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Labouring for the Kingdom: John O’Brien on Christianity and Social Democracy

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Fabian Society coat of arms Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons In his self-published book, John O’Brien, a Roman Catholic actively involved in Labour Party politics in the Republic of Ireland, muses broadly on matters of history, philosophy, theology, and politics. (He sent me a copy gratis, without expectation of a positive review.) This is not a scholarly book, but more of a manifesto reflecting his personal philosophy of life, and I am at a bit of a loss as to how to review it. Still, O’Brien shares his conclusions drawn from broad knowledge and wide reading straightforwardly and with conviction, and I’d love to hash out some of these issues with him over a Guinness, should I ever have the chance. (You can follow O’Brien on Twitter: @irishfabian.) Christianity and Social Democracy , By John O’Brien (2021). “I am the first one in my family who joined the Labour Party,” he told me. “I am an ordinary member of the Labour Party but I help out during election time and I contri

"Between the Times" - Society for Dialectical Theology Digital Colloquium

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The Society for Dialectical Theology will hold a digital colloquium on Thursday, September 23rd, 2021, from 2-4pm CST on the theme: "Between the Times."  This colloquium takes as its touchpoint Friedrich Gogarten's 1920 essay, "Between the Times," which launched the Dialectical Theology movement.  Hanna Reichel (Princeton Theological Seminary) and Travis McMaken (Lindenwood University) will serve as facilitators / moderators for the event.  Lauren R. E. Larkin will provide an opening contribution to socio-historically and theologically locate Gogarten and his essay. Ted Smith and Lucila Crena , both from the  Theological Education Between the Times project at Candler School of Theology , will join us to engage with Gogarten and reflect on the challenges of theological education in our present time between the times.   There will also be ample time for open discussion.  Participants are encouraged to review Gogarten’s text and come prepared for a time of refreshm

Building the Revolution One Sandbox at a Time - a guest book review by Lauren R. E. Larkin

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[Rev. Lauren R. E. Larkin is a  friend of the blog ,  pastor ,  podcaster , and  author . In fact, she just published a podcast in which she interviews Ludia Wylie-Kellermann about this book. Click here—you won’t want to miss it .]   Lydia Wylie-Kellermann Ed. The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2021.   As one who is raising three children (14, 12, and 7), I’ve read the bulk of parenting books ranging across various parenting theories. So, when I tell you this wonderful collection of essays edited by Lydia Wylie-Kellerman is not your average parenting book, please believe me. I’ve seen it all; I’ve yet to see something like this. Wylie-Kellermann pulled together a team of authors representing vast and varying experiences in the world and asked them to: “Tell me some stories. Speak vulnerably. Help remind us of the wide community of which we are all a part,” (xvi). It’s this simple request that plunges the project into the ferti

Sacrificing LGBTQ+ Well-Being and More on the Altar of an Inerrant Bible

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Perspective is undoubtedly a blessing. It comes with time and experience, and no small amount of grace. But gaining it also means coming to terms with hard truths—truths about ourselves, about the world at large, and about the traditions and institutions that have shaped us (for better or for worse; though usually it’s a bit of both). Ten years ago, I graduated from Cairn University—a small, evangelical Christian university in Langhorne, PA. Cairn isn’t widely known, and it certainly isn’t a place that regularly makes the news. But you might have seen it in a recent AP report: “ Christian college ends program citing gender, sex guidelines .” That title doesn’t quite capture the magnitude of the decision. In a May email from Cairn University President Todd Williams, alumni were notified that, based on a decision made at the spring meeting of the board of trustees (and following the administration’s recommendation), the university “will be eliminating the School of Social Work and al

Brief Reflections on Christian Atheism

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This content lived on Youtube behind a privacy wall for a couple of years, but now I've released it into the wild. I talk about the martyrdom of Polycarp, an interview I once saw on TV between Stephen Colbert and Ricky Gervais, and why Christians need to have well-developed atheist muscles. ================================== Follow @WTravisMcMaken Subscribe to Die Evangelischen Theologen

Pagans in Heaven? Zwingli on "Anonymous Christianity"

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Prominent theologians in recent decades have entertained some form of soteriological inclusivism. Briefly put, this notion means that God leaves open a path to eternal salvation for individuals who never profess explicit faith in Jesus Christ during their lifetimes. Might there be some sort of "back door" to heavenly bliss? At issue, for many, is fairness: Surely a loving God would make provision for hapless souls who never consciously confront the offer of salvation in Jesus, either through ignorance or just by being born at the wrong place or time. The Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner proposed a form of “anonymous Christianity” that (some have thought) helps address this concern. Within the context of his transcendental Thomist framework, Rahner suggests individuals, somehow, might be able to muster an act of unconscious, existential freedom to accept the offer of divine grace. A more popular slant on this idea occurs in C.S. Lewis’ fantasy novel The Last Battle , wherein th

Part 3 - Scots Confession, History & Theology

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This is Part 3 in a series of adult education (Sunday School) classes that I taught at St. Charles Presbyterian Church (USA) in the early months of 2020. It provides a fairly thorough discussion of the Scots Confession's history and theology targeted (hopefully, effectively so) at the generally educated churchgoer.  Part 3 continues exploring the background of the Scots Confession. It deals with John Calvin and the Swiss Reformation, including Calvin's teachings on the knowledge of God, as well as providing a very brief overview of the English Reformation. It also explores chapters 11 - 15 in the confession itself, addressing topics like Christ's intercession at the right hand of the Father, the afterlife, faith, "total depravity," "good" works and merit, and the Christian's ongoing struggle against sin. This is Part 3 in a 5-part series. You can  find the series index here . Here are some quotes from the episode: "Zwingli, trained as