Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Another Book? (and a special offer!)

I just received my case of The Most Difficult Journey You'll Ever Make, the second in my 4-book series with Paraclete Press. This is John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, with an introduction and annotations by me. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about Bunyan's theology -- I used to be really enamoured of Puritan theology (especially William Ames's The Marrow of Theology, a true classic), but I have since reconsidered that position.

But no matter one's theology, Bunyan is a must-read. It's considered the most-read book in the English language after the Bible, and it is the example of Christian allegory. I hope this version of Bunyan's classic will make it accessible to many readers. So check it out!


Purchase one copy of The Most Difficult Journey and order your second copy for just $1.00. Reference coupon code "Prmost" and order on line at, or call 1-800-451-5006 and speak with one of our sales representatives.

Offer expires on September 30, 2006.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Moving Sucks

Rending of Clothes
Gnashing of Teeth

This is my weekend, as we move into a new house.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Book Reading/Signing

If you're in the Twin Cities, come on out to a book reading on Saturday night. I'll be reading from The Sacred Way at the SpiritOne Art Center in downtown Minneapolis. It's right across the street from the downtown Buca, and I know that you've eaten there. It's an open house, 5-9pm, so come anytime. Music by Ben Johnson, who's singing voice is even better than my reading voice.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Baylor Survey

Today, I've been looking at the information that's come out of the Baylor University Survey of Religion: "American Piety in the 21st Century." It's fascinating stuff. It's got some really interesting content that I must say is not that surprising. For instance, Americans are not getting less religious. Secularism is not encroaching. The church is not being flushed down the toilet. So the next time you hear a preacher bemoan the secular state of America, ask, I mean, back it up.

Another not-so-suprising finding: Americans care less and less about denominational affiliation. The researchers were surprised to note that many of the persons surveyed claimed to not be connected to a church type and/or claimed not to be religious, but then were able to write down the name and address of the church they attend. The guys at Baylor say this points up a major weakness in past survey tools which have concluded with higher rates of secularism; those past researchers have not adequately accounted for non-denominational, independent, and nominally denominational churches.

There's more stuff there, too, including the "Four Gods" in which Americans believe. Now that demands some theological reflection...

Baudrillard on Disneyland

"Disneyland: a space of the regeneration of the imaginary as waste-treatment plants are elsewhere, and even here. Everywhere today one must recycle waste, and the dreams, the phantasms, the historical, fairylike, legendary imaginary of children and adults is a waste product, the first great toxic excrement of a hyperreal civilization."
Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation, 13 (italics added)

So, you can see my ambivalence at exposing my son to this. We'll be wearing toxic excremement-proof shoes.

Friday, September 08, 2006


In all my life, I've never been to a Disney property, but I am planning to take my 6 year-old son, Tanner, in November -- he's joining me at the Anaheim NYWC. So, does anyone have any advice as to how we should structure our time there (probably a day and a half)? Any hints or tips? Any discounts on tickets or ideas about places to stay?

(Next post: Baudrillard on Disneyland)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Some Parallels...

...between these two pieces:

1) "The defining moment of the Protestant Reformation was its protest against the absolutizing tendencies of the medieval church as exhibited in its ecclesiastical structure and its doctrine of the sacraments. As an intramundane historical institution, the church along with all other intramundane entities and organizations testifies to its finitude and frailties, and any claim for ultimacy on its part in matters of faith and morals is but another species of idolatry. This defining moment of Protestantism, its iconoclastic principle of protest, was however attenuated, if not straightway abandoned, in the course of the development of the various forms of Protestant orthodoxy. In this development, Protestantism found itself unable to use the Protestant principle against itself as it gravitated toward multiple forms of its own idolatry -- absolutizing church doctrines, creeds, scriptures, founders of sects, or ritual practices."
Calvin Schrag, God as Otherwise than Being: Toward a Semantics of the Gift, 92.

2) Here.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Unsavory Passages

So, I'm writing about the Bible right now, and I've landed on what is, to me, the most unsavory story in all of scripture. It's the story of Jephthah and the sacrifice of his daughter in Judges 11. What a horrific passage. But, in some strange way, I'm glad it's in there -- and that's what I'm trying to write about, what's good about this story...