Category Archives: media

#ICYMI: NT Wright Ascends to Heaven From Bible Conference in Houston!

Witnesses say that just before he was seen to fly skyward without a rocket pack, he spread out his arms, and then up he went, shouting ‘buy my giant book which is very much like all my other less giant books or the wrath of God will descend onto your unrighteous heads… sinners…’


Witness stories diverge at this point but many swear that as he disappeared out of sight through a giant hole in the ceiling created by the hurling of his new book through it that he was received either by Chuck Norris or Ryan Seacrest.

He promised to return.  Oh that we will all still be alive when he does…  Meanwhile, many will come in his name, proclaiming his gospel and urging souls to follow Tom’s teachings (also known as TT).  If you want to get to heaven, and spend eternity with Tom, you have to embrace TT.

The New Equinox App

This is pretty cool-

Dear Religious Studies Authors and Editors
Exciting news!

Ebooks are now available to order from the Equinox website ( and this week we have just launched our new Equinox app which you can download from your app store.

Take advantage of all kinds of discounts and free downloads, including:

* previews of forthcoming books
* our best discounts on print books, eBooks and journal subscriptions
* Read for free ‘eBooks’ of the week 
* free ‘virtual’ thematic issues drawing on content from across our publications
* special offers for conference participants
* conference schedules including abstracts for selected events 

Content is updated daily. Don’t miss out!

Valerie Hall

By the way- if you go to the app store to find the Equinox app, be sure to search for ‘Equinox publishing’ or you won’t find it.

If You’re in The Knoxville Area… A Film About the Reformation and a Panel Discussion

“Big news! St Paul Lutheran Church in Wartburg, TN will host a movie PREMIERE on March 4. Join us at 6:15pm for reception and open house and the screening to follow at 7pm. This much anticipated film has not yet been released so come here to get the first look!”

There will also be a discussion of the movie afterwards the panel of which will include yours truly and David Graves. All are invited.


Don’t worry, all partisan Lutheran errors will be pointed out.


‘The Shack’

Public notice: ‘The Shack’ is not Christian theology.  It’s imaginary Hollywoodism.  If you get your theology from Hollywood, well you’re nuts.

Luther and the Reformation

Rick Steves narrates.  I haven’t watched it yet so I can’t vouch for it.  If it’s wrong, you’ll know it.  He narrates travel shows so there’s no guarantee he knows anything about Luther or the Reformation.


There are monsters in the world.  Monsters who think books are coasters.  Wicked monsters.  #PrayForChristophsBook.  Pray it be delivered from the monster who thinks it’s a coaster.


This is How Stupid the Huffington Post Is


If you get your religion news from the HuffPo, you’re as bad, if not worse, than the people who get their political news exclusively from Fox News.

‘Secrets’ of Noah’s Ark…

The program isn’t on Discovery, it’s on PBS!

In 1948, a British pilot serving in Iraq acquired a clay tablet with an intriguing, 3,700 year-old inscription. The ancient writing tells the story of how the god Enki warns a Sumerian king named Atra-Hasis of a future flood that will destroy mankind; Enki gives him instructions for building a boat to save his family and livestock. If that sounds like a familiar tale, it’s because this was one of several ancient flood traditions that, centuries later, would inspire the biblical story of Noah. But the tablet’s inscription describes a boat very different from the traditional image of the Ark—it’s said to be circular and made of reeds. Is this nothing more than a fanciful myth? Or could such a reed boat have carried Atra-Hasis’ family of more than one hundred and his many animals? Join NOVA as a team of historians and expert boat builders investigates this fascinating flood legend and sets out to rebuild a tantalizing, ancient forerunner of the Ark.  Watch the Program – Watch the entire program streaming online for a limited time (four weeks) starting December 21.

Does Google Empower Racists?

On the twitter-

Christopher Ingraham – @_cingraham – Everyone likes to make fun of @bing, but compare their results to @Google’s on this. Microsoft deserves a lot of credit for this.

And then take a look at the Google search phrase and first result-


And now Bing’s result


Which result tends to racism?  Google’s.  Ingraham is right- Microsoft deserves more credit than it often gets.  Maybe it’s time to change search engines.

Time’s Orange Con Man of the Year…


Storm- With English Subtitles

News Sites That Are Either False, Misleading and Partisan, Or ClickBait

This is an excellent resource.  Be sure to check the list before you cite the source.

Below is a list of fake, false, regularly misleading, and/or otherwise questionable “news” organizations, as well as organizations that regularly use clickbait-y headlines and descriptions, that are commonly shared on facebook and other social media sites. Many of these websites rely on “outrage” by using distorted headlines and decontextualized or dubious information in order to generate likes, shares, and profits.

