One of the most popular and celebrated television sitcoms of the past few decades is a show called “Friends.” Still watched by many in reruns, it follows the life of six twenty-somethings as they set out as friends in search of love and happiness. The show highlights the way that friends help us to navigate life, for better or worse, and yet friendship on the show is a concept that is not defined. It is caught, not taught. Like the television show, many of us are guilty of taking friendship for granted. When we happen to think about it, we tend to analyze our relationships, lament our loneliness, or believe that our friendships happen by chance. We see examples in popular culture and wonder if those examples are the kinds of friendships that we should have too. Is friendship, as we experience it, the best it can be?
The phenomenon of transgenderism not only provokes reactions, but inevitably raises questions – questions about what is real and questions about what is moral. The reality question boils down to this: Is it really the case that a person can be born with “the wrong body,” or is the person who feels this way simply confused at the level of their mind? The morality question follows on from this, but has numerous faces to it, as well as various legal implications. Perhaps understandably, differing answers to these questions tend to polarise people. This essay explores how we can we understand the transgender revolution from a Biblical perspective.
Digital technology is here to stay. We’ve become quite comfortable with digital technologies and even dependent on many of them. Yet despite the number of technologies we use, there seems to be large scale naïveté about technology’s effects, especially the impact of digital technologies. Even otherwise helpful theologians and social analysts sometimes make the unsophisticated claim that technologies are morally neutral; that in and of themselves they are neither good nor bad, but it is the use of the technology that may be right or wrong. If it were that simple, answers to our questions would be much simpler. Unfortunately, the morality of technology is more complicated than we have imagined.
Becoming a thoughtful Christian means learning to think well and to think Christianly. And in noting these two points, we want to say that they must be both at once. Making this observation recognizes that it is possible to be thoughtful without being Christian, and that it is possible to be a Christian without being thoughtful. Frankly, in our current duality-promoting context, either of these would be easier for most people to contemplate. What is challenging is to be both thoughtful and Christian in vigorous and vital engagement with each other and interdependence among each other. We believe, however, that such integration is precisely what is needed at this time in the church and in our culture.
How do we view homosexuality in light of a Christian sexual ethic? Perhaps this will come as a surprise, but homosexuality is not the focal point of the Christian sexual ethic. Rather, same-sex behavior is one of many sexual acts that fall outside of the context of a life-union between a man and a woman, including pre-marital and extra-marital sex, pornography, and so on. Christianity begins with a broader sexual ethic that affirms the good of physical creation and the good of our inherent sexuality. This essay engages the intersection of religious and sexual identities and the much-debated topic of Christianity and homosexuality.
Lots of North Americans use the word sin only on dessert menus and when telling an inside joke. If they hear the word used seriously, they might conclude that they are in the presence of a Puritan. There are few contexts left in which the word is said and heard straight. Even preachers often mumble when it comes to sin. Yet most people would widely agree that the world is broken—that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be. This essay describes sin, its real effects on humanity, and how Christians can contribute to human flourishing.
Until the modern era, Christians largely took it for granted that Christianity is the one true religion for all humankind. By the late twentieth century, however, there were growing numbers of those identifying themselves as Christians who called for a radical pluralism in which Christianity is just one among many possible ways of responding to the divine. Explore the idea that all the major religions are more or less equally true and how Christians can respond to religious diversity today.
Can science provide answers to the ultimate questions of life? How unbiased is the scientific endeavor? Does science have any limits? These and other questions arise from the popular modern acceptance of naturalism, a belief that only natural laws and forces work in the world and that the supernatural does not exist. This timely essay explores science and the naturalistic worldview from a Christian perspective, suggesting ways for Christians to engage with science today.
What keeps people from flourishing today? For many college students, busyness not only weighs them down, it causes high levels of anxiety, fear, and depression. But a flourishing life is a life that both goes well and is lived well. This essay offers students a way of hope when they recognize that they will only flourish when they live in right relationship to God, their environment, their neighbors, and themselves. Explore how you, too, can have a flourishing life.
Why is sex so fascinating? That’s one question. But why pay any attention to what Christians believe about sex? That’s quite another. And yet the very fascination of sex points to a religious dimension. Sex and religion have always been hard to separate—from the gods and goddesses of the religions of the Ancient Near East onwards. This thought-provoking essay explores why sex is so fascinating, what God says about sex, and how Christians can respond to sex in our culture today.