Your support is helping expand Progressive Christianity. We are one of the largest sources for progressive theological perspectives, as well as our thousands of resources. It is hard to overstate their value – every time you donate it expands our ability to do all those essential offerings even better. DONATE NOW!

    • Dr. Rick Herrick
    • Dr. Rick Herrick (PhD, Tulane University), a former tenured university professor and magazine editor, is the author of three published novels: An Uncommon Woman, A Week in October, and Choosing Love, A Man Called Jesus and A Christian Foreign Policy: New Ways to Think About a Problem. He has also published a work of nonfiction entitled The Case Against Evangelical Christianity. His musical play, “Lighthouse Point,” was performed as a fundraiser for the Martha's Vineyard Museum in May 2013. He is married with three children and seven grandchildren.

A Second Chance

In this story, Jesus comes to New York City and chooses a gay man to be his messenger. The two proceed to establish a movement to redefine the Christian faith. The characters are warm and zany. Their escapades will make you laugh and challenge you to think.

read more

Two Stimulating Novels for Your Summer Reading List

If you’re looking for some stimulating summer reading, I have two novels to recommend. “The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult and Kristen Hannah’s novel, “The Great Alone”, is another page turner.

read more

Why Meditate? A Review of Mindful Christianity by Jim Burklo

Burklo’s book refocuses Christianity away from doctrine and belief to knowing God through mindful practice and the compassionate action that follows from an enlarged perspective.

read more

Zen and the Art of Coaching Basketball

A Review

This is an important book because it provides clear evidence that spiritual practices work. Imagine if the members of Congress meditated before the start of each session.

read more

Christians Fighting Christians: A Disgraceful Legacy

The Christian Church has a disgraceful legacy of Christians fighting Christians. In the aftermath of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Christians fought among themselves for two hundred years over the nature of Jesus.

read more

On the Need to Build People Better

I have always believed the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament were quite clear. He calls for an inclusive society with a focus on nonviolent means for resolving conflict. He demonstrates a passionate concern for social and economic justice.

read more

Why Politics is a Must for Christians

Voting rights has been the central focus of the Democratic Party for the last month. Evangelical groups like the Family Research Council and the Faith and Freedom Coalition provide cover for Republican voter suppression efforts by arguing there is no biblical basis for supporting voter rights.

read more

Religion as Encounter v. Religion as Belief

I would like to build on Carl Krieg’s recent essay in the resource section of the PC.org website entitled “The One You Feed.” His article reminded me of my past life as a political scientist studying public opinion and voting behavior.

read more

A Man Called Jesus

A Novel Revised and Annotated

Have you ever wondered about Nazareth as a place to live in the first century? How about Jesus the miracle worker: how did he do the great deeds reported of him in the New Testament? “A Man Called Jesus” answers those questions and more.

read more

Jeff’s Journey

This passionate love story is set in the picturesque village of Valle Crucis in the North Carolina mountains. Within the warm embrace of Abby Dunbar and among his many friends in the Valle Crucis community, the Reverend Jeffrey Peterson heals the scars from a failed ministry and psychological trauma.

read more

The Role of Religion in Healing the National Divide

Paul learned from his encounter what it means to be a human being. He was shocked and deeply disturbed when he came to understand the limitations and weaknesses of his human nature. His sense of moral superiority was expunged from his consciousness.

read more

The Next Challenge for ProgressiveChristianity.org

I see a great opportunity for ProgressiveChristianity.org to move in a new direction. I must admit to making this recommendation in fear and trembling because I know nothing about the internal operation of an organization I dearly love.

read more

Bringing Back

Sixty-two percent of white evangelicals believe there was widespread voter fraud in the recent election, and sixty-three percent see Biden’s victory as illegitimate. Forty-one percent believe the violent insurrection on January 6th was an appropriate action taken to remedy the problem.

read more

In Praise of Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I found some parallels between then and now in a nationalistic church with little or no interest in the Christian gospel, at least as I understand it, but what I was most impressed with was Bonhoeffer’s treatment of Christian ethics. The only thing that mattered to Bonhoeffer was how one lived.

read more

Some Thoughts on Healing the Great National Divide

The one thing I never imagined was that fascism could come to the United States. Unfortunately, the myth of American exceptionalism has been totally discredited. Fascism came close to coming to our shores during the last four years. Let’s hope that we as a society can take the steps necessary to see that such a threat never happens again.

read more

Honest About God: A Review of “With or Without God” by Gretta Vosper

  With or Without God: Why the Way We Live Is More Important Than What We Believe by Gretta Vosper is a book designed to reconstruct the Christian church, to free it from doctrine and superstitious belief. …

read more

Religion News from Around the World: A Monthly Roundup by Rick Herrick

December 2020

What Jesus Means to Muslims, Faith Leaders Promote Vaccine Use and other articles from RNS in December 2020.

read more

Pondering the Existence of God: A Review of “The God You Didn’t Know You Could Believe In” by Jeffrey E. Frantz

The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey E. Frantz was a minister in the United Church of Christ for more than forty years. In writing about God, the great mystery that challenges all persons of faith, in The God You Didn’t Know You Could Believe In, Frantz was speaking to his congregation. He knew just the right topics to cover and the right questions to answer for any layperson seeking to bring depth to his or her faith.

read more

Religion News from Around the World: A Monthly Roundup by Rick Herrick

November 2020

The above news items are summaries taken from the Religion News Service. Readers interested in pursuing a news item further should consult the RNS website by using the link listed at the end of the summary…

read more

Understanding the Self-Righteous Political Brain: The First Step in Healing the Political Divide

With regard to the human brain, emotions developed millions of years before reason. These human emotions helped to channel behavior in ways that fostered evolutionary success. Reason eventually came onto the scene as a tool for these emotions to help them achieve their goals. As a result, reason became a tool for rationalization rather than a tool for objective decision making.

read more

Review of the Book: The Liberating Birth of Jesus: A Birth Story Able to Reverse Our Planet’s Perils

The Liberating Birth of Jesus by Lee Van Ham is a groundbreaking book for me. My passion for the last fifty years has been the study of the New Testament. According to Van Ham, I have gone about this study in the wrong way. This revelation both hurts; and yet, in a more important sense, is immensely helpful.

read more

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.

read more

Laurinburg NC: A Lesson on Healing the Racial Divide in America

When I told Ambassador Young of my Laurinburg experience, he smiled and said: “You know, Rick, the problem of systemic racism in this country is not all that difficult to understand. As your Laurinburg example tells us, the cause is primarily economic. When white folks have good jobs, they make good neighbors. When they are unemployed and scared or underemployed and resentful, there are problems.”

read more

Jamieson Spencer Interviews Rick Herrick on his new book “A Christian Foreign Policy”

Dr. Rick Herrick’s work reconsiders foreign policy from the perspective of Christianity. It considers all the issues concerned with foreign policy through a religious frame of reference.

read more

A Christian Foreign Policy: New Ways to Think About a Problem

Dr. Rick Herrick’s work reconsiders foreign policy from the perspective of Christianity. It considers all the issues concerned with foreign policy through a religious frame of reference.

read more

On Forgiving China

The covid-19 virus is raging, creating havoc on the health and economic well-being of nearly every person living on the planet. Sadly, we are only in the first inning of this pandemic with the likely prospect that it will get much worse. It is not surprising, therefore, that the vitriol between the United States and China is in full swing.

read more

The American Fortress: A Christian Opportunity

One of the lessons I remember from my study of U.S. history in high school is that the United States is protected by two oceans on our east and west coasts. Europe’s problems could not negatively impact our nation because we were separated by 3,000 miles of ocean. Our northern and southern borders are secure because we have friendly neighbors.

read more

The Problem With Myths Surrounding Jerusalem

During the three hours we spent in the Old City, I heard lots of nice stories—myths about God forming Adam, about God declaring Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal capital, about Muhammad flying to heaven, and about Jesus’s crucifixion and burial. The problem with these nice stories is that people fight over them.

read more

A Conversation With an Atheist Friend

When two people respond to each other in empathetic ways, love enters the relationship from a space that is between them.

read more

Meeting the Holy Spirit: A Review of “The Desire for Mutual Recognition”

All good Christians know there are three aspects to the traditional belief in a Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The one part of the Trinity I have paid little attention to is the Holy Spirit. Peter Gabel’s new book, The Desire for Mutual Recognition, makes that impossible. Although meeting the Holy Spirit is not the central focus of Gabel’s book, this manifestation of the Triune God jumps out at you with important implications for political theology.

read more

Central America and the U.S. Immigration Mess

Many Christians like to think of themselves as political realists, people who separate their religious beliefs from their political positions. Religion is about salvation. Politics is about attaining economic and ideological gains.

read more

Returning the Genie to Its Bottle: A Christian Strategy to End the Horror of Nuclear War

During the Cold War years, the United States and the Soviet Union built nuclear bombs. By 1986, the U.S. arsenal included 23,000 such bombs with the Soviet arsenal reaching 40,000. Each of these bombs was, at minimum, several times more powerful than the nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1946. The yield of some of the larger bombs was 1,000 times more powerful than the ones used at the end of World War 11.

These national security policies of the two states were insane, morally bankrupt. An all out war between the two countries would have ended human life on the planet. And we came so close!

read more

The Just War Tradition: A Useful Tool for Limiting American Militarism

Since the dawn of the Cold War in the late 1940s, American citizens have lived, with few exceptions, on a permanent war footing. We have spent trillions of dollars preparing for war and trillions more fighting them. These wars have led to huge costs in terms of soldiers killed and wounded, massive civilian casualties, and millions of people displaced. American citizens who are poor have also suffered because of domestic program cuts, and our children will be paying the debt incurred from this fighting for years to come.

read more

Waging a War on Poverty

No Progressive Christian and very few others for that matter need convincing that poverty in America is a Christian issue. The focus of Old Testament Law, the preaching of the prophets, and the teachings of Jesus all speak to the importance of economic justice for the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable. This theme plays a dominant role in the Bible from Genesis 1 through the Book of Revelation.

read more

Finding the Voice of God in the Abortion Debate

Donald Trump won the Presidential election of 2016 because he campaigned as strongly pro-life. Roy Moore, despite allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers, came close to winning the recent Senate election in Alabama because he was also right on this issue among Evangelical Christians. The sacredness of human life is a fundamental conviction of millions of Christians—Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and mainline Christians alike. Finding the right answer to the agonizing question of when to allow for a legal abortion has done more to divide Christians than any other political issue.

read more

Lessons in Political Theology from Jerusalem

On Wednesday (12/6/17), President Trump announced a dramatic change in Middle East policy by declaring the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Most Israelis were thrilled. The government of Israel declared Jerusalem to be its eternal capital in 1980. What is important to note about this declaration is that it is an expression of Jewish nationalism. The claim has little support in Jewish history or from Jewish scriptures.

read more