Category: Theology

Christian Humanist Profiles 206: The Theology of Benedict XVI

On April 16, 1927, Joseph Ratzinger was born in a little village in Bavaria, Germany’s southernmost state. Raised in a Catholic family in traditionally Catholic Bavaria, it isn’t surprising that he and his elder brother George went to seminary and were ordained as priests. What is remarkable is Father Ratzinger’s trajectory from priesthood to academia,…

Christian Humanist Profiles 205: Divine Self-Involvement

Download or Stream this Episode In Professing English, his history of English as an academic discipline and a university department, Gerald Graff claims that departmental boundaries are the fortifications of wars that the living have forgotten, along with the valiant dead who fought them.  Thus only those who know some history know why written and…

Christian Humanist Profiles 204: Defending Shame

Everyone agrees that shame is a terrible feeling. So isn’t it logical that we should avoid feeling shame? And doesn’t that also mean that it’s bad to make other people feel shame? Well, maybe not! In fact, in his new book Defending Shame, Te-Li Lau shows not only that shame is a vital part of…

Christian Humanist Profiles 203: Theology in the Democracy of the Dead

In the context of Christian theology, what is Tradition? And what is it for? Is it a unified, monolithic body of doctrines, from which we deviate at our peril? Is it a quarry of texts, open to be mined by any and all for juicy quotations? Instead of these images, Matt Jenson offers us the…

Christian Humanist Profiles 202: Baptists and the Catholic Tradition

While Baptists may profess the unity of God’s Church, we are also Dissenters from way back, ready to die on the hill of our unshakeable convictions. Still, the vision of the Church’s future is the ascent of Mount Zion, as pilgrims of every tribe and tongue converge, the song on their lips, “How good it…

Christian Humanist Profiles 201: Baptists and the Christian Tradition

Baptists have an odd relationship with the Christian tradition. Some of their most distinctive beliefs and practices seem difficult to square with the views of other Christian communions past and present. Of course, for some Baptists, this isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. They’ll happily don the title of Nonconformist, declaring “No creed but Christ!”…

Christian Humanist Profiles 188: Analyzing Doctrine

Download or Stream this Episode In academic philosophy over the last century or so, the various thinkers in French and German and Slovenian traditions, even those who do not live in Europe, have fallen under the geographic label “Continental” while those influenced by English-speaking philosophy have taken on the name “Analytic.”  In my own theological…

Christian Humanist Profiles 187: God’s Body

Download or Stream this Episode Biblical Studies can’t seem to figure out what to do with the Greeks.  One voice warns against Platonizing influences on Christian theology, and another calls for suspicion of the “Hellenization thesis.”  Then, as one figures out what to do with that tension, one remembers that Platonists and Stoics and Epicureans…

Christian Humanist Profiles 186: Christ’s Associations

Download or Stream this Episode When we read the New Testament, its epistles and narratives and apocalyptic visions give us a vivid picture of life, the world, a cosmic mission.  But ancient Christians, just as Christians in our own moment, also lived day to day in towns and cities, and careful attention to the ways…

Christian Humanist Profiles 183: End Times Anxiety

Download or Stream this Episode “Two men walking up a hill/ one disappears, and one’s left standing still.”  Whether someone hears that first as a Larry Norman melody or, like me, one discovered it on the “Jesus Freak” single by DC Talk, the image has its roots in a certain reading of certain passages of…