you are here: topics / western-philosophy 1-12 of 167 « 1 of 14 »    

Defining Progressive Christianity

An Open-Ended “Creed” for a Progressive Christian

I have often said so-called “progressive Christianity” is a notion forever in search of its own elusive definition; and that’s as good a way of explaining it as we may be able to find. We live in a post-modern world that considers the age of Enlightenment to be a post-facto reality. As such, “progressive” thinking in an age of Reason has pushed the boundaries of nearly every facet of life, except one: those ‘traditional’ or ‘orthodox’ beliefs, based on certain creeds, doctrines and dogma that still dominate what it presumably means to be “Christian.” It hardly needs to be said that it is also why so many one-time believers have outgrown their one-time faith. Calling them merely “lapsed” is misleading. So much has elapsed in the world we have all come to know and take for granted, that the once-dominant Church — — despite all its denominational varieties — has fast become a post-modern relic. Yet any critical examination of how Christian scriptures developed and how the history of the tradition evolved will quickly demonstrate how it has always been in a constant state of flux. Or, if you like, “progression.” It was only when it stopped and got stuck that we traded in the tent for a temple, and snuffed the life out of a movement that is progressive by its very nature. What then would constitute an honest statement of belief for at least this “progressive Christian?”

read more

Take Two Giant Steps Back

Many Christians today are increasingly unsure about how to “take” the Bible. To borrow from the childhood game “Mother, May I?” I’d suggest we take two giant steps back. We need to move ourselves back to challenge two assumptions that block our comfort with the Holy Bible.

read more

We Need a Site

But what our guide told us next has stayed in my memory for the almost twenty years since my visit. With a shrug of his shoulders he explained, “Well, we need a site. An important event—we need to have a site. Do we know exactly where it happened? No. But we must have a site so that we can remember.”

read more

Thanks for Nothing

A Commentary for Thanksgiving in an Age of Anxiety

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

The Lost Gospel of the Earth:

A Call for Renewing Nature, Spirit and Politics

More timely and necessary than ever in the wake of recent calamities like Hurricane Katrina and the Republican war against the environment, The Lost Gospel of the Earth is legendary activist Tom Hayden’s eco-spiritual call for revamping traditional religious doctrine to reflect a greater environmental consciousness, which he believes is the only way to save the planet from catastrophe.

read more

SYRIA, POISON GAS, MISSILE STRIKES AND PEACE?

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

A Pessimist for Peace, And the Question of a Just War

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
you are here: topics / western-philosophy 1-12 of 167 « 1 of 14 »