Essay / Art

No Mules Were Skinned: The History of the Muleskinner Blues

Let’s say you get obsessed with a song. And let’s say it’s an old song, one that’s been around a long time and has been performed so many ways that it’s no longer possible to name any particular version of it as definitive. If you’re

Essay / Art

Are Artists Creators?

What do people do when they make a work of art? What do we mean when we speak of human creativity? Are artists creators? Humans are made in the image of God; does this imply that, in our creativity, we mirror his creating? Surely in

Essay / Art

Spaaaace Tuuuunes!

Here’s some fun music by friends at my church: Lost in Space, by The Pop Rockets. Click through to the Noisetrade page to sample all five tracks and download them if you like what you hear. As for me and my house, we like what we

Essay / Culture

The Theologian’s Stone: Atonement In Harry Potter, Book I

This post originally appeared on Dr. Johnson’s website. “It is a monstrous thing, to slay a unicorn…. Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you

Essay / Art

Christ’s Death and the Fate of Western Lowland Gorillas

Paul Fryer’s striking art installation is a beautiful and realistic work… of a crucified gorilla. At first one might think his “Privilege of Dominion” is little more than a parody of the Christian faith, a repetition of ancient graffiti portraying Christ crucified with the head

Essay / Culture

Watch “The Cost of Freedom”

The video for “The Cost of Freedom” event is now available. Cornel West and Robert George joined Rick Warren at Biola University for a discussion about disagreement, common ground, and justice. West and George are good friends, yet disagree on important issues.  There is a lively

Essay / Culture

Because of Fairies

Recently, I spent twelve hours discussing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with sophomores in the Torrey Honors Institute. (What a job!) I love this play more and more. It’s easy to miss its richness–it’s such a romp! Here’s the thing that struck me in reading

Essay / Avant-Garde

Conversation on Theology & California

Here’s a one-hour video about theology and California, or, more specifically, Theology and California, the book of essays that Jason Sexton and I edited (Ashgate, 2014). You can view it at Open Biola (which includes several video and audio options), or stream the embedded version here

Essay / Culture

“Something to Do With Something Else”

Before the camera shut off, the police officer who had put the lethal choke hold on Eric Garner looked directly into the lens and explained, “this wasn’t about the fight. This had something to do with something else.” It seems  he meant to obfuscate, but

Essay / Culture

A Real Advent

According to St. Benedict of Nursia the Christian life should be a continuous Lent. And according to Sts. Wal-Mart, Target, and Starbucks the fall should be a continuous Christmas. Holiday decorations have gone up earlier this year in stores and on city lampposts. Throughout much

Essay / Culture

Theology and California: The Book

I’m pleased to announce the publication of a strange, new book: Theology and California: Theological Refractions on California’s Culture (Ashgate, 2014), edited by Jason Sexton and me. It’s available in hardcover for your libraries, softcover with a gorgeous cover photo, and e-book for portability. As

Essay / Blog

Remembering Chris Mitchell

On Thursday night, my dear friend Chris died of a heart attack. We in the Torrey Honors Institute were—are—in complete shock. There were no warning signs, nothing indicating that his health was in decline. (An undetected heart disease proved to be the cause.) Chris and