Holy Families

On a recent Sunday, when I visited Holy Family Lutheran Church in Cabrini Green on Chicago’s north side, I was struck by the simple, iconic power of the altarpiece, a metal sculpture with an Afro-motif illustrating the church’s namesake, the holy family of Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus. The concept of family rides high […]

A Plague of Dichotomies

Pope Francis’ recent visit to the US unleashed for this non-Roman Catholic a plague of unsatisfying social mediated debates. Francis is arguably the most interesting and controversial Pope in recent times. Some folks see him as electrifying, while others would call him factious. One label used quite often characterizes the Pope as a “critic of […]

Bernie Sanders and the Bible

Bernie Sanders speech last summer at Liberty University packed quite a wallop, at least for a couple of news cycles. According to a narrative popular on the progressive side of the spectrum, Senator Sanders voluntarily entered the lions den of the Christian right, at one its most redoubtable strongholds, and, speaking with civility and unrelenting […]

Another Milestone

My heart is full. My mind overflows with observations, revelations, and connections. Yet my flesh and bones are tired, and my knees hurt when I go up and down the stairs. I, Paul Tyler, just passed my 65th birthday. I am still working, in fact I am teaching more classes this semester than ever before. […]

Sola Scriptura?

Martin Luther was surely one of the first to discover the power of the 30-second sound bite. And now, nearly five centuries after his protest began, the Protestant Reformation can still be summed up by the enduring slogans of sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura: only grace, faith alone, only scripture. Yet, though I’m a […]

An Anthropology of the Ten Commandments: If Yahweh were a hip college professor

Assigned reading for today: Exodus 20:2-17. Luther’s Small Catechism, pp. 5-8. 1. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. I’ve done the science. There are no other Gods. I am the only one. I made the cosmos, created the great chain of being, set off the Big Bang, or whatever your next theory leads […]

Belief and Faith

In modern day America, we often equate religion with belief. Charting a profile of beliefs is the most common way to account for the variance between the major historical religions, or to represent denominational differences in Christianity. This is what Hindus believe. This is what Christians, or more particularly, Episcopalians believe. Missouri Synod Lutherans believe […]

Being in the World

Sometime during the winter of 1972 I remarked to a teenage girl, “To say that something is only in your mind does not at all belittle that thing.”  That thing we were talking about was God and the possibility of human faith.  That statement may have been one of the most profound or enlightening things […]