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The Immutability of Change

From: Words and Ways

Wave after wave of natural disasters and eruptions of human conflict set our heads spinning. Despotic regimes are getting overthrown, one right after the other; while the Occupy Movement gains momentum, demanding change of one sort or another. If change is the one constant, why do we resist? If it might reflect the nature of a divine imperative, how might we become agents and co-participants of such change ourselves?

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Spiritual But Not Religious? Come Talk to Me

As a professor of religious studies I can relate to some degree. I, too, have found myself an unwitting listener to the personal and sometimes bizarre reflections of total strangers on airplanes, who seem to believe that the word “religious” in my job title means I am someone good to talk to.

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Leaders or Obstructionist?

The question that I ask is, in this rapidly changing world, where has the church been and where will it be in the future? What we do know is that in the sixties, some clergy were in the streets, marching for civil rights but it was a small percentage. Many of them lost their churches as a result. More clergy preached about what they thought Jesus would want us to do about the Vietnam War, and their actions caused one of the largest exoduses in church history. Clergy learned that there were consequences in taking a conscientious stand. Today they are learning that lesson all over again when taking a stand for full inclusion for gays and lesbians in the life of the church. And, based on my limited survey, most of them are “tip-toeing” around the Occupiers protests. Denominations are once again being split by righteousness. 

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The Inevitability of the Rise of Progressive Christianity

It is inevitable that Christians who would now be described as “liberal” will be the overwhelming majority of Christians in America. That sea change, the waters of which we already feel swelling everywhere around us, can no sooner be stopped than can the moon passing across the night sky. 

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Do We Need Jesus?

Do we need Jesus? I still do not know how to answer that. But I am pretty confident the modern secular world would not be as good as it is if it were not for the original input from Jesus of Nazareth. In any case, should we not rather be asking – Do we need to love our enemies?

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Getting Romney

The public may learn something important about Romney by understanding more about Mormonism, or it may learn nothing relevant to its decision about his candidacy. But that is a decision voters can make only when they have the information.

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Romney Answers Religion Question Only So Far As Republican Tolerance Will Allow

When will candidates learn that the cover-up is always worse than the deed itself? Buried in the middle of Mitt Romney’s religious mea culpa was a twist of logic that would take a knotssmith (like me) to untangle. He asserts that there are some questions about faith that a candidate should answer. Then he carefully chooses the one question that allows him to sound the most like an evangelical Christian. “What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind.”

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I Love Richard Dawkins!

I love Richard Dawkins! I never met the man, but I still love him and I am glad that he continues to get the press he seems to generate. The funny thing is that I agree with much of what he says. Yes, I realize that he has set up a “straw man” god that most people, with some minimal theological training, would simply dismiss. But the truth is this “straw man” god is still represented, prayed to, bargained with, called up, blamed or thanked in the vast majority of our churches today.

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Richard Dawkins Has More Faith Than I Do

Famed evolutionary scientist Richard Dawkins is one of those atheists who inspire faith in me even while dissin’ it. I found a recent New York Times interview of him by Michael Powell more uplifting than that week’s religious articles. Of course that’s because most media coverage of religion highlights faults more than insights. 

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The Evidential Reformation: Humanity Comes of Age

In our “adolescence” as a species (which was a threshold crossed as the modern era swept the globe), we began to question the beliefs, interpretations, and meanings we had inherited. The birth of this new form of collective intelligence, global collective intelligence, occurred when access to powerful new technologies (beginning with the telescope) ramped up our ability to discern how things are. 

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Philosophy and Practice in Writing a History of Ancient Israel

[The book] elucidates and examines assumptions about history writing that current historians of ancient Israel and Judah employ. It is undertaken in the context of the conflict between so-called “minimalists” and “maximalists” within the discipline today

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Better Than Believing: Christianity for Skeptics, Agnostics, and Atheists

The growth of a progressive Christian congregation may not lie in its ability to make believers out of skeptics or to talk conventional Christians into switching their loyalties.  Rather, the increase in membership is most likely to be the result of evangelism, that is, letting secular discover what others have found of value in the life of the church. 

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