When prayers in Jesus’s name go unanswered, and when unrelenting “knocking on heaven’s door” produces no result – even when bargains are offered (“I’ll stop smoking”) – instead of confronting the possibility that God is not going to intervene, the failure is treated as a “test of faith” that “God has a better plan for me.” But the transformation of human thought is far more powerful than petitions to a discredited god. At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit, first given by John’s Jesus, descends in tongues of flames on the Christian community gathered in Jerusalem. They are empowered to tell the story of Jesus in every language of the known world. Peter quotes the prophet Joel, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Paul proclaims, “For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” The imagery of fire represents the outpouring of the presence of sacred being and of creative power. No magic is required.read more
In John’s Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).
I’m sure most reading this recognize that this is not some universal blanket promise. So we have to ask, “On what level is this true?” Or, “Is it true on any level?”
For deeper love we spread the bread
I won’t be full till all are fed
Till every soul has home and bed
The rest of us can’t move ahead
Presider: God be with you
People: And also with you
Presider: Open your hearts
People: We open our hearts to God
Long years ago the promised Holy Spirit
With wind and flame, in resurrection might
Inspired true love, compassion rich within it,
And now as then rekindles vision’s light.
The kingdom of God is like the leader of a mainline religious institution who needed to hire new clergy to minister to his congregations.read more
The de facto how-to manual of the international Food Not Bombs movement, which provides free food to the homeless and hungry and has branches in countries on every continent except Antarctica, this book describes at length how to set up and operate a Food Not Bombs chapter. The guide considers every aspect of the operation, from food collection and distribution to fund-raising, consensus decision making, and what to do when the police arrive. It contains detailed information on setting up a kitchen and cooking for large groups as well as a variety of delicious recipes. Accompanying numerous photographs is a lengthy section on the history of Food Not Bombs, with stories of the jailing and murder of activists, as well as premade handbills and flyers ready for photocopying.read more
Food for Life draws on L. Shannon Jung’s gifts as theologian, ethicist, pastor, and eater extraordinaire. In this deeply thoughtful but very lively book, he encourages us to see our humdrum habits of eating and drinking as a spiritual practice that can renew and transform us and our world. In a fascinating sequence that takes us from the personal to the global, Jung establishes the religious meaning of eating and shows how it dictates a healthy order of eating. He exposes Christians’ complicity in the face of widespread eating disorders we experience personally, culturally, and globally, and he argues that these disorders can be reversed through faith, Christian practices, attention to habitual activities like cooking and gardening, the church’s ministry, and transforming our cultural policies about food.read more
Leader: The presence of God is surely in this place.
People: The presence of God is everywhere.
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
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
So in a round-about way, Gamaliel, as quoted by Luke, is giving us a powerful clue about what kind of literature the Gospels are — a unique mix of a few core historical events with lots of theological overlay, all blended with a good dose of the kinds of stories of miraculous signs that we know were common and sometimes persuasive in that day. And not surprisingly…. They still are today!read more
The back story to the Tower of Babel myth is that the orignial plans called for anything but babble. But where once humankind may have all spoken the same language with one unifying plan to build a place all could dwell and abide one another, it has long since ever been the case. “We live in a pluri-verse, not a uni-verse,” says Raimon Panikkar. Ours is a pluralistic age in which we have many different and opposing – even sometimes mutually incompatible — worldviews that threaten planetary human coexistence. In the midst of such chaos and confusion, how can we tolerate each other’s differences? Or, some might ask, should we even try? I consider myself a very tolerant person! The only people I cannot abide are ignorant and intolerant bigots! Does that make me intolerant as well, or merely principled? What would constitute a forbearance of principled intolerance, with a leniency of spirit? Here’s John Bennison’s latest Commentary from Words and Ways.read more
I’ve titled this as about the Resurrection, which is just one part of a complex of beliefs… but let’s return and end there… What similarities or differences do you see in Paul’s Resurrection statements and beliefs and those of the early Jerusalem Jesus-followers?read more
Begin your meal by holding hands and saying to the person on your right: “You are the temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells within you.”read more
May the God you see in all the colors of creation arouse in you a sense of awe and wonder.read more