Other sources on this list are purposefully fake with the intent of satire/comedy, which can offer important critical commentary on politics and society, but they are regularly shared as actual/literal news. I’m including them here, for now, because 1.) they have the potential to perpetuate misinformation based on different audience (mis)interpretations and 2.) to make sure anyone who reads a story by The Onion, for example, understands its purpose. If you think this is unnecessary, please see Literally Unbelievable.

The Media is Responsible for the Rise of Trumpism and the Spread of Misinformation

Donald Trump is a regular pathological liar.  It seems he is truly incapable of speaking the truth.  And yet the media, aiding him by providing him with millions of dollars of free publicity, have stood by and refused to fact check.

They’ve also failed to fact check Hillary to the extent that the American public deserves.

As a consequence, this campaign season has been a season of misinformation and ultimately insanity.  Lies and more lies are spewed and the media simply reports them without looking into their facticity.  Fox allows Trump to go unchecked and MSNBC does the same for Clinton.   All media outlets are guilty of this dreadful behavior with the notable exception of NPR.

The media used to be known as the Fourth Estate.  Google it.  Now that’s no longer the case.  Fox works for Trump and MSNBC works for Clinton and the rest of the networks are on a sliding scale between the two.  And it’s disgraceful.

The media have failed the public.  Miserably.  And they will be held accountable for it.  The media is responsible for the rise of Trumpism and the spread of misinformation from both campaigns about both candidates and all the rest right on down the electoral chain.

People on the far right often say that the media can’t be trusted, and they’re right.  Not for the reasons they think, though, but because the media have failed to hold elected officials of every political stripe accountable to the one thing they all avoid assiduously: the TRUTH.

I don’t believe a single post, blog entry, tweet, facebook post, or news ‘report’ when they concern any politician.  You’d have to be an idiot to do so.

Der Luther-Code — Sprung in die Freiheit


Neue Weltsichten und nicht eine Erneuerung des Glaubens haben Martin Luther und die reformatorische Bewegung vor 500 Jahren angestoßen. Die Dokureihe fragt: Wie ist der moderne Mensch entstanden? Und ist er vorbereitet, die Zukunft zu meistern? Junge Genforscher, Astrophysiker, Aktivisten, Blogger und Unternehmer geben Antworten. In dieser Folge: Sprung in die Freiheit

Mit 95 Thesen hat Martin Luther vor 500 Jahren eine Erneuerung des Glaubens und eine Revolution des Wissens ausgelöst und das Tor zur Zukunft weit aufgestoßen. Unser heutiges Bild der Welt gründet ganz wesentlich auf den Folgen der Reformation und den Errungenschaften der Renaissance im 16. Jahrhundert. Die Moderne ist entstanden, weil der Mensch sich damals plötzlich gefragt hat: „Wer bin ich eigentlich – und was ist meine Rolle in der Welt? Was kann ich tun – und an was soll ich glauben?” Heute stehen wir erneut inmitten einer Zeitenwende von epochalem Ausmaß: Die Globalisierung und die digitale Revolution arbeiten sich in kaum vorstellbarer Geschwindigkeit an fast allem bis dahin Gültigen ab – und wieder scheint nichts mehr so zu sein, wie es war.

Die aufregende Entdeckungsreise des „Luther-Codes” beginnt im 15. Jahrhundert: Der Mensch steht noch ganz unter dem Einfluss von Kirche und Gott. Doch die Reformation und die Errungenschaften der Renaissance eröffnen neue Horizonte – es kommt zum Urknall des freien Denkens.

Etc. Which do see. And here’s a longer trailer (in English)-

Idolatrous Blasphemy

Trump is no ‘god’ and he can’t save you or himself or so much as a tick, you idolatrous blasphemous fools.


A New App for the iPhone- 1517 – Martin Luther and the Ninty-five theses

untitledIn the game you can help Martin Luther nailing his ninty-five theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. Each thesis is a level – but you have to be fast, because it’s getting harder each level. Some nails are helpful, some are not. Try to gather as much points as possible by hitting the most valuable nails!

In ninty-five levels you can discover the ninty-five thesis of Martin Luther, that changed the world in October 1517. They were the beginning of the reformation. They advance Luther’s positions against what he saw as abusive practices by preachers selling plenary indulgences, which were certificates which would reduce the temporal punishment for sins committed by the purchaser or their loved ones in purgatory.
By finishing a level you can read the next thesis. It starts with easy nails, but soon it gets harder and new nails are added: nails, that need more hits, nails with higher points, moving nails, that are harder to hit, nails that create fog or rain, and many more. How far will you make it?

If you are registered in game center, your score will be listed, so that you can compete with other players.

Glory.  Now where’s the Zwingli game????

“Media Dynamics and Academic Knowledge Production: Tracing the Role of the Media in the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife Saga”

That’s the title of Liv’s paper delivered last week in Norway at the conference on forgeries and fraudsters.  You can read it on her page.

