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47 Responses

  1. Outside T. Fold says:

    On “The Hug Seen Round the World” (published 10/4), it’s a shame that essay was written before the news about Botham Jean’s neighbor, Joshua Brown: Brown testified in the trial as witness to the murder and Friday night (10.4), he was ambushed and shot and killed at close range. Family attorney said that one gunshot was to the mouth. An intimidation move. (Message: do not testify against police/white people).

    The reflection on the hug needs to include reflection on the revenge and the threat.

    If I were to sit down and work my way through a tough bit of theology (in keeping with the writer of “Faith Involves Your Brain Too,” quoting C. S. Lewis: “working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hands”) I would tackle living in a world and the relationship between hug of forgiveness with the shotgun to mouth of death and intimidation.

  2. EricL says:

    The article you found about Chuck was touching and rather revealing too. He was definitely a driven personality, wasn’t he?

  3. Michael says:


    He was, indeed.
    I’m hoping a great biographer writes him up someday…

  4. EH says:

    Cheryl wanted the blessing and the mantle and she stole both…

  5. Michael says:


    That is a slanderous lie.
    Her father did exactly as he wanted.

  6. Michael says:

    I read that.
    McClymonds magnum opus is his refutation of all forms of universalism.
    I don’t find him persuasive in terms of Hart’s arguments.
    The real difficulty is actually whether someone wants to go against the standard traditions of the church…

  7. Josh says:

    For the lurkers.

  8. Michael says:


    This is getting silly.
    How many of the lurkers have read a book on universal reconciliation by an Orthodox scholar?
    My guess is if they have, they know it’s controversial…

  9. Josh says:

    They take your word for it. So I post someone else’s word against it. I didn’t do it in any aggressive way.

  10. Michael says:


  11. Josh says:

    Why is that a wow? I’m not allowed to post dissenting opinions?

  12. Dentarthurdent says:

    Also on Hart:
    1. Leithart Reviewing Hart
    2. Hart’s Response:

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Wow, that Hart dudes is going off the rails in his reply to Leithart. First he implies his case is irrefutable and then he claims YHVH of the OT is not the ONE God but several different deities have claimed the title over time – that 2nd Temple Israel straightened it out.

  14. Xenia says:

    He may be an Orthodox scholar but his ideas are not in agreement with Orthodox theology.

  15. Michael says:

    Leithart actually read the book and understood it…props to him
    He also pointed out a real issue.
    Hart’s response was Hart…he’s obnoxious as hell.
    His OT theories aren’t unique in the academy…

  16. Xenia says:

    That is, he’s a scholar who happens to be Orthodox, not a scholar of Orthodoxy.

  17. Michael says:


    I appreciate the difference.
    As I noted before, this book is so arrogant and so elitist that few will bother reading it, though much of what he has to say is worth thinking about if you can get past his self exaltation…

  18. Xenia says:

    There’s also a Fr. Kimel, quite active on the internet, who used to be, not sure he still is, Orthodox who promotes a form of universalism. I quit reading him several years ago when he stopped promoting orthodox Orthodoxy.

  19. Michael says:

    I believe he’s still Orthodox.
    I just started reading him…

  20. Xenia says:

    I’ve been thinking about why I am so adverse to studying different (heterodox) doctrines and seem pretty intractable about most things, sticking firmly to traditional Eastern Orthodoxy as if my life depends upon it. Why I resist reading books by people with non-Orthodox or non-orthodox ideas.

    And here’s what I came up with: For most of my Christian life, I was very anxious regarding my salvation. Also, there was that decades-long slide into sin I’ve mentioned. Then I had My Experience and found a Church where my anxieties are gone and while I’m still a sinner, I have a better idea of what God expects of me. It was a major before-and-after dividing line, THE life changing event of my life.

    Having left the choppy waters of Protestantism where I was not doing well At All and finding the haven that is Orthodoxy, I do not want to disrupt this unexpected season of joy. I want to keep what I have and hang on tightly to it because it saved my life. No exaggeration, either.

    So that’s why I was not enthusiastic about reading some heterodox books about universalism so I could join more fully into this conversation.

  21. Michael says:


    I completely understand.
    My transitions have left me unsettled and uncomfortable, but for me necessary.
    I don’t want that to be put on anyone who doesn’t choose it.
    I’m spending a lot of time trying to understand Orthodox ideas, though…

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I ‘ll read anything from any tradition even if it is labeled weird – but I do have one rule – if it doesn’t catch my attention in the first 30 pages I am done. A good writer with a solid point to make should unpack it early. If not in 30 pages, chances are he won’t.

