The Synaptic Gospel: An Update

I just completed what I hope will be the final touches on my book, The Synaptic Gospel.  The book comes in at just under 100 pages with the bibliography, notes, and an index.  It is an overhauled, significantly revised, and updated version of my D.Min. project from Meadville Lombard Theological School.  In its ‘dissertation’ form, if I may brag, it was the first thesis to pass with distinction from Meadville Lombard, back in 2008.  I hope that it will prove to be a worthy contribution to the wide and odd field of pastoral theology, offering a paradigm for ministry and religious education that offers an alternative to typical trends in youth and children’s ministries, with an eye for small religious communities.  This paradigm emerges from a discussion of Husserl, Stein, and current trends in neuroscience–specifically various interpretations of Hebbian plasticity.

Interview in the local paper

I pulled out the rhizome-ecclesiological-metaphor on an unsuspecting journalist, and am interviewed in the local paper on social media being used by churches, here’s the link.

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When You’re Not Reverend MBA

I’ve been invited to speak next weekend at a big church growth conference, which is the Center for Progressive Renewal’s New Church Leadership Institute-East (NCLI).  There are two NCLI conferences every year, one on the east coast, and another on the west coast; this year’s east coast offering is being held at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.  Lancaster Theological Seminary is offering a graduate credit opportunity in conjunction with the conference.  (The other NCLI is being offered in Pasadena, CA, in November.)

I’m going to be offering a workshop titled “When You’re Not Reverend MBA,” on financial growth in small churches.  My congregation, Zion “Goshert’s” UCC, in Lebanon, PA, was recently featured in the UCC Calendar of Prayer for the congregation’s growth.  In 2010, we experienced a 4% increase in church membership, 8% increase in Sunday worship attendance, and a 17% increase in plate giving.  As of the last figures I have available, in 2011 so far we have a slight increase in membership, but we’ve counting another 9% increase in Sunday attendance and another 14% increase in plate giving.  So, a little to my surprise, I suppose I’m in a position to talk about how this has happened. Read the rest of this entry »

Raw: A Poetic Journey

I  just found my copy of Raw: A Poetic Journey, which has yet another subtitle, Finding a Way From Conflict to Revelation, in my mailbox.  The book is edited by Amiee Saude Sims, features a foreword by Jennifer Knapp, and is published by the new press NuWine Press.  The book is a collection of poetry and reflections by LGBT Christians and their supporters.

My contribution is a poem and reflection of my Divinity School days, back at the University of Chicago, where I took a summer course with the University’s poet-in-residence, Alane Rollings.  The course was, I think, a typical creative writing course, and as a college course cross-listed as a graduate-level course in the summer, it had a bunch of high school kids in the class.  In fact, I think I was the only one who wasn’t a high schooler in the class.  Read the rest of this entry »

“All Things Shining” — Another AUFS Sermon!?

In the spirit of audio offerings recently discussed by Anthony & the recent sermons posted here by Chris, I offer you now the audio from my sermon today, “All Things Shining” [PDF]. (As it turns out, Chris & I appealed to the same text and found inspiration from the same source. Go figure. & bonus points for those who can identify the phrase given to me by Anthony in a conversation on Saturday.) People who thought I was joking about making a Wallace Stevens poem my Scripture for the day proved to be surprised.

Nietzschean Christology: A Life of Its Own

Back when I was a junior at Saint Vincent College, in Latrobe, PA, thinking about graduate school, vocation, etc., I took a Christology course with one of my favorite professors, Father Tom Hart, O.S.B., a Benedictine priest and then chair of the Religion and Religious Education department.  The course was, as one would expect, fairly Catholic–in a good way–and was a genuine attempt at simultaneously introducing multicultural and spiritual approaches to the subject.  Me being me, I presented as my final paper for the class something neither Catholic nor multicultural, “Nietzschean Christology.” 

Earlier in that semester I actually got locked into the lower level of the library late one Friday night–this was before the library had a major renovation and brought up to fire code.  St. Vincent has a phenomenal library right in the center of campus, and I had my favorite spots on the lower levels that were generally uninhabited. Read the rest of this entry »

A Protestant Rosary: Reversing the World in My Pocket

If you’re not familiar with Geez magazine, you’re missing out on a fantastic publication that is unlike any other in the religious publishing world, if one could even categorize it as a “religious publication.”  The Canadian magazine, which is printed without ads, always focuses a single idea or theme for each issue, and then offers several visual, theological, reflective, and often surprising and subversive perspectives on the subject. Read the rest of this entry »

A Sociopathic Announcement

I have officially submitted the manuscript for my book on TV sociopaths, which my editor and I have decided to retitle as Why We Love Sociopaths: A Guide to Late Capitalist Television. Current estimates indicate that it should be available for sale in a little over six months.

In the meantime, don’t be “left behind!” (Ha ha — too soon?) There’s still time to purchase Awkwardness (Amazon: US, UK; Book Depository) and acquaint yourself with my unique take on popular culture.

A preview of coming attractions

We have two further book events planned for this summer. The first, which will likely begin toward the end of June or beginning of July, will be over J. Kameron Carter’s Race: A Theological Account. We have been talking about the possibility of doing Jay’s book for at least a year and several readers have expressed a strong interest, so hopefully it’ll be a good discussion.

The second, which will likely be in August, will be over Ted Jennings’ Plato or Paul?: The Origins of Western Christian Homophobia. I was very involved with the production of this book — the seminar on which it was based was one of my first seminary courses and I also served as a research assistant, copy-editor, and indexer — and the thesis Jennings advances here has completely and irrevocably changed my view of the relationship between homosexuality and Christianity. However, since the book wasn’t available before recently, I probably always sounded like a crazy person, so it’s nice to be able to discuss it finally.

As preparation for the Jennings event, we will also be having two guest bloggers in late July reviewing his books on homoeroticism in Scripture, The Man Jesus Loved: Homoerotic Narratives in the New Testament and Jacob’s Wound: Homoerotic Narrative in the Literature of Ancient Israel.

I strongly encourage anyone interested in participating in comments to track down copies and try to read ahead of time — the more people we have involved in comments who have actually read the book, the more the discussion will benefit us all. (This is of course not to say that those who haven’t read should refrain from asking questions, etc.)

The Almost Complete Kotsko

Over the past couple days, I have updated my CV page to include links to all my published writings (within the boundaries of copyright law) as well as all my conference presentations. Articles and reviews in university press (and of course online) journals are normally in their published PDF form; those published by commercial presses are the submitted versions.

In some cases, I hesitated to put up conference papers, particularly the earliest ones — but ultimately full disclosure seemed to be the best route.

I should add that all academics have the right to do this and they should all post archival copies of their published work to the extent permitted by the journals in question, in the interests of open access and scholarly dialogue.

UPDATE: The URL will henceforth redirect to my CV page; will continue to redirect to The Weblog.

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