras vidas. Lo malo es que no tengamos la tendencia a reconocer su esfuerzo durante todo el año y celebremos también sus vidas como mujeres que tienen sueños y dones más allá de su labor como madres ...

  • Rick Langer — 

    In light of Holocaust Remembrance Week and Holocaust Remembrance Day on May 5, professor Rick Langer shares what a swastika means to him. ... Likewise, the swastika, the twisted cross, is a distillation of all of Nazism. It proclaims “racial purity” and narratives of “supermen” and “lives unworthy of living.” Its jagged arms encompass a thousand crimes both large and small, and circumscribe many million corpses, named and unnamed, which lie in graves across the continent of Europe. But the swastika has also etched a personal meaning into countless souls. Some of these souls whisper stories from their graves, but others still walk among us. And for some, myself included, the stories of our fathers and mothers have been etched into our souls as well ...

  • Karin Stetina — 

    As the Gospels proclaim, the poor will always be with us (Mt. 26:11) and we are called to help those in need (Mt. 25:31-46). The problem is—how do we do that without causing more harm than good? Anyone who has served in charities in a long-term capacity can recognize a common pattern that author Bob Lupton points out in Toxic Charity ...

  • Charlie Trimm — 

    This post continues the study of the long defeat of Tolkien by looking at the foundational work for the Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion. As noted in the previous post, the long defeat was Tolkien’s phrase for the idea that no matter how many times one defeated evil, it continued to (apparently effortlessly) return to full strength. The motif is connected with the elves primarily, who are immortal and experience the long defeat over the long millennia of their lives. Since we are talking about the long defeat, it is good to slow down and look at more history!

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    The summer of 2014 gave us the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on the side of religious liberty. The summer of 2015 witnessed another culturally controversial 5-4 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which carries potentially ominous implications for religious liberty (particularly according to the dissents of Justices Roberts and Alito). Meanwhile, some legal scholars are forecasting a massive public policy paradigm shift in coming years over another hotly contested issue—the right to life. Fordham University’s Charles Camosy, as a case-in-point, sees such a dramatic shift as not only possible but indeed inevitable ...

  • Mark Saucy — 

    What images do the word “work” bring to mind? If students and others I’ve had the chance to ask are any measure, the first thoughts aren’t all that positive. For myself I can recall flip comments I have made (half-) jokingly about hating when my work gets in the way of my hobby (cycling, mountain biking—the sport of kings!). From what I get from others, I’m fairly typical ...

  • Walt Russell — 

    When was the last time you heard the Bible taught and it penetrated to the core of your being? What about having this experience after thinking, “I could care less about this topic!”? Then, much to your surprise, the Spirit used the Bible rightly-interpreted and rightly-applied to cut through your lack of interest and the absence of a felt need. You stumbled out of the room enthralled with the God who speaks so clearly and powerfully through His Word. You left passionately asking the Lord of the Bible how you could align your life with this amazing truth that you cared nothing about the hour before ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Todos los viernes en la tarde un grupo de estudiantes y maestros de la universidad cristiana en donde trabajo se reúnen a jugar basquetbol. Hace unas semanas fui a jugar con ellos y lo que parecía un día normal se convirtió en una experiencia que me ha impactado y que también ha tenido el mismo efecto en muchísimas personas. Después de jugar por más de una hora uno de mis alumnos del doctorado se disponía a irse a su casa cuando le pedí que me esperara unos minutos porque necesitaba hablar con él. Primero se sentó y después se recostó en el césped a un lado de la cancha en lo que terminaba de jugar mi partido. En cuanto el juego terminó fui a hablar con él y en ese momento me di cuanta que estaba inmóvil, sin respirar y con una apariencia pálida y descolorida. Inmediatamente pedí ayuda y mientras algunos lo trataban de resucitar yo llamé a los servicios de emergencias. Gracias a Dios lograron que respirara otra vez y se lo llevaron a la sala de emergencias de un hospital cercano ...

  • Karin Stetina — 

    This past fall a friend shared an article from the New York Times entitled The Microcomplaint: Nothing Too Small to Complain About. It was amusing to read about all the silly complaints that celebrities tweeted to the world. Everything from the misery of only decaf coffee being available to what the writer deemed a “complaintbrag” of not being able to buy a Persian rug with cherub imagery. This habit, however, does not appear to be limited to celebrities. Cruise ship directors have received equally amusing complaints. For example, one passenger reported that the sea was “too loud” while another passenger grumbled about there being no celebrities on the Celebrity Cruise ship. In the past complaining was something often reserved for private ears. Today, however, it is not only acceptable to publically complain about the littlest inconvenience, it is often encouraged. It has even been identified as a communication style, particularly of Americans, who frequently see themselves as victims. Are Christians exempt from “microcomplaining” or are we part of the “culture of complaint”? What does Scripture have to say about complaining? ...

