James R. Rogers is department head and associate professor of political science at Texas A&M University. He leads the “New Man” prison ministry at the Hamilton Unit in Bryan, Texas, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

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What Jesus Prayed for in the Garden

From Web Exclusives

“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will,” prays Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. Many sermons and commentaries take Jesus’ prayer to be a prayer to the Father to avoid the cross, “if it is possible.” This displays his true humanity… . Continue Reading »

Thank You, Pastor

From Web Exclusives

Pastors have hard lives. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul referred to being “poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service” of the church. Paul uses the image again in writing to Timothy of his death. Being poured out for the church at Philippi meant Paul’s life being emptied out for the church at Philippi; it meant dying for that church… . Continue Reading »

“Warm Bodies” (Spoiler Alert)

From First Thoughts

Warm Bodies is not a great film, but it is a fun film. It has a cute turn on the traditional zombie movie. In this case, a human, as it were, infects the zombies and they start to turn human again. The film includes a few theologically suggestive features. To wit, the main zombie character, R, . . . . Continue Reading »

Is the Constitution Conservative?

From Web Exclusives

A century ago progressive politicians openly expressed antipathy for the U.S. Constitution. Bicameralism, judicial review, and politics stood in the way of nonpartisan, scientific administration. Sure, the progressive argument went, bad laws might be deterred by the need for agreement among separated institutions, but just as many good laws might be deterred as well… . Continue Reading »

False Neutrality

From the January 2013 Print Edition

It’s Even Worse than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism by Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein Basic Books, 226 pages, $26 Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein just don’t seem to understand—or they just choose to ignore—that lots of . . . . Continue Reading »

Lo How A (Yellow) Rose E’er Blooming

From Web Exclusives

Along with many mainline denominations, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has seen a gradual, but persistent, decline in membership in recent decades. One exception to this trend in the LCMS has been the Texas District, where membership has remained more or less steady over the last decade. I recently sat down with Rev. Ken Hennings, president of the Texas District of the LCMS to discuss what accounts for its different experience… . Continue Reading »

Doing the Math on Religious Affiliation

From Web Exclusives

In the forthcoming issue of the journal Sociology of Religion, sociologist Philip Schwadel reports that between 1974 and 2010, the “probability of reporting a strong religious affiliation declined considerably among Catholics” in the U.S. and “increased among evangelical Protestants.” The thing is, this is not necessarily quite the bad news it might sound to be for Catholics, and not quite the good news it might sound to be for Evangelicals… . Continue Reading »

Paul and the Swiss-Cheese Theory of Natural Law

From Web Exclusives

Natural lawyers commonly cite a passage from the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans to show the existence of natural law to Christians. While I accept some version of natural law, natural lawyers often seem to want to derive much more from the text than it supports. The commonly quoted passage from the book of Romans is this … Continue Reading »

Musing on Voting, Polling, and Elections

From Web Exclusives

I’m a political scientist, but I don’t study elections. At least not real elections. So I disappoint folks”particularly reporters”who think that, as a political scientist, I should have a keen interest in, and insights into, presidential races. But just because I’m more interested in the votes that took place at the constitutional convention in 1787 than I am in the most recent poll doesn’t mean that I’m entirely oblivious to the presidential election. So let me serve up a few thoughts prompted by the election… . Continue Reading »