All religions are the product of a culture’s attempt at expressing their most closely held beliefs, values and the morals they want to pass on to the coming generation. We should no more say that one religion is better than another than we would claim that one language is superior to another or that my favorite music is “right” any everyone else’s favorite music is “wrong.” There are healthy and unhealthy religious beliefs and practices but in the 21st century we need to learn from one another and challenge one another to repent of our prejudices, oppressive practices and out dated values so that we can all become the best Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. that we can be.read more
The dogged refusal of traditional religions to give up Bronze Age magical thinking and doctrines will continue to make religion increasingly irrelevant in the 21st century. If the church has a future it will be because we are willing to undergo a radical transformation, being more passionate about what is true than what we have read in ancient documents. We need to be connected to one another in order to be effective in changing the world and we need meaningful connection to others to correct our own excesses. We can become better people through working together for justice, peace and mercy.read more
The church of the future must once again fall in love with wisdom.
We must be the protectors and proponents of what is true. I don’t want to sound paranoid to you but I have to tell you, while people have good reason to look askance at the reliability of religion as a source of true information, you should not rationally assume that either your government, or corporations or the media are going to be devoted to the truth if we don’t maintain a church that is devoted to reality.read more
Published on Jun 30, 2013 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg described the Supreme Court’s 5-4 majority decision to remove vital Voting Rights Act provisions as moving against Martin Luther King Jr’s famous claim that the arc of time is …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
The media does not question the deaths of the poor when profit is the motive behind their deaths but cannot tell us enough about Mosques in Boston and Islam in Russia. But who owned the plant in West, Texas? Where did the owners go to church? How were they so radicalized in their lust for money that they would place an entire town at risk? And why do we accept the deaths of the poor in indifference and silence?read more
The miracles in the New Testament are called “signs.” They are metaphors for the Kingdom. In John 5, Jesus heals a man who has been looking at his source of healing, a pool that this sermon titles “the hospital” but the rules are such that he cannot get in to be healed. Jesus breaks through that injustice to bring healing to the one who needs it the most, without an insurance card, without proof of employment or citizenship. And that is what the faith community is called to do: to break the rules that bar the sick from health care, that favors banks over homeowners and corporate profits over the interests of those who need air and water that has not been polluted.read more
It is not an easy message for people to take in. Think about who in modern
history has tried to get people to live together in peace, to end violence and
prejudice and discrimination… President Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Medger Evers,
MalcolmX, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Oscar Romero….all
tried to heal the division of the north and the south, Hindus and Muslims,
Blacks and Whites, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak.
The death by suicide of Pastor Rick Warren’s youngest son is not an indication of any spiritual failure. Cancer, depression, mental illness and natural disasters strike among people of faith at the same rate as everyone else. The mortality rate is 100%. We pray, as Kierkegaard said, not to change the One to whom we pray but to change the one who prays. Our spirituality gives us community, encouragement, strength and hope to face the challenges of living in a capricious universe.read more
“Take sides, because neutrality always serves the oppressor and never the oppressed. Your silence will always be interpreted as consent. There is no honor in remaining neutral in matters of ethical importance. Always taking the middle ground doesn’t make you smart, it doesn’t make you fair, it doesn’t make you balanced, and it certainly doesn’t make you innocent.”read more
The god-of-the-gaps, that creation of superstition and magic, that combination of pre-science simplicity, is not what draws us here.
We’re not trying to get in touch with the god who helps us to find a parking place at the mall or make it rain on our vegetable garden. And yet, people are terribly afraid to give up on the institutional religious packaging that first introduced us to the god-of-the-gaps.