Bishop John Shelby Spong ~ June 16, 1931 – September 12, 2021
Bishop Spong provided a much needed place for those of us who did not connect with traditional theology. We love you Bishop Spong. You will be missed! Funeral services will be held at St. Peter’s, Morristown, NJ and at St. Paul’s, Richmond, VA. Dates and times will be announced as soon as they are available

Bold Directions for Dangerous Times

In a recent article in progressivechristianity.org Jim Burklo wrote about the possibility, if not likelihood, that there will be a flood of disaffected folks leaving the evangelical churches and that progressive congregations should be ready “to attract them by making changes in our styles of worship and congregational life that are necessary to seize this remarkable moment.” 

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The 60s and Today

Our understanding of God is impacted by the historical context in which we live, and often changes with the season. A comparison of the 1960s with today is a case in point. It is also a span of time that brackets the theological journey of some of us, including myself.

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Neither Good nor Bad

As violence and division erupt here at home and around the world, we are forced again to ask of ourselves: who are we? What is the essential nature of human beings? Are we inclined to do good, or are we bound to pursue what might be named evil? Good, or bad? A seemingly simple question but one that drags in its wake a multitude of ramifications that are not so simple.

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What to Believe?: The Questions of Christian Faith

This book seeks  primarily  to  deal  with  the  questions  which any thinking person  must  raise  about  Christian  faith.

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Ways to Gather

History has proven what Bonhoeffer suspected. Every successive generation in the West is less religious than the previous. Mainline Protestant denominations see membership in a steady decline, such that their numbers will reach zero in 23 years.

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Other People

At some deep, deep level, we know that another human being, given the right circumstance, has the power to break through the facade we have created and touch the real me. That is an event we long for.

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Understanding Easter

Even as we consider all the facts, the basic story that emerges is quite simple. The disciples were re-born while they lived with Jesus, and his death neither deterred nor discouraged them.  Instead, they turned to one another and embraced, fully aware in their hearts that he was not only still with them, but also that the newness he embodied embraced the universe. This was the bedrock of their faith and forms the foundation for the day we call Easter.

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Back to the Garden: Nirvana Now

The fact, however, is that most of our life, indeed, the vast majority of it, is time between the moments. The question then becomes: what can I do to overcome my egocentricity and spend more time experiencing the truth of who I am? One answer is community. From what I can tell, community is important for the Buddha because we need support in our search.

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The Buddha Meets Adam and Eve

The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the story of the enlightenment of the Buddha are two of the most famous in the history of religion. Not only that, but even though they arose in different cultures they seem to say the same thing. And what they say resonates with us, no matter our time, no matter our place.

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Like a Bird: The Self-Delusion of White Supremacists

Since it is impossible to say with 100% accuracy what the man from Nazareth looked like, we all need to seriously question our own perception. Who is the Jesus we accept, or reject? Are we open to thinking new thoughts, or are we captivated by the past?

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What was Jesus trying to achieve?

Do you think that Jesus believed he was the Son of God/Son of Man (Daniel 7) and that he physically cured people of diseases and serious disabilities.? If not,what do you think he was trying to achieve by wandering around the countryside with his disciples?

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1-6-21

The events of Jan 6th can be seen from both a micro and a macro perspective. At the micro level various elements combined to create mob rule with murderous intent.

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Christmas

The Christmas story is one of comfort and sweetness, if you will allow me that word. But we must not become so enamored by the Silent Night that we miss the revolutionary impact of the imagery. God appears in the poor places on earth and not in the councils of the rich and powerful.

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Thanksgiving

The battle for the soul of America rages on, now focusing on Thanksgiving. On the one hand are those who offer the image of peace and harmony between Europeans and Indigenous people, on the other those who remind us of the savagery of the Europeans as they sought to exterminate the inhabitants of the land. Which is it?

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Eden, Babel, and a Divided America

The 2020 US presidential election put on full display a country divided. 74 million voters hoped for a repudiation of Trumpism that they did not get. 70 million others voted to stay the course, and made it painfully clear that we live in a fragile democracy. The current moment in American history is fraught with the danger of disintegration.

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Adam in Genesis verses Adam in Romans Ch 5

In looking at how the Jews see the Adam and Eve story – that it was a story of taking responsibility and moving out of innocence etc. How does this reconcile however with Paul ( a Jew) in Romans Ch5 where he appears to take on a more traditional even literal approach with Adam and Sin entering in , The Fall etc. ?

