Author Archives: Bryce E. Rich

About Bryce E. Rich

Bryce is a doctoral candidate in theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School where he combines his interests in Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Russian language and culture, and queer theory. Visit Bryce's contributor page for a longer bio and CV.

The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie poster[Warning: The following post contains spoilers for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, along with serious references to the geography and religions of the Star Wars universe.  Caveat lector.]

I saw The Force Awakens opening night. I liked the movie a lot, but as the credits rolled I was pensive and troubled.

Don’t get me wrong. Unlike so many outspoken critics, I wasn’t bothered by the many parallels between the original Star Wars and this latest installment. Sagas, after all, are often iterative. That’s the nature of human storytelling. I quite enjoyed the mixing of familiar characters and tropes with new characters and twists. So what was my problem?

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That same day [they] became friends with each other…

Patriarch Kirill and Pope FrancisThis week the Patriarchs of Rome and Moscow held a historic meeting in an airport in Havana, Cuba.

[Before I get to the meat of my issue, my inner pedant must clarify that the Internet is awash in incorrect headlines. I’ve added a section at the end addressing some of the issues.] Continue reading

Gender, Sexuality, & Scripture – Some Useful Resources

a stack of books on theology, gender, and sexualityThe number of books, articles, and blog posts dealing with issues of gender and sexuality within the Church has become impossible to manage. On the one hand, it’s great that we’re having the conversation.  On the other, it is very hard to sort out the useful information from the garbage. That’s where this post comes in…

My own engagement with these texts began nearly 30 years ago. In that time, I’ve moved through several stages.

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Getting Out of State-Sanctioned Marriage… for All the Wrong Reasons

US map showing status of same-sex marriage

Source: Wikimedia Commons

A lot has happened lately on the marriage equality front. Thirty-seven states now extend recognition of legal marriage contracts to same-sex couples.

With each state’s decision to recognize same-sex marriages, my Facebook news feed is flooded with MCC pastors, excited by the prospect of officially marrying couples to whom they previously could only offer Holy Unions. (For the record, MCC founder Troy Perry has been joining same-sex couples in covenantal relationships since 1968.)

Then there’s the Eastern Orthodox…

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Homosexuality, Proof-Texting, and a dash of Girardian Mimetic Theory

An Open Response to Michael Hardin’s tag on Facebook

Preaching Peace logoMy friend, Michael Hardin, runs an organization called Preaching Peace, a nonprofit dedicated to “Educating the Church in Jesus’ Vision of Peace.”

Michael has traveled extensively around North America, Australia/New Zealand, and Europe, presenting seminars on nonviolent atonement and his hermeneutic of nonviolence that is heavily influenced by the theology of Karl Barth and the mimetic anthropology of René Girard.  Lately Michael’s FB wall has hosted several threads challenging people to rethink view on homosexuality and Christianity.  Michael tagged me to bring some extra perspectives into the conversation, which you will find below…


Hi, Michael.  I’ve been a pretty busy today and am just now in a place where I can respond to your Facebook tag.

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Hearing Our Stories

The Prodigal Son (close up)

We Orthodox are currently gearing up for Great Lent, visiting several New Testament accounts that we look at every year in preparation for the season of penance and reflection: Zacchaeus, the Publican and the Pharisee, and now the Prodigal Son. What we probably won’t hear in the parish is a queer reading[1] of any of these texts, so let me indulge for a moment…

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Clothed and in His Right Mind

or “Telling of the great things that the Lord has done for us…”

The Scapegoat by René GirardRecent events have provided me with an opportunity to reflect again on the dangers of being controlled by the crowd, of being conformed to the spirits of our age rather than allowing our minds to be transformed by the working of the Holy Spirit.

Two weeks ago in the revised Orthodox liturgical calendar we read Luke’s version of Jesus’ encounter with the demoniac who was possessed by Legion, so called because the forces that were driving this poor man were many. The timing was providential, reminding me of the readings offered by René Girard and subsequent adaptions by theologian James Alison.

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