In keeping with my notion to shift the focus here to pointing at things I’ve found useful, I want to mention two modern-day theologians whose blogs I’ve found to be richly rewarding.
I’ve only lately begun following Richard Beck, though I’m pretty sure I’ve read blog posts of his over the years when others have linked them. I added his blog to my RSS reader after coming across this post on conscience vs. tradition as the source of authority, which I thought knocked it out of the park. Then when Rene Girard died recently I decided from mentions of his work that I should learn more, and discovered Beck’s seven-part series (start here) on Girard’s notion of Jesus as the final scapegoat, which nearly blew the top of my head off—the notion, though the posts are good too. And he is currently posting a 6-part series called A Progressive Vision of the Benedict Option (start here) which pulls no punches when pointing out flaws in conservative approaches to Christian community which are proving fatal.
I’ll be mining Beck’s blog for many months to come, since it is well organized and he has posted every weekday for the past ten years. Here are a few scattered posts I’ve found especially tasty:
- The Bait and Switch of Contemporary Christianity
- Work Hard — a follow-up to the above post, which nails my own current thinking about this.
- Instead of a Coffee Shop, How About a Laundromat? — I’d join this project in a heartbeat! And apparently some folks at his church have decided to go ahead with one.
- Experimental Theology 2015: Year in Review — Beck provides a tour of the best of the year’s posts, something he does every year, so a good place to start. (The very extensive sidebar is also a good place to go hunting for things to read … though some of the topics might scare you a bit!)
My other favorite blogging theologian is Andrew Perriman, who I’ve mentioned before and have followed for more than a year now. Studying Perriman’s narrative-historical method for reading and understanding the Bible has worked a major overhaul on my own approach, and I think for the better—at least, I am now very much at peace with my own understanding of Scripture and able to completley focus on living out that understanding.
Perriman organizes his blog sort of like a wiki, peppering each post with links to other related posts, so the best way to read him is to pick an entry point and start chasing down references. But he does have a list (under “Method” in the menu bar) of posts which make good introductions. My favorite is a recent one, This Changes Everything, since it describes the delightful disorientation one experiences when the method begins to sink in. The other six are as follows, in no particular order—if a post title strikes your fancy, start there.
- The narrative premise of a post-Christendom theology
- 10 good reasons to switch to a narrative-historical hermeneutic
- The narrative-historical method—an outline
- The message of the Bible in one sentence
- Some rough and ready “rules” for doing a narrative-historical reading of the New Testament
- The narrative-historical reading of the New Testament: what’s in it for me?