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The Subversion of Jesus by the Rich and Powerful: Part Four, Finale

We don’t know how it happened. A small band that practiced justice and equality for all became an institution that demanded slaves obey their owners, women obey their husbands, and everyone obey the wealthy elite.

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Jesus’ Parable for Labor Day

In our society, where automation and technology threaten to put more and more of us at the end of the line, it might prove helpful to turn to Jesus’ parable in our striving to determine anew the meaning of labor and reward.

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The Subversion of Jesus by the Rich and Powerful, Part Three: The Resurrection

The resurrection of Jesus happened before the crucifixion. Furthermore, I suspect it was the rich and powerful who reversed the order of events. Confused? Let me explain.

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The Subversion of Jesus by the Rich and Powerful, Part Two: The Crucifixion

The wealthy have always been in control. They are today, they were when Jesus walked the planet. He tried a revolution, but the wealthy commandeered the theology and killed the revolution.

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The Subversion of Jesus by the Rich and Powerful – Part One

Violence against people of color. Violence against women. Authoritarian and confused reaction to a pandemic. A fundamentalist distortion of Christianity. And controlling influence by the rich and powerful.

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Wealth and the Baby Lab

In the space of a month, once again we have witnessed here in the US the murder of black people by white people, both civilian and uniformed, and we have witnessed the instant and total poverty of a major segment of our population. The two are not unrelated.

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How can I possibly conceive of God?

Question & Answer   Q: By A Reader I recently read that a team of astrophysicists have concluded that there are over a trillion galaxies in the observable universe. Given what we know and given the photos of …

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Luther and the Bible

The fact of the matter is that although Luther turned to the Bible in order to attack church doctrine, he turned to it as he interpreted it. He never believed it to be inerrant.

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The Other Virus

Last week was about as intense as it gets. Caught between a merciless virus and the cessation of social activity, beneath the surface calm lies a persistent tension ready to erupt. The anxiety was underscored by the two main religious mythologies that drive segments of our culture, the Passover and the Crucifixion/Resurrection of Jesus.

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Andrew Cuomo’s Faith for All

Andrew Cuomo today is a phenomenon. He speaks every day about the coronavirus and his press conferences have become must-see tv. Why? Many reasons, but at heart he speaks to spiritual yearning in all people, a yearning that focuses not on religion and/or God, but on the truth and depth of our common humanity. 

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Variety in the Bible

We often refer to the Bible as if it were a book. It is not. It is a composite of many books, most of which are agreed upon by the various church bodies, but not all.

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Exodus

When I was at Union Theological Seminary in NYC back in the mid 60s there were two courses on the history of ancient Israel, one based on a book by William Albright, the other on a text by a German scholar, Martin Noth. The interesting thing was that they presented two quite different histories of Israel.

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Job

Despite the colloquialism about the “patience of Job”, in the majority of the biblical book, Job was not patient. In fact, he was angry with God, shaking his fist at the heavens, and demanding an answer from the Almighty to a most troubling question: Why, O God, is there innocent suffering in this world?? 

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Apocalytic Visions

The words apocalypse and eschaton have been resurrected from the dustbin of theological jargon, and they both refer to what happens at the end of time. More specifically, they point to the end of life as we know it, and today that prophecy comes in two forms.

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday filled not only with the joy of sharing, but also with contradiction and irony.

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Jesus’ Women Disciples

It is commonly assumed that Jesus had 12 male disciples, the number being fashioned after the 12 tribes of Israel. Whether or not there were 12 tribes named after 12 men is a question for next week. The question for today is: did Jesus have women disciples, and who were they?

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1.2 and Rising

Most of us did not know what was happening, but we do now. The industrial age offered to humanity comforts and conveniences never before imagined, but what we are now discovering is that the bedrock of this modern civilization is a resource that we have unwittingly and precipitously transformed into what could be the cause of our own destruction.

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Who Was Jesus? – Part Two

Part One of our answer to the question of who Jesus was, was basically presented on a secular plane. That changes now, as much of what follows is presented as a statement of belief rather than history.

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Chronos and Kairos

The poor of the planet stare us in the face. Disparity of wealth, in our country and elsewhere, is an outrage that cannot be endured. The numbers are literally unbelievable. The earth provides, but greed monopolizes the table, a select few taking it all while the many stare and starve.

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Who was Jesus? Part One

The question about Jesus is not a simple question. In search of the answer, wars have been fought, laws passed and broken, kingdoms gained and lost, and heretics burned at the stake.

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