When trying to compile a list of my favorite theological blogs, I ran into an immediate problem: I don’t actually read that many! One reason for this is that I am able to have a “one-stop-shopping” approach to blog consumption due to the fact that almost all of the people that I’m interested in reading contribute to this blog (or are on our blogroll).
The difficulty for me is not that I’m detached from the ongoing debates and/or unaware of the contemporary issues,–I mean, who can resist wading into a debate over the theological appropriation of Zizek’s ontology:)—its just that most theological blogs that I’ve found, like many political ones, are so rife with acrimony and pretension that I can barely read any of them without developing an ulcer. What’s more, I find myself being drawn into a fight—aided by Wikipedia–that has more to do with me winning (or at least saving face) than with any genuine communication. The anonymity, the subject matter (almost always Barth or N.T Wright) and ego make many theological blogs dangerous places. When InclusiveChurch91837, BarthSuks231, Godisawesome7987, and Jim all get in a room to argue, nobody wins.
This acrimony, to which I have contributed my fair share in the past–sorry Fr. Al–made me initially hesitant to even get involved in this particular blog; however, to my genuine surprise, the experience of writing for and reading this over the past year has been a complete joy, and this realization caused me to reflect on what is so different this time around. I’ve come to realize that the Mockingbird Blog is different from many blogs in one fundamental respect: we’re not trying to argue.
Yes, the distinction between Law and Gospel is important to many of us. Yes, we (on the whole) reject what is known as the “3rd use of the Law,” and yes, this viewpoint is incompatible with many other theological traditions–its not a semantic argument. But, if I may speak for the group (think The Borg) the strength of our conviction lies not in some sort of Gnostic appeal to higher or more profound insights into human nature, but rather in our shared deep and persistent need to both hear and proclaim this particular message of the God who justifies the ungodly. This blog is merely our attempt at chronicling our observations as to the extent that this need is both reflected in the world around us, and met in Jesus—-that’s the whole point.
So my list of “best theological blogs” is short, because I’m not as interested in arguing as I used to be. What follows are the few theological blogs that I am subscribed to in GoogleReader (aside from the ones listed in our Blogroll). In these blogs, you’ll notice a significant lack of heated and endless debate over mimetic participation, subjective ontology, Lacan, positive assessments of the (so-called) “Church Fathers,” applied ecclesiology, or (my personal favorite) perichorisis.
The following are my favorites. They’re ranked in descending order from utterly awesome to totally awesome.
This website serves more as a huge internet warehouse for all things Protestant. While its a little on the Reformed side for my taste, it has just about everything you could want to read about church history, theology, etc. . . It also has a great collection of Mp3 and other audio resources. I don’t know the guy who runs this site, but he has to be cool.
The Undomesticated Preacher:
I think that Sean posted something about this one a while back, but I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog that, I think, has only been up since this past September. Run by Dr. Ken Sundet Jones, a colleague and friend of our beloved Dr. Mark Mattes, he describes the intention of his blog thusly:
“I’m an ELCA pastor as well as Associate Professor and Chair of Religion and Philosophy at Grand View College. I’m convinced that a law/gospel dialectic makes for a Word from God that can actually do what it promises: kill the sinner in me and raise me up to new life.“
And, as if that statement alone didn’t qualify him for an honorary doctorate from Mockingbird U, check out a portion of one of his first posts on “Grace Alone”
“When we speak of grace alone, the starting point is not how good and nice God is. It certainly isn’t something that calls us to say, “God is love. God is love. God is love,” over and over again to reassure ourselves that God might be well disposed toward us. Instead to speak of grace alone is to acknowledge first and foremost that I am truly and utterly incapable of solving the dilemma of my sin on my own.“
This one is run by a seminary friend of ours who is currently serving as Director of Student Ministries @ St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ohio, I think. At any rate, his blog has only been up for a few monts too, and its wonderful. You have to check out his post Law/Gospel, Judgment/Grace, Condemnation/Love, and the Dentist…
This is run by, surprise, another friend from seminary. I started reading this blog a few years ago, when Kris wrote “My Epiphany,” and I’ve been following ever since. Check out this part of that post:
The fear that prevents this truth from being preached from the pulpit is the fear of Christians running free; being terrible witnesses to Christ and feasting on what Bonhoeffer called “Cheap Grace.” My professor requested one thing when this was brought up in class…”show me one person where this is the case.” In other words, show me one person that has experienced the true grace of Christ (which isn’t cheap at all by the way, its free) who is running around being anything but a free and loving example of God’s truth and forgiveness. For he who is forgiven much loves much.
The true Antinomian doesn’t exist. Someone that experiences the freedom and forgiveness of God does not go off and do whatever he wants. He (or she) is so floored by God forgiving them when they deserve eternal punishment and damnation that they can do nothing save run throughout the town telling everyone, “there is a man who has told me everything I have ever done!” It is an empty fear made up by the enemy to keep us in bondage. And many of our pastors are perpetuating this from the pulpit when they preach that God requires something from us.
I know that this is on our blogroll, but I wanted to point it out in case you missed it. This is more of a collection of Gospel-centric books than a blog, but like Monergism, it’s a wonderful resource. Kept up to date with a passion bordering on the psychotic, our good friend Rev. Matt McCormick has done a lot of the hard work in discovering and cataloging reading materials for those interested. He’s also an expert on Widespread Panic and MRSA.