When people most seek him, Jesus runs away.
When people finally get an inkling, a glimpse of who he is, Jesus disappears.
When people at last realize that there is something different about this teacher and healer, Jesus vanishes, eager almost in his need to be absent and alone.
What about Semi-theism and Semi-atheism? Can these concepts better express our known and experienced reality? My answer is “yes”. Such a view of God is multi-dimensional and takes into account at least three levels of God-analysis, namely God-theology, God-talk and God-truths. We can start with God-theology, the traditional “Queen of the Sciences” in the context and thinking of the West’s intellectual history.read more
2) The Hebrew scriptures, or the Old Testament, represent a religious tradition that is independent of the later Christian faith. The Hebrew scriptures aren’t about Jesus, although the Christian scriptures include many references to the Hebrew scriptures. To honor the fundamental differences between the two sets of scriptures doubles the spiritual significance of the entire Bible.read more
The Complete Gospels is the first publication ever to collect the canonical gospels and their extracanonical counterpoints under one cover. The selected extracanonical gospels date from the first and second centuries, are independent of the canonical gospels, and significantly contribute to our understanding of the developments in the Jesus tradition leading up to and surrounding the New Testament gospels.read more
First Presbyterian Church Elizabethton, Tennessee April 6, 2012 Good Friday Mark 15:1-47 A few years ago a poster advertising Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion, featured an image of Christ wearing a crown of thorns. The caption read: Dying …read more
With chapter 7 the anti-Semitism that has haunted Christianity for centuries seems to become unavoidable.read more
Most of my life, it is this Jesus in Mark’s gospel that I have encountered, rather than the Jesus of our traditions that tell us he can be found if only we seek him.read more
“Sin” is not about sex, or petty transgression. “Sin” is about the seduction of power-over others; of the gratification of having what others cannot have.read more
There’s two sides to every story, and there’s often some good news and bad news. Is the Gospel all good news? That depends. This Advent commentary considers the implications of rethinking and retelling the Christmas story.read more
For millennia the world has been driven by the differences between the great patriarchal religions. Western civilization–or Christendom, as it was once called–received its values and its confidence from a belief in God, the Father, and Jesus, his only son. But what if this conviction were founded on an error?read more
* How did monotheistic Jews of the early church come to see Jesus as a part of the unique identity of Israel’s God? Offering an alternative to “functional” and “ontic” Christology, Bauckham convincingly argues that the divine identity—who God truly is—can be witnessed in Jesus’ humiliation, suffering, death, and resurrection.read more
What impudence of these two upstart fishermen to demand anything of God! These two brothers went to Jesus, not so much with a question or a petition or a prayer, but they went with a demand: “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”read more
In order to discover inner peace and peace in our world, we will need to let go of traditional understandings of pain and suffering as God’s will.read more
Regarding Heaven and Hell; Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for? – Robert Browning. An evangelical pastor of a mega-church, Rob Bell, creates a stir when he writes a little book, suggesting when it comes to a place called heaven, there’s room for everyone. What the hell?read more
The process the early followers of Jesus went through that resulted in the Church of Jesus Christ is fairly long, fairly obscure, and full of pitfalls for those who seek to recreate it.read more
Shortly before his deadly rampage in Norway in July, Anders Behring Breivik posted a rambling Christian jihadist manifesto on his Facebook page. Within days, a self-professed Christian fundamentalist who blogs online claimed the mass murderer was no Christian because he “supports Darwinism and human logic, demonstrating a rationalist worldview rather than a Christian one.” Uh-oh. While I would also identify myself as some kind of “Christian,” I couldn’t resemble either of these two characters less. So what kinds of beliefs and behaviors do I accept and refute to describe my own “Christian” identity? What kind of a “Christian” am I? …read more
The term “resurrection” has come to stand for what Christianity is all about. But a close look reveals that it should not be understood monolithically, but rather as a pluralistic and diverse phenomenon.read more