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Essays

Gender Is Not a Virtue

When I went off to Bible college, all I wanted to do was serve God – in youth ministry or as a missionary, or (if I was lucky) by landing a contract with a contemporary-Christian-music label as a singer. Eventually, as I fell in love with biblical studies, theology and philosophy, I began to envision myself as an educator – teaching the Bible and theology in the university. But it was in college that I also began to receive mixed…
September 1, 2015
Essays

Transforming African Cultural Gender Relations through Christ

Theology, it is said, arises out of the lived and shared experiences of people within their cultures. Generally speaking, in Africa south of the Sahara, the communal way of life and connectedness among clans, families and communities ensure that gender relations are not just between an individual man relating to an individual woman; gender relations transcend marital, communal and church affiliations and bonds. However, the manifestations of patriarchy in Africa and its attendant powerlessness, poverty, exclusion, exploitation and oppression of…
September 1, 2015
Essays

Not Counting Women and Children

In Matthew’s telling of the feeding of the five thousand, he relates that after the crowd has eaten and were satisfied, the disciples gathered up the leftover loaves and fishes in baskets. The account concludes, “And those who ate were five thousand men, not counting women and children” (Matt 14: 21). Mark and Luke note that five thousand men were fed (Mark 6:44, Luke 9:14). Matthew’s is the only gospel to notice that women and children are not included in…
Christiana de Groot
September 1, 2015
Essays

Desiring the End(s) of Salvation

It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. –C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses…
July 1, 2015
Essays

Deification: A Truly Ecumenical Concept

Since the 2nd century, Christians have described the telos of God’s creation and redemption of humanity in terms of deification, or divinization. Even though it is one of the oldest entries in the church’s theological lexicon, deification sounds exotic when first encountered. Some people are immediately disconcerted. Unfamiliar with the word in a Christian context, they associate deification with ancient Greek hero myths, the apotheosis of Roman emperors, forms of mysticism in which humans are thought to merge into God…
July 1, 2015
Essays

Merciful Children of the Most High: Deification in the Gospel of Luke

Luke’s gospel witness to the life of Jesus from Nazareth comes to an astonishing and climactic ending. As Jesus ascends into the heavens, his followers worship him. Among the clues Luke gives that Jesus shares in God’s divine identity, this is perhaps the most clear. Elsewhere, Luke corrects every impulse to worship a human being (see Acts 10:26 and 14:15). But when Jesus receives the worship of his followers, Luke shows us that Jesus receives what belongs properly only to…
July 1, 2015
Essays

Why Go to Church When You’re on Vacation?

This past January in Ecuador, in the middle of a conversation about Darwin and the Galapagos Islands, my taxi driver looked me in the eye and asked, “What religion are you?” The first thing I wanted to answer this multitasking man was, “Do you mind keeping your eyes on the road? I’m not planning to meet my Maker quite yet.” The second was, “Could you slow down when you talk?” I was doing my best to keep up, but my…
April 23, 2015
Essays

Praying in the Dark: Lament, Providence and Protest

A cancer diagnosis occurs in a moment, but the losses it brings come in slowly yet steadily, like a tide pushing against the shoreline, again and again. In the days after my own diagnosis, I sometimes felt resignation rather than anger or protest. “I’m not the center of the universe, after all,” I told a friend. “The world will continue just fine without me.” But that was just for some moments. Particularly as I considered the implications of this incurable…
April 23, 2015
Essays

Nature’s Space into Ethnic Place

The train hugged the Hudson River before crossing the bridge over Spuyten Duyvil onto Manhattan Island as my friend asked in a tone I’d become accustomed to, bemused Big-City incredulity: “I hear you’re moving to Idaho?” Actually, I explained, we were headed for Iowa. “Oh. Well,” he waved his hand in dismissal, as if he’d been close and I was quibbling over minor details: “One of those vowel states.” I was trading my commute from Westchester County into Greenwich Village,…