Essay / Literature

The Flowering Crown

This post was featured on Biola’s Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts’ Lent Project on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016, and can also be found on Dr. Johnson’s website.  The crown of the thorns is a symbol of cruelty and oppression—but a poetic one.

Essay / Culture

The Un-Resume: An Exercise in Professional Humility

To some of our students, we faculty probably present a daunting picture of excellence. After all, we are professors at one of the most distinguished private Christian universities—we excel in our fields, publish scholarly works about topics they may have never even heard of, are

Essay / Art

Theodicy of Woodworking: Hope in Change

I recently wrote about the theology of woodworking, giving a theological case for the joy we have in craftsmanship. Recently, however, I realized a rather grave omission on my part, which I would now like to remedy. In general terms, my omission had to do

Essay / Misc.

Wedding Homily for Brett and Lydia

For Brett Stroud and Lydia Plett, July 18, 2015. Brett and Lydia, this is it. Today, you will be married. After long years of dating, more miles logged in LA traffic than anyone would care to count, dueling grad school schedules, and plenty of conversations

Essay / Misc.

Wedding Homily for David and Victoria

for Daniel Castle and Victoria Van Vlear, June 5, 2015 Well, Daniel and Victoria, this is it. You’ve arrived on the long-awaited day, your wedding day. Take a good look around you. Look at all these people who love you—who have led and listened to

Essay / Literature

The Metaphysics of Candlelight

Nature’s Distilled Sunlight Have you ever wondered why you loved candlelight? And what is so mesmerizing about the embers of a campfire? It is as though the depths of wisdom were contained in the spectrum of reds, oranges, yellows and blues, glowing and pulsing with life.

Essay / Avant-Garde

Spiegelman’s “Maus,” Rights, & the Atonement

World War II and the Holocaust of the Jews have been a significant part of my life. I have toured Washington DC’s Holocaust museum several times, spent a day at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, and read several books on the subject. My grandfather

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 / Misc.

ISIS As Religion

Graeme Wood’s article, “What ISIS Really Wants”, published in the March edition of The Atlantic is an immensely helpful article, taking us into the world and mindset of the Islamic State. Graeme’s basic thesis states that Westerners have consistently misunderstood the true basis and aims

Essay / Misc.

The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant (Book Review)

Michael Gorman’s new book, “The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant: A (Not So) New Model of the Atonement,” is a big-picture account of the work of Christ as a covenantal reality. The movement begins with the biblical interweaving of

Essay / Culture

A Much-Needed Gap

Recently I read a witty novel written entirely in the form of letters of recommendation. It reminded me of some spoofs I’ve seen in various places, which I would describe a satires of the genre of recommendation letter. These things have floated around in photocopied

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