For the millions of people who identify as liberal Christians. In McLennan’s bold call to reclaim ownership of Christianity, he advocates a sense of religion based not on doctrinal readings of scripture but on the humanity behind Christ’s teachings. He addresses such topics as intelligent design, abortion, same sex marriage, war. torture and much, much more. As he says in the Preface, “We liberal Christians know in our hearts that there is much more to life than seems to meet the rational eye of atheists; yet we find it hard to support supernatural claims about religion that fly in the face of scientific evidence.”read more
In this “kiss to the world of great writing,” Lea Mathieu urges readers to feed on books that nourish the soul by discussing texts from various genres that have somehow transformed her own life. They are drawn from “the wealth of secular literature that serves a sacred purpose, that speaks to our search for deeper understanding of the human condition in all its pain and beauty, suffering, glory, and possibility. Literature that yearns toward holiness.”read more
“In this remarkable and incisive work, Sharon Betcher analyzes our world and God’s embodied presence in the light of her own disability and the insight it affords. She claims disablement as a site of powerful social and religious critique and reflection. With searing honesty, she reveals how our culture, only recently tolerant and supportive of disabled people, still fears them. The presence of disabled persons stands as a rebuke to our images of body and health, to the distorted values of our consumerist culture, and the globalized economy that embodies those values in unjust structures.”
Yet, Betcher claims, disablement has also revealed powerful alternative understandings of the body and body politic, in Scripture, in the actions of Jesus, in the healing work of the Spirit at work in a broken world. Brimming with insight, Betcher’s work is a revelation and a bracing challenge to all Christians.
Using an array of biblical texts from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, Not God’s People explores how ancient Jews and Christians created their own identity in relation to others. The book analyzes how biblical texts define ‘us’ and ‘them,’ how these texts differ in the way they define group identity, and how this process continues to be re-created by Jews and Christians today.read more
Based upon the author’s twenty years of classroom and clinical study, Slaves of Faith explores and explains the emotionally laden dynamic at work in the fundamentalist mind. As Dr. Mercer posits, the fundamentalist is fundamentally driven by anxiety layered over a fragile sense of self-identity constructed upon a system of beliefs that is both logically inconsistent and highly suspect in light of modern science. As a result, the fundamentalist completely rejects modernity while battling mightily in the arena of national politics and culture to bring about a world that aligns more closely with the fundamentalist worldview.read more
That is what this book is about. The ordinary, everyday God. The ‘God’ that comes instinctively to most of us. If we’ve had a religious education, from schools or parents, we may need to drop a lot of stuff that has been drilled into us. If what we think we know about God doesn’t feel right, or doesn’t feel true, then it probably isn’t right and isn’t true. Like love, this is a subject where we do better to trust our gut feelings.read more
Raymond J. Lawrence Jr. This is powerful book if you want to get an overview of the Christian influence on today’s sexual ethics and sexuality. Sexual Liberation is mostly an account of how wrong Christianity has been about sex over the centuries. Raymond Lawrence is the Director of Pastoral Care at New York Presbyterian Hospital at the Columbia University Medical Center. He brings years of scholarly and life experience to his writing.read more
In these perilous times when the very survival of the human species is at stake, there is a desperate need for wisdom to provide guidance. The sacred literature of the world’s major religious traditions is a source for such wisdom, but it has largely been misinterpreted and misunderstood, and, thus, instead of being a source for wisdom, it has been a source for confusion and conflict. The ancient scriptures, for the most part, were written in a language which is quite different from ordinary language. It is a mythological language, which is symbolic, and therefore its meaning is hidden. In the Bible, for example, there are many narratives that appear to be historical, but they are history that has been mythologized, and therefore their surface meaning is not their real meaning. Clyde Edward Brown clearly illustrates that the correct interpretation of the world’s religious texts would lead to a different concept of religion. Instead of belief in the literal truth of texts that have been misinterpreted, the emphasis would be on having those religious values, such as social and economic justice, which are common to all religions.read more
It is time to challenge traditional understandings of God in order to create a twenty-first century faith. We have to say goodbye to the Sunday school God and find new ways of thinking about God.
This is not an exercise in theory, but an effort to take the practice of life seriously. In fact, a twenty-first century faith is an open, dynamic and courageous attitude toward life. It presumes that God is found not in the sky, but in the midst of life. It begins with experience, our shared experience. While experience is not everything, it is a good starting point. It is what we know.
Much has been written on the plight of women in Indian society, but this book presents an effective practical response to the appalling injustices – and a model of hope for agencies and programs for oppressed women around the world. This book recounts the true story of “Maher”, a remarkable project and centre for battered women and children located near Pune, India. Founded in 1997, the project has provided refuge to more than 1250 women, half of whom might otherwise have been murdered, committed suicide, or starved to death. Maher is an interfaith community that honours all religions and strongly repudiates caste distinctions – making it a rare beacon shining new hope upon some of the gravest problems in India and around the world. The book is rich with stories – poignant first-hand accounts by women and children whose lives have been transformed by the Maher project. Later chapters explore the larger implications of this pioneering work, with guidance for implementing similar projects elsewhere. Written in a concise narrative style, “Women Healing Women in India” is an easy and compelling read.read more
Author Schaeffer (Keeping Faith) adopts a feisty tone in this essay about evangelical Christianity and aggressive atheism. In the first half of the book, he rebuts justifications from both sides, taking aim at the ideas of such celebrity atheists as Richard Dawkins as well as religious leaders like Rick Warren. Schaeffer asks each side to allow for an evolving religion in which allegory takes precedence over literalism. In the second half, he gives space for his own memories, recalling moments that led him to a middle path of “hopeful uncertainty.”read more
In Paul Among the People, Sarah Ruden explores the meanings of his words and shows how they might have affected readers in his own time and culture. She describes as well how his writings represented the new church as an alternative to old ways of thinking, feeling, and living.read more
Robbing Peter to Pay Paul looks at how Jesus’ teachings were supplanted by St. Paul’s doctrines.read more
Biblical Christianity is bankrupt. I use ‘bankrupt’ in the exact sense of the term. A business that goes bankrupt still has value and is capable of producing useful goods or services. It still has an inventory and trained professionals in its employ. Until the day insolvency is declared, it also usually has a façade—a bright and upbeat demeanor by which its clients and the community at large assume it to be relatively healthy. The only thing wrong is that a bankrupt business is no longer able to accomplish its purpose: to be successful. It is precisely in this sense that I suggest Bible-centered faith is bankrupt.read more
With some wonderful exceptions, I regular hear words like- Redeemer, Lord, Savior and sin, sprinkled throughout the service in everything from the call to worship to the benediction. I often wonder what the people in the pews are thinking when they hear me preach and then stand up and recite something that is completely contrary to the sermon they just told me was wonderful.read more
By: Gary Wiburn. Last week I spoke of our defining identity here at First Presbyterian as being four things: a Christ-Centered faith, a place of Creative Celebration, of Compassionate Caring, and Inclusive Community. These are some of the primary ways in which we understand ourselves as a Center for Progressive Christianity, which means nothing less than trying to embrace the essential teachings of Jesus.read more
The truth of the matter is that the scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are filled with violence, divisiveness, condemnation. So, too, are they filled with passages that condone the destruction of property and persons of other belief systems and nationalities. True, too, is the reality that such content can, and as Jones has reminded us, will be used for appalling purposes. The pastor in Florida is only doing what he believes his God expects him to do. It’s a God he would deny for no one. Not for his president, Barak Obama, who pleaded with him on behalf of Americans around the world, not to go ahead with his plan. Not for his evangelical brother in the faith, Rick Warren, who has called it a “cowardly act”. Not for any “progressive” Christian like me or Diana Butler Bass who drives a car with a COEXIST bumper sticker on it, each of the letters formed from the symbol of a different religionread more
Today, we speak with Rev. Fred Plumer, Executive Director of the Center for Progressive Christianity in Gig Harbor, Washington. Rev. Plumer will be leading a day-long workshop here in Tulsa on Saturday the 25th at Fellowship Congregational Churchread more