navigating between the everyday and theology

The Blog of Bo Sanders

10 Minutes on End Times

10 minutes on End Times!

Here are 4 things that you will want to reference:

1) Best book on Revelation: Chalice Commentary by Farmer it will become your favorite

2) Partial reasoning of the 1968-1973 change: Continue reading “10 Minutes on End Times”

10 Minutes on Religion

Religion is a tricky subject. Many assume that they know what it means while others have decided to reduce religion to fantasy in order to dismiss it.

The hope is to move from an either-or model of ‘true’ or ‘false’ to a “web of meaning”.

My theory is that at least 5 elements contribute the web of meaning. This moves us away from an either/or model of ‘antiquated myth’ or ‘divine revelation’.

5 elements are:

  • Experience
  • Formation
  • Event
  • Mystery
  • potentially something RealRoadPortraitSunsetD&B

This last one is always the most difficult. Those who are sure (fundamentalist, foundational) dislike the ‘potential’ qualifier. Those who dismiss religion are suspicious of the potential of something ‘real’.

Once we get rid of the false either/or choices we are free to think about what is going on in religion.

I look forward to your comments, questions and concerns.

10 Minutes on Holy Spirit

Faith Basics continues with 10 minutes on Holy Spirit – from Prophets to Pentecost!

10 min on Holy Spirit from Bo Sanders on Vimeo.

Our 6 topics are: Pentecpstspiritumsanctam

  • Words
  • Bible
  • Shape
  • Scope
  • Fruit
  • Gifts

Let me know any questions, concerns or comments you have and we will tackle them.

Quick Bib on Theological Education

My friend Brekke was looking for a cross-cultural bibliography on religious education.  Here is my quick list.  I would love to hear your additions – since my most recent book is 2005!old-books-300x203


Breckenridge, James F., and Lillian Breckenridge. What Color Is Your God?: Multicultural Education in the Church. Victor Books, 1995.

Engen, John H. Van. Educating People of Faith: Exploring the History of Jewish and Christian Communities. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2004.

Foster, Charles R., and Lisa Dahill. Educating Clergy: Teaching Practices and the Pastoral Imagination. Jossey-Bass, 2005.

Miller, Randolph Crump. Theologies of Religious Education. Monograph Collection (Matt – Pseudo), 1995.

Wheeler, Barbara G., and Edward Farley. Shifting Boundaries: Contextual Approaches to the Structure of Theological Education. Westminster John Knox Press, 1991.

10 Minutes on Jesus

Jesus was unique in human history. Here are 4 splits that help us frame that conversation:Jesus icon

  • Christ/Jesus
  • Divine/Human
  • Eternal/Time
  • Type/Degree

The video below is my 10 minute take on Christology.

I am in the final week of my study break – so let me know your thoughts, concerns or questions and we can tackle them next week!

10 Min on Jesus from Bo Sanders on Vimeo.

Jesus was unique in human history. Here are 4 splits that help frame our understanding: Christ/ Jesus, Divine/ Human, Eternal/ Time, Type/ Degree

10 Minutes on God

The Bible post from last week was a hit – so here is a 10 minute summary of our ‘Faith Basic’ class on God.

10 Min on God from Bo Sanders on Vimeo.

My 5 categories – in descending order of intensity:

  1. Supernatural Agent
  2. Cosmic/Eternal Being
  3. Ground of Being
  4. The Go(o)d
  5. Hopes & Dreams – Event

If you want to read more on Perichoresis check out last Summer’s post from the ABC’s of TheologyP-Perichoresis

Later  I’ll post some good ‘God Books’ and then I will be back next week with 10 minutes on Jesus.

10 Minutes on the Bible

I am deep in study these days as I prepare for my exams this September. I have also taken a break from blogging since I left HBC at the end of May.

I’m going to experiment in July with making some short videos for discussion. Below is a 10 min video I made for a class I am teaching at church. We are doing a 6 week study on ‘faith basics’ and some folks missed week 2 on the Bible but heard it was interesting and asked me for a recap.

My basic concept here is that a 4-fold approach to the Bible would be really helpful in the 21st century. The 4 elements are:

  1. The Event
  2. Background Material – cultural/textual
  3. (re) Prestentation
  4. Interpretation/Application

I’m talking quickly because I needed to erase the whiteboard in prep for week 3 (about God) that was about to start.

I would love to hear your thoughts, questions, and concerns.

Bible Stuff 10 Min from Bo Sanders on Vimeo.  Here is a link

Liberal & Conservative Christians Must Be Born Again

I was in the pulpit this last Sunday at Westwood UMC and I chose to preach on John 3. It was the first time I have ever engaged that text outside of an evangelical environment.

