“Who Do You Say I AM?” – Jesus IS? – Part 3

We cannot un-know what we have learned. In the past one-hundred years biblical scholarship has exploded. In the halls of academia, in the seminaries of mainline denominations the quest for knowledge about Jesus has born so very much fruit. Now thanks to the explosions of the information age, information that was once reserved to the carefully initiated, is available to everyone. Wander into your local bookstore, or turn on your computer and you will discover more information than any one person could ever digest on the subject of Jesus. And yet, despite more than 2000 years of scholarship, theologizing, speculating, preaching, and teaching, the question, put on the lips of Jesus by the anonymous gospel-storyteller that we call Matthew, remains a daunting question to answer.

read more

Who Do You Say that I AM? Part 2

Matthew 16:13-28

  This sermon is the second in a series of three sermons responding to questions about Jesus’ identity. You can explore the part one here Part Two of this exploration of Jesus’ identity includes three reflections interspersed …

read more

Who Do You Say that I AM? Part 1

Matthew 16:13-20 and Romans 12: 1-8 – a sermon

“Who do you say that I Am?” For most of my life I have been trying to figure out who I think Jesus was and is. Your very presence here on a beautiful summer morning, suggests to me that many of you have also tried to figure out who Jesus was and is. From time to time, I suspect that most of us have believed that we have worked it out; that we know just who Jesus is. But Jesus, just like every person we have ever known and or ever loved, Jesus keeps changing on us.

read more

Treasure Map: Christians United in the Search

For 2,000+ years, Christians have studied the words of Jesus, the Apostles, Ancient Israelite prophets, psalmists and lawmakers in the Bible. We have been locked in theological debate over the meaning of life and how to achieve the union with God we so desire.

read more

The relevancy of The Old Testament today

Are there parts of the Old Testament that are said to be relevant today and why?

read more

How You Become Like Your Enemies

I think this is what Jesus was warning us about when he told us to turn the other cheek. A punch in the cheek seems to demand a punch on the cheek in return. However, whether you “win” or not by punching the other person, the other side has controlled you and gotten you to play their game. Play this out long term, and you realize there is no winning as life simply deteriorates into an endless game of king of the hill where no one stays on top for long.

read more

Resistance Bible Study

(This is the introduction to a weekly Bible study I’m starting for students at USC. A few days ago, I finished reading a remarkable little book that my dear cousin Judy sent me: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder, a Yale history professor who incisively diagnoses the present danger posed by Trump and the Republicans to the survival of democracy in this country, and offers prescriptions for action. I closed the book, took a deep breath, and resolved to do something new and different toward that end. This “Resistance Bible Study” is the result. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! Any “musings” readers wishing to do their own version of this, please go for it – and keep me posted, too.)

read more

The Gospel Is Not Good News For Everyone

By Alexis James Waggoner for Sojourners

I’ve been operating under a false assumption. An unexamined theology, of my own making, that I have been forced to confront: The gospel is good news, but it is not good news for all. At least not in the way we want it to be.

read more

Family and Politics: Why I’m Against ‘Keeping the Peace’

There are times when we need to speak up.

We live in an age of sharp division. According to the Pew Research Center, an “overwhelming majority” of Americans (86%) believe the country is more politically divided than it has ever been before. These political and ideological differences aren’t merely a matter of red or blue states; these same sharp divisions exist within many families, potentially alienating parents from children, sisters from brothers. When we disagree with those we love about some of our most closely held beliefs, must keeping the peace always mean keeping quiet?

read more

A Second Look at Jesus

If you are certain that your understanding of Jesus’ person and ministry is correct because it comes from the biblical gospels, then your first reaction to this article is that I am writing fantasy. Let me reassure you that I am very familiar with the content of the bible, I have studied theology, and I served in parish ministry for thirty-five years with a rather traditional view of Christianity.

However, seeds for change were planted during my ministry, and in retirement I have had opportunity to study the writings of a number of prominent theological scholars who have helped me to understand the gospels as ‘time sensitive’ writings. This has led to a radically different understanding of Jesus and his ministry, a change that has stimulated my faith journey. I will attempt to summarize my journey.

read more

Interview with Robin Myers: Being a follower of Jesus

In this short interview, we asked progressive Christian leader, author and activist, Rev. Robin Meyers: “What does being a follower of Jesus mean to you? Can that lead to personal transformation?”

read more

Being on the wrong end of discrimination

A friend recently suggested that Christianity arguably emphasizes forgiveness more than other major religions, the reason being that Jesus, viewed as illegitimate by his community, was mocked and taunted as a young man. Perhaps Mary was as well.

Being on the wrong end of discrimination, he was led to cultivate an attitude of forgiveness towards those who attacked him. Any thoughts on this idea?

read more

Prayer of Lament – Sermon Video

Prayer of Lament, in the shadow of the tragic explosion of White Supremacy that we witnessed this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. In solidarity with churches nationwide. Rector Mike Kinman, All Saints Church, Pasadena (CA), Sunday, August 13, 2017.

read more

Beneath the Surface: What difference does it make how we interpret this little story?

A sermon for Pentecost 10A – Matthew 14:22-33 and 1 Kings19:9-18

After a splendid month-long vacation, I have returned to work as two mad men toss rhetoric into the ether that is designed to to strike fear of a nuclear holocaust into the hearts of people everywhere. Looking at Sunday’s readings: 1 Kings 19:9-18 in which Elijah hears the still small voice of God and Matthew 14:22-33 in which Jesus walks on water. Somehow, this sermon that I preached three years ago seems appropriate to repost so as to encourage us all to look beneath the surface of what we see, hear, and read! Shalom…

read more

We need another language

We need another language
that we can live on earth,
to move us further forward,
to give the Word new birth;
to live the love of Jesus,
incarnate through our lives.
Aligned with God’s own spirit,
the love of God survives.

read more

John 3:16 incomplete without 1st John 3:16

I have friends who seem to think believing that Jesus died for them is all they need to do. Some of them even treat other people badly and when I say something to them about being more Christian they just quote John 3:16 to me. What are your thoughts?

read more

Talking Back to the Bible: A Historian’s Approach to Bible Study

Millennials seeking a new approach to spirituality, those who identify with the “emerging church” identified by Marcus Borg and others, anyone interested in Christ’s Jewishness and the elimination of anti-Jewish bias from Bible study, and women, LGBTs, and others who seek a Biblical approach that overcomes insistence on obedience to questionable Old Testament commands will be intrigued by the new book by Edward G. Simmons.

read more

Ecological Observations on Abrahamic Religious Belief

Planet Earth is falling into deficit as a result of our presence on it. All of our institutions are to blame.

How much responsibility does Abrahamic religious belief have? It has major responsibility. Its system of belief has been a molder of Western culture and the institutions that have grown out of that culture. It is a culture that now dominates most of the world.

read more