As the title indicates, this paper will be dealing with the role of the Media in the cluster of academic debates and interactions that followed the announcement of the so-called Gospel of Jesus’s Wife. I will discuss the various relationships between Academia and the Media, and I am particularly interested in the potential influences of the Media on academic practices.

Read it!

Enter to Win a Copy of “This Changed Everything”

This fantastic video produced by the Christian History Institute can be yours if you’re the lucky winner.  To win, you simply need to enter by

  1. ThisChangedEverything_Rev.inddSharing this post on your twitter feed, Facebook page, or blog (and you have to let me know you have done so). The more places you share it, the better your chances of winning.
  2. Writing, in comments below, a paragraph expressing your appreciation for either Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Peter Martyr Vermigli, Philipp Melanchthon, Johannes Oecolampadius, or Theodore Beza.

That’s it.  The best essay in combination with the most shares will decide the winner.  Contest ends on 30 September.  Tell your friends.  Let the games begin!

About the film-

2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. On October 31, 1517, an obscure German monk named Martin Luther published 95 theses for debate in Wittenberg, Germany. Little did he know that this act would ignite a revolution that would reshape the Christian church and change Western civilization forever.

In anticipation of this important anniversary, Christian History Institute is producing a groundbreaking three-hour documentary series called This Changed Everything. Narrated by the renowned British actor David Suchet, the program tells the dynamic story of the people, places, and events that shaped the Reformation. It features expert commentary from Dr. Michael Horton, Dr. Frank James, Shane ClaiborneBishop Robert Barron, and over twenty other scholars and clergy who bring new insight into how the church came to be where it is today and where it may go in the future.

This Changed Everything celebrates the fruits of the Reformation while grappling with difficult questions about the legacy of division. Clearly, the medieval church was in dire need of reform, but could complete schism have been avoided? Why does the Protestant movement continue to splinter into ever increasing factions? How should we think about our divisions in light of Jesus’ passionate prayer that his followers be “one”?

The Companion Guide to “This Changed Everything”

This Changed Everything: 500 Years of the Reformation is a three-part documentary series produced by Christian History Institute in association with Global Story2 Films, Lathika International Film and Entertainment, and Midgett Productions. The series covers the history of the Reformation and its aftermath and offers critical analysis about its relation to important issues facing the church today. Over twenty historians, theologians, and clergy contribute their expert commentary to this project. This companion guide is designed to accompany the video series, allowing the viewer to dig deeper into the history of the Reformation and explore its contemporary implications.

This guide is flexibly designed for both individual study and small group discussion. The Digging Deeper section contains a one-page article reviewing the material from each act and providing hyperlinks to further reading from the extensive archives of Christian History magazine. TheDiscussion section consists of 7–10 questions for each act to facilitate conversation in a small group or classroom setting. The range of suggested questions is broad so leaders can choose questions that will work best for their group. This guide is designed for a 14-part curriculum, but it can easily be adapted by combining shorter segments.

Take a look.  I’ve reviewed it here.

The Month of the Bee! This Month’s Carnival!

bb-header-logo4Every month we’ve a theme here and this month is no different at all.  What is different is that the theme is a single source of biblical and theological information.  That source?  The Babylon Bee.  The Bee stings the craziness that tries to pass itself off as sensible Christian thought and it does it so very well that in terms of its ability to mock, it excels.  It surpasses the Eye of the Tiber and the Onion, in fact.  Indeed, it is not even too much to claim that the Bee does a better job at theology than most theologians.

So, for your pleasure and entertainment- here’s the best of the Babylon Bee from the month of July.  Each entry is a teaser and you’re encouraged to read the entire piece:


July commenced with a right good stinging of the several crazies who think that America is in the Bible!    GRAND PRAIRIE, TX—“Truly inspired and deeply moved” by his church’s patriotic 4th of July service, and particularly his pastor’s message, titled “The Shining City Upon A Hill,” local man Jim Radcliffe announced Monday his intention to launch into a comprehensive study of every mention of the United States of America in the entire Bible.


One of the things that’s been happening lately is the boasting of ‘Evangelical’ ‘leaders’ about their relationship with Donald Trump.  Jerry Falwell Jr is a premier example of this sort of thing but James Dobson broke into the top rungs of craziness when he claimed that Paula White led Trump to Christ.   took notice, writing – NEW YORK, NY—Has the elder god Cthulhu become a born-again Christian? That’s what one of America’s most popular evangelicals, Dr. James Dobson, claimed recently during an “Evangelicals For Cthulhu” event in New York City.


Along with all the other sorts of nuttbaggery there are also pretend bible scholars who like to find ‘codes’ in the text.  Here, the Bee shows the ignorance of that sort –  GALVESTON, TX—After studying the Scriptures through the lens of numerology for over three decades, Bible teacher and self-proclaimed prophet Jebidiah Benson has announced a stunning find. An ancient Bible code hidden in the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts appears to record a rudimentary recipe for making chicken casseroles.


