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    • Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Frantz
    • The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Frantz is a retired United Church of Christ minister. He had long term pastorates in San Diego County and in Miami Lakes, Florida. His service as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama in the late sixties spurred his commitment to social-justice ministries and to a spirit of ecumenism as a local church pastor. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Pacific School of Religion. He is the author of The Bible You Didn’t Know You Could Believe In and his just published book: The God You Didn’t Know You Could Believe In. Dr. Frantz and his wife, Yvette, are now retired and living in Boynton Beach, Florida.

Radical Paul and Radical Jesus

Given the amount of criticism of Paul over the centuries, if we can try to understand Paul in light of his authentic letters (the seven letters he, in fact, actually wrote), we soon discover that the radical Paul (the Paul of his authentic letters: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon) had a lot in common with the radical Jesus (the Jesus of history). Stated more accurately, the Jesus we learn of in the gospel stories had a lot in common with Paul.

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Did Paul Distort the Message of Jesus?

Christianity before Paul.  In order to explore the question of Paul distorting the message of Jesus, we need to ask the question, What was Christianity like before Paul, which would be in the early decades after Jesus’ death?  Paul wrote his letters from approximately 51-62 CE (Common Era).  Therefore, in the thirties and forties CE, what was the Jesus movement like?

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Rediscovering the Authentic Paul

Paul and Jesus.  The life, mission, and writings of the Apostle Paul loom large over the Christian Church.  Whatever our personal opinion of Paul, after Jesus, he remains the major personality in the growth and shaping of the early church.  His contribution to Christianity is immeasurable by virtually any standard.

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Who is Jesus today?

Distinguishing the Pre-Easter from the Post-Easter Jesus

The pre-Easter Jesus is the historical Jesus, the Jesus before his crucifixion and the experience of Easter Sunday.  He is the Jesus of history, the Jesus who grew up in the peasant village of Nazareth and who, around the age of thirty, launched a public ministry that changed the world.  However, trying to unpack who this Jesus was as an historical person is a daunting task. 

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Jesus and Mary Magdalene

A close reading of the gospels, particularly the crucifixion and resurrection accounts, suggests that Mary Magdalene had a prominent role in the ministry of Jesus.  Indeed, she was often referred to as “the apostle to the apostles.”

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SIZE, God, and the Challenge of These Times

In our thinking about God, God has great size. However, it is a size that can never be fully grasped because it is always enlarging–eventually becoming more than anything we can conceptualize or imagine. 

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Where “The Hill We Climb” Can Take Us

How poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, lifted America

The inaugural poem of Amanda Gorman – at 22, the youngest inaugural poet laureate in U.S. history – lifted our spirits as it dazzled our imagination.  Indeed, as her lofty words filled the air at our nation’s capitol, hope was given a new face. 

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People Want To Believe in God

Believing in God–or not believing–is not always as straight forward as we might think.

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What Happens in Prayer?

I do not pray to the God of supernatural theism. This is the God in the sky, the God of antiquity–the three-tiered universe–with heaven above, hell down below, and the earth in between.

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“Caste” and the Deepening Polarization of America

In grappling with Isabel Wilkerson’s best-selling, new book, Caste (subtitle: The Origins of Our Discontents), we are reminded how Jesus was himself–in his life, his teachings, and his ministry–a leader who broke with the entrenched caste system of his time.  In every era of human history, caste is a stumbling block; and for Christians, it is a stumbling block to the advent of the Kingdom of God, announced by Jesus.  This Kingdom ushers in a new ordering of the world, a reprioritizing of social, economic, and political values. 

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The Bible as “The Best Stories We Know

The Bible is a human creation.  The Bible is a human product and creation.  It was not written by God.  God is the great MORE of the universe–more than anything we can say, think, imagine, or conceptualize about God.  Indeed, God is Spirit, infinite love and energy, abiding presence, and endless mystery.  Still, God doesn’t write things.  While I do believe God was a source of tremendous inspiration to the biblical writers (and editors), I do not believe God authored the Bible.

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God and the Problem of Human Suffering

Why all the suffering? In conversations on belief in God, perhaps the greatest conundrum is the timeless problem of human suffering. Forever, this has been a weighty problem. Now and then, in religious circles, we hear that a minister, theologian, or biblical scholar has decided they are an atheist. When asked why, the answer usually has something to do with the problem of human suffering.

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Jesus Evolved Into Everything He Became

Who was Jesus?  This simple question continues to fascinate both Christians and non-Christians.  Beyond being an utterly remarkable human being, the pre-Easter Jesus (the historical Jesus) was a spirit person and mystic, a healer, a sage and teacher of wisdom, a social-justice prophet, and a movement initiator.

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The God You Didn’t Know You Could Believe In

As this book affirms, God continues to be the great conundrum, the great mystery, the great challenge of human existence. Paradoxically, while people have long claimed to doubt the existence of God, God is still the most important reality in the world.

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Resurrection and the Remarkable Humanity of Jesus

As a fully human person, what was Jesus like?  I confess I am forever fascinated by this question.  What was it like to be Jesus of Nazareth, to have what I call this God presence in him?  And as this God presence thrived in his spirit, when did he first become aware of it? 

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Wake Up, America!

Not the time for sentimental politics

Let’s tell the truth about these times!  On the bright side, the recent Black Lives Matter movement continues to build and will hopefully carry us to long-overdue progress in race relations.  On the darker side, however, we live in the grip of one of the worst pandemics in the recent history of our planet.  Added to this, our nation is saddled with the what is arguably most incompetent and corrupt presidency in our 244 years as a democratic republic.

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God–Endless Mystery, Always Evolving

Because the nature and reality of God are always more than our language about God, the only language we have for conversation on God is the language of metaphor.  In other words, in our God talk it is not possible for us to be more definitive or precise because, finally, God cannot be reduced to