A typical interpretation when reading the Book of Revelation is John’s attempt to answer the interminable question: How exactly will God, once and for all, set things right? When will the “sorrow and weeping be no more,” and the “tear wiped from every eye?” After reinterpreting over and over again the imminent end that has been repeatedly put on indefinite hold, it merely begs the question, why the postponement?
When Revelation is instead understood to be political commentary spun in the form of a fantastic allegorical tale that can be reinterpreted and applied again and again, the question in each succeeding era has more to do with asking the question: Who is the Whore of Babylon, and all she represents? How can we be so easily seduced? And have the words and life of the Galilean sage been lost, even from the time John had his nightmarish vision to our own succumbing today? Read more.read more
- a book of poems by Gretta Vosper As I review my involvement in the progressive Christian movement over the last decade and a half, I face a seeming contradiction. On the one hand, I’m amazed that …read more
Are you disillusioned by some aspects of Christianity, like having to believe the right things to “get saved”? Like the idea that an all-loving God would sentence anyone to hell? Like understanding an often contradictory Bible? Then meet CLEAR FAITH. Clear away those stumbling blocks to uncover a faith of your own that makes sense. Meet the Jesus we can truly call “brother.” By seeing with new eyes, through a clear lens, we can experience and live with a simple, straightforward faith that is globally inclusive, open, and compatible with a progressive, scientific worldview.read more
The ancient Jews revered wisdom but in our times it often seems religion actually reveres ignorance. This is a crucial aspect of progressive Christianity- we are willing to start a church that rejected all forms of magic or superstition in favor for a fact based spirituality.read more
Our prison in Guantanamo Bay, Gitmo, is an example of power run amok. Like the Biblical narrative about the Tower of Babel, our faith tradition is rich in anti-empire imagery assuring the faith community that God holds the hubris of empire in contempt. Nations are never really that good as estimating their relative importance in the world. Like the Hebrews when our nation began, we had a fresh memory of what it was like to be bullied by an empire. We sought to create a nation whose moral force was much larger than our military force.read more
21st century Christianity is thus wedded to the world view of its 1st century scriptures, its 4th century creeds and its 13th century liturgies. Consequently Christianity presents itself to potential modern believers encased in a series of doctrinal and liturgical forms, undergirded by a theological point of view that communicates almost nothing to those people who gather in church to worship. Why is there any surprise that the number of worshipers is in steep decline? Modern Christianity offers only two alternatives. The first is to close our minds to the explosion of knowledge in order to build a protective fortress around the religious formulas of antiquity.read more
A week ago, I attended a conference at Chapman University in Orange, CA, devoted to the topic of free will. The speakers included a physicist, a Sikh spiritual teacher, a rabbi, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, and a …read more
In So You Think You’re Not Religious, James Adams sets himself a formidable task: asserting the value of Christian faith and practice to skeptics, and overcoming their very reasonable objections. It’s perhaps in his favor that he’s an extremely reasonable man, and that many of these objections were his own, at other times in his life. A powerful and practical introduction to the church for newcomers and old-timers alike. Topics include belief, the creed, sacraments, prayer, and belonging.read more
I am a child of the Universe. Everyone is a child of the Universe. We are all one, no matter what our race, colour or creed,. The wondrous evolving Universe has created dust, stars, galaxies, sun, earth and all creatures upon it. We are from the earth; self-conscious creatures; the Universe experiencing and reflecting upon itself. The Universe Story is our primary story.read more
I believe in God, creator of the universe, dwelling forever beyond time and space.read more
I believe in Jesus , child of God , chosen of God, born of the woman Mary , who listened to women and liked them, who stayed in their homes , who discussed the Kingdom with them, who was followed and financed by women disciples.read more
The early Church appears to have been satisfied with the simple affirmation ‘Jesus is Lord’, discovering the Spirit in the power of resurrection. Perhaps our task as progressive Christians is to reinterpret these concepts for our present time. I suspect that this will have more to do with discipleship than with the worship of a divine Christ (Matt 7:21).read more
If creeds and statements of faith turn into prisons for an Infinite Mystery, is there a way to express our current beliefs that does not end dialogue and the ability to change as our information changes?read more
While adherents claim to feel more Christian, or Buddhist, or Jewish than ever, they are finding more solidarity with one another than ever before.
They seem to be moving toward a similar “sweet spot,” one that integrates similar core values within the differing beliefs that frame those values.
Poetic words that will linger beneath each small start that now rests within the nursery.read more
The last book of the Bible, that bizarre and nightmarish Book of Revelation, is often found to be most popular among those religious nut jobs who are constantly interpreting the universal themes found in the battle of good and evil as signs of some certain apocalyptic end time; and differentiating the tribes of those who will be saved from those who will be lost, left behind and damned. However, given the obvious fact such end-time predictions have been re-scheduled over and over again for nearly two thousand years (so far), we might better consider those recurrent, universal themes to be found in this allegorical tale; and look with fresh eyes and see Revelation as more about this world of ours that continues to self-implode upon itself over and over again. How might we be open to being encountered in another, revelatory view of the polis in which we all inextricably dwell? This commentary begins a two-part reflection, based on Elaine Pagel’s newest book, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation; and in light of the latest terrorist attacks, bombings and global violence among our tribal warring factions. You can find the latest commentary here.read more
I am, said God to Moses from the burning bush. I am the light of the world… I am the way… I am the gate… I am the vine… I am the bread… Before Abraham was, I …read more
One of the problems of being a professional academic is that generally when you have to write articles they have to be heavy, well-researched pieces that connect with the on-going academic debate in one’s field. Well I don’t really want to do that here. In this short piece I want to try and dream a little, to set out some ways of how we might imagine religious faith that represent an alternative to credal forms of Christianity.read more