I do not believe there is such a thing as a just war anymore, if there ever was one. Our weapons are too destructive and wars are seldom about territory or borders. They cannot be decisively won. Today wars are mostly about ideology and religion. They are about culture. Certainly we have not been winners in the last three wars which we have initiated and participated in. There are far more meaningful and sophisticated ways to deal with conflict today. We could do better if we developed different attitudes and skills at conflict resolution. It would also help if our leaders knew a little more about the history and cultures of the areas in which we get involved.read more
It has been both an emotional and a political roller-coaster. The television newscasters and the print media informed us that a political debate was underway as to whether or not the armed might of this country should be used to punish the Syrian government for violating the universal condemnation against chemical warfare that has governed the world since the horror of gas in the trenches in World War I. Pictures were released of small children, who had been the victims of sarin gas. The pictures were chilling. I enquired of a medical expert about the effects of sarin gas on the human body. He shuddered even to talk about it. His sentences were short and declarative. “It is deadly.” “There is no protection.” “Suffering is intense.” “Death is inevitable.” For almost one hundred years, despite brutal wars, both worldwide and local, with weapon enhancements like atomic power and cruise missiles, the prohibition against chemical warfare has still been generally adhered to by the nations of the world until this moment. Now the Syrian government has breeched this taboo, in an action widely believed to have been ordered by its president, Bashar al-Assad. I did not disagree with the official statement of facts and yet the debate itself struck me as deeply irrational.read more
Our nation is currently embroiled in a contentious debate over the Syrian regimeʼs alleged use of chemical weapons, and what should be the appropriate response by the U.S. and the international community. Public opinion polls comprising an odd coalition of liberal peace-nicks, a war weary citizenry and political antagonists who oppose in knee-jerk fashion most all of the Presidentʼs proposals, all suggest strong opposition to our countryʼs military involvement of any kind in yet another Middle East conflict. Regardless, the underlying question and dilemma remains. Is there a moral imperative to act? If so, how? What is the justification for a violent response to a deplorable, unjust and violent act?read more
Christianity has concerned itself with matters of war and peace for almost its entire history. The one unifying assumption of the faith has been that war is terrible and is to be avoided assiduously. There has always been a part of Christianity that has rejected war absolutely, considering participation in it to be completely contrary to the teachings of Jesus. But alongside it has been a strand of the faith that recognizes that war is morally justified in certain circumstances. “Just war theory” dates back to St. Augustine in the early days of the church. I think it still is a useful way of prayerfully considering whether or not a war, and/or one’s participation in it, is appropriate.read more
Personal reflection on Point #2 from the 8 Points of progressive Christianity.read more
Are there any fun theology books written with today’s reader in mind? Contemporary Christian thought leader Phyllis Tickle says “imaginative theologically and charming as well as rigorous, Bound, an Earth Walker’s Handbook is the best example I have ever seen of riveting and holy fun.”read more
In “Where Have All the Flowers Gone? A Singer’s Stories Songs Seeds & Robberies” Pete Seeger reports that the words to this iconic union anthem were printed in the preamble to the constitution of an early coal miner’s union. In 1948, Pete set the words to an Irish tune from the 1840s, “The Praties they grow small.” Looking back over the past 50 years to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (“The Great March on Washington”) while progress seems to have been made, for 245 years (716 if we start with Magna Carta in 1297) the struggle for human rights – meaning equality under the law, and access to food, clothing, shelter, and education for all – has been raging, and shows no signs of abating any time soon.read more
These are Study and Discussion Questions that can be used with SOULJOURN, By Jim Burklo Find the book here Have you ever had an out-of-ego experience? How can religion and spirituality help to get you out of …read more
More progressive expressions of Christianity emphasize more inclusive versions of the kingdom of God. In Colossians 3, after admonishing his readers to clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness, the writer says: “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (3:14).read more
There’s a line in a popular Christian song that makes me cry every time: “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. And we pray that all unity may one day be restored.” It makes me question my attachment to labeling myself a Christian Progressive or a Christian liberal.read more
Washington Post- On Faith Since the rise of the Moral Majority movement in the 1980s, there has been considerably more ink spilt on examining religious conservatives than religious progressives. In 2008, I wrote a book based on …read more
We are proud to offer this large poster version (12″x15″) of our 8 Points Flyer! Here is the text of the new 8 points: By calling ourselves progressive Christians, we mean that we are Christians who…. …read more
The Taliban shot 15-year-old Malala in the head for her education activism. But she survived, helped win education for all girls in Pakistan, and will address the UN in 3 days asking leaders to agree to put every …read more
As we celebrate today our American Declaration of Independence (signed in 1776), we also affirm our fundamental Interdependence with fellow citizens of our community, our country and the planet. The firstDeclaration of Interdependence was written by Will Durant in 1944, and since then there have been many versions offered by different people and organizations.read more
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
These grand words are etched in the American consciousness, and serve as a preamble of sorts to the Constitution’s subsequent ideal goal of “a more perfect union.” With the recent split Supreme Court decisions over voting rights and marriage equality, along with and passage of an immigration reform bill in the Senate that naysayers declare is DOA in the House of Representatives, it would appear that while progress has been made, we clearly remain a work in progress, as well.
As we prepare to celebrate our Independence Day holiday this year the fireworks have been set off a little early with the debate over the intelligence surveillance practices of the so-called Patriot Act by a government that was established of, by and for the people. Call them heroes or traitors, whistleblowers or hack-tivists, there are also a growing number of anti-authoritarian tech geeks who claim to be motivated less by notoriety than a certain principled conscience to which they claim to have pledged a higher allegiance.
So, what is the nature of “natural” or “divinely-bestowed” rights? What of human conscience, earthly authority, and more? And – for those of us who might consider ourselves both a red-blooded American and Christian of one sort or other — what might constitute a “Christian” conscience, based on a Jesus life-ethic?
You can find the latest commentary Here.read more
Published on Jun 30, 2013 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg described the Supreme Court’s 5-4 majority decision to remove vital Voting Rights Act provisions as moving against Martin Luther King Jr’s famous claim that the arc of time is …read more
One of my favorite books from the 1970’s is To Have or To Be, by Eric Fromm in which he describes a significant change in how we use language. He explains, for example that people once would …read more
Today, there’s an entire orchestra of assembled instruments, now called The Recycled Orchestra.read more