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Full-time professor, part-time pastor, husband, father of two small boys, just trying to make my way in a new world.
Recent Activity
Many institutions are experiencing high rates of transition these days. This is especially true for churches and Christian nonprofits, including colleges and universities. Fresno Pacific University has not been immune. As I watch the landscape of higher ed, I’m well... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2014 at Occasio
Sent from my iPhone Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2014 at The Great Plates Contest
Sent from my iPhone Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at The Great Plates Contest
Thanks to Mike, Gary and Jennifer! And thanks for reminding us all about the importance of heart-change, not just affinity with a particular denomination. Maybe all of our denominations would be healthier if--without forsaking our history, traditions and beliefs--we were all a bit more concerned about change from the inside out. -Tim
Toggle Commented Jul 23, 2014 on The Most Dangerous Place for Christians at Occasio
A few months ago, I stared into the night sky with excitement and expectation. With the clock striking midnight, I propped my young son up on a stepstool to peer through a small telescope, and we reveled in the totality... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2014 at Occasio
Session 4: "What is God's Future for the World? An Eschatological Vision for the Kingdom on Earth," May 3, 2014 In this final lecture, NT Wright called out the distinction that is currently being made in contemporary notions of eschatology... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2014 at Occasio
Session 3: "Who Are the People of God? Ancient Israel and the Nations, Modern Israel, and the Church--and Justification in the Kingdom of God," May 2, 2014 (PM) Another fine lecture by NT Wright, this presentation provided the most room... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2014 at Occasio
Session 2: "The One Triune God Amidst Religious Pluralism, Clashing Kingdoms, and Prevalent Evil,” May 2, 2014 (AM) In this session, NT Wright did what he does best: provide a broad, sweeping overview of the biblical record to show how... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2014 at Occasio
Session 1: "Paul and the Faithfulness of God--the Gospel for Runaway Slaves," May 1, 2014. NT Wright's general thesis for this week's series of four lectures is that Paul was far more radical in his world than we have the... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2014 at Occasio
photo credit: @ChadJarnagin On Wednesday evening (April 30) we had the unique pleasure of hearing from both Miroslav Volf and NT Wright. These guys are theological rock stars, not in how they presented themselves (they're each quite down-to-earth and humble),... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2014 at Occasio
This morning Miroslav Volf continued his discussion of world religions (see the first Payton Lecture below), this time with a focus on how globalization is impacting all of the major faiths. He contends that living in an ever-expanding global community... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2014 at Occasio
This morning Miroslav Volf presented the first of two lectures for Fuller Theological Seminary's Payton Lectureship. His topic, a Christian focus on world religions, is being addressed in two parts: on Wednesday, “What are they and why do they matter?”... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2014 at Occasio
International theologian Miroslav Volf opened the Week of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary tonight (Tuesday) with the topic "Remembering Rightly and Justly." It was a treat to meet with him in a small, informal context, as he interacted with the... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2014 at Occasio
(Edit: This is my Facebook response to Carolyn regarding the preceding comment) I couldn't have said that better. Thanks for sharing your story. And I wasn't aware of the National Cathedral issues, thanks for that. Multiple surveys are showing the growth of historic orthodox churches. I really think Evangelicals should take note as the 30 and younger crowd show again and again that they are looking for substance, depth, authenticity, history, etc. We Evangelicals are caught in a never ending dilemma of chasing church growth, appeasing non-church folks, holding to strict doctrine, and patching up the "holes" you mention. I'm still hopeful that there will be a fresh wind of the Spirit in all of this. You might be interested in this book if you haven't seen it already.
(Edit: This is a comment that I copied over from my Facebook. Thanks to Carolyn Wise for providing a great perspective here.) I think it's important to drill down what the statistics actually show in order to understand more fully what is going on in the American Church, and what is not. Jason is correct that it is mainline (white, liberal) protestant churches that are closing up shop at an increasingly rapid rate, unable to sustain themselves due to declining attendance. Even the Washington National Cathedral here in DC (an Episcopal Church) has had to take drastic measures and layoff many of their staff to keep its doors open in the face of declining financial support and attendance. Meanwhile, doctrinally conservative churches, especially in metro areas with large populations of millennials, have maintained largely steady attendance, or are growing. The interesting story (one that was personally true for me) is that conservative orthodox churches (Catholic, Greek Orthodox) are seeing an increase in membership, especially among young people (see: I was blessed to be one of them this year; I found many of the "holes" in evangelical theology filled by the rich tradition and theological soundness of the Catholic faith. I think this shift is largely a response to the theological squishiness of mainline churches and many "progressive" evangelical churches that are "seeker-oriented". There is something to be said for the fact that the churches that still preach the full Gospel - sin, redemption, discipleship, holiness - and have not changed their "doctrine" to fit cultural changes, are growing in strength and numbers, while those that tell followers what their itching ears want to hear are slowly but surely losing influence. Again, it's not that young people are less spiritual - by all accounts they are more apt to believe in God - it's that they don't want to waste their time on something that isn't authentic. If there is no claim to Truth, why bother devoting your life and love to some changeable god that evolves with the whims of culture?
Karen, Thanks for the comment. You've caught a real paradox that many of our churches unknowingly face. The constant cry is to be relevant and to attract an unchurched population, especially the 30-something and younger crowd, but we consistently refuse to engage in any kind of meaningful conversation about the issues that really matter to them (i.e. homosexuality, creation care, peace, etc). We continue to provide the same old resources at greater levels (i.e. evangelism strategies, rock n roll worship concerts, bigger facilities, etc.). After several decades of asking young adults what their "felt needs" are, it feels like that's the one question that's completely being ignored these days. (We say, "Don't tell me what you need, I already know what you need.") Thanks again. -T
Three key evangelical leaders appeared on Easter Sunday’s installment of the ABC news show “This Week.” Each had their own agenda and each seemed to miss the question that was being asked. When news anchor Martha Raddatz inquired about recent... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2014 at Occasio
Someone was in the car so I had to be stealth Sent from my iPhone Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2014 at The Great Plates Contest
Posted Apr 20, 2014 at The Great Plates Contest
Preachers, teachers and church leaders, take note: the power of story in the sermon can't be underestimated, especially when telling the beautiful, transformative narrative of Easter! Those of us trained in theology and ministry craft sermons that are often nothing... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2014 at Occasio
Stephen Colbert has long been my first choice for late-night talk show hosts. And he’s definitely one of my favorite theologians. Seriously. But now that he has accepted a contract to replace David Letterman on the “Late Show,” I fear... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2014 at Occasio
Two things happened this weekend to remind me of how much I’ve changed in the last 20 years and how fluid faith and theology really are. First, I was astonished to learn that it’s been 20 years since Kurt Cobain,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2014 at Occasio
In answer to the questions I raised in part 1 of this post, yes, theology and orthodoxy do change over the course of history. Examples abound. At one point people believed the Earth was flat and the Sun revolved around... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2014 at Occasio
ALL theology is local. Just look across the United States. From California, to Midwest, to Bible Belt, to the Ivy Leagues, there are lots of theological tenants being debated. Transfer that to an international stage, and, wow, it can become mind-boggling. Thanks for the comment, Jennifer.
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2014 on The problem with orthodoxy, part 1 at Occasio
What is “orthodox”? When we use that word we usually mean something about the established historic practices and beliefs of the Christian church. And those never change, right? Or, do they? ("Orthodox" with a capital "O" can also refer to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 28, 2014 at Occasio