  • Charlie Trimm — 

    J. R. R. Tolkien produced a masterpiece of fiction with his Lord of the Rings, one of the best-selling novels of all time. This post will begin a series of reflections based on Tolkien’s work, not only surrounding the 600,000 word Lord of the Rings but the entire world of Middle Earth (as recounted to us in great depth in the Silmarillion and other posthumously published work by Tolkien) and Tolkien’s thoughts about what he was trying to achieve through his world (largely recorded in The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien) ...

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Michelle Lee-Barnewall (Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Talbot School of Theology) recently wrote and published Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian: A Kingdom Corrective to the Gender Debate. We wanted to learn more about this book, so we had Michelle respond to some questions ...

  • Charlie Trimm — 

    Most agree that knowledge about the Bible in the United States is very low today (our own Ken Berding’s helpful Bible Fluency Program seeks to rectify this). What little Bible knowledge is present usually is focused on the New Testament, leaving the Old Testament as a scary foreign land that few visit. However, this was not always the case. A recent book by Eran Shalev, American Zion: The Old Testament as a Political Text from the Revolution to the Civil War, gives us a glimpse of a somewhat different world as he shows how important the Old Testament was in political discussions in the United States before the Civil War ...

  • William Lane Craig — 

    Question A 17 year old Indian from the Middle East who's a big fan of your work for Christ. My question deals with recent discoveries in physics. How would the new discovery of gravitational waves affect Lorentzian relativity, the Kalaam argument and the A-theory of time? Xavi India

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    This semester I am part of a professors’ reading group about the relationship of economics and Christian theology. We are reading several books and discussing relevant issues regarding a theology of work, stewardship, and economics. Obviously every author and participant has a unique perspective about different topics, but in our group we all come from a position of privilege, especially as we talk about poverty and ways to help those who are less fortunate. We have a tendency to talk about the poor as “they,” as people different from us and not necessarily as peers who can also teach us and lead us into better paths as we immerse in their circumstances and perspectives ...

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    The new year is always a time of reflection. Many people make resolutions to lose weight, exercise, continue education, and a host of other plans. Whether or not you make resolutions, the new year is a good time to reflect on your life and ministry ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    More than a generation ago, Don Richardson popularized the idea that Christians who share Christ across cultures might encounter—and even ought to look for—“redemptive analogies” in those cultures. The idea was that God has pre-placed customs or stories into cultures that prepare people to respond to the gospel ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Hace un par de semanas estuve en Guatemala para iniciar un curso semestral en un programa doctoral en educación teológica. Este programa es singular en Latinoamérica y enseñar en él me da la oportunidad de convivir con líderes de diferentes países y también aprender de ellos. A pesar de que este doctorado se enfoca principalmente en la educación teológica formal a través de universidades y seminarios, la realidad es que todo nuestro entorno debería tener un enfoque teológico porque Dios es el creador del universo y el centro fundamental de toda la existencia. Por esto el conocimiento de Dios o educación teológica nos debería ayudar a “pensar teológicamente” sobre todas las áreas de la vida ...

  • Greg Ganssle — 

    Each age has its particular hazards. Each age encourages certain vices and devalues certain virtues. Because we are immersed in our age, these hazards are often invisible to us. We simply cannot see the effects of certain cultural ideas and practices on our characters ...

  • Andy Draycott — 

    Why should Christians care about citizenship and politics? After all, didn’t Jesus say that his kingdom was not from this world? (John 18:36) Didn’t the apostle Paul write that our citizenship in in heaven? (Philippians 3:20) God may have instituted civil authorities and empowered their coercive judgments (Romans 13:1) but that doesn’t mean we need to like that brood of vipers, anymore than we suppose Paul was a fan of emperor Nero. Some theologians (rightly worried about the easy assimilation of comfortable Christianity to unquestioning patriotism) have for some time now advanced the view that a Christian’s identity is determined by belonging to the one global church of Jesus Christ and not at all by local loyalties of citizenship. How else are we to understand our spiritual fraternity and equal standing before God? Earthly political citizenship, by contrast, as distributed solely by geography of birth or forced migration, clearly marks some as winners and some as losers in the paths to flourishing ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Columnist Joel Stein in the December 21 issue of TIME (p. 174) labeled 2015 as “The Year the Adults Gave Up" ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I have no intention of answering this specific question. (Do you think I’m crazy?!) But since this is a truly difficult question for many Christian parents, let me offer a suggestion about gift spending that might help you in the future. I know that you’re probably reading this post too late in the season to make any changes for this upcoming Christmas, but now may be the ideal time to formulate plans for the future ...