The Power Asks Us to Consider #WeToo: A Review

Naomi Alderman’s provocative new book, The Power, is more simply described without the definite article.  Power, and how it infuses human relationships, particularly gender relationships, hums though this book like an electric current.  And just like that current, it can turn fearsome and deadly in an instant. The Power is an acknowledged heir to Margaret […]

Love Stinks (But it Also Wins): A Delayed Review of Rob Bell

The problem with love is it’s easy to sentimentalize.  O heck, there are many problems with love, sentimentalizing being the least of them.  Love distorts our vision.  Love lets us down.  Love keeps us in relationships we should have left.  Love is a knife to the heart and a passionate madness.  Yes, love is a […]

God, love, God, love: The Winn Collier Interview Concludes (3 of 3)

In previous segments of this interview with Winn Collier we talked small towns, small churches, and his use of letters to tell the story of Granby Presbyterian Church, the fictional congregation at the heart of Collier’s new book.  Love Big. Be Well.:Letters to a Small-Town Church is a big-hearted, hopeful book that celebrates what Christian […]

The Greatness of the Small: A Review of Love Big. Be Well.

When Amy Quitman writes a letter to the unknown pastor that the Pastoral Search Committee hopes to call to their Presbyterian church in the small town of Granby, she includes an invitation that would set the hearts of potential candidates like me aflutter: We want theology, but we want the kind that will pierce our […]

Why Katherine Sonderegger Gets 10 Pages a Day: A Review of Her Systematic Theology

If your fine-grain theological vocabulary has grown a little rusty with lack of use, as I’m afraid mine has, you will find Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology: Volume One, Doctrine of God [Fortress, 2015] daunting.  I’m not ashamed to say that it took me nearly a year to get through it.  By this fall, however, I […]

“Beauty was all the answer they had”–When Theologians Soar

Sometimes, and all too rarely, a theologian can soar in writing.  I have been working my way, very slowly, through Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology: Volume I, The Doctrine of God, and savoring passages like this one: This is what we mean by compatibilism in theology. The One Light that enlightens all creatures is truly here, truly shining […]

A God’s-Eye View: The Heartlands Interview with Katherine James, 3 of 3

A town named Trinity is bound to have some things to say about God.  In this final segment of my interview with debut novelist Katherine James, (whose book, Can You See Anything Now?, was published in October), we dig into the the book and find a Christian vision.  For previous segments, click here. One of the […]

Taking Hospitality Out of the House (& Keeping Worship Weird)

Preachers are fond of quoting Annie Dillard’s devastating critique of worship as she experienced it in a traditional church: On the whole, I do not find Christians outside of the catacombs sufficiently sensible of conditions.  Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke?  Or, as I suspect, does no […]

Rural Soul: Evolution of a Liberal, Guest Blogger – Sara Keeling

I’m traveling back from Israel & Palestine Monday, but not before the Rev. Sara Porter Keeling continues her guest hosting with a post on anthropology, theology, and the continuing journey of discerning the Word.  Many thanks to Sara for bringing her rural soul to Heartlands while I’ve been away… Does loving our neighbors look like […]