Since antiquity, human beings have been entertained by and seemingly infatuated with violence. For the Ancient Greeks and Romans this hunger would have been satiated by gladiator fights and tragic plays. Today, these forms of entertainment have been replaced by professional sports and violent films. While the modern equivalents are not perfect translations of these ancient activities, the parallels between them cannot be denied. How then should Christians respond to different representations of violence in all forms of entertainment? What duty do we have as Christ-followers in response to violent entertainment?
Rest. As a practice this word remains irrelevant to some people, and it occupies a marginal amount of space in the lives of others. We barely need to look around us to recognize how busyness is ingrained into not only what we do, but also virtually into who we are. How can we take time to step back from working, and reflect on the “daily grind”?
I believe we can think of our lives as an integration between physical and spiritual qualities. There is an all-important point to keep in mind in our discussion and that is that “God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24). However, in what ways can this understanding of God affect business decisions?
One of Donne’s more famous poems is “At the round earth’s imagined corners.” This title, also its opening line, demonstrates a hallmark of his poetry–the ability to combine elements of our experienced world (“the round earth”) with powerful and often Biblical imagery (its “imagin’d corners,” a reference to Revelation 7:1) to produce startling insights into the relationship between this world and the next. But what exactly connects the vast and expansive “there” of heaven with the lowly “here” of earth and what are the practical implications for our lives as Christians?
The parable of the Good Samaritan is a compelling story to reflect on for Black History Month. The story, based on conflict between Jews and Samaritans, speaks to us about prejudice, stereotypes, and the power of love across ethnic lines. Reading this story this month, we might encourage one another to reach, like the good Samaritan, out to those who may disdain and slander us because of our ethnicity. When it comes to black history, who has played the role of priests, Levites, and the Good Samaritan? Who, after seeing people in dire need, has passed by on the other side?
The new Martin Scorcese film Silence (set at the end of the era of Jesuit missions in Japan in the mid-16th Century) is loaded with theological elements from various sects within and beyond the Christian traditions. Scorcese effectively and powerfully puts the viewer into the mind and heart of the Jesuit priests and the Japanese Christians, each of whom is asked to renounce their faith in Christ or suffer. Would Christianity today be able to survive the same persecution from several centuries ago?
Political theology, or sometimes called public theology, is a form of theological analysis that engages the social sphere from a theological perspective. One of the issues that has become evident in the last fifty years or so is that Christianity is not the only religion in town. Although America is a multi-religious nation, there is another quasi-religious dimension that sacralizes the democratic political system. That religion is what social theorists call civil religion. Have we, as Christ-followers, made the paradigm of civil religion the main expression of our Christianity in America?
There has been somewhat of a stigma that too much theological learning, too much questioning, or too much interaction with those who might question some orthodox beliefs will lead one to lose his/her faith. Sometimes Acts 26:24 is even cited poorly as an attempt to credit those claims. We recently asked Dr. Craig Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and author of over 20 books ranging from works for the church to dense theological tomes, how he understands the intersection of faith and learning.
Snake-handlers … tongue-talkers … holy rollers, jumpers, runners … and prosperity gospelers … this is what comes to mind for many when hearing the term Pentecostal. Well, there is a certain amount of truth within these statements. And yes, within the stereotypes there are legitimate concerns to be considered. So why did I decide to become a Pentecostal Theologian?
“People who follow Jesus that make art are also thought of not being that creative, as in not really having anything honest to say.” With the release of their final album “Showbread is Showdead”, we here at ECCLESIAM got to catch up with Josh Porter from Showbread on his thoughts on the intersection of art and faith.