Author: Alex Joyner

  • Overhearing Women’s Prayer

    Overhearing Women’s Prayer

    The pioneering Christian feminist theologian Letty Russell once described a litmus test for theological statements. With my books packed away for an upcoming move, I won’t be able to track it down, but it went something like this: Any interpretation or statement about God that does not affirm the full humanity of women cannot be […]

  • The Women Beyond Wesley

    This review by Alex Joyner was published on the great Englewood Review of Books site and is republished here with permission. Even today, if you visit the website for Cokesbury, United Methodism’s venerable bookseller, you’ll see an image that has shaped Methodist perceptions of their heritage. It’s a circuit riding preacher on horseback reading a […]

  • Standing at the Threshold of a Post-Pandemic Church

    Standing at the Threshold of a Post-Pandemic Church

    Here’s a bit of trivia for you: In ancient Roman construction, there was often a stone placed at the threshold of a door that one would have to traverse in order to enter or exit a building. That stone was called a limen. I tell you that because the word lies behind this year’s trendiest […]

  • Rediscovering the Enchanted World

    Rediscovering the Enchanted World

    Allow me some magic. Some dark, mammalian creature moves swiftly across the field outside my window at middle distance between the treeline and me. It traces a smooth, straight line across my field of vision, just far enough away in the early dawn light to be indistinct. Could Maxwell, the neighbor cat, be that far […]

  • For the Love of Dolly Parton

    For the Love of Dolly Parton

    When I took a part-time job as a disc jockey for a country music station in 1984, there were some hard and fast rules. You always time your hour to get in the ads and mark them in the log. Songs in heavy rotation had to cycle through at least once during your shift. And […]

  • How to Build Your Online Church Campus

    How to Build Your Online Church Campus

    If you’re a leader in a typical church struggling with the challenges of pandemic and shrinking resources, you may pick up Nona Jones’s new book in hope and set it down halfway through in despair. The first half of her title From Social Media to Social Ministry:A Guide to Digital Discipleship catches the eye of […]

  • Carson McCullers at 104

    Carson McCullers at 104

    “Mick is perhaps the most outstanding character in the book.” Carson McCullers is describing a central character in her remarkable debut novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.  “At the beginning of the second part of the work she steps out boldly—and from then on, up until the last section, she commands more space and […]

  • Why Trees Make Terrible Writers

    Why Trees Make Terrible Writers

    Trees are beautiful things, but they are terrible writers. The problem is they have no sense of timing that a human can relate to. 500 years is nothing to a great tree. But try pacing a potboiler to that timescale. The problems of arboreal authorship become apparent halfway in to Richard Powers’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 2018 […]

  • The Bible and the News: A FaithLink Retrospective

    The Bible and the News: A FaithLink Retrospective

    We always thought we were ahead of the times, but the times caught up with us. Two weeks ago we got the news that FaithLink was no more. I may have been the longest-serving writer still in the stable. Twenty years ago, when I began writing for this curriculum piece “connecting faith and life as […]

  • The Politics of Accountability

    The Politics of Accountability

    FaithLink, the faith and currents event curriculum of the United Methodist Publishing House, just published its final issue. I’ll have more reflections on the loss of this venerable resource in a later post, but here’s a link to the essay from that last issue, which was picked up by Ministry Matters. After 20-some years writing […]