Scholars sometimes don’t do a very good job of communicating with the average Joe.  Sadly, filling the gap has fallen to the heretics and lunatics and those lot have written a ton of rubbish.  One Church had the good idea, though, of having a heretical book buyback…  SAN ANTONIO, TX—“No questions asked,” the sign reads above the booth proudly set up inside Alamo Heights Bible Church’s foyer. The booth is the heart and soul of the church’s new heretical book buyback program, which pays gift cards, cash, or church bookstore credit in exchange for undesirable books of questionable or downright heretical content.


Pseudo-scholarly premillennialist rubbish was savaged by the Bee:  ALEXANDRIA, VA—A spokesperson for the Salvation Army Family Store confirmed Wednesday that the popular line of thrift shops will no longer be accepting donations in the rapture fiction genre. “We have enough Left Behind books to pave the parking lot,” the representative stated in a press release. “Our store managers have been instructed to turn away any donations of fictional works set in or around the time of Christ’s return, on sight. We simply cannot afford the liabilities involved with the upkeep and storage of teetering towers of books describing the fiery wrath of God on the earth from the perspective of one-dimensional characters. And don’t get me started on the film adaptations.”

It’s truly sad that ‘Left Behind’ is read more widely than the Bible.  But that says more about the readers than the Bible.


It’s a truism that many pastors are more interested in exalting themselves than exegeting the biblical text.  So kudos to the Bee for stinging that sort of misappropriation of the bible.  LEXINGTON, KY—By dramatically re-telling a story about his involvement in helping a woman after she was in a car accident, Pastor Chuck Vickery of New Hope Christian Church was amazingly able to make himself the hero of a sermon on election he delivered Sunday morning, sources confirmed.


Molech is alive and well and should really be on the Supreme Court…   WASHINGTON, D.C.—Growing anxious that the Senate would not approve previous nominee Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would be pushing through newly selected nominee Molech of Canaan to be the nation’s 113th Supreme Court justice.   Extra points to the Bee for their shout out to Molech.


The terribleness of self centered theological perceptions is lambasted by the Bee in this spectacular pounding–  I say God is an illusion. You insist he is real. Well OK then, Christian—I’ve got a challenge for you. A very simple request. Show me some evidence. Just show me some evidence. That’s all I ask. Show me some clear, undeniable evidence that God’s opinions about everything are identical to mine. Do that and I will gladly believe in your God and commit my life to him. If you can’t prove to me that literally none of God’s thoughts, words, or actions from eternity past until now would bother me, agitate me, or make me uncomfortable in any way, then why are we still talking? What’s the point?   That pretty much exemplifies agnostic/ atheist thought.


The Bee is at its best when it recognizes the modern political implications of biblical imagery– as it does in this mid month piece on the Republican National Convention:  CLEVELAND, OH—In what is being called an apparent sign of the apocalypse, Lake Erie turned to blood as day one of the Republican National Convention kicked off Monday, multiple sources confirmed.


One of the most popular (among the far right) is a movement called ‘complementarianism’.  What is it?  It’s the notion that a woman’s place is in the home raising a quiver full of children and schooling them at home so they aren’t corrupted by the society they inhabit.  And the Bee stings it quite nicely here:  JOPLIN, MO—A local complementarian man, who firmly believes and often espouses that it’s his job to protect his family and love them like Christ loves the church, made an exception to his role of leadership Wednesday morning as a “big scary spider” was spotted under his bathroom sink, sources confirmed. The man, identified as 44-year-old Ivan Rogers, immediately abandoned his deep-seated beliefs and asked his wife, Judy, to take care of the horrifying creature while he hid in the other room.


One of the most bizarre aspects of ‘theology’ these days is its appearance on Facebook.  So kudos to the Bee for mocking what so richly deserves it:  ATLANTA, GA—What is not known is how Shayna Hinton, 35, knows the sweet little girl in the photo she shared on Facebook Monday. What is known is that the young girl in the picture has a “rare” and “deadly” disease that God will heal as long as Hinton’s Facebook post telling the world about her reaches one million likes.


Pretty much the worst place you can go to find substantive theological books is the local ‘Christian Book Store’.  So the Bee stings such establishments by suggesting they open a new section called ‘the false teaching’ section.  GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Responding to customer complaints alleging that works from well-known false teachers were mixed in with biblically sound material in the company’s bookstores, Family Christian Stores announced Tuesday morning that all books by apostates will be immediately removed from their shelves and separated into their own easy-to-find section.   It turns out that most of the store has been moved to that new grouping.



Once again, it’s important to note (and perhaps it will goad actual theologians into action) that the Bee does a better job than most academics in pointing out the ludicrousness of popularized Christianity.  Theologians and biblical scholars should be doing it.