Tag Archive: churchandpomo


(Thanksgiving, 2013)

From the confines of Tegel prison in Berlin, Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned these moving words to his family:

It’s remarkable how we think at such times about the people that we should not like to live without, and almost or entirely forget about ourselves. It is only then that we feel how closely our own lives are bound up with other people’s, and in fact how the center of our own lives is outside of ourselves, and how little we are separate entities. The ‘as though it were a part of me’ is perfectly true, as I have often felt after hearing that one of my colleagues or pupils had been killed. I think it is a literal fact of nature that human life extends far beyond our physical existence. (Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison)

I often think that only a mother could understand these words fully, but then I must remember than Bonhoeffer was never even married, much less experienced the blessing of his own children. Bonhoeffer, who has been described as an ad hoc phenomenologist, had a unique and penetrating way of speaking about the experiences of the Christian life. While many readers of Bonhoeffer pay attention only to The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together or perhaps a devotional work that cobbles together some of his writings, most never delve deeper into any of his other material. Theological students may read his very short book on the Psalms or his treatment of Genesis 1-3, or even try to get through his Ethics. Perhaps they will read some of his sermons which are becoming more widely available. But most will never read his earliest works which set the stage for everything that is to come: his doctoral dissertation, published as Sanctorum Communio and his habilitation, published as Act and Being. In those texts Bonhoeffer laid a theological and philosophical foundation for his work that he would never stray from. Thus when we read his later and more well known works that are the favorites in the church, and for our purposes, the words above, we must recognize Bonhoeffer’s deep sensitivity to the social constitution of human life.

Bonhoeffer’s theology has been called a “theology of sociality.” For he recognized, as is clear above, our inextricable interconnectedness with each other. [Keep reading over at ChurchandPomo]

While my activity here has slowed to a crawl, I’ve been busy with my coordination at the Church and Postmodern Culture blog this summer. We ran a Book Symposium on Bruce Ellis Benson’s Liturgy As A Way of Life, which I highly recommend. And just today, I posted some reflections on Vocation and Cultural Capital. So head on over there for some interesting reads. Various other contributions are worth your time as well, including a review from a few weeks back of James K. A. Smith’s incredible book Imagining the Kingdom. And look for an exciting guest post on Kierkegaard and Preaching coming up soon! All over at churchandpomo.

Here’s a link to my post again on Vocation and Cultural Capital: http://bit.ly/150BAW2

Thanks for reading.

As one of the coordinators of the Church and Postmodern Culture blog hosted by The Other Journal, I mostly bring together other people to write for that forum. But on occasion, and hopefully more often, I’ll be a contributor. Today I posted some reflections on a brief one-day conference where I heard from two interesting and articulate voices about the future of evangelicalism. The conference was held locally here in Portland at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. It was of interest to me because of my teaching at the undergraduate level about religion in America, and furthermore because of my own work on Christianity’s cultural captivity to America itself. Without saying much more here, I’ll just point you to that post over there. Happy reading.

Beginning Again

It’s been more than a year since I’ve offered any sort of substantial post here. Today is no different, but that’s because I’ve offered something more substantial over at The Church and Postmodern Culture blog. I’ve been thinking about the use of social media lately, for various reasons (I’ll post something here on the topic soon), so I wrote something over there that engages a stream of thought within postmodern philosophy that helps me think about “What Facebook Makes Us.”

My intent is to slowly become more active here. While I’m still doing edits on my dissertation, I’m also teaching as an adjunct at Concordia Seminary, so things are busy enough. To add yet more to work on, I’ve officially accepted a Call to be Assistant Professor of Theology at Concordia University in Portland, OR. We’ll be moving out there in June and all the preparations for that have brought plenty of additional things to do.

In light of being involved in a job search for more than the past year, I’ve kept my distance from blogging and other social media outlets on the advice of other academics I know who participate in faculty search committees. Apparently some committees are sharp enough to investigate potential candidates’ social media presence. While I didn’t take the site down during my job hunt, I didn’t write much new either.

All the changes in life are exciting. Moving to the Pacific Northwest should be fantastic–my initial visit was phenomenal. Getting back into blogging will be fun. I’ve got a handful of drafted things sitting on my hard drive. So you can expect some more activity here. My next post will be slides from a presentation I made a while back on Using Social Media for Evangelism.