Category Archives: Piety without Exuberance

The Old Testament Solution to the NFL’s Ray Rice Problem


Don’t fire him. Keep him on the team and playing with the starters. Let me explain. I have yet to see anyone opine that this imbroglio reflects the ongoing problem of race relations in the U.S. but I am not sure why. When did professional sports’ servant leaders come down as hard on white players… Read More→

Also posted in Being Human, Wilderness Wanderings | Tagged , , , , | 9 Responses

If the South Had Called a Referendum


Instead of firing on Fort Sumter, would the Confederate States have had a better chance of declaring their independence (like Jefferson did in 1776) if they had followed the lead of the Scots and simply voted. I understand that elections are not always decisive as the imbroglio between Russia and Ukraine attests. But a peaceful… Read More→

Also posted in Adventures in Church History | Tagged , , , , , , | 134 Responses

Ichabod Indeed


Noah Millman’s post about Passover observance among non-strict Jewish persons like himself reminded me of a stunning Old Testament reading from Sunday’s morning worship service. It is hard to believe how far God’s chosen people had fallen until you read all that King Josiah needed to do just to return to square one. For instance:… Read More→

Posted in Piety without Exuberance | Tagged , , , , | 3 Responses

Does Meatloaf Inflame more than Oatmeal?


The shoot-the-fish-in-the-barrel reaction to this story about an Episcopal priest encouraging Bible reading is to make some sort of crack about Episcopalians actually reading the Bible. In point of fact, the story actually demonstrates the relative hunger that many church-goers have for Scripture. It also shows how woeful the shepherding of believers is by too… Read More→

Posted in Piety without Exuberance | Tagged , , | 7 Responses

Should We Change Our Name?

william james

Maybe it should be Metaphysical Club instead of Old Life Theological Society, so impressed as I am by Louis Menand’s book about pragmatism and more. I have not read a history book that has been so hard to put down, so vivid in its depictions of characters, so plot driven as it were, and so… Read More→

Also posted in Adventures in Church History, Worldview | Tagged , , , | 41 Responses

The Presbyterian Narrative


If Ref21 had commboxes with their posts, I could simply make this point (or set of points) in response to Rick Phillips over there. But I guess ACE stands for Anti-Commbox Evangelicals. At the risk of offending Bill McClay (as if he reads OL) who wrote a very fine piece on the “American narrative,” the… Read More→

Also posted in Adventures in Church History, Because Someone Has to Provide Oversight, Confessionalism, Piety with Excitement | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 68 Responses

Golden Oldie (part two)


An excerpt from “‘Reformed’ or ‘Revived’: Why Words Matter”, Modern Reformation (July/August 1998): Perhaps a better way of showing these differences is to contrast the words “revive” and “reform.” These words connote the same difference already noted between Tennent and the Second Helvetic Confession. The word, “revive,” suggests an effort to recover genuine spiritual existence… Read More→

Also posted in Adventures in Church History, Confessionalism, Piety with Excitement, Reformed Protestantism | Tagged | 11 Responses

I Wonder What He thinks of Earnestness


From the fellow who thought the comparison of Scripture reading to oatmeal needed an injection of sanity: I had never heard the phrase “God’s ordinary means of grace” until I was introduced to the reformed faith. As a result I had no doctrinal or experiential category for the true significance of those ordinary elements that… Read More→

Also posted in Application of Redemption, Because Someone Has to Provide Oversight | Tagged , , | 13 Responses

The Phebe Bartlet Syndrome

4 year old

Leon Brown wonders: Asked differently, should we put a smile on our faces for a hour and a half on Sunday mornings when things are truly chaotic in the home? No sooner than we depart the church building, we are met by disobedient children and dueling spouses. Our pornography addiction resurfaces; our anger meets us… Read More→

Also posted in Because Someone Has to Provide Oversight, Wilderness Wanderings | Tagged , , | 26 Responses

Is Scripture Like Sweetbreads or Broccoli?


Danny Hyde makes a case for reading Scripture in a way that will “inflame.” It could be (all about) my cold heart, but I’ve always been wary of getting close to fire. It may shed light, but it also consumes (as in our God is a consuming fire). Still, what struck me as curious about… Read More→

Also posted in Are They On Their Meds?, High Church Presbyterianism, Shock and Awe | Tagged , , | 163 Responses