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A Theological Community Speaks

By As We See It

We hear a lot these days about the impending demise of print media. Isn’t it remarkable that in such a difficult market, Perspectives keeps chugging along? There are two secrets to our success: On the expense side, the writing and production of the magazine are labors of love. Our writers don’t get paid, and our co-editors, review editors, poetry editors, board of editors and contributing editors all are volunteers. We pay a proofreader, and we do pay our managing editor…

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Christianity and Whiteness

By Essays

“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” – John 17:11, ESV The relationship between Christianity and people of color in the United States has been characterized by injustice. In his classic Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Frederick Douglass described the Christianity of his…

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A Friendship with Emil Brunner

By Essays

Because I did my doctoral dissertation with Karl Barth at the University of Basel in Switzerland, it might seem strange that I had an even closer relationship with his Swiss Reformed contemporary in Zurich, Emil Brunner. (Once friendly, the two had a major falling out in the mid-1930s after Barth famously said “nein” to Brunner’s essay “Nature and Grace.”) I had a very good relationship with Barth, who was an exceptionally kind and helpful doctoral adviser, but my relationship with…

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Memory Recall and Life with Dignity

By Essays
[text_output] Almost two decades ago, Bill Clinton, whose skill at fitting gesture to national mood at times rivaled Ronald Reagan’s, famously proposed a series of town-hall meetings to explore ways of preserving Social Security. About the same time “civility projects” – groups mobilized to discuss and solve community problems while modeling respect – were beginning to multiply in universities and municipalities across the country, much as learning circles had already replaced traditional classes in our more progressive schools. Even today...
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Faithful Pastoral Care: A Response to Domestic Violence

By Essays

“Come! Live in the light! Shine with the joy and the love of the Lord! We are called to be light for the kingdom, to live in the freedom of the city of God. We are called to act with justice, we are called to love tenderly; we are called to serve another, to walk humbly with God.” – David Haas Domestic violence has been a social problem for generations. Research studies show that families in the church struggle with…

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Barefoot Teaching

By As We See It

Today is not just the first day of teaching in a new semester for me; it also marks the beginning of my 25th year in the classroom. My silver anniversary, if you will. I’m not sure it’s an occasion for a party or anything. And I realize it’s clichéd to say, but it really doesn’t seem that long ago that my 22-year-old self was walking in to teach English 131AK: Expository Writing to incoming first-year students at the University of…

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What Does the Sticky-Faith Movement Mean for the Church?

By Essays

“If the church is ever to flourish again, one must begin by instructing the young.” – Martin Luther “Welcome to the Sticky Faith Cohort Summit! We are so excited that all of you are here!” Kara Powell said as she greeted us in late February 2012. That first night when we arrived in Pasadena, California, my team and I were full of excitement and energy, even after a long day of travel. After introductions of the nearly 40 churches that…

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Tea lights

Step by Step

By As We See It

When our sons were young, we put up the tree each Thanksgiving weekend, hanging the flotsam and jetsam of our growing history. It wasn’t gorgeous, but it was ours, and it satisficed. Now that we are empty nesters and without their youthful Thanksgiving enthusiasm, I’m a reluctant Christmas decorator. Last year, knowing we would be gone over the holidays, I left the Christmas boxes untouched in our cement-walled storage room. This Thanksgiving weekend, those boxes stayed unopened again. The project…

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The artist

We Speak through Nature; Nature Speaks through Us

By Essays

“To an angel, art must seem a very foreign thing indeed.” —Nicholas Wolterstorff in Art in Action: Toward a Christian Aesthetic (Eerdmans, 1980) Imagine this: There is a woman in your congregation who is a talented quilter. She’s covered all the beds in her house and most of the beds in her children’s and grandchildren’s houses with her handiwork. Inevitably, she begins making quilts for members of the congregation – particularly those who are ill or grieving. Nothing says comfort,…

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Barth's Church Dogmatcs

Listening to Karl Barth

By Essays

In the last house where Karl Barth lived and worked and finally died, a charming residence on Bruderholzallee in Basel, there are several portraits that stand apart from the others. Portraying Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, these stand out because they hang above several doorways instead of on the walls with everything else. Barth’s singular love of Mozart’s music is well known. Bach and Beethoven each get a cameo appearance in his Church Dogmatics, but it is to challenge the truthfulness of…

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