Unsystematic Theology

Reader Comments: Are Christmas Trees Pagan Idols?

Reader Comments: Are Christmas Trees Pagan Idols?

A few years back I published what has turned out to be one of my more popular articles: The True Meaning of Christmas Trees: The Spiritual Abuse Connection. It’s a series of reflections inspired by seeing some well-intended but irate Christians quoting Old Testament scriptures, most commonly Jeremiah 10, to argue that Christmas trees are […]

Unsystematic Theology: How Much Should Christians Tip?

Unsystematic Theology: How Much Should Christians Tip?

How much should a Christian tip? That might seem like kind of a wacky question, though I’ve been asked it before. If you read much theology, you’ll cover topics like Incarnation and Ineffability and Predestination and Hypostasis. Lessons in Tipping don’t come up often except, well, in the real world. The question is on everyone’s […]

The Galatian Road out of Legalism

The Galatian Road out of Legalism

(Originally published in 2010 as a guest post on “The Cult Next Door.“) Legalism. It’s one of those nasty words that everybody points to as an example of religion gone wrong. Everybody knows that you shouldn’t be a legalist. Everybody knows that legalism is unbiblical. Everybody would be affronted if you called them a legalist. […]

Is Christmas Biblical? A Few More Comments

Is Christmas Biblical? A Few More Comments

It’s now officially the time of year — i.e., Christmas —  when people find my website by searching for such unlikely things as “Is Christmas Pagan?” and “The True Meaning of Christmas Trees” and “Tacky Nativity Scenes” and, of course, “Angels We Have Heard on High” (SATB acapella). Ah, the joys of being an unsystematic theology […]

Reader Question (kind of): Did My Sins Kill Jesus?

Reader Question (kind of): Did My Sins Kill Jesus?

(Well, OK, it’s not actually a reader question at all, since I have no idea whether the person who asked it has ever even seen this site. But my blog doesn’t have a category for “question I randomly saw somewhere and wanted to answer.” Speaking of which, if any of you real readers of this […]

How Does Jesus Love You?

How Does Jesus Love You?

In May 2010, Hillary McFarland invited me to write a guest post for her lovely website Quivering Daughters, which offered healing for victims of Spiritual Abuse within the so-called “Biblical Patriarchy” movement. Not knowing at the time that this would turn into an unlikely recurring ministry for me over the next two years, I decided to get a […]

The Truth about "Effeminate Worship"

The Truth about “Effeminate Worship”

Several popular (though controversial) preachers have taken up a refrain of social commentary I’ve heard a few too many times. They denounce what they see as a trend of “Effeminate Worship.” (Here’s a typical message. Here’s another and another.) Apparently, modern churches have become “feminized,” unlike the old days when men were men. This means […]

The Myth of the Weaker Vessel

The Myth of the Weaker Vessel

In response to a popular pastor’s perplexing pronouncement that “God has given Christianity a masculine feel,” Rachel Held Evans asked Christian men to write a blog post “that celebrates the importance of women in the Church.” Here’s mine. Lately, both from online creepers and respectable preachers, I’ve seen several comments that come back to one […]

Spiritual Abuse Awareness Month

Spiritual Abuse Awareness Month

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” –Jesus of Nazareth (Luke 14:18–19) January […]