Allan Bevere

Author's details

Name: Allan Bevere
Date registered: March 3, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Allan R. Bevere: Forty Days of Lent? What About the Fifty Days of Easter? — April 24, 2014
  2. Allan R. Bevere: Atheism’s Crisis of Faith: Staring Into the Abyss of All Meaning — April 23, 2014
  3. Allan R. Bevere: Reframing the Doctrine of Original Sin — April 23, 2014
  4. Allan R. Bevere: What’s in a (Nick)Name?: A Lectionary Reflection on John 20:19-31 — April 23, 2014
  5. Allan R. Bevere: Does Belief in God Lead to More Self-Control? — April 22, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Allan R. Bevere: Online Communion and Disembodied Gnosticism — 3 comments
  2. Allan R. Bevere: Yes, It Is Unavoidable… in the Head and in the Cafe — 2 comments
  3. Allan R. Bevere: A Last Supper with Helpings of Betrayal and Denial — 1 comment
  4. Allan R. Bevere: You Don’t Get Strung Up on a Cross for Running Around Telling Everyone to Love One Other — 1 comment
  5. Allan R. Bevere: It’s Four Years Later– Will It Be the Same Old Thing? — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Apr 24 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Forty Days of Lent? What About the Fifty Days of Easter?

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One thing I have noticed as a Protestant whose tradition observes the forty days Lent. We don't seem to be very good at observing the fifty days of the Easter season. Yes, we pull out all the stops in worship on Easter Sunday, but then we seem to immediately go back to business as usual. While we have special times and services during Lent, we fail to place such emphasis on the season of resurrection between Easter Sunday and Pentecost.

And yet, Easter is the most significant holiday of the Christian year. Though we celebrate Christmas as the central holiday as far as emphasis, it is not. Without Christ's resurrection there is no Christian faith. If Jesus has not been raised, there are no Christmas celebrations to be had. The primary importance of Easter is revealed in the ordering of the Christian year. Unlike Christmas, Easter is a moveable feast, which means that it does not fall on the same date every year; and it is the date of Easter each year that determines the entire liturgical calendar. (For how the date of Easter is calculated, see here.) Thus, while the church observes Advent and Christmas as the beginning of the liturgical year, it is Easter that is the theological culmination and beginning of the Christian year.

So the question is why many Protestants who observe Lent, do not observe, in similar fashion (in reference to importance), the full fifty days of the Easter season. Why is the greeting, "He is risen!" reserved only for Easter Sunday and not for the entire Eastertide? Why is resurrection absent from some Protestant preaching the Sunday following Easter Sunday?

On Ash Wednesday we are invited to observe a holy Lent for forty days. Why are we not similarly invited to observe a joyful Easter for fifty days following the morning the empty tomb is discovered?

I'm just wondering.

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Apr 23 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Atheism’s Crisis of Faith: Staring Into the Abyss of All Meaning

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from Theo Hobson:
Like any movement or religion, atheism has ambitions. Over the years it has grown and developed until it has become about far more than just not believing in God: today atheism aspires to a moral system too. It comes with an idea of how to behave that's really very close to traditional secular humanism, and offers a sense of community and values. Atheism has crept so close to religion these days that it's de rigueur for political atheists like Ed Miliband to boast about a dual identity: a secular allegiance to a religions tradition, in his case Judaism. They don't of course believe any of the mumbo jumbo about God, prophets and angels.

But as pleasant and rational as this all sounds, the new atheists are now hitting the intellectual buffers. The problem that confronts them is as stark as it is simple: our morality has religious roots. Put another way: when God is rejected, the stakes are gulpingly high; the entire moral tradition of the West is put in question.

This was the insight of Friedrich Nietzsche-- and for all the different atheist thinkers and philosophers since, it remains just as true today. It's all very well to say that blind faith is a bad idea, and that we should move beyond it to a more enlightened ethical system, but this raises the question of what we mean by good and bad, and those ideas are irrevocably rooted in Christianity. Nietzsche saw this, and had the courage to seek a new ethos amid the collapse of all modern systems of meaning. Did he find one? Yes, in pagan power-worship-- the sort that eventually led to fascism. We think of him as mad and bad-- but he was brave. Imagine Ed Miliband trying to follow in this tradition, gazing into the abyss of all meaning, the dark crucible of nihilism.
The entire post can be read here.

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Apr 23 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Reframing the Doctrine of Original Sin

Original post at

Joel Green on the doctrine as a frontier for Theology and Science:

Part 1:

Clearly, the doctrine of original sin has fallen on hard times. For many of us, the notion that we all might be held accountable for the misdeed of a single, common ancestor or first couple boggles the mind as a historical and/or moral nonstarter. Increasingly, the doctrine is jettisoned from church talk altogether and those who do discuss it often first remove from the doctrine its theological teeth. How are theologians responding to this state of affairs?

Part 2:

As it turns out, a great deal depends on how one construes "original sin." If we mean to signal that all members of the human family, at birth, are implicated in (or guilty of) Adam’s sin, then it appears that the doctrine faces seemingly insurmountable hurdles, not the least of which have to do with the lack of support from Scripture and evidence from the natural sciences. If we mean to signal that all members of the human family have this in common, that from their births they find themselves drawn to sin and that they all in fact engage in sin, quite apart from speculation about sin’s origins, then we are on surer ground with respect to Scripture, both early Christian tradition and certain currents of Christian thought subsequently, and the natural sciences today.
Green's two part series (part 1, part 2) is an important read.

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Apr 23 2014

Allan R. Bevere: What’s in a (Nick)Name?: A Lectionary Reflection on John 20:19-31

Original post at

John 20:19-31

Nicknames are interesting. Some nicknames are given as a tribute to a person's gifts and abilities. Babe Ruth was called "The Sultan of Swat," for his ability to command his bat to hit home runs. Walter "Sweetness" Payton, a running back for the Chicago Bears made running through defenses look easy-- how sweet. President Zachary Taylor earned his nickname, "Old Rough and Ready" during the Mexican-American War leading his troops into battle.

Of course, not all nicknames are compliments. Ivan the Terrible was not known for being nice and Vlad the Impaler earned his nickname for his excessive cruelty. There are other nicknames that persons earned, not for their deeds, but for their appearance-- Charles the Fat and Olaf the Peacock.

Jesus himself gave his disciples nicknames, at least two that we know of. He referred to Simon as "Peter" (Rocky), and James and John earned the name "Sons of Thunder" for their judgmental ways (Mark 3:17). But one disciple has received a nickname from the judgment of history, and it's not meant to be complimentary-- Thomas, Doubting Thomas-- as he is commonly known.

Thomas was apparently absent when the resurrected Christ first appeared to the disciples. Upon hearing the news that Jesus had appeared, Thomas went into skeptical mode. "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe," Thomas declared his doubt with much certainty. Of course, he would have to eat his words in his own encounter with Jesus. Indeed, John does not tell us that Thomas actually put his finger in the nail marks, nor put his hand in Jesus' formerly pierced side. Apparently the sight of the risen Jesus was more than sufficient.

But the nickname "Doubting Thomas" has dogged the briefly skeptical disciple for two thousand years, and it is not really fair to characterize this faithful follower of Jesus, whose initial skepticism has labeled him for all time. I think it also says something about how we view the place of doubt in the midst of faith.

The old adage states that faith is fashioned in the workshop of doubt. Doubt is not the opposite of faith, it can often be a catalyst for faith-- we move forward in our convictions, even though we are not always sure what to believe. It has become fashionable in some Christian circles today to turn doubt into a virtue, to make it almost as important as faith itself, to wear doubt as a badge of one's honest inquiry.  I think that is going a step too far.  Excessive doubt can undermine the faith, to be sure. But, doubt can assist in one's faith or it can cause one to seek faith even more sincerely-- as John the Baptist in prison who sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if he was the Messiah (Luke 7:20), and the man who asked Jesus for healing uttering, "I believe help my unbelief" (Mark 9:24). This side of perfection we see through a glass darkly and we know only in part. Doubt is a reality in a world where more than a few pieces of the puzzle of life are missing. To deny this is to deny the obvious. Easter brings all of our emotions and confusion and understanding, the clarity and the ambiguity together into a new reality that only God can bring. David Henson writes,

In truth, Easter absorbs both the joy and triumph as well as the fear and disbelief, and is irreducible to just one experience of it. It would be easier if Easter were only the trumpet blasts and Alleluias. Or, it might even be easier if Easter were only fear and disbelief. But Easter is all of this, it holds all of it, even the contradictory emotions, and makes them one.

It may indeed be the case that those who do not see and yet believe are blessed, but Thomas is no less blessed for insisting on seeing and touching Jesus; after all, he did stick around with the other disciples to see if Jesus would show up. That is exercising faith in the midst of doubt.

Perhaps it is time to give Thomas a new nickname. Shane Kastler suggests that we call him Daring Thomas, the one who dared to express his doubts when the other disciples would not. They had their doubts as well.

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Apr 22 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Does Belief in God Lead to More Self-Control?

Original post at

A clip from one of my favorite shows-- Through the Wormhole, hosted by Morgan Freeman.

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Apr 22 2014

Allan R. Bevere: Why Churchless Christianity Does Not Work

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Good words from Steve Harper:
When we begin to live in the light of faith, we see that our salvation incorporates us into the Church.  We come to Life as one member of the larger Body of Christ.  We cannot live apart from the Church any more than one part can live separated from the body.

This is why "churchless Christianity" will never work, even though some of the concerns it carries are valid.  The cure for whatever damage the Church has inflicted on our faith is not our separation from it, but the renewal of it.

Christ gathers all believers to himself, functioning as our Head.  We are "one" in him.  We cannot individualize or privatize our salvation without destroying what Christ gave himself to accomplish-- namely, the joining together of what sin had separated.  No family is complete when there is an empty chair at the table, created when someone decided to leave home.

So, as Pope Francis says, "Faith is necessarily ecclesial."  This does not mean the Church is perfect; in fact, it is often very flawed.  This does not mean it always lives up to our expectations-- even legitimate ones.  But it does mean the Church is "of God" (Who must both praise and purge it), and it is the family into which we are incorporated when we believe.

And like the individual parts joined to the larger body, as we are joined to the larger Body of Christ, we find the life of God present and active in us so that we can continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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