My articles

Notes on 10 Years of Blogging

Notes on 10 Years of Blogging

As utilitarian and burdensome as they sometimes feel, blogs become part of the blogger. For good and for ill, they are places to vent and process aloud, to praise and critique, to know and be known. My blog has allowed me to develop ideas that eventually became books, to engage and celebrate the many things that captivate me, and to make lots and lots of lists

Recent Writings / Fall 2016

Recent Writings / Fall 2016

A collection of links to my publications from August-November, 2016. Includes film reviews of 'Hacksaw Ridge,' 'Arrival,' 'Ben-Hur' and 'Voyage of Time,' as well as articles on religious liberty, Christian higher education's impact on the common good, California Senate Bill 1146, uncomfortable church and a review of 'Good Faith' by Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman.

Replacing God With Ghosts

Replacing God With Ghosts

As modern western culture continues in its post-Christian march away from religion, what is filling the gap of God? Does disbelief in God translate to disbelief in everything supernatural or transcendent? Recent evidence seems to indicate a resounding “NO.” As much as we talk of a strictly materialistic and rationalistic landscape in our Scientistic society, there seems to be a lingering [...]

Dismaland, Ashley Madison and Duplicitous Fantasy

Dismaland, Ashley Madison and Duplicitous Fantasy

A friend of mine recently told me that his wife was often depressed by "looking at Instagram and seeing how happy every couple seemed." The endless array of beautifully posed people, gleefully posting about their #blessed, #best and #NBD adventures on beaches and balconies, discouraged her. Compared with the carefree, happy-as-can-be photos [...]

Abortion, the Environment and the Exile of Autonomy

Abortion, the Environment and the Exile of Autonomy

How is it that our society can collectively agree that an unborn life lost to a miscarriage is something to lament but the loss of millions of unborn lives each year from abortion is not? Karen Swallow Prior pondered this question recently, calling out the contradictory yet widely held idea that unborn children are babies whose lives matter [...]

Inside Out and Mountain Memories

Inside Out and Mountain Memories

I saw Pixar's Inside Out a few weeks ago at the Pinecrest Amphitheater, an outdoor movie theater on the shore of Pinecrest Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Under the stars, surrounded by family and with the smells of pine and campfires in the air, the setting was beautiful and memorable. Fitting for a movie about the mystery, joy and sadness of memory.

Why iChristianity Will Lose the Culture War

Why iChristianity Will Lose the Culture War

I wrote an article recently for Biola Magazine, the official publication of Biola University, about the challenges Christian universities are facing on "religious freedom" issues related to changing cultural norms--particularly around gender and sexual orientation--and their accompanying legal protections. What happens when an individual (student, staff or faculty member) decides they want to join a community like Biola but live in a manner that is inconsistent with the institution's convictions?

Advent Time

Advent Time

I love the season of Advent for a lot of reasons, not least the way it embraces the messiness of existence in a manner appropriate to the chaos of the month in which it falls.

But today I've been thinking about the way that Advent forces us to reflect on time in a unique way, in both looking back and looking forward, remembrance and imagination of times past and times to come.  The fact that today is my birthday aids in my reflection. Birthdays are steps out of time in a weird way, "just another day" but also not. They are 24 hours long just like any day, but they hold a disproportionate place in our memories and our hopes. They are kairosmoments (as opposed to chronos)and as such they remind us that time is less mundane and more miraculous than we often give it credit.

Forms of Faith

Forms of Faith

Recently I was asked by Converge Magazine to write a piece for their website reflecting on my book Hipster Christianity four years after its release. I took them up on the offer but rather than reflecting on how the phenomenon has changed or who the new hip pastors and churches are, I decided to offer a summary of one of the main point's of the book—that forms of faith matter and that we must think critically about how medium and message interact.

Ego and Influence

Ego and Influence

How does one truly make an impact on culture without obsessing over building platform, managing one’s personal “brand” and constantly doing and saying things specifically to rile up and expand an audience? How can artists, writers, and other cultural creators who truly care about ideas and art avoid the pitfalls of ego and hubris while also wanting their work to have a wide reach?

Cultured Christians

There’s a lot of talk these days about “cultural engagement” and how it’s important for Christians to be culture-makers, culture-watchers and culture-advocates. Umpteen books, blogs and conferences have been developed around these themes. And rightfully so. This is an area in which evangelical Christianity has been notoriously apathetic for far too long. But what does it actually look like to be a “cultured Christian”? And by “cultured,” I don’t mean fashionable, well-heeled aristocrats who frequent the opera and attend gallery openings. I simply mean people who take culture seriously and love it enough to approach it with nuance, intentionality and an open mind. What does it look like to do this Christianly?

On Zadie Smith, C.S. Lewis, and Joy

On Zadie Smith, C.S. Lewis, and Joy

A few weeks ago I read Zadie Smith’s essay, “Joy,” in the New York Review of Books. If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend doing so. It’s a beautifully written, decidedly contemporary reflection on joy with a tone I suspect Millennial and Gen-X readers will particularly resonate with.