Blog Archives


November 30, 2011 | 8 comments

Here’s my wild-eyed claim for the day: religion is about the world, not about religion. Which do you talk about at church? Read more »

The Strait [sic] and Narrow

November 28, 2011 | 37 comments

Say we agree that Mormonism is about progress and progression. A couple of questions might follow. Read more »

Phantom Limb

November 22, 2011 | 15 comments

I can’t speak to your experience. I can’t speak even to my own. But I’ll tell a story. I remember the day and time and place that I stopped believing in God, but not the date. Read more »

Ecce Theologus

October 21, 2011 | 3 comments

Joseph Spencer is indispensable. He is the “not-thoughtless” and the “never-glosses-over.” Read more »


October 19, 2011 | 14 comments

The theologian is indispensible. She is the not-thoughtless. She takes no thought because she gives it. And the more she gives it away, the more it multiplies. Read more »

Theologians Anonymous

October 17, 2011 | 30 comments

1. We admitted we were powerless over our theologies — that our thoughts had become unmanageable. Read more »

Circuitous Machinations – On Mormon Theology

September 19, 2011 | 33 comments

A comically involved, complicated invention, laboriously contrived to perform a simple operation. —“Rube Goldberg,” Webster’s New World Dictionary Read more »


August 29, 2011 | 9 comments

You’re given a pair of binoculars. Read more »


August 14, 2011 | 14 comments

I know a lot of people swear by it, but I’ve never found “belief” to be a reliable way of describing what is (or isn’t) happening when I plant myself in a pew. Read more »

A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Duration

July 22, 2011 | 6 comments

Say that you want to pray. Say that you want to make prayer the center of your life rather than just an aid to it. Say that you want to take up prayer as an end in itself. Say that you understand prayer to be the formal practice of submitting your will to God’s. And say that you think prayer should be at least as much about listening as talking. How long should you pray? Read more »

A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Contributing

July 11, 2011 | 3 comments

Over at BCC, Kristine opined last week on the subject of Mormon “intellectuals.” After admitting that knowing stuff can, in fact, be helpful, she concluded the following: “But this is the suspicion that was nagging at me during our conversation, and has not left me: intellectual gifts, like most of what we bring to the altar, are not nearly as valuable as we think they are.” Read more »

A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Aligning

July 7, 2011 | 18 comments

What exactly is it that you are trying to practice when you practice prayer? In particular, what exactly is it that you are trying to practice when you practice prayer as an end in itself rather than as a means to some other end? I take two things as axiomatic with respect to the practice of prayer. Read more »

A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Deciding

July 6, 2011 | 16 comments

Prayer can be approached as a means or as an end. You’re tired of using God as a crutch to get wherever else you want to go and finally decide, throwing it all over, to just make God your explicit destination. Consecration it is. The kingdom of God or nothing. Read more »

A Primer on Mormon Prayer: Abiding

July 5, 2011 | 2 comments

You know the feeling: you’re hungry for God. Your soul, restless, can find no rest. Your pillow’s warm on both sides. Read more »

A Primer on Mormon Prayer

July 3, 2011 | 28 comments

A religious life is a life of prayer. Don’t skimp on this or, no matter how white your sepulcher, your insides will always just be full of dry bones.  Read more »

Some Articles of Faith

June 8, 2011 | 19 comments

Some (Wednesday morning) articles of faith: 1. The gospel is terrifyingly simple: Give up! Read more »

Faith, Philosophy, Scripture: Breathing

May 17, 2011 | 5 comments

One last post about Jim Faulconer’s Faith, Philosophy, Scripture (Maxwell Institute, 2010). The final chapter is entitled “Breathing” and is a meditation on Romans 8. Read more »

Faith, Philosophy, Scripture: Saying vs. Said

May 15, 2011 | 9 comments

There are persons and there are principles. The gospel is about the former rather than the latter. Granted, there are gospel principles – but the sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. Read more »

Faith, Philosophy, Scripture: Literally

May 13, 2011 | 18 comments

Ironically, the trouble with biblical literalism is that it doesn’t take the word “literal” literally. Read more »

Faith, Philosophy, Scripture: Reading Zion

May 10, 2011 | 9 comments

Zion is the world ajar. Zion is the world set on a double hinge. God gives a push, the door goes swinging, and the world opens wide. Read more »

Rivers of Living Water

April 26, 2011 | 8 comments

It’s Easter and I, like Mary, have a hard time seeing what’s right in front of me. Read more »

Be Ye Perfect

April 12, 2011 | 70 comments
Be Ye Perfect

The gospel instructs us in a certain way of being imperfect. Here, salvation turns on practicing what Elizabeth Bishop calls “the art of losing.” Jesus famously describes this art of losing in Matthew 5:48. “Be ye therefore perfect,” he says, “even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Here, the term “perfection” indexes that “certain way” that is peculiar to both Jesus and the Father. The baseline meaning of perfection, of teleios, is completion. But what kind of completion? My suggestion is that, rather than burying Jesus’ teleios beneath layers of curdled metaphysics and ripe fantasy, we... Read more »

Faith, Philosophy, Scripture: Apocalyptic Theology

March 29, 2011 | 19 comments

Imagine I’ve just been made supreme chancellor of a graduate program in Mormon theology. Thousands of students throng. We need a syllabus. What’s our first reading assignment? We’re going to start with Jim Faulconer’s dramatically subtitled essay “Rethinking Theology: The Shadow of the Apocalypse” from Faith, Philosophy, Scripture (Maxwell Institute, 2010). On my reading, Jim’s essay lays out a couple of basic principles for engaging in theology as quasi-academic meta-reflection on Mormonism: 1. Theology should be “apocalyptic.” Apocalypse does not so much refer to the end of the world . . . as it refers to the moment when... Read more »

Faith, Philosophy, Scripture: True Believer

March 15, 2011 | 9 comments
Faith, Philosophy, Scripture: True Believer

It’s unlikely that I believe the right things about God, Jesus, the gospel, or the Church. It’s even less likely that I could express my beliefs in a coherent and justifiable way. I used to think that, because my ideas were clever, I was at least closer to being right than most. This I took as a consolation. But cleverness isn’t much to live on. God, I think, has been working to pry this cleverness from my cold, dead hands. I have felt God more than once pushing me to echo Meister Eckhart’s deeply orthodox prayer: “I pray to God to... Read more »