You can take a listen here [link]. It works to stream it, download it, or get it on Itunes.

I began by addressing an awkward pairing:
– On the one hand, the phrase ‘born again’ has fallen into disrepute and disuse among many believers.
– On the other hand, Jesus is pretty clear that we ‘must be born again’.

Two other aspects that I attempt to overcome with this approach are:

A) We too often read both John 3:3 and 3:16 through a lens of individualism.
B) We have been taught to think of ‘eternal life’ as life after you die.

In order to correct these severely limited and limiting readings, I look at 5 key words/concepts.

  • Kingdom
  • Flesh
  • Eternal Life
  • Salvation
  • Repent

I hope you will listen to the sermon. For those of you who are not initiated into this (in)novative approach … here is a quick overview.

Jesus never talked about the “Kingdom” of God [I’ve written on this before]. That is an English translation and as such is up for debate. I think that there are at least 4 better translations for ‘Basileia tou Theou’ (Strong’s #932).

  1. Kin-dom of God. We are in the family, Abba adoption, etc.
  2. Reign/Rule of God. Still governmental but with the Caesar baggage.
  3. Commonwealth of God. Also governmental imagery but not so top-down and coercive.
  4. The way things should be/the best that they can be. At minimum, this is what we are after.

You will hear all of these explained in the sermon. I do the same for ‘flesh’ (Sarx in Greek), Eternal Life (life of the ages/God’s best life), and salvation/repent.

In the end, what you end up with is this invitation:

We will not see the Basileia that we long for and expect
Until we turn from the way we have been doing things (repent)
Realizing that God loves the world and gave us live through his son
So that we are now children of God
As we participate in God’s plan (the way things should be/the best they can be)
We live the life of the ages and welcome in the reign of God for the common-wealth

This gives us a confidence that things can be different from the way they are now and don’t have to be this way!

If you do take the time to listen to sermon (and I hope you will), I would love to hear your thoughts-concerns-question.

I am glad that I attempted an engagement with John 3 in a different way than I ever had before. It was also significant (as you will hear) that events of South Carolina this week were heavy on everyone’s hearts.

Headed To Seminary This Fall?

I’ve been having some good Twitter exchanges with people in transitions. One of them is with a person headed to seminary this Fall. Here is a quick list of resources I would suggest as you get ready:

1a) The Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms. Tiny little book. Do 1 letter per day. 26 days you are set!

1b) The Global Dictionary of Theology. Massive work (996 pages) Read it and you will be unstoppable.

2) Shalom and the Community of Creation by Randy Woodley. American contextual theology connecting Jewish Biblical notions.

3) She Who Is by Elizabeth Johnson. The nature and importance of religious language and God-talk.

4) To Each Its Own Meaning: Biblical Criticisms and Their Application by McKenzie and Hays. Genre is everything.

5) Postcolonial Criticism and Biblical Interpretation by R. S. Sugirtharajah. You will never see the Bible the same. Available on audible as well.

6) Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism by Nancy Murphy. The #1 book I wish I had read before seminary.

7) Post-Christendom by Stuart Murray. Gotta know your context. Mind-blowing analysis.

8) Modern Christian Thought: Twentieth Century edited by Livingston and Fiorenza. Epic tome (554 pages) covers everything you will need to get started. SO good!

9) Theology at the End of Modernity edited by Sheila Greeve Davaney. 15 authors who light up the subject! Powerful.

That is my Top 10 list. I love this stuff so much and am grateful to have been asked this question.

I would love to hear your thoughts or additions!


On last week’s TNT podcast I got to present my 3-fold take on the life of the church (minute 55).

Let me try to articulate my perspective as quickly and clearly as possible so that there are no misunderstandings – even if you disagree with me.

My 3-fold thought is pretty straight forward.

The gospel and thus the church are:
A) Incarnational
B) Resurrectional
C) Pentecostal

Incarnation means embodied and enacted. It is not abstract ideas, universal concepts or timeless truths … it is local, particular and timely.

Resurrection means the church is a new-life people with perpetual hope. Death is not the last word and we serve a God who vindicates the victim and unmasks the powers that be.

Pentecost means that God’s Spirit is at work in the world (ahead of us) in-filling us with power for a transformed life resulting in sanctification-holiness (within us) and opening us to the possibilities and opportunities for ministry (all around us).empty tomb

So let’s zoom in on the Resurrectional aspect more specifically.

An argument that I hear over and over is that the resurrection must have been real because
A) the disciples lives were transformed by what they experienced
B) they were so convinced that they were willing to risk –and ultimately give – their lives for it.

I don’t disagree with either one of those lines of reasoning.

My contention comes from Saul’s experience on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). Continue reading “Resurrection-al”

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