  23. Michael says:


    I read Hart’s book because of his reputation and the buzz from scholars about it.

    It is occasionally brilliant and compelling…but he is such an arrogant bastard that only the convinced or terminally curious will get through the introduction.
    I was greatly disappointed in that…never read anyone so extreme in all my theological life.

  24. Josh says:

    Hart’s response sounds like Trump.

  25. Michael says:

    Except Hart is actually intelligent…

  26. Josh says:

    I was just gonna say “A smart Trump.”

  27. Michael says:


    With that noted, the styles are sadly similar.
    He offends everyone he can and states he doesn’t care about persuading anyone.
    Unfortunately, he won’t even get a hearing because of it.

  28. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Perhaps the bravado is to cover for the Nothing Burger of a book.

  29. Michael says:


    The book without the insults is a philosophical tour de force if nothing else.
    You’ve made up your mind, so move on unless you read it yourself.

  30. Xenia says:

    Orthodoxy has to be experienced. It’s hard to grasp by reading books about it.

    I have found that people who have read themselves into Orthodoxy often read themselves right out again, if they aren’t enthralled by the Orthosphere.

  31. Michael says:

    I’m a contented Anglican…but I find reading patristics daunting, especially the Eastern fathers.
    Their writing is dense and so am I…

  32. Xenia says:

    I’m a contented Anglican…<<<

    I know. 🙂

  33. bob1 says:

    Over the years reading here, I’ve really appreciated the “Key Life” posts.
    Thank you.

  34. filbertz says:

    my journey led me to the Evolving Faith Conference linked above. I’m still restless and discontent, but I’m reading a lot and listening more than ever, and best of all, writing again.

  35. Michael says:


    Are you publishing somewhere?

  36. filbertz says:

    Michael, no–nothing that complete or coherent. Until some things are settled or I am further along in the sojourn, I don’t have too much to offer, but am chronicling the process. I am writing a lot about my childhood and youth since it was pretty hilarious/weird and some initial interactions with the episodes of the gospel of Luke, which has always been my magnetic north.

  37. Michael says:


    You know you have an open invitation here…

  38. filbertz says:

    …in addition to teaching full-time & helping with cafe’ and catering…

  39. Michael says:


    You can also bring food… 🙂

  40. filbertz says:

    I read the overview of the Evolving Faith Conference in Denver from last weekend and overall it was balanced and accurate. My impressions and reactions were not those assumed or mentioned in the article, especially as an old white guy. The vast majority of my Christian friends would have been uncomfortable in the least or stormed out in a fury. I found it valuable to hear the stories, listen to the questions, examine the suggestions, and ponder alternatives. I’ve always had a more generous view of the reach of God’s gifts, and like music or poetry, I place the accents on different notes than many others. That said, I feel solidly centered in the grace and love of Christ. There is much more room in the fold than some of the sheep might imagine.

  41. filbertz says:

    Food is always a given. I think it’s our spiritual gift. 😉

  42. Michael says:


    I think your writing would fit right in here…when you have time and one side dish. 🙂

  43. JoelG says:

    Fil, I like your thoughts. If you ever decided to publish your writing you’d have an interested reader here.

  44. Randy Davis says:

    There is a lot of truth in the article, Why Do People Keep Pastors at Arm’s Length? Pastors are perceived as a threat to their character and behavior. I think they sense what Peterson called us to be, subversive pastors.

    On the other hand, the pastor should practice some social distance from the church members. One reason is we need to avoid partiality within the congregation. Another reason is if we are too friendly with a member, they may turn against you using some private matter they think they know an bout know you—it does happen.

    For me I violated all of that (against the advice of my seminary professors) and grew way to emotionally connected to the point that funerals just about killed me. After one funeral my heart rate went to 155 and would not come down. I had to be on medication which reduced my rate to 100. I have not had a normal heart rate since then but my blood pressure has come way down since I retired. I have done two funerals in the last 5 years and I don’t care to do another one. I don’t like attending funerals. I also developed anxiety problems that have gotten worse since I retired.

    I know some might disagree with me. But church can destroy a pastor with very little concern for your wellbeing. One of the many things I admire in denominations with some hierarchical structure they can set standards that gives some protection for the pastor.

  45. Michael says:

    We should make your comment a stand alone article.
    I’m with you on funerals…hard for me to get through as well.

  46. Randy Davis says:

    I should not have said anything about funerals. A friend of mine called and wants me to do his mother’s funeral. I buried his father in 2011. This is a non church friend. His sister failed to get someone. I’m free and will give it a shot.

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