A popular football star falls in love with an online fantasy girl who doesn’t exist in real life. Unwittingly, he entrusts his heart to what is nothing more than a figment of his imagination, and the cruel hoax by those who would take advantage of his vulnerability and naiveté with an online sport known as “catfishing;” where bottom-feeding predators fabricate online identities, in order to trick people into emotional relationships, or worse. And it’s as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, because everybody loves somebody sometime. But when the love of his life that never existed dies, who could doubt his feelings of affection were real, despite the fact the object of those affections was not? However, for anyone who might consider love is less a feeling sometimes, and more a vested act of making someone or something else to be of more importance than one’s self, when it comes to Valentines Day, it may be helpful to remember how it all began. Read more.read more
The Year of Luke is the first in a series of commentaries on biblical scripture found in the three-year cycle of Christian liturgical readings of the Revised Common Lectionary. Instead of interpreting these readings as a precursor …read more
WHY WEREN’T WE TOLD? A Handbook on ‘progressive’ Christianity — edited by Rex Hunt and John Smith — (Polebridge Press (Westar Institute)) Progressive Christianity is not new. It has been around for two hundred years or more. But …read more
We wrestle with the stark reality of the culture of gun violence in which we find ourselves, and a gospel message for the progressive Christian that is inherently non-violent. Advocates for one side of a heated debate insist the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun; which is only true if the good guy is faster on the draw and a better aim. To assert the good guy always wins is, of course, a lie. There are plenty of examples of murder and mayhem in that compendium of stories we call the Bible. In some stories the good guy wins. In others, they lose; particularly those who choose the way of non-violent resistance unequivocally taught and demonstrated in the words and deeds of the Galilean sage and healer. It’s not a matter of a showdown to see who wins with a more forceful argument. Far from naïve, impractical and unrealistic, a non-violent response may be the only thing to break the perpetual cycle of violence. But how?read more
It seems to me that we live in a violent culture in a violent world that appears to be becoming more violent with time. I admit that I grew up in what was an ideal era under …read more
The lack of reasonable restrictions when it comes to guns is rooted in their obvious appeal; leading to their preponderance in staggering numbers in a culture that allows utter unreasonableness to pose under the guise of “protection of freedom” and individual rights. That’s why we will not simply legislate our way out of this one through reasonable debate, a half-baked compromise, or a better argument. As a society, we love our guns, and what they represent.
We love the cheap, readily available and disproportionate amount of personal power guns offer in the hands of everyone and anyone who wants it, for whatever reason. But to the usual rebuttal stricter gun controls will not stop the crazed among us from obtaining their Bushmaster, their bullet-proof vests and ammunition stockpiles, it is a hollow, fallacious argument. But furthermore, I don’t care. We have erred so long on the side of doing nothing, might it not be time to err instead on the side of doing something; regardless of its possible ineffectiveness?
For all of us who have heard the long-standing arguments and endless debate should know by now, one cannot change another’s mind until there is first a change of heart. In this society, it appears we still love our unrestricted right to own and carry a gun more than life itself. Bluntly put, we love our guns more than we love our children. Here is one clergy person’s experiences with potential and actual gun violence over more than three decades.read more
The recent mass murder of children in a Connecticut school has resulted in at least some redemption, in the form of the current effort by the President to introduce sensible gun laws. Banning assault weapons and imposing …read more
Lend your ears, lend your hands,
Lend your movement, anything you can.
Come to teach, come to be taught.
Come in the likeness in the image of God.
Cause, you can be like that.
With all that humbleness, and all that respect.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has just released an interesting report on religious groups around the world. It is a compilation that is ”… based on analysis of more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers…” covering …read more
To me, one of the most problematic, psychologically damaging things about Evangelical theology is the focus on salvation… what constitutes it, how it is obtained and held onto, etc.read more
Traditionally this is a time to learn from our mistakes and commit ourselves to do differently in the new year. I wonder what resolutions Jesus would have made? For some, it may seem shocking to suggest that …read more
It was carved with hand tools on a rough slab of native red rock: “Marcelito L. Baca – murio a la edad de 17 dias (died at the age of 17 days) – 1919”. It was planted …read more
The journey of the magi, and their adoration on bended knee before a newborn peasant who presumably comes to subordinate the Herod’s of this world is a quaint and fanciful tale. But this year, the real exchange of gifts in the City of Angels was a modern day epiphany that suggest we might indeed still find for ourselves new, authentic life in such an otherwise arcane myth. Now the question is whether the meaning and message of Epiphany season will truly shed new light in the bleak midwinter of our discontent.read more
Visit Bruce’s Site on Evolutionary Christianity This will be the first Christmas Eve in twenty-seven years that I’m not preaching. I confess to not feeling overwhelming grief. It’s a tough gig—almost impossible to pitch the message in …read more
This past Saturday night, my wife Roberta and I stood with a group of people on Hollywood Boulevard, holding flickering candles. Passers-by might have assumed we were Christmas caroling. But we were holding a vigil for the …read more
Why — despite popular Christianity’s doctrinaire explanations — was a Galilean peasant child’s fate sealed even before he drew his first breath? Was the only reason for the birth of Mary and Joseph’s child simply so he …read more
(From a sermon I gave at Mt Hollywood Congregational Church on 12/2, the first Sunday of Advent.) On one seemingly ordinary day over 2000 years ago, a seemingly ordinary girl had an extraordinary rebirth. Mary abruptly experienced …read more
Note: this Christmas Commentary is written in the context of the holiday observance, and as a requiem for the slaughter of the innocents at a place now known to us all as Sandy Hook. A pdf version to …read more