mango street cafe

a theological coffeehouse of sorts

where books, music, faith and life are all on the table...

last updated 6-18-06 

at the bookshelf

Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics  ~ Samuel Wells

The Creed: What Christians Believe and Why It Matters ~ Luke Timothy Johnson

On the Road With the Archangel ~ Frederick Buechner

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man ~ John Perkins

River Teeth: Stories & Writings ~ David James Duncan

Godric ~ Frederick Buechner

Far Appalachia: Following the New River North ~ Noah Adams 

Sexuality and the Christian Body: Their Way into the Triune God ~ Eugene Rogers


at the table 

10 steps to a successsful church?

How do churches define "success"?  This question often remains unspoken, but it clearly drives what churches do and who they seek to be.  Unfortunately, as I briefly argue here, churches have always faced the temptation to borrow their own definition of success from their surrounding culture.  Today, theological crisis looms as churches eagerly sell their souls to the business world and its consumerist marketing impulses.

progressive christianity: too paradoxical to survive?

Why is it that "progressive" values and "traditional" Christianity are so rarely combined in any kind of meaningful way?  Why is Christianity (or the Church) so often perceived as reducible to societal conservatism?  And is the "Religious Left" too ideologically married to the full slate of the progressive agenda to be of any sustaining theological value?  what do you think?  are these the right questions to be asking, or is there some other direction we need to consider?  send me an email, i'll have a full post up within the week...

why mango street?

"I knew then I had to have a house.  A real house.  One I could point to.  But this isn't it.  The house on Mango Street isn't it.  For the time being, Mama says.  Temporary, says Papa.  But I know how those things go." 

~ Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street

Part of claiming the Christian faith as one's own is to recognize that we are all living on Mango Street.  We are a transient people, still waiting for our real house.  Some might say we are resident aliens, displaced persons, refugees.  That is not to say that our present house doesn't matter.  In Cisneros' poetic novella, all the important stuff happens at the house on Mango Street, and a "real house" remains an unfulfilled dream for the main character, Esperanza (whose name means "hope").  

The two most confounding prepositions in Scripture might be found in Paul's admonishment to live in the world but not of it.  Whatever he meant exactly by this, we're still trying to figure it out.  At least I am.  What are the contours of this body of Christ that we are supposed to be?  What does it mean to be resident alien in our short time here on this tiny planet of ours?  

I simply don't know.  But I hope that this simple webpage - a few links, a few rambling thoughts and some good music to go along with it - I hope you might find this of some help.  Thanks for stopping by.

wild at heart ? 

Are we in a crisis of masculinity/manhood in the church?  Well, we might be, but there are serious flaws in the current evangelical voices clamoring for men to reclaim their power in church and home.  One of the loudest voices right now is John Eldredge, whose books Wild at Heart and Captivating are being read by millions.  Here's my engagement with Wild at Heart from a theological perspective. 

 the language of hope

Language is powerful, and our language for God matters - it affects how we think about God and imagine God at work in the world.  Here's my own reflection, in the form of an imaginary sermon, on what it might mean to rethink our exclusively masculine language for God...

at the cd player

David Gray ~ Life in Slow Motion

Nickel Creek ~ Why Should the Fire Die?

Bela Fleck & Edgar Meyer ~ Music For Two 

Alexi Murdoch ~ Four Songs 

Ben Harper ~ Welcome to the Cruel World 

Jose Gonzalez ~ Veneer 

Hem ~ No Word From Tom  

Over the Rhine ~ Drunkard's Prayer