Bo Sanders: Public Theology

updating & innovating for today



New Podcasts for Sept 2018

Randy and I are enjoying the Peacing It All Together podcast. We are slowly picking up listeners and seeing the kind of conversation that we were hoping for.

A couple episodes to highlight:

Episode 14 was about peace being more than the absence of war.

In Episode 15 Randy introduces the Native American tradition of peacemaking.

Episode 17, which came out yesterday, asks ‘where do you get your news?’ and I would love if you would let me know about good sources as we construct a ‘resources’ page.


The church podcast is back this week. We took the summer off to catch our breath and enjoy the amazing weather.

Check out my short sermons – like this one on handling conflict well.

We also have great conversations at the table – here is Sara talking about finding the sacred in the EVERY day.

The thing I am most excited about it the return of Sunday School! Last year we had 1 big topic each week. This year I am layer 4 topics each week to form a theme. I hope that you will tune in to these dynamic conversations (I use an interactive style).

Race Research

This winter has been a fruitful time of researching issues related to race for my dissertation. Academic approaches to race, and specifically ‘whiteness’, are central to my examination of  ethnic, gender, and racial diversity within church and denominational leadership.

I know that academic stuff is not for everyone – so here are 6 amazing articles that I have found that I would love to pass along:

This is the best 3 page article I found. It is The Christian Century and it could be useful to teachers or to Sunday School classes. 

This article explains the idea of  ‘structuration’ introduced by Giddens which refers to the observation that:

“actors are as much producers as they are also products of society’s structurations.”

This is one of the more unique approaches that I have encountered. It is hard hitting and is primarily concerned with the language related to the struggle to understand race. 

There are few articles that I have highlighted more than this one. 

Rieger is one of my favorite authors. His ‘No Rising Tide’ on the economy and ‘Christ & Empire’ are classics. He also writes on Globalization and does interesting collaborations.

This last one is a little different. It does require that you have access to a research library to download [email me at] if you can’t get it. 

It is also an update / challenge to the famous 2000 book “Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America

Race not only continues to be an issue of great importance to the church of N. America but some of us think that it is an increasingly critical issue for our lifetime.

 Please pass along any articles or links that you have found helpful! 

Coming Out of Hibernation

My 6-month hiatus is over. I last posted June 3rd as life took an interesting turn.

I left Los Angeles and pastoral ministry to pursue an incredible opportunity. My beloved seminary (George Fox Evangelical in Portland)  had an unexpected vacancy and was in need of a theology professor for the year. I volunteered and moved to Portland in August.

The move has been great. Being a professor is fantastic. I have been writing a book with my mentor Randy Woodley and working on my dissertation (more on all of this next week). It has been a wild and woolly faith-filled-risk!  My contract runs through July 2017 but I have no idea what next August holds for us. Prayers would be appreciated on that front …

Earlier this year I had decided to get off both FaceBook and Twitter to focus on some bigger projects. That turned out to be an excellent decision.  I will continue that practice until the dissertation is finished but I did want return to the blog. I have missed the interactions dearly.

This coming week I will post some quick thoughts to wade back into the conversation. Each post will also have a recommended resource that might serve as a great gift this holiday season.

Two links for today:

I recently wrote ‘Uncontrolling Church Leadership’ as a response to a new book called The Uncontrolling Love of God.   The book is definitely worth the read.

I attempt to argue that:

The reality of being human and ministering with humans to humans is that not everything is always a possibility! There are certain choices that are simply not on the menu of possibilities. We are dealing with a limited menu. This narrowing happens in two definite directions:

  1. Not every action is available to everyone in every circumstance. While we are actors with a certain degree of agency within our own circumstances, our past experiences limit the options that we see as ‘available’ on the menu of possibilities in any given scenario.
  2. Even those possibilities we are aware of become limited further when options that do not live up to the model of Christ are eliminated. We are not at liberty to use methods that counter the revealed nature and character of God in order to accomplish things in God’s name and to God’s glory.


I also wanted link you to something that I wrote for last year’s Advent that seems even more appropriate this December. It is called Advent Lament and you can find it here:

I look forward to your feedback, comments, and questions. I have the next week of posts planned but after that is open to suggestions. Let me know what you want to address. 

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