It is time to challenge traditional understandings of God in order to create a twenty-first century faith. We have to say goodbye to the Sunday school God and find new ways of thinking about God.
This is not an exercise in theory, but an effort to take the practice of life seriously. In fact, a twenty-first century faith is an open, dynamic and courageous attitude toward life. It presumes that God is found not in the sky, but in the midst of life. It begins with experience, our shared experience. While experience is not everything, it is a good starting point. It is what we know.
Author Schaeffer (Keeping Faith) adopts a feisty tone in this essay about evangelical Christianity and aggressive atheism. In the first half of the book, he rebuts justifications from both sides, taking aim at the ideas of such celebrity atheists as Richard Dawkins as well as religious leaders like Rick Warren. Schaeffer asks each side to allow for an evolving religion in which allegory takes precedence over literalism. In the second half, he gives space for his own memories, recalling moments that led him to a middle path of “hopeful uncertainty.”read more
In Paul Among the People, Sarah Ruden explores the meanings of his words and shows how they might have affected readers in his own time and culture. She describes as well how his writings represented the new church as an alternative to old ways of thinking, feeling, and living.read more
Biblical Christianity is bankrupt. I use ‘bankrupt’ in the exact sense of the term. A business that goes bankrupt still has value and is capable of producing useful goods or services. It still has an inventory and trained professionals in its employ. Until the day insolvency is declared, it also usually has a façade—a bright and upbeat demeanor by which its clients and the community at large assume it to be relatively healthy. The only thing wrong is that a bankrupt business is no longer able to accomplish its purpose: to be successful. It is precisely in this sense that I suggest Bible-centered faith is bankrupt.read more
By: Gary Wiburn. Last week I spoke of our defining identity here at First Presbyterian as being four things: a Christ-Centered faith, a place of Creative Celebration, of Compassionate Caring, and Inclusive Community. These are some of the primary ways in which we understand ourselves as a Center for Progressive Christianity, which means nothing less than trying to embrace the essential teachings of Jesus.read more
The possibility that Jesus’s message was one of radical fairness, and that following Jesus means creating and living in a world based on non-violent covenant instead of desperate selfishness, has certainly been hidden from view since before Luke decided to tell the story. It’s time to give the presidents and prime ministers of today the chance to see and hear the alternatives to imperial, retributive, business-as-usual. It’s time to offer viable alternatives to the feel-good, prosperity-based, exclusive, self-righteousness that passes for evangelism on the right. As liberal pundit Keith Olbermann has suggested, it’s time for some non-violent democratic action.read more
Only when our liturgies have about them the flavour of story can we expect them to have the resonance we would like them to have. The challenge of our liturgies is to retell our personal experiences in the light of our Australian experience of the natural seasons. Our preaching should be intellectually and theologically honest – keeping what we know and what we believe, together – delivered in conversational or ordinary language.read more
This is NOT just another book about the gospels! With a perfect blend of historical context mixed with contemporary insights, Dr. Shaia opens up the gospels in a whole new way.read more
‘This book… is an alleluia view of every present moment, a view that welcomes its complexity and subjects it to the more lasting view, the long view, of life. To that, alleluia (p. x1).’?read more
In Correcting Jesus, Brian Griffith patiently and clearly untangles the many strands of the story of Christianity, and the many changes made over the centuries to the original story of Jesus and his message. For any reader who’s wondered, “Where did that rule come from?” and “Was it always this way?” Brian’s book is the one you’ve waited for. He’s always passionate but direct in his thesis that the original words of Jesus were meant as a basis for a society based on partnership and equity, not the one of domination and hierarchy they’re used so often to justify.read more
Over the last fifteen years I listened to a growing number of troubled clergy who are in conflicted and or dying churches. (I believe there is a connection.) Sometimes the battles are over “LBGT” issues and other times it may be about politics. But far more often, the conflict is rooted in theology, Christology and ideology. Frankly, with rare exceptions, clergy cannot freely teach what they learned in seminary or more importantly, what they have come to believe about their own understanding of the Christian religion, the Bible or their faith. The resultant message is often mixed or muddled and almost always without passion.read more
Should I abandon my tradition because liberal and moderate religion serves to justify the extremes? Is my participation in this religious institution providing legitimacy and credibility for fundamentalism, violence, oppression and bigotry done in the name of religion? I’m studying to be a minister in this tradition. It’s called Unitarian Universalism. Am I guilty by association? Should I jump ship? What do you think?read more
Ironically, author Anne Rice may have been more of a Christian yesterday than she ever was, when she announced, on Facebook, that she was quitting Christianity and renouncing any claim to the title “Christian.”read more
Hear the rumble of Christian hypocrisy. The evangelist who says the Haiti earthquake is retribution for sin is at least true to his religion.
We know what caused the catastrophe in Haiti. It was the bumping and grinding of the Caribbean Plate rubbing up against the North American Plate:
a force of nature, sin-free and indifferent to sin, unpremeditated, unmotivated, supremely unconcerned with human affairs or human misery.read more
In Coming Back to Earth, Geering concludes that the most credible scenario for Christianity s future depends on accepting the Gaia concept as a powerful modern myth that will sustain individual humans spiritually, and our planetary home ecologically.read more
Jack Spong has attempted to rescue the Bible from fundamentalism and Marcus Borg has encouraged us to read the Bible again for the first time. However, the Bible remains a problematic text for religious progressives, including Christians and people from other faith traditions. This presentation will acknowledge the constraints on the capacity of the Bible to function in the post-Christian global era, but also imagine some ways in which the Bible may make a constructive contribution to progressive religious communities in the future.read more
The Rev. Gary Wilburn, friend, leader and pastor died at around 2 p.m. Monday, June 28, after a battle with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 67. Bev Wilburn, the late pastor’s wife, said the family will hold three services ; one at the Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, Calif., where he worked for 10 years; one in Baja California, Mexico, where he lived for the past two years, and one at his former church in New Canaan.read more
At the recent Southern Baptist Convention which met in Orlando, a theme reiterated throughout the meeting was the “lostness” of the world. Consider the following quotes, taken from an article in the Western Recorder by Editor Todd Deaton titled: SBC takes ‘fresh look’ at nation’s lostness:
Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary, declared: “We need to be looking forward with an aggressive agenda to penetrate lostness around the world and in North America.”read more