Who I’m Reading: Jason Barnhart

It’s the time of year when I’d like to be blogging… except that doing so would make me feel guilty for not reducing the size of the five stacks of papers hiding behind my laptop screen. But as I continue to take a break from The Pietist Schoolman this week, let me at least suggest some people you could be reading instead.

Jason BarnhartWe’ll start with my friend Jason Barnhart, a Brethren Church pastor and scholar. (And contributor to our forthcoming Pietist Option Lenten devotional!) Now serving his denomination after a stint as university chaplain at Ashland University, Jason has somehow found time in the midst of his job and doctoral research to drop a brand new blog on the world.

With a subtitle that alludes to the multiple streams flowing into his religious identity (“Brethren Contemplative. Evangelical Anabaptist. Pietist Educator”), Tethered Freedom is a great introduction to the Brethren Church for those of us who haven’t encountered it directly. The post on “Brethren Consciousness” will be especially interesting to Pietism scholars, and “Plows to Profits” had the additional blessing of reminding me of my sabbatical in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

But I also enjoy Jason’s (auto)biographical and devotional reflections, like the Advent-related post inspired by the memory of his great-grandmother. “Hope is a profound reality tucked deep within the human heart,” he concluded. “Hope is a surprise because God hides eternity in the most fragile of things.”

By turns explanatory and evocative, pastoral and academic, Jason is a fine writer and a welcome addition to the blogosphere. Check out Tethered Freedom!