Fifty Years Later – Part 15

What Lies Ahead?

As the years moved along, this answer seemed less and less adequate in the face of undeserved suffering in the world, the epitome of which is the baby born into the world, experiences extreme pain, and dies after one day.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 14

What and Why is The Church?

Fifty years ago, one prominent topic of conversation in the churches was the ecumenical movement, trying to determine what the various bodies had in common.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 11

What is a Christian?

If you ask this question, the most likely answer you will get, is that a Christian is a person who accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, this being the most likely answer both fifty years ago and also today.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 10

Who was Jesus?

The question Who is Jesus? is perhaps the most complex issue in Christian theology, embracing, as it does, three interrelated sub-questions: who was he in his person, what did he do, and how does that impact us today?

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Fifty Years Later – Part 9

What is Sin?

Answering this question is both easy and difficult. The easy part is differentiating sin against God from plain old immorality, as well as from crime against society.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 8

Who is Man?

Fifty years ago the Christian understanding of human nature fell into two camps. The fundamentalist approach placed humanity at the apex of an unchanging universe.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 7

Is God Alive and well?

Creation and the health and activity of God go together.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 6

What does Creation Mean?

Even fifty years ago, whatever creation means, it does not mean that in seven days God brought the universe into being out of nothing.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 5

What is God Like?

Almost 50 years ago I wrote a book entitled What to Believe?, subtitled The Questions of Christian Faith. Fortress Press had been looking for such a book, and so published it in 1974. Fifty years later, I thought it might be interesting to see how my thinking today has changed. Hence the title.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 4

How does God Make Himself Known?

Speaking of God as a “he” is pretty much in your face, but there are other distinctions to be made between the past and the present when speaking of how God makes God known.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 3

How Do We Answer Our Questions?

Key to my understanding today are some observations about human life. I’ll refer to these later in the discussion about human nature, but a quick summary is in order. Following the Reformers, and adding a touch of neuroscience, it seems to me that we all become egocentric.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 2

How is Christianity Related to Other Religions?

The dominant view in the history of Christianity is that Jesus the Christ is the savior of the world, the one and only mediator between God and humanity.

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Fifty Years Later – Part 1

New Questions and New Answers for a New Time

Almost 50 years ago I wrote a book entitled “What to Believe?”, subtitled The Questions of Christian Faith. I thought it might be interesting to see how my thinking today relates both to those questions and to whatever theological inclinations I may have had at the time.

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Bringing in the Kingdom of God

            I have a musical in my computer that is sadly going nowhere. I love the central premise. Jesus comes back and appoints a gay guy to be his messenger. It was easy to make funny because the characters are zany.

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Where “Black Lives Matter” Can Take Us

Hope in fresh conversations on race

The cries of ”I can’t breathe” have apparently awakened America to much needed new conversations on race.  As the national outpouring of support for Black Lives Matter has gone global, perhaps, indeed, a new movement is afoot in our country.  Whatever is happening, it boils over with passion.  

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 4 of 4)

Intergenerational White Victimhood

For my last installment on the topic of ‘Confronting the Denial of American White Racism’, I humbly submit a discussion on the pervasiveness of white victimhood through generations of American history; in fact, I call it: ‘Intergenerational White Victimhood’ (a psychological theory I’m developing). The basis for my research comes from a Newsweek/Gallup Survey, August 19, 1969, one year after the death of Dr. King, revealing that 44% of whites believed that black people had a better chance than they did at obtaining employment and earning a higher wage. 88%, in the same survey, outright stated that their chances were worse, insisting that they knew this to be true, not just a mere belief. Moreover, 80% of whites said that black people already possessed equal or better educational opportunities as well; only 17% of whites said otherwise (3% were indifferent). Remember, we are talking about 1969…

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Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Christian Ideas – Part 5

The Last Templar

The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury (2005) opens in Acre, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, in 1291. As the city burns, a Templar knight, Martin of Carmaux, and his mentor, Aimard of Villiers, board a galley with a mysterious Templar chest. The ship vanishes without a trace.

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It Can Happen Here: Changing Hearts and Minds

  When I was thirteen years old, in 1966, my family moved from a small midwestern town to Santa Cruz, California. It was the first Summer of Love. I came from a star, I came very far, …

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What Shall We Overcome? Getting Atticus Out of Egypt

Racism, the Imbalance of Power, and the Response of the Prophetic Voice

The literary world is in an uproar, learning that a prequel to Harper Lee’s great American novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” depicts the beloved Atticus Finch as a southern white racist. Is it possible that, like the fictional character, we can ever evolve and change?

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Conscience and Consciousness

A Spiritual Path for Personal Transformation

An aging Vietnam vet suffering from PTSD returns to Da Nang after 50 years in order to try to do something for those still afflicted generations later by the lingering toxic affects of Agent Orange. His nagging conscience leads to a redemptive act of self-healing and a common good.

Spirituality is often an amorphous and bandied about term that too often connotes the merely religious type, as somehow distinct from those who are not. Instead, I appreciate something as equally shared as it is often neglected, namely the human conscience and our sometimes-belated conscious awareness of it.

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Trees and Things that Live

The idea that we humans have been given dominion over the animals, the trees and the waters is just wrong. At some point we are going to have to admit we have been blind to what we have done and are continuing to do. If we do not begin to function in harmony with all Creation, I am afraid Homo sapiens will have a short history on this earth. Even more tragic, we humans will have missed an opportunity to experience an amazing awareness that could have led to a profound, life changing spiritual experience and a very different worldly experience.

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What Should the Vatican Say to the (Last Generation of) Nuns?

I grew up around nuns. My mother had left the convent five years before I was born, but all through my childhood our home was often visited by her “convent buddies,” a dozen or so women who …

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