Portrait of A.J. Swoboda

A.J. Swoboda

  • Pastor
  • Professor
  • Speaker
  • Writer
  • Community Architect

Location: Portland, Oregon | USA


Messy: God Likes it that Way

This book took some time to write. Something like ten years. In it, I explore how and why Christianity is messy. And how this messiness is deeply important for the story of faith for Christians around the world. I introduce it with the following (from the foreword):

"My rickety old house has this little room full of cleaning supplies, brooms, bleach, and little yellow gloves. This room has never been organized. It's our cleaning room and it's always messy. Every once in a long while, I take a Saturday to clean up our house: dusting, vacuuming, arranging DVDs, scrubbing the little metal cup that holds my toothbrush. It's a momentous affair. And it always takes me back to that little messy cleaning room.

The messiest room in my house is the one full of things that make it beautiful.

That's what Christian faith is like. It's a thing that gives beauty, and meaning, and purpose to life; still messy like that little cleaning room.

Here's to finding God in that mess."

I think, in the end, there is a lot of hope in the mess.

Tongues and Trees: Towards a Pentecostal Ecologcial Theology

Released in Winter 2013

This is some of my academic work. For some, it will be excellent sleeping material. My wife can attest. For others who are interested in how Christians think about and care for the earth (like myself), it is a wildly exciting text. For all five people in the world who read it, cheers.

This is an abstract which sums up nearly four years of my life:

"This book develops a Pentecostal ecotheology by utilizing key pneumatological themes that emerge from the Pentecostal tradition. It examines and utilizes the salient Pentecostal and Charismatic voices that have stimulated ecotheology in the Pentecostal tradition and situates them within the broader context of Christian ecumenical ecotheologies (Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Ecofeminist). These Pentecostal expressions are placed in dialogue with the particular ecological pneumatologies of Denis Edwards (Roman Catholic), Mark Wallace (Protestant), and Sallie McFague (Ecofeminist). The thesis advances a novel approach to Pentecostal ecotheology through a pneumatology of the Spirit baptized creation, the charismatic creational community, the holistic ecological Spirit, and the eschatological Spirit of ecological mission. Significantly, this thesis is the first substantive contribution to a Pentecostal pneumatological theology of creation with a particular focus on the Pentecostal community and its significance for the broader ecumenical community. Furthermore, it offers a fresh theological approach to imagining and sustaining earth-friendly practice in the twenty-first century Pentecostal church."

Trust me, it's actually interesting.

Articles/Book Chapters

"The Root of Peace" (Eugene Register Guard), 2006 - Newspaper

"Street Corner Ethics" (Eugene Register Guard),2008 - Newspaper

"A Beautiful Waste: Sabbath" (Foursquare News), 2009 - Magazine

"Looking the Wrong Way: Pentecostals and Social Action" (A Liberating Spirit, Michael Wilkinson and Steve Studebaker, eds.), 2010 - Book Chapter

"Ecoglossolalia: Pentecostal Social Justice" Journal of Rural Theology, 2011

"Water on the Moon: Jesus and the City" Gospel Movements, 2011

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Living People I Read

Alan Hirsch

Allan Anderson

Amos Yong

Bernard Anderson

Dale Davis

Don Carson

Donald Bloesch

Donald Dayton

Donald Gelpi

Ed Dobson

Elizabeth Johnson

Eugene Peterson

Frederick Beuchner

Gary Babcock

Gordon Fee

Gregory Boyd

Harvey Cox

John Drane

John Goldingay

John Stott

John Zizioulas

Jim Belcher

Jürgen Moltmann

Karen Armstrong

Kenneth Bailey

Kevin Vanhoozer

Kirsteen Kim

Larry Hurtado

Lauren Winner

Mark Cartledge

Margaret Feinberg

Mel Robeck

Nancey Murphy

N.T. Wright

Paul Hiebert

Phyllis Tickle

Ray Bakke

Richard Baukham

Rodney Clapp

Robert Banks

Robert Farrar Capon

Rowan Williams

Sallie McFague

Stanley Fish

Stanley Hauerwas

Thomas Schmidt

Timothy Keller

Walter Brueggemann

Zygmunt Bauman

Dead People I Read

Aimee Semple McPherson



Basil the Great

Charles Spurgeon

Charles Wesley

Colin Gunton

C.S. Lewis

David Bosch

Dorothy Day

Dorothy Sayer

G.K. Chesterton

George Eldon Ladd

Hendrickus Berkhof

Henri Nouwen

John Wesley

Jonathan Edwards

John Calvin

Joseph Fitzmyer

Karl Barth

Leslie Newbigin

Martin Luther

Michel Foucault

Paul Tillich

Raymond Brown

Roland Allen

Simone Weil

Steven Bevans

Theresa of Avila

Vincent Donovan

Walter Hollenweger

William McClendon

Stuff I've Written

Messy: God Likes it That Way (Kregel)

-Tongues and Trees: Towards a Pentecostal Ecological Theology (Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series--Forthcoming)

-Hug the Corpse: Spirit, Power, and Promise in God's Mission (2013)

-On Heaven and on Earth: Introducing Christian Ecological Theology (2013)