All Theology is Autobiographical.

The painting above is The Good Shepherd by Bernhard Plockhorst. I remember a print of this painting, or one just like it, hanging in Fellowship Hall at Redeemer Baptist Church in West Los Angeles, the church I grew up in.

It’s an interesting painting. I didn’t notice when I was a kid, but I can’t help but notice now that Jesus looks awfully, well, German. The setting looks very un-Middle Eastern as well.

Why point this out? Continue reading “All Theology is Autobiographical.”

Close Reading

Hebrew Scriptures was one of the first classes I took when I began my theological studies. The class was devoted to what many Christians refer to as “The Old Testament”. But the class began with much time spent on Close Reading.

Close Reading means reading only what is printed on the page, without resorting to any interpretation or overlaying of a Tradition’s understanding of what the words on the page mean. Just read the words. How hard can that be? Continue reading “Close Reading”

Welcome

The other day I had breakfast with Paul. Paul and I went to Westmont College, an evangelical Christian school in Santa Barbara. I hadn’t seen Paul in years, and we had a fair amount of catching up to do.

As we discussed alternate understandings of Christianity—ideas we had encountered and wrestled with in books and conversations—I explained that leaving the Church and leaving Christianity had been, for me, the only logical step, as I had finally “run out of metaphors.” Here’s an example. Continue reading “Welcome”