Archives For Christendom

"10" by Leo Reynolds (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

“10” by Leo Reynolds (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

2014 closed out with the usual smattering of Top 10 lists of books that had been meaningful to people during the course of the year. The same people are opening 2015 with lists of resolutions that they hope to keep—changes they want to make to their lives. But I suspect that there are plenty of people out there who don’t want things to change. Real change is disruptive and unsettling. It upsets the status quo and prevents life from continuing on as usual.

With that in mind, I give you, in no particular order, 10 Books to Avoid in 2015 (Unless You Want Things to Change). Seriously, if you like your life as it is right now, don’t read these books. If your horizons are broad enough, stay clear of the things on this list. If you find nothing wanting with your church and your theology, make sure these books don’t find their way into your library. Each one of these books will challenge your sensibilities and may cause big changes in your life. Who wants that?  Continue Reading…


So, Pope Benedict XVI is resigning. The last Pope to do so was Gregory XII in 1415, but his resignation was more of an abdication than a voluntary retirement. The Church was in the midst of the Western Schism. There were three claimants to the papacy and, in the end, Gregory XII resigned under pressure and made possible the election of Martin V two years later.

One must travel back nearly 750 years to find the last time that a pope voluntarily resigned. Pope Celestine V resigned his post in 1294, after filling the See of Peter for a mere five months. Interestingly, one of his most notable contributions during his tenure was declaring that any pope had the right to resign or retire. He then utilized that very declaration to leave his position and return to his pre-papacy life of solitude.

Now, for the second time in a decade, the College of Cardinals will convene to vote on the next man to step into apostolic succession. Beginning in March, the world will turn its collective eye to Saint Peter’s Square and watch until the smoke rising from the Sistine Chapel changes from dark to white, signaling the election of the next pope.
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future sunglasses

We are in the midst of some big changes within evangelicalism in North America. For many, the word “evangelical” means “right-wing Republican Christian fundamentalist.” So what are those of us who still call ourselves evangelicals, but are made crazy by right-wing fundie Republicans, to do? The course a lot of my peers have taken is to stop using that label, to call refer to themselves as “post-evangelical,” or to join the growing ranks of the Nones. I think that doing those things only serves to remove otherwise sane voices from an increasingly insane fundie evangelicalism, and it does nothing to witness to the long (and non-fundamentalist) history of evangelicalism. I’ve written about that history elsewhere, so I won’t rehash it here.

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Christian Movements in Southeast Asia: A Theological Exploration (ed. Michael Nai-Chiu Poon) is an engaging look at the history, theology, and missiology of one of the most religious vibrant areas in the world. The volume is a collection of essays published pulled together by the Centre for the Study of Christianity in Asia and published in partnership with Singapore’s Trinity Theological College.

The essays vary in their scope, from detailed analysis of the emergence of “folk Christianity” to an impassioned plea for Southeast Asian churches to help historians document the rapidly changing religious and cultural landscape of the region. One fairly consistent thread through the essays, however, is the role Pentecostalism has played in helping contextualize Christianity into a variety of different locales and expressions. Continue Reading…