Breastfed by the Whore of Rome

Those familiar with Roman history, culture, and imperialistic propaganda recognize this iconic tableau.  Three simple objects: the Roman she-wolf (Lupa Romana), Romulus, and Remus.  This simple scene was part of the founding myth of the city of Rome, purportedly in the 8th century BC, and its ensuing empire that dominated the world in which the … Continue reading Breastfed by the Whore of Rome

Bono, the Bellwether of Cultural Theology

American talk show commentator and journalist Charlie Rose recently interviewed Bono (on Public Broadcasting Service, May 2013), lead composer and singer for the band U2 (22 Grammy Awards).  The lengthy interview and conversation touched on many topics and issues, with one segment focused on the religious impetus for Bono’s life and music.  In this context … Continue reading Bono, the Bellwether of Cultural Theology

The Enchantment of Assimilation

The history of Israel, documented by both the prophetic and narrative texts, leaves little doubt that assimilation to the surrounding idolatrous values and culture was an easy path for most of God’s people.  If Jesus’ own perceptions are to be trusted, and they are, then he also detected the almost inevitability of this when he … Continue reading The Enchantment of Assimilation

The B•I•B•L•E in Times of Trouble

The paradox of John’s use of Scripture has been pointed out by many, many scholars who write on the book of Revelation, namely that John’s prophetic work is replete with allusions to the Jewish Scriptures, but seemingly never quotes from them.  From chapter 1 through 22 there is virtually no block of verses that is … Continue reading The B•I•B•L•E in Times of Trouble

Tested in Smyrna

The church at Smyrna is the only congregation where John mentions imprisonment for believers.  To be sure, the imprisonment of believers is not only associated in the New Testament with saints who live in Roman Asia.  In Acts (5:21-23; 16:23; 23:18), Hebrews (10:34; 13:3), and the Pauline letters, the Apostles (2 Cor. 6:5; 11:23), Pauline … Continue reading Tested in Smyrna