Myth of Religious Violence

Revisiting William Cavanaugh’s devastating 2009 The Myth of Religious Violence. The myth of Cavanaugh’s title is a well-known one. According to the myth, religion is a distinct sphere of human life and practice from the rest of human social life, a universal impulse in human beings, and is dogmatic, private, and interior. Since the early modern period, it has been widely believed that because religion […]

A Glad New Day

John 20:19-23 19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the […]

Thomas and Us

An octave is a repetition, a repetition with a difference. It’s not the first note played again, but the first note played at a higher pitch. Octaves have always marked new beginnings. Hebrew boys were circumcised on the eighth day. Firstborn sheep were dedicated to Yahweh on the eighth day. Aaron entered the priesthood on the eighth day. Lepers, men with discharges, women with flows […]

Resurrection: The Best and Worst News

We say Jesus’ resurrection is good news. It wasn’t good news for the disciples on the first Easter. More like perplexing, bewildering news. For others, it wasn’t perplexing, and it certainly wasn’t good. It was plain old bad news. Early in Luke’s gospel, Herod is terrified that Jesus might be John the Baptist raised from the dead. Think of the reaction of the Jewish leaders, […]

How the Reformation Failed

The Reformers did not start out with a plan to found separated churches. Their goal was to reform the entire Latin church. In this they failed. The paradox is sharp, and we need to feel its point and its edge if we Protestants are to reckon honestly with our history during this year of celebration. The Reformation was genuinely a recovery of the gospel. Scott Hendrix […]