Theology

Reflections on Confirmation Day

This is what I told my evangelical husband when he asked why it was important for me to be confirmed in the Episcopal Church: I wanted to be confirmed for the same reasons I wanted to get married rather than simply live together. I wanted my relationship to be "official"; I wanted to make communal… Continue reading Reflections on Confirmation Day

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Theology

A Jew-ish perspective on the Eucharist

I should probably hand over my Protestant membership card (assuming I ever had one) for how much thought I've given to the Eucharist lately: just how essential is it to Christian worship? Is it the literal body and blood of Christ, or purely symbolic? Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Brant Pitre… Continue reading A Jew-ish perspective on the Eucharist

Theology

Why Rachel?

Note: I didn't personally know Rachel Held Evans, and I am just one of many, many Christians and fledgling writers who benefitted from her work and the generosity of how she used her platform. Because I am currently writing a book about how American Christianity perceives suffering, I'm grappling with the question of "Why her?"… Continue reading Why Rachel?

Social Issues, Theology

I am both/and

Every time I hear about an act of anti-semitism, I can't help feeling a conflict of loyalties. Do I mourn as a Christian, or as a Jew? Can I grieve as both? Is that possible? In college, some well-intentioned friends quoted Galatians 3:28 to me when I expressed uncertainty about where I belonged: "There is… Continue reading I am both/and

Theology

How essential is the resurrection?

I was tempted to make popcorn as I scrolled through intense Twitter debates over Easter weekend about whether it’s necessary to have a literal resurrection of Christ- and whether those who see it as metaphor "count" as Christians. I was under the impression that a literal resurrection was one of those "non-negotiables" when it comes… Continue reading How essential is the resurrection?

Theology

The trouble with Good Friday

The day of Easter is the culmination of the story of God's plan for salvation -- a reminder that death does not have the last word. But before Easter, a happy day is festivity, comes Good Friday: a day of darkness when Jesus was crucified, and the Jews were blamed for it. Good Friday is… Continue reading The trouble with Good Friday

Social Issues, Theology

American Christians and “Persecution Envy”

Some Christians complain about having to experience any discomfort at all. Others seem unable to get enough of it – or they’ve experienced so little genuine suffering that they have to create it. I can’t help but think of Kim Davis: the county clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky, who in 2015 refused to issue marriage… Continue reading American Christians and “Persecution Envy”

Social Issues, Theology

Inspiration for wealthy evangelicals (and no one else)

When I read my friend Neil's blog post, The Christian Finish, I couldn't help but think of "Christian Instagram culture" -- the types of posts that feature open Bibles next to mugs of coffee (guilty), with a story of hardship and how God came through in the end. As you know, being an Episcopalian and… Continue reading Inspiration for wealthy evangelicals (and no one else)

Theology

On having a “flexible faith”

I once had a high school English teacher who told the class we could argue in our term papers that Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is about a cheese sandwich, and get full credit...if we could make a credible case for it, using textual and historical evidence. As far as I'm aware, no one wrote a… Continue reading On having a “flexible faith”

Social Issues, Theology

Two theologies of suffering

Harold Kushner's book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, is a beloved classic for people of all religious backgrounds. For those who haven't read it -- or read it a long time ago and need a refresher, since the book is nearly 40 years old -- Kushner asserts that God wants to prevent suffering… Continue reading Two theologies of suffering