About the Bloggers

Name: Nathan Bennett

Hometown: Both ends of California. I was born in San Diego.

Three influential books: Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard, Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence, Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace

Two Influential Movies: Michael Collins, Chariots of Fire

Area of interest: Philosophy, language and culture, Just about anything I can lay my hands on

I believe that faith is a matter of submission and consent and not mere acknowledgement and assent. However, God himself brings people to faith through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. How we treat others is important because God dictates that we must love each other and do so genuinely. I have a passion for education–not a passion for the teaching profession, but for seeing education done well and helping it be done well. Rather than complain that something is bad, I would prefer to offer a viable alternative.

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Name: James Foster Arnold

Hometown: A bit of everywhere, but we’ll say Colorado Springs, CO.

Three influential books: The Book of Romans, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Dante’s Divine Comedy

Two influential movies: Die Hard, A Goofy Movie

Area of interest: Theology, philosophy, gadgets

The world is a complicated place. God is supremely simple. We are complex. My posts will focus primarily on theology and philosophy, with occasional dips into poetry or perhaps even some creative writing. I also love reading about technology.

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Name: Christopher O’Dell, known to many simply as “Staples”

Hometown: Tokyo, Japan

Three influential books: What’s Wrong with the World by G. K. Chesterton, 1984 by George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Two influential movies: Secondhand Lions and La Vita e Bella (Life is Beautiful)

Area of interest: Pretty much everything. I tend to find obscure things extra-interesting. I find radical things inspiring.

The son of church-planting missionaries to Japan, I’ve  spent my life in western Tokyo, Long Beach (California) and Longview (Texas).  My views and perspectives have been described as everything from “strange” to “heretical” to making “too much sense.” While my interests are wide-ranging, on my mind’s “front-burner” right now are ideas about education and ecclesiology. I’m especially interested in the application of beliefs to daily life, and get excited when idealists tell skeptics, “No, I’m not being utopian. This is possible,” and then go out and live what they believe, messiness and all.  I want to be one of those “practical idealists,” and am making progress.

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Name: Stephen Hale

Hometown: USA. I’ve lived in 35 houses in 12 different states. I’m everywhere you want me to be. From.

Three influential books: Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman, In Man We Trust by Walter Brueggemann, and Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider

Two Influential Movies: The Big Kahuna, Batman (1989)

Area of interest: Theological studies, Christianity for the real world, language and culture, music and pop culture, government policy, particularly international policy

I believe that God intends to extend God’s rule over everything, and being a Christian is fundamentally about participating in that spread. God is healing broken things: people, relationships and social structures, Creation…and Christians are the hands and feet to see this out. Further, I believe Christians generally suck at this. Even when they do well what they think they are supposed to do, it is so radically disconnected from the real world that it’s speaking a different language. I think the Evangelical Church is, even when doing what it intends to do, simply irrelevant to much of American society, or is having a distinctly detrimental impact. I also like to work for solutions instead of (just) complain.

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Name: Alica J. Stevans

Hometown: California, with Oxford, England as an honourable mention

Three Influential Books: Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers, Resident Aliens by Stanley Hauerwas and William H. Willamon, The World of Columbus and Sons by Genevieve Foster

Two Influential Movies: The Queen, Little Women

Area of interest: History, children’s literature, books in general, familial institutions, semi-colons, connections

I believe that the world is made up of stories, and that these stories have ensemble casts. “My life” is more accurately called “Our life as I live it.” Thus I believe that families are important, the past is significant, and the Church is vital to any kind of real understanding of the world and ourselves. A natural pessimist, I see our failures and doubt such a thing is even possible; being a natural idealist, I try to make it so.

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Name: Fernando Rojas, Jr.

Hometown: Whittier, California

Three Influential Books: The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Paradise Lost by John Milton

Two Influential Movies: El Laberinto de Faun, District 9

Areas of Interest: Speculative fiction, postmodernism, Romanticism, poetics and mythopoeics, propaganda, meta-fiction.

I believe in the infinite, and that the infinite is found in the infinitely great and in the infinitely small. I believe God is infinitely unknowable, just as Christ is imminently known. Theologically, politically, socially, and communally I strive to be moderate, following the via media as best as I can, while always suspecting I may be wrong.

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