The Christian Studies Blog


Ring Around the Collar and the Gospel: What's Your Story?

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on January 4, 2018 at 11:39 AM


Human beings are “enstoried” creatures. We find ourselves inundated, moment by moment, with data of various kinds that must be interpreted, and the stories that we live within form the framework for our interpretation of the world around us. This can be true at the simplest level of life—I recognize and understand the different functions of a fork and a knife because of the narrative surrounding such implements (especially around proper table etiquette)—to the most profound of social difficulties—see, for example, the highly charged competing narratives on either side of various race issues in the United States. The stories we tell ourselves and that we live by thus have powerful implications for every facet of life, from ethics to epistemology to ontology. So what stories are we living by? (e.g., a grammarian lives by the story that this is an improperly built sentence in English; here, I am a deconstructionist: Down with the Binaries!)

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Topics: Discipleship, On-Topic Today, Technology, Teaching Moment

Grace and Peace: Remembering the Kingdom Work of David Worley

Posted by Dawn Bond on December 5, 2017 at 1:13 PM

Grace and Peace: Essays in Memory of David Worley is a compilation of biographical essays honoring the life of a remarkable man. A man, that I must admit, I did not know before reading this commemorative work. Edited by Thomas H. Olbricht and Stan Reid, this compilation was penned by 18 very different authors – all of whom knew David well. An honest and intimate look at one man’s life, this book is a collection of memories to be preserved and passed on for the benefit of those who grieve him now, as well as those who never knew him.

As the back cover indicates, “David Worley was an extraordinary man of many talents and interests.” In reading this work, I understand that David, like so many of us, wore many hats: husband, father, teacher, administrator, mentor, missionary, and visionary. Each of these essays gives testimony to these different facets of David’s life by those who experienced it.

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Topics: Personal, Teaching Moment, On-Topic Today, About Austin Grad

My Reformation Day Dream: The Catholic Council that Never Was

Posted by Dr. Keith Stanglin on October 24, 2017 at 9:30 AM


“O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions.  Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly Union and Concord: that, as there is but one Body, and one Spirit, and one Hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may henceforth be all of one heart, and of one soul, united in one holy bond of Truth and Peace, of Faith and Charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify you: through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.”  -Book of Common Prayer

Earlier this month, when I mentioned to my students that the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses is coming up on October 31, one student asked, “Wasn’t the Reformation a good thing?” 

I’m not sure if my announcement unintentionally stirred a sense of doubt, but I had to respond, “It’s a mixed bag.”  There certainly were things about the church’s doctrine and morals that needed reforming, and, to the degree that Protestants reformed them, it was successful and beneficial, and we should be grateful.  But have all the results been good?  The answer is clearly “no.”

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Topics: On-Topic Today, Teaching Moment, Church History

Blessed with Nothing: The Rich Young Man in Matthew 19:16-30

Posted by Matt Porter on October 19, 2017 at 9:30 AM


The story of the rich young man in Matthew 19 has often been appropriated for the church in a moralistic way. It generally goes something like this:

We each have our own thing—something that has become, perhaps, an idol. The thing for this rich young man that blocked him from eternal life was his material wealth. This got in the way of truly loving his neighbor. What is that thing for you, which you need to give up?

Mine is coffee and Oreos (not at the same time). There, I said it.

That’s not a terrible application. It is certainly something worth reflecting upon. But I think there is more to this story than meets the eye—a deeper, more transformative thought, at which Jesus is getting.

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Topics: New Testament, Gospels, On-Topic Today, Personal, Scripture Passage

What are we to do with the Baptist?

Posted by Roger McCown on October 17, 2017 at 9:30 AM


For reasons that I hope will be clear shortly, I have titled my words as “What are we to do with the Baptist?”  John the Baptist, that is.

Having been at it for a while, I can say that preaching in the church is both the easiest and most difficult thing I’ve done.  

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Topics: Evangelism, Gospels, New Testament, Baptism, On-Topic Today

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