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Brief Book Note: Froese & Bader’s “America’s Four Gods”

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Here's a book that was on my shelf for about three years before I finally read it. It was one of those situations where I’d wanted to read it but didn’t really have a reason until I needed to put together some lecture material for a new class on Christianity and politics. So I read it, and I was glad that I did.


Paul Froese & Christopher Bader, America’s Four Gods: What We Say About God—& What That Says About Us (Oxford, 2010).

This book isn’t especially dense, but it is very interesting and sheds fresh light on how religion and politics interact in the United States. It’s geared especially toward analyzing Christian God-talk, although the other Abrahamic traditions would fit more generally, but that accounts for the bulk of the US population. It also has interesting findings with regard to folks who describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious,” or as belonging to no religious tradition (i.e., the “nones”), or as agnostic. Basically, those folks tend to fall unde…

Brief Book Note: Jane Dawson’s “John Knox”

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I’ve been interested in Knox for a while. There’s a set of framed woodcuts in my office: Luther in the middle, flanked by Calvin and Knox. And I recently read a book about him.


Jane Dawson, John Knox (Yale, 2016).

I read a bit about Knox a few years back. At the time I was finishing my theology class with a unit on the Scot’s Confession, and I put together some lectures on its background – and that included Knox. Come to think of it, I wrote a review of one of the books that I read at the time: Rosalind K. Marshall, John Knox (Edinburgh: Birlinn, 2000). I enjoyed that book but it isn’t really a scholarly source and ever since I’ve been waiting for a proper, scholarly, thickly footnoted critical biography of Knox from an academic historian.

Suffice it to say that I was very excited when Dawson’s book came out, even if it has taken me a couple years to read it.

Now, I’m not a professional reformation scholar, but I do play one on TV…or in my undergraduate classroom. When it comes do…

Dialectical Theology Q & A

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For those of you who don’t know this, students are awesome. I’ve been blessed to have had some really good ones during my years as a professor. And it’s always bittersweet when they graduate.

Stop it. I’m not crying. You are.

Anyway, some of said students did me the great honor of reading my book on Gollwitzer and then, as if that wasn’t enough, they emailed me with a bunch of questions for me to clarify about dialectical theology. And because they asked such good questions, I secured their permission to reproduce them here along with my answers.

So here you go.


Their text is plain font while my interspersions are bolded.


Is there a main goal of dialectical theology? To speak as responsibly as possible about God. In your book you talk about how all theology is contextual. How God becomes an object of human knowledge through faith. You tie it to liberation theology. It is clear that we shouldn't objectify God. But is the goal to prove we can't understand God fully? Prove is …

Brief Book Note: James Cone’s “Martin & Malcolm & America”

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I haven’t been reading as much as I used to, what with this administrative appointment, but I’m still reading and I still want to share something about what I’m reading with you all, gentle readers. However, I don’t have time to write up a proper review that could go into the “What Am I Reading?” series, so I’ve decided to write up a few shorter “Brief Book Notes.” Here’s the first one. (And yes, some of my students may have got me going with bitmojis...)


James H. Cone, Martin & Malcolm & America: A Dream or a Nightmare (Orbis, 2012).

Sadly, my education was incredibly light on the African American experience, much less black theology, so I knew very little about Malcolm X and not much more about Martin Luther King, Jr. before I read this book. I did know, however, that James Cone (now, sadly, of blessed memory) would steer me right, having read a number of his books previously to my great benefit. And he didn’t disappoint.

In addition to simply learning a great deal about bo…

Join Me at Homebrewed Christianity’s Theology Beer Camp!

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I’ve been long overdue posting about this. Many of you have, perhaps, already picked up on this news by seeing the odd tweet here or there, listening to my most recent appearance on the Homebrewed Christianity podcast, or – maybe it’s a bit old fashioned at this point - by browsing the relevant website. But here it is in plain English:

I’m going to camp: Homebrewed Christianity’s Theology Beer Camp!



I’m super excited to join Tripp Fuller, Robyn Henderson-Espinoza, and others at the camp to enjoy good brews, conversation, and theology nerd fun. I know Tripp’s angling to get me to sing karaoke, but I’m not making any promises…

Tripp also assures me that there will be excellent custom brews to enjoy. I’m much more of a whiskey man than a beer man, myself, but Tripp has promised to put together a tasting menu for me to induct me into his world of hoppy delight.

What’s that? What will I be talking about at Homebrewed Christianity’s Theology Beer Camp? I’m glad you asked!

I don’t know.

A…

"Helmut Gollwitzer: Forgotten Left-Wing Barthian" – Video of my AAR / KBSNA Presentation Now Online

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Some folks around Twitter have noticed that the most recent issue of the Karl Barth Society of North America newsletter contains extensive notes from my presentation to the society at the meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Boston in 2017. I’ve been sitting on video of that presentation since then, but didn’t want to publish it until the notes appeared in the KBSNA newsletter. But now you can view the video and hear me present the paper as if you were in the room (which a number of Tweeps were), growly voice and all.


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Latest Updates on “Our God Loves Justice” (#OGLJ)

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Just because DET has been unnaturally quiet for a while doesn’t mean that I haven’t been up to other of my usual tricks or that there hasn’t been stuff happening. Quite the contrary, in fact. And this post will get you back up to speed on my book, Our God Loves Justice: An Introduction to Helmut Golwitzer.



I present the following in no particular order:

One: I appeared on Liam Miller’s podcast – “Love, Rinse, Repeat” – to talk about Gollwitzer, and the true socialism of the kingdom of God.



Two: I joined Dean Dettloff and Matt Bernico on The Magnificast. Click here to listen!

Three: I returned for another appearance on the Homebrewed Christianity podcast. Click here to listen! See you at theology beer camp?

Four: #OGLJ was “briefly noted” by The Presbyterian Outlook.

Five: Stephen Waldron reviewed #OGLJ for Reading Religion, an online publication from the AAR.

Six: David Roberts included #OGLJ in his list of “things I’ve read recently that you should read too.”

Seven: I discussed Gollwitz…