Neighborhood Aviary Drama

Our heavily-wooded neighborhood makes for a delightful daily aviary drama. Blue Jays and Northern Cardinals populate our backyard. They serve as tragic reminders to this Cub fan of Joe Carter, Bruce Sutter, and Lou Brock. But their brilliant colors are simply stunning against the rich green of the bushes and our massive maples. Goldfinches dash across […]

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Faith = Obedience

I return every once in a while to the relationship of faith to obedience.  Daniel Kirk bangs this drum regularly, too. To my mind, there can never be enough voices emphasizing that these are nearly synonymous for Paul and not at all in opposition. In his essay in Four Views on the Apostle Paul, Luke […]

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The Character of Salvation

There is much that I’ve seriously appreciated about Luke Timothy Johnson’s essay in Four Views on the Apostle Paul.  In the following paragraph, he stresses the cosmic character of salvation and rightly places the salvation of individuals within larger frames of reference.  I think he’s saying something very important here, but I’m not entirely sure […]

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Richard Hays on Lou Martyn’s Galatians Commentary

For our Galatians course this fall, we’ll be reading and critically engaging Lou Martyn’s landmark commentary.  I’m looking forward to some lively discussions and new discoveries as we work through it together. Here’s what Richard Hays had to say about Martyn’s work: In sum, Lou Martyn has written what I take to be the most […]

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Social Embodiment of the Gospel

I am enjoying the new Four Views on The Apostle Paul, edited by Mike Bird.  I’ve found especially interesting the essay by Luke Timothy Johnson, who sums up his essay with this: In his most sustained reflection on the nature and task of the church, Paul proposes that the role of the church is to […]

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Passive-Aggressive Postures & Evangelical Culture

I’ve been reflecting on why passive-aggressive relational postures seem to be pervasive among American evangelicals.  There are likely dozens of reasons why this is the case.  I’ll only mention two, however, in trying to capture what makes our culture tick and why the notion of cruciformity (living in the shape of the cross) gets confused. […]

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Do Evangelicals Pray Passive-Aggressively?

In giving some thought to passive-aggressive relational postures, I’m wondering if this phenomenon ever shows up in spontaneous prayers in church settings.  Do evangelical Christians pray passive-aggressively? It certainly seems that we sometimes pray manipulatively, use hedging speech, and say things we don’t really mean, but do passive-aggressive relational strategies ever manifest themselves when we pray?  If […]

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Passive-Aggressive Postures & the American Middle Class

I stated the other day that passive-aggressive relational postures pervade American middle-class white churches.  This is, of course, a completely unscientific opinion.  It’s an observation from my experience, but it seems common enough to generalize safely. I’m writing about this not to condemn middle-class white (Christian and non-Christian) Americans, but to examine and identify destructively […]

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Describing Passive-Aggressive Relational Postures

I’m not even an amateur psychologist, so there are likely other and better definitions and descriptions of passive-aggressive attitudes and behaviors, but I’ll attempt to describe the phenomenon briefly in my own terms. Further, I’ll speak of  “relational postures,” since that captures how people position themselves toward others–both their attitudes and attendant behaviors. The phenomenon […]

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