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Leroy Huizenga is chair of the department of theology and director of the Christian Leadership Center at the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. His personal website is

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From Web Exclusives

Bad Bishops have been blasted throughout Christian history. St. John Chrysostom is supposed to have said, “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops” (though he never used the precise phrase). In the Middle Ages in Germany near Bingen am Rhein, a legend arose about Bishop Hatto. Having summoned the poor to buy bread from him at prohibitive prices, he instead locked them in a barn, informed them they would die like rats, and set the barn alight… . Continue Reading »

Identity and Ideology

From First Thoughts

So we’re in Convention Season this quadrennial election cycle; the GOP had theirs last week, and the Dems are having theirs now. The latter party has concocted a mythical GOP “War on Women,” a cynical ploy that shows significant signs of failure. After all, as Sandra Fluke is not . . . . Continue Reading »

The Bulverism of Same-Sex Marriage Supporters

From Web Exclusives

C.S. Lewis was often passionate but seldom sardonic. A man deeply steeped in the premodern classical and Christian traditions, however, the way moderns think”or fail to think”could raise his ire. And so he wrote a little essay titled “‘Bulverism’: Or, the Foundation of 20th Century Thought,” in which he invents a hapless character, Ezekiel Bulver … Continue Reading »

Opposing Gay Marriage Is Rational, Not Religious

From Web Exclusives

Many make the mistake of thinking that opposition to gay marriage is religious. A Facebook friend recently posted this quote: “Have you ever noticed the same people who claim that marriage is a religious institution only think that LGBT people shouldn’t get married? They never seem to object to Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, or atheists getting married.” … Continue Reading »

A River Runs Round Me

From Web Exclusives

In an attempt to become a better steward of my time, I bought a small notebook. I figured if I kept track of what I do day to day, hour to hour, I’d provide my professional and personal lives with some needed order. The entries are revealing. I spend an inordinate amount of time on the computer. I suppose I waste enough time on so-called social media, like Facebook or Twitter, but much of my time is work: translating, researching, writing, maintaining websites, managing communication. Point is, much of my life is spent staring at a screen… . Continue Reading »

How Do Churches Grow?

From Web Exclusives

The Episcopal Church is in the news again for the usual reasons. First, a few days ago it was reported that the Episcopal Church suffered a 23 percent decline in attendance from 2000 to 2010. Second, on Tuesday the Episcopal Church approved rites for blessing same-sex unions. Many commentators made what seems to be an obvious connection supposedly supported by sociology: liberalism in religion leads to the decline and death of denominations. “Conservative churches are growing,” we heard yet again… . Continue Reading »

Real Liturgical Renewal

From Web Exclusives

Raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it, teaches Proverbs. For me, this has been the case regarding worship. I was raised a Lutheran, in an older, established congregation belonging to what would become the ELCA, First Lutheran in Minot, ND. I imbibed the ambience of the Lutheran liturgy … Continue Reading »

The Evangelical Family

From Web Exclusives

Take a look at your family photos going back to your grandparents and great-grandparents, if you happen to have them. I have a nice one of my late father’s family when he was a little boy of three, circa 1939, taken on the family farm in North Dakota. A serious, hardscrabble Friesian family stares back at me: eight siblings; one father; no mother, as she had recently passed. Ten. I look at photos of my family of origin: Mom, dad, me, sister. Four… . Continue Reading »