Call for manuscripts and new book series announcement: INTERSECTIONS: Theology and the Church in a World Come of Age

Series Announcement:

Intersections: Theology and the Church in a World Come of Age

Published by  Noesis Press (Davies Group, Publishers)

Description:

Theological discourse typically teeters between obscure, abstract thinking suitable only for academics and direct “how-to” writing: how to preach, how to evangelize, how to educate children and adults into the faith, how to lead for financial stability, how to teach happy relationships.  Obviously, neither the abstract nor the practical are unnecessary or unfruitful; however, creative, constructive theological voices fruitfully inhabiting the in-between spaces of the abstract and instructional, who engage and converse with the practical aspects of church life have become rare.  Furthermore, theological writing which inhabits this liminal space is sorely needed in our secularized and secularizing world, vital to those seeking a “metapoietic” condition in a post-Christendom world—one that takes seriously the Gospel, the church, and the world “come of age” in science, technology, literature, and the arts.

The titles in the forthcoming Intersections series are envisioned to be short monographs or edited collections which offer fresh and bold perspectives on theology, practical theology, church practice, and religious issues beyond organized religion, by individuals with clear commitments to and entrenchments in the academy and religious assembly.  Of particular interest to the series are short monographs which introduce important figures in academic theology or philosophy to a pastoral or seminarian audience with clear application for religious life, or collaborative works between clergy and academics.  Intersections series titles will be written for scholarly clergy and seminarians, for those who take academic theology and religious life seriously, who welcome and are searching for theological thinking and writing that refuses to rehash old mistakes, blindly retreat into doctrine, or insult its audience. Read the rest of this entry »

Conestoga Wood Specialties / Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Case: An observation

There is a lot of blogging and writing, and tearing of shirts, and pointing of fingers in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell case (see info here), but I just had an observation.  If Conestoga Wood, whose headquarters are located in my area, are really “Conservative Mennonites” to the point that they will challenge the Affordable Care Act all the way to the Supreme Court, would they be open on July 4, U.S. Independence Day, since most Anabaptists do not celebrate national holidays?  Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon: “The Second Amendment vs. The Second Commandment”

Here is the draft of a sermon I am working on for this Sunday for St. Paul’s UCC, Dallastown, PA.  The Lections are Psalm 8 and Exodus 20:1-20.  The sermon will begin a new nine-month focus on peace in my congregation’s worship life.

I have been so heartbroken over the past few weeks over the news of shooting after shooting.  People shot with guns.  Death after death.  Devastated families.  Communities brazen with fear and anger. Reports of funeral after funeral.  Embalming fluid and blood.  The media selectively reports the details, partially in fear of copycat crimes, partially in fear of being accused of exploiting the facts out of some liberal agenda.  I have friends and family who are responsible gun owners, and know a few people who even work in the firearms industry.   I also know folks whose lives have been destroyed by gun violence.   I have ministered to men in prison whose mistakes and aggressions, usually with a firearm, led them to the situations they now find themselves.  I have known too many people who have taken their own lives with a firearm.  My own great uncle, John Rodkey, was a nationally known marksman during his life and ran a small gun shop in his retirement.  For a short time in Chicago I became friendly with a police officer who introduced me into target shooting, even while I lived in a neighborhood where I would wake up to gun shots fired in the night.

I’m not here to give you my own history with guns but I preface my sermon with these details to say that I’m trying to work out the question of our spiritual sickness of gun violence for myself—and for me it’s not out of some political agenda.  I know and have experienced the faces and the stories, the real people, on every side of this issue.

Which is also why I am so sickened by our inability to even talk about the issues surrounding gun violence in our country.  One cannot so much as pray a public lament about this problem that we have in our culture without it being politicized.  Rational and level-headed discussion are strictly forbidden.  We know the lines, and many of them are patently or at least partially false.  That access to more guns makes us safer as a nation.  That changing laws will change the culture.  That mental illness is the root cause of gun violence.  That banning guns will make us less violent.  That guns don’t kill people.  That stricter gun control is an act of aggression by an already oppressive government who wants to enslave us with their guns.  That study after study performed by the medical profession, and academics and clergy are part of some big agenda.  That a desire to restrict gun access is a slippery slope that will soon lead to the banning of baseball bats, forks, and knives.  The debate gets personal, and creates a cultural division between those who are gun owners and those who are not, with the assumption one side wants to take something away from the other.

The debate tinges with sexism, elitism, classism, and racism.  Read the rest of this entry »

Carl Rashcke’s lecture for the Dallastown Theological Summit

After having some technological difficulty the Dallastown Theological Summit welcomed Carl Raschke to discuss the theme of the Eucharist last weekend, via Facetime. Read the rest of this entry »

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Michael Grimshaw: The Counter-Narratives of Radical Theology and Popular Music

Counter NarrativesSeveral of us at are involved in Mike Grimshaw’s new edited volume, The Counter-Narratives of Radical Theology and Popular Music: Songs of Fear and Trembling, from Palgrave Macmillan’s Radical Theologies series.  Clayton Crockett has an essay on Joy Division; Joshua Ramey’s chapter is titled “Protocols of Surrender: Stammering across the Gothic Lines”; Daniel Barber’s is titled “Stop, Think, Stop”; and my contribution is an essay on the Pet Shop Boys, whose hit, “It’s a sin,” always struck me as a prayer.

I invited Mike to send me something to promote the book (the table of contents follows, below), so he sent a selection from his opening essay.  The book can be found on the publisher’s webpage here and on  Amazon here.

 

From…Sonic bibles and the closing of the canon:

The sounds of secular, mundane transcendence?

Mike Grimshaw

 To write our own bibles is part of being modern: to write out of doubt, angst, existential yearning and hope, to attempt to make present that which we perceive and experience as absent, to deal with those issues of self and time and place and identity, to give voice to the questions and troubles of existence… Read the rest of this entry »

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“Living Theology: The Eucharist in Question” event details (5/16/14)

The UCC Theological Summit (“Dallastown II”) will convene on Friday, May 16, 2014 at 8:30 AM at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 205 W. Main St., Dallastown, PA.  The event will feature guest facilitation from Dr. Victor Taylor of York College of Pennsylvania and a session via internet with Carl Raschke of the University of Denver–two names with whom most readers of this blog will be familiar.

Although the focus of the event will be on practices and theology of the United Church of Christ, registration is open to anyone.

The papers scheduled for the day are: Read the rest of this entry »

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Photos from the Holy Land

Some of you may know that I recently took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land through the generosity of the charitable work of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of the United StatesHermit Commandery of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, of which I am a member, nominated me to go on an all-expenses-paid trip with 36 other clergy from across the country in February.  One of the charitable aims of the masonic order of Knights Templar, which is part of the York Rite family of orders of Freemasonry, sends clergy who have never been to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage as part of its mission and investment in Christian ministry in the United States.  I am going through the hundreds of photos I have taken, and I am getting ready to give my first public presentation of my photographs, and will be doing several more over the course of the year; and I’d lake to share a few with you.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Too Good To Be True released 2/28

New Book Cover 1My first book of sermons, Too Good to Be True, is now published by Christian Alternative and is available through Amazon and good bookstores like Hearts & Minds Books.  The book features a foreword by Peter Rollins and an afterword by Thomas Altizer, and the opening essay, “Pentecosting: Preaching the Death of God,” is an edited and expanded form of my presentations at last year’s Subverting the Norm 2 and AAR/North American Paul Tillich Society conferences.

The sermons loosely follow the lectionary; a few sermons that have been previewed here at AUFS; and two were published separately in Knights Templar Magazine last year.

If you’re interested, the ebook sells for less than $5, so I hope you will find it to be a good value.

All in all, this is a book that wouldn’t have been possible without my association with this blog, without a larger platform for preaching, so thank you to Adam and Brad for supporting me here.  I am grateful to Pete and Tom for their support of the project, and to Bruce Epperly, Clayton Crockett, and Phil Snider for writing endorsements for the book.  And thanks to Christian Alternative, especially Trevor Greenfield, for supporting the project. Read the rest of this entry »

Call for papers: Living Theology: The Eucharist in Question

LIVING THEOLOGY:

the eucharist in question

The 2014 Dallastown UCC Theological Summit

May 16, York County, PA

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Description / Rationale:  In American Protestant churches, the practice of the sacrament of communion can vary intensively from crypto-Catholic and Anglo-Catholic repetition to a complete rejection of the sacrament and sacramentalism as a whole.  In the United Church of Christ, the Eucharist may be celebrated often, weekly, or very rarely, despite strong Eucharistic theologies in the Reformed, Congregational, heritages of the denomination. Within the UCC, however, there exists living expressions of the Reformed and Congregational theologies, as well as a myriad of feminist, liberation, African American, Mercersburg, process, personalist, liberal, queer, “ECOT,” postmodern, contemporary radical, and others.  Yet it is not really clear how this multiplicity of voices and interpretive modes engage the most public and repeated of all rituals, the Eucharist, beyond congregational banalities usually related to liturgical movement, or lack thereof:  “do we do ‘pew’ communion or ‘Catholic’ communion?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sermon: Duck Dynasty and the Separation of Church and Hate

I preached this sermon this morning, the readings are the lectionary for Christmastide 2, Jeremiah 31:1-14 and John 1:1-18.  The sermon led into a celebration of communion.

The prophet Jeremiah’s words characterizes the captors of the Jewish people, the Babylonians, as bullies, and celebrates that God keeps his promises, but only after God’s people recognize that they just can’t pay lip service to God, but that following God requires a real sacrifice.

This is perhaps the most important message of prophesy the church needs to hear today, as it was one of the most pervasive themes of the Old Testament prophets to the Jewish people.  The message remains the same, but the circumstances are very different.

I will return to this, but I want to talk about some things happening in the past month, during the season of Advent, as we continue through these twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany.

The philosopher Mary Daly’s most famous teaching is from her book, Beyond God the Father, written in the early 1970s, that “As long as God is male, the male is God.”  Her point is that the attributes we ascribe to God are often reflections of our own identities.  Read the rest of this entry »

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