Enemy of the State

One by one, his followers were targeted and harassed and then forced into hiding. Even those who were only nominally affiliated with this man were shamed, cast out of their homes and into the hands of...

the (non)violence of holy week

This week Patheos has been generous enough to feature a series of five Holy Week meditations I wrote (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Bright Monday). I hope you ...

Stumbling Others

Rob Bell (Love Wins), Brian McLaren (Naked Spirituality) and I (Stumbling Toward Heaven) all released new books in March. All have drawn fire for questioning aspects of the faith, mine in sparks compa...

Why I’m a Conservative

Evangelical Christians often make the charge that those who do not share their theological commitments are "liberals," while claiming the domain of "conservatism" for themselves. They claim those who ...

Video Interview: Thom Meets Callid

At the 2010 American Academy of Religion conference in Atlanta, I had the pleasure of meeting Callid Keefe-Perry, a fascinating guy with an infectious verve. Callid asked to interview me with his new-...

martin luther king, jr: failure

It ended with a pillow fight. Moments before Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated by a sniper's bullet, the radical prophet picked a raucous, uproarious pillow fight with his ...

Jesus of Montreal

Jesus of Montreal is a film about a play about Jesus of Nazareth. Upon returning from extended travels in the east, an out-of-work Montreal theatre actor, Daniel Coulombe, is commissioned by a Catholi...

jesus, the flirt

He plopped down on the wall of the well, sweat dripping under the oppressive Palestinian sun. He was parched and exhausted to the point of fainting. But Jesus was not too tired to f...

When God Is the Enemy

When God strikes you on the right cheek, turn your left to God also. Then God will kiss it. The divine blow is an invitation to equality. When God takes your cloak, give God your coat as well. ...

Joseph: The First Socialist Dictator

One of the greatest enemies Judaism and Christianity have ever known has undoubtedly been socialism. Socialism threatens the very moral fabric of our society. It oppresses the masses with heavy taxati...

Stumbling Toward Heaven

Growing Up Catholic (1952 – 1971) Although my soul is no longer in her keeping, I owe my physical existence to the Roman Catholic Church and her pro-life teachings. I was born the second of five ...

Theodicky (Repost)

[In light of the recent events in Japan, and of some of the reaction I've seen from Christians who want to exploit this as an opportunity to preach about hell, an old post of mine has unfortunately be...

an [ad hoc] Interview with Thom

My interview with Steve Douglas, Matthew Raymer and Travis Jacobs from [ad hoc] Christianity is now online. Click here to go to the [ad hoc] Christianity Podcast blog page for our interview. To direct...

When We All Get to Heaven

If it weren't for Facebook, I would have missed the flap over Rob Bell this past weekend. Here's the story in a nutshell: Bell's publishing company released a trailer for Bell's forthcoming book,...

The Cold Shoulder

I’ve started and stopped writing this post at least half a dozen times. I’ve invested something like 10,000 words into it and here I am starting over again.  I’m not a perfectionist or temperam...

On First Love

Why do I remain in the Church? When this question was posted to me, I was taken aback for a moment. When one endures, survives, ekes out an existence on the fringes for so long, the question of “why...

Don't Shed a Tear for Me

When and if I arrive at heaven’s gates, I will have so many questions prior to entry that I can imagine the other tired and weary souls in line behind me will undoubtedly become irritated. I will as...

Subverting the Sacred

Introduction After briefly situating sociologist and theologian Ali Shariʿati historically and geopolitically within the context of pre-revolutionary Iran in the 1960s and 70s, this paper will...

The White Light Festival

When the applause died down and the lights went up, I sat in my seat at the center of the front row spellbound by the performance of Judith I had just seen. I'd heard her anxiety, her prayers, an...

The Hyper-Real Presence of Christ

In the Gospel of Luke’s last supper narrative, Jesus says the words of institution and immediately, the disciples break into an argument about who is the greatest.  It should not surprise us, ther...

Nick Fiedler Interviews Thom Stark

My interview with Nick Fiedler from the Nick and Josh Podcast is now online. There's a few minutes of humorous banter between Nick and Josh before the interview gets going. We talk about my book, iner...

the identity crisis of christ

It had been one hell of a time. Ever since that mystical baptismal experience for the forgiveness of sin, Jesus had seen his world slowly crumble around him. And it had all started so promisingly...

Clearing the Heir

Clearing the Heir: A Critical Examination of Ernst Herzfeld’s Reading of Dan 7.13 In his massive two-volume, 851-page tome on Zoroaster published in 1947, German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld assign...

The Prodigal Son

Sundays when I was little, our beleaguered mother—divorced, in school, raising three kids—put us on the church bus, put a roast in the crock pot, and settled in for a couple of hours of respite. S...

The Joshua Delusion

Review: Douglas S. Earl, The Joshua Delusion? Rethinking Genocide in the Bible. Eugene: Cascade, 2010. Paperback. 190 pages. $22.00. ISBN 13: 978-1-60899-892-0. Buy this book here. My thanks to Wip...

The Old Rugged Cross

My drama teacher in high school taught me how to play the blues and drink my coffee black (he probably would have taught me to chain smoke, too, but I took a pass). I've also been a church musician m...

If Christ Has Not Been Raised

One axiom that I hear all the time is that if the Bible is false, or is not self-evidentially true, or there is no God, or there was no resurrection, that we are wasting our time, and we might as well...

Belief in the Immanent Frame

There's a riveting scene in the film Amadeus where Salieri, deeply envious of Mozart's talent, is so angry at God that he removes the crucifix from his wall and burns it in the fire, swearing enm...

Fringe Faith

I resonate with the identity of Religion at the Margins - the fringe, the heretics, the outliers. And I have a penchant to like underdog views, and underdog composers in music. If I was more into spor...

On Writing and Un-writing.

Everything we write must be written with the constant anticipation of un-writing. As religious people we are caught up in the ebb and flow of God. Of God who breathes creation one moment and then dest...

Red Herring

God is a red herring. I have, at several different points, found atheism attractive. I've tried it out, more or less earnestly, on a couple of occasions, but the truth is my world is not quite dise...

Counting Blue Cars

I knelt in front of the minister, whom I'd sought out for this very purpose: to be anointed with oil and prayed over in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. By this I mean that I wanted to sp...

Why Remain?

It's a fair question. I have enough departures from "orthodox" Christianity that it won't do for me to cry foul if someone wonders why I'm a Christian at all. This has proven to be a more difficult qu...

A Queer Ecclesiology

The most striking aspect of Christ’s ministry is his own queer relationships. From adulterers to tax-collectors, fishermen and roman soldiers, it has been Christ’s ministry to bring the queerest f...

Praise for The Human Faces of God

The Human Faces of God will shatter any honest reader's preconceptions about the Bible and what it "says" and leave that reader with a stronger and better faith. This book is the most powerful ant...

Farther Along

So, I'm neck-deep in dissertation stuff. This is my life right now, besides grading papers. I'm taking notes for chapter 3, trying to sort John Howard Yoder's The Politics of Jesus into the five princ...

What Do I Love When I Love My God?

I do not write, because I do not like to be held accountable. I do not write. Writing is an act of catharsis; who wants their catharsis to be plastered all over the virtual marketplace of ideas? Or...

Shari‘ati on the Ideal Man

Ideal man passes through the very midst of nature and comes to understand God; he seeks out mankind and thus attains God. He does not bypass nature and turn his back on mankind. He holds the sword of ...

Theodicky

Maybe God isn’t dead. Maybe he’s just going deaf. Maybe he’s totally deaf in one ear, and partially deaf in the other. It’s understandable. He is getting to be a little ancient of days anymore...

On Getting Saved

Somebody asked me today, "What are we exactly saved from and what does the death and resurrection of Jesus mean in relationship to that?" This is a significant question. Evangelicalism preaches that y...