The popular press loves to highlight instances of abuse. It sells newspapers. And we may be encouraged to imagine that abuse is so widespread that it has become the norm. Hence a beguiling theory. If we can be led to believe that people in poverty are essentially the authors of their own misfortune and that the solution rests in their own hands, then we can cheerfully leave them to it and not worry unduly about their plight.read more
Religion is no more –
With doctrine, creed
And narrowness of heart.
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
A supersessionist view of the Christian covenant might have made some little sense in a mythic worldview, but never made any moral sense. The time has long since come for Christians to drop such an arrogant claim. It has contributed to extraordinary suffering and eroded any moral authority we might think we have. In that sense, it never made any just sense of the work of God we’ve come to know in Jesus Christ.read more
Legion are a group of demons referred to in the Christian Bible. The New Testament outlines an encounter where Jesus healed a man from Gadara possessed by demons while traveling, known as “the exorcism of the Gerasene demoniac”.read more
More and more I find myself responding, “I am not a guy,” to waiters in restaurants, to educated people at conferences, and even to people in progressive churches who refer to groups of women and men as “you guys.” Sometimes these are groups of all women, and still they call us “you guys.”read more
“We don’t need to do inclusive language any more,” some of the young women tell Isabel Docampo in her intern classes at Perkins School of Theology. “That was important when you were going through seminary because there were all men. Inclusive language isn’t important anymore because now women can be leaders in church and are in the workplace big time.” Isabel says that when they go out into churches, these students discover that gender discrimination, although often more subtle now than in the past, is still all too prevalent.read more
The idea that a few of the Congressional majority would actually force America into default and bankruptcy, bringing on, the Europeans feared, a world wide depression in order to stop people from getting health care, left them disillusioned with America’s political leadership.read more
I have made a decision. I will no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. I will no longer engage the biblical ignorance that emanates from so many right-wing Christians about how the Bible condemns homosexuality, as if that point of view still has any credibility. I will no longer discuss with them or listen to them tell me how homosexuality is “an abomination to God,” about how homosexuality is a “chosen lifestyle,” or about how through prayer and “spiritual counseling” homosexual persons can be “cured.” Those arguments are no longer worthy of my time or energy. I will no longer dignify by listening to the thoughts of those who advocate “reparative therapy,” as if homosexual persons are somehow broken and need to be repaired. I will no longer talk to those who believe that the unity of the church can or should be achieved by rejecting the presence of, or at least at the expense of, gay and lesbian people. I will no longer take the time to refute the unlearned and undocumentable claims of certain world religious leaders who call homosexuality “deviant.” I will no longer listen to that pious sentimentality that certain Christian leaders continue to employ, which suggests some version of that strange and overtly dishonest phrase that “we love the sinner but hate the sin.” That statement is, I have concluded, nothing more than a self-serving lie designed to cover the fact that these people hate homosexual persons and fear homosexuality itself, but somehow know that hatred is incompatible with the Christ they claim to profess, so they adopt this face-saving and absolutely false statement.read more
American retailers have essentially pre-announced that the annual Thanksgiving observance — when we presumably pause to gratefully remember everything we have — has been cancelled so bargain shoppers can get an even earlier jump-start on their holiday shopping for all the things we don’t have yet.
Meanwhile, halfway around the world a typhoon of record proportion hit landfall only a few weeks ago; nearly wiping an island nation off the face of the earth, and leaving those who survived with virtually nothing. Then last week an unseasonable swarm of twisters flattened whole towns across the Midwest. By comparison, it all makes the plight of those first pilgrims facing the harsh realities of their first Thanksgiving in a brave new world look like a walk in the park.
And, all the while, the airwaves and media have been filled with docu-dramas and documentaries commemorating the half-century mark of those events that shattered an age of relative innocence for those of us old enough to remember it; ushering in an age of extraordinary upheaval and anxiety, starting with what social critics and historians alike attribute to the assassination of JFK. Juxtaposed and taken together, these events represent a seeming un-reality that hasn’t really abated much in the last fifty years. We live in an age of anxiety.
Jesus masterfully taught in the philosophical tradition known as Jewish cynicism, with such parabolic tales and quaint-sounding imagery as the “lilies of the field.” And he did so at a time and age that – while seemingly ancient to our modern way of thinking – may not have been all that different from our own anxious age. Consider then our fretful, misbegotten ways, and the wild lilies of the fields.read more
I have many “naked” dreams, easily explained because I sleep in the buff. That may be T.M.I., but it lessens attempts to over-psychologize these dreams, though much could be made of an introvert having such dreams! Of course, I have dreams about being naked in church as well. And it always seems normal and I am unashamed, but sometimes think perhaps I should be, because I am the only one in the nude.read more
This paper addresses recent discoveries of previously unknown Christian scriptures which predate the orthodox canonical gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Surprisingly, these earlier writings reveal a totally different kind of Christianity – one which could very well speak to the needs of the lost Christians of today.read more