A connection that is not usually made with John’s Gospel in the context of the festivals of Tabernacles and especially of Lights (Hanukah) is the apocalyptic story told in Daniel. This story is set in the time of the Exile; but it was written during the Maccabean uprising and defeat of the Syrian-Greek invaders of the 160s bce.read more
With chapter 7 the anti-Semitism that has haunted Christianity for centuries seems to become unavoidable.read more
A particularly useful book crossed my desk recently: Bridging the God Gap: Finding Common Ground Among Believers, Atheists, and Agnostics (Living Arts Publications, 2011) by Roger Schriner, a retired Unitarian minister and psychotherapist from Northern California. In it, he describes the wide continuum of nuanced positions between “theism” and “atheism”, blurring the meaning of both terms.read more
The kinds of stories the Galilean spirit/sage spins become sacred stories, but not because they have been canonized by any religious authority. Rather, they are extra-ordinarily spiritual tales because they are stories about the sacredness of the ordinary life as revealed to us by the one who taught with a different kind of inner authority. It’s what makes ordinary life so undeniably, unavoidably, deeply, and essentially spiritual. And It is also why ordinary people are as reluctant to relinquish their claim to be “spiritual,” in the most profound sense of the word; just as adamantly as they disavow being “religious,” in the worst sense of that word.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
For 21st century activists, from Occupy Wall Street regulars to poets such as Drew Dellinger,theologians such as Spong, Crossan, Borg, and Fox, the way to distributive justice-compassion for all beings on the Planet is our own flesh and blood.read more
Borg and Crossan describe the Christmas story as “a subversive parable.” Subversive stories help us see differently. They subvert the conventional ways of seeing. Similarly, parables are metaphors.read more
There were different types of protest, some more violent than others. But the vast majority of the people were simply there to make a statement. “We are not going to let you get away with this.”read more
Yesterday (October 4th, 2011), the protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement channeled Michael Jackson in “Thriller,” dressing up like zombies, complete with fake blood, stupefied stagger and an insatiable appetite for money.
It was blatant political theater of the absurd.
Until the 1870’s economics was an offshoot of moral philosophy. Adam Smith believed in a capitalist economy grounded in a non-capitalist morality. For him, “honesty, thrift, discipline, cooperation, and not consumption and unbridled self-interest were the keys to happiness and social cohesion.”read more
Rev. Madison Shockley II
A sermon on a topic ripped from the headlines.
Before any of this can speak to 21st century post-modern, post-enlightenment, post-Christian minds (if it can), first remember that John’s Gospel is an extended proof – an argument.read more
In this informal and accessible survey, Spong will move book by book through the Scriptures, introducing their themes and messages by examining the sweep of history in which these books were originally written. What has history taught us? How should we read these stories today? What does it mean for how we live our lives? And why do people tenaciously hold on to so many myths associated with the Bible? For the vast audience of people eager for a meaningful journey into the Bible, Spong leads the way.read more
Retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong is used to being a lightning rod for religious debate. Known affectionately as “Jack” to his friends, Spong has been taking religious literalists to task for over 40 years.read more
Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are two other important winter holidays yet the history underlying these celebrations escapes most Christians. Here are brief lessons from History.com.read more
To make the news at Christmas it seems a priest just needs to question the literalness of a virgin giving birth. What progressive interpretations try to do however is remove the supernatural obfuscation and delve into the deeper spiritual truth of this festival.read more
“I have spoken to many Christian Americans who have no idea that we believe in Jesus and that we believe he is the savior. We believe will come back and unite everyone together…”read more
Mary’s song promises that God brings about wondrous reversals in the world: showing favor to the uncredentialed and ignored (“the lowly”); rendering ineffectual the machinations of the arrogant (“scattering the proud in the thoughts of their hearts”); bringing down those who exploit positions of power; lifting up the poor.read more