I thought I’d pretty well covered the territory in a “musing” I wrote a few years ago called “The Varieties of God”, a listing of the many alternatives along the spectrum between traditional theism and atheism. But Ryan Bell has added a new one: provisional atheism. Godlessness for the time being. He’s gone public with this status, and I intend to follow his “Year Without God” blog to see how it goes for him.read more
The image of a scapegoat recalls a ritual performed by ancient Israel on their holiest day of the year—Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. A goat was chosen by means of casting lots. Actually there were two goats chosen, one was killed as a sin offering to make atonement for the holy place, the other was allowed to live to make atonement for the sins of the people.read more
Ride on: ride on in majesty;
The palms affirm with certainty
Their claim – you are Messiah King.
The crowds join in and loudly sing.
The shocking thing about the story of Jesus is that it turns common wisdom on its head.read more
Progressive Christians like to stretch our minds. That means we can stay in our heads way too much. That’s preferable to not going there at all. As they say, many people are lost in thought because it’s such unfamiliar territory.read more
The dry bones raised by Ezekiel are a metaphor for those who died in the service of God’s justice: those who died working to restore God’s distributive justice-compassion to God’s Earth, and who themselves never saw the transformation. The army of dry bones is an army exiled from justice. Fairness demands that if Jesus was resurrected into an Earth transformed into God’s realm of justice-compassion, then all the other martyrs who died too soon should also be raised with him. “But in fact,” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” It is the Christ – the transformed and transfigured post-Easter Jesus – who has started that general resurrection, which restores justice-compassion to a transformed Earth. The transformation has begun with Jesus, and continues with you and me – IF we sign on to the program.read more
Presider: God be with you.
People: And also with you.
Presider: Open your hearts.
People: We open our hearts to God.
One of the most reliable facts concerning Jesus is that he was crucified during the reign and by the action of the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, who served by appointment of the Caesar from 26-36 CE. The Roman senator and historian Tacitus referred to Jesus’ execution by Pilate in his Annals, which was written circa 116 CE. Beyond that, however, there is not much historical evidence.read more
A growing number of progressive Christians, for a decade or more, have seen themselves less and less of being a theist, that is as one who believes in a ‘God out there’ who intervenes with and over rules the laws of nature. Yet many of these are still very happy to use the words Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This Trinitarian descriptor expresses the way in which Christians may encounter or interpret our ‘God’, but ‘God’ is much more. For many progressive Christians, the Trinity is an expression of different people and communities living in perfect harmony. Now that really is heaven on earth!read more
I’d like to invite you into a conversation we’ve been having at the First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael these last weeks of Lent, a conversation about evolution and faith. We’re not talking about a six day creation, with God resting on the seventh. I really, really hope that argument’s over and done with. No, we’re talking about evolution as the way in which everything unfolds in all of creation. We are looking at a creation that evolves and opens towards unity, or shalom, in the presence of God.read more
“you who delight me” is in two parts:
poems of love—secular and spirited writing about people, places and events; and
words of spirit and faith—inclusive language, contemporary liturgies for individual contemplation and progressive faith communities.
A Lenten tradition in Western Christianity is to meditate upon the journey Christ took to Calvary. These stations or steps are found both in the Scriptures and in the traditions and legends of catholic Christianity. For many this practice is used to participate in the suffering and sacrifice endured by Christ. I encourage you to also take up this journey seeing within each station a calling for the modern, progressive Christian to grow in the ways and love of God. Meditate upon each station considering the questions or thoughts presented with a Scriptural verse to ponder and a brief prayer of the heart. In John 15:12 Jesus tells us, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Only by walking with Christ and seeing just how much he truly loved everyone can we begin to love others in the same fashion.read more
People across the continent are broadening the 43nd Earth Day to last 40 days. This year, PACE (The President’s Advisory Committee on Ethical Eating) joins forces with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee to focus on environmental justice and food workers’ rights, particularly the rights of restaurant workers. To honor these workers, we have timed the beginning of our campaign to coincide with International Workers Day on May 1. The official start of 40/40/43 is n May 5th and it extends 40 days to June 13th. The dates are flexible and congregations may decide to participate as part of the Justice Sunday “Choosing Compassionate Consumption” campaign which focuses on protecting the rights of workers in the food systemread more
Beatitude Nine: “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”read more
Our personal journeys through Lent are associated with a symbolic wilderness, but we need not wander there without direction. “The Way” is the title of a poignant painting that hangs during Lent above the altar in the …read more