Come, let us walk the road that Mary walked
the challenging road
from Nazareth to Bethlehem
not knowing what the future holds.
Taking a extraordinarily brief look at the God of the Hebrews as revealed in what we Christians call the Old Testament, God lived on the top of Mt. Sinai, and when the Israelites traveled very far from the mountain they thought they have to carry God with them. The smoke of the burning censer, symbolizing God’s presence, could be seen during the daylight hours as a cloud, and at night the smoke looked like a pillar of fire. That’s the only way the ancient Israelites were able to believe that they had not been left their God behind. Even when they enter “the promised land,” by invasion and slaughter, God remained a jealous, vindictive tyrant, punishing the children for their father’s sins and thinking nothing of turning a terrified woman into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26), ordering massacres (Joshua 8:26), having a helpless old man hacked in pieces (1 Samuel 15:33), or visiting the devoted Job with disease and pain until he longed for death (Job 2:7-10). That is not the God I believe in or would ever consider worthy of worship. Worthy of fear? Yes, definitely!read more
I believe in God. I’m afraid to add anything to that brief statement, because I don’t want to do God an injustice by limiting God with an inadequate definition. God is the most important ingredient in my credo. Belief in God is so central to my creed that I have wondered if I am a Deist, which Webster’s Dictionary defines as, “One who believes in the existence of a God or Supreme Being but denies revealed religion, basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.” If by “revealed religion” they mean hypocritical religion, misguided religion, deaf, dumb and blind religion, unthinking religion, religion of rules and laws rather than love, then I wholeheartedly agree. Conversely, if they mean a religion that allows people to, as John Wesley put it, “think and let think,” then I don’t agree. The part of the definition that does not fit me is “basing his belief on the light of nature and reason.”read more
Before the Beginning,
Simply, infinitely being,
Part III of this “Christian” A-theism Series explores new possibilities to be found in pushing beyond the constraints of theism and a-theism; and the blunt and limited question of believing or not believing in a “theistic” notion of “God.” We typically fashion our notion of anything we deem sacred “Oneness” in anthropomorphic terms, so we can more easily relate to the idea. The Christian then proceeds to incarnate that God notion with a Christology in which Jesus is construed as a co-eternal mediator and – peculiarly – a substitutionary sacrifice.
But for those progressives for whom such a construct is no longer viable or credible, what might still be found amidst the theological rubble in a post-modern – even post-deconstructionist – age? Indeed, what may have been there from the start of the entire imaginative process; known in the earliest days of a pre-Christian movement simply as the Way? As near as we might be able to discern it with our own creative and interpretive imaginations, what resemblance might it bear to the “voice-print” of an extraordinarily imaginative character we might want to befriend?
The Supreme Court of the US is now considering a case from Greece, NY, in which the town board started its meetings with sectarian Christian prayers. Lower courts disallowed them as violations of the clause in the Constitution …read more
ProgressiveChristianity.org is hiring! We are are non-profit organization that provides spiritual resources and networking for an evolving faith. Position Available: Business Administrator, Marketing & Communications Education and Experience: BA required MA or MDiv would be an asset …read more
Religions, like puppy owners, often don’t do a good job of scooping up the messes they leave behind. But that’s not a compelling enough reason to give up on either your God or your dog.read more
Thankfully, ideas gradually and sometimes painfully changed, even in the church. Now, over 500 years later, we are entering a new age that will demand a reexamination of our most sacred ideas and beliefs just as those of the pre-modern era evolved into those of the modern age. So Christians need to re-examine the modern version of Christianity to make certain that it is viable in the postmodern age that is dawning.read more
I consider myself a seeker. I’m seeking a version of Christianity that satisfies both the head and the heart. What I’ve found most often is one or the other. The “heart” churches seem to be so emotional that they are afraid of intellect and the “head” churches are frightened of emotion for fear that it lessens the intellectual.read more
The book stirred my blood. It inspired me to work harder to change history, not just lament current repetitions of old, bad patterns.read more
Part One in this series considered the notion of “God,” or “gods,” as the single most elusive idea the human imagination has ever concocted or tried to fathom. But we typically constrain ourselves, thinking only in theistic terms; and fashion our notion of “God” in an anthropomorphic image so we can more easily relate to the idea. We ascribe to such a being all kinds of desirable characteristics that might comprise this composite character. The Christian then proceeds to incarnate that idea with a Christology in which Jesus is typically construed as mediator and chief negotiator; to the extent such a savior is willing to atone for all our wretchedness and secure our own immortality in another existence. It’s all pretty fanciful stuff. But for those progressives for whom such a construct is no longer viable or credible, it is not simply a question of what remains amidst the theological rubble, but what more, or other, might yet be discovered? As such, we ask how we might speak of such things. What language might we use?read more
Beyond the stats, beyond the grief, beyond the finger-pointing, beyond the “culture wars” lies the solution to eleven thousand deaths by gunfire per year in the United States.read more
Perhaps being a souljourner requires the same willingness to look foolish that is required in order to learn a language. I remember the crazy stuff I said when I was studying Spanish in Mexico years ago. I certainly embarrassed myself – and turned others beet-red a time or two, as well. But as long as I showed humility and a willingness to get it right the next time, people seemed to cut me lots of slack. Perhaps the most important ingredients in etiquette are genuine openness, curiosity, and an attitude, if not yet a correct appearance, of respect.read more
Meet Paul Again . . . for the First Time Continuing in the tradition of The Last Week and The First Christmas, world-renowned New Testament scholars Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan use the best of biblical …read more
World-renowned Jesus scholar Marcus J. Borg shows how we can live passionately as Christians in today’s world by practicing the vital elements of Christian faith.read more
We worked all day. Dad and Rachel were on one team, Father Crespi and I were on another, refilling tanks, cleaning up trash around them, and placing new ones. Five new blue flags, marking the new tanks, waved defiantly against the demon of thirst, and fluttered in the breeze over the desert at sundown that evening. The crew enjoyed a dinner at Rachel’s house prepared by the Women’s Society of the Federated Church.read more
When it comes to religion, Atheism is as good as any, since religion is simply about how you put some order in your otherwise chaotic world, and come up with a list of things you believe or disbelieve. The atheist and the theist both want to ask the same basic question: Do you believe in God or not? Often they are not interested in going much deeper than that. The oft-repeated response a famous preacher once gave to a religious skeptic went, “Tell me about the God you don’t believe in. Chances are I don’t believe in that kind of God either.”read more