My name is Jay Johnson and I’m an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, a Christian theologian, a teacher, and writer. Call me a theological geek or maybe just peculiar, but I truly believe that the Christian Gospel can transform individuals, communities, and the world.
More than peculiar, the Gospel is really quite odd, strange, unconventional, and even in some senses queer. To me, all of that describes well the transformative potential of the Christian gospel. Christianity should seem at least a bit strange in the modern world, look a little odd, and shape unconventional communities of faith, hope, and love who change the world. Or as an old biblical translation of 1 Peter 2:9 would have it, Christians are a “peculiar” people.
Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, once wrote that the whole story of Christian faith tell us but one thing: That God desires us. I find that amazingly transformative and good news. Williams went further and suggested that this good news ought to shape churches as places where people find themselves desired and occasions for joy. I truly believe that if Christian communities took that call seriously, we would change the world. I have devoted my vocation (and this blog) to nurturing precisely that kind of transforming energy.
For a bit more on why in the world (literally) Christian faith should be peculiar, you can read a bit more about that here. For many Christians, the first question is really about the Bible, which I think is a very odd, strange, and peculiar book indeed (and I mean that in a good way!). Read just a bit more about my take on the Bible here.
I’m endlessly fascinated by all things divine and I’m committed to nurturing the wonderfully peculiar potential of Christian faith to energize communities as witnesses to the Gospel today.This blog is devoted to what that might mean, my musings and speculations, and I hope, some sustained conversation about how we can manifest the divine promise of abundant life (John 10:10) economically, politically, socially, culturally, and religiously. To do all that with a good sense of humor is not only helpful but, in my view, necessary.
When I’m not blogging, I wear a number of other hats, including: as a member of the core doctoral faculty at the Graduate Theological Union; as an adjunct faculty member at Pacific School of Religion (PSR) and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and as Senior Director of Academic Research and Resources at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry at PSR — all in Berkeley, California.
I earned a B.A. degree in Biblical and Theological Studies from Wheaton College (Illinois) in 1983, an M.Div. from Nashotah House Episcopal Seminary (with honors) in 1988, and the Ph.D. in philosophical theology from the Graduate Theological Union in 1998. My first book, Dancing with God: Anglican Christianity and the Practice of Hope, was published by Morehouse/Continuum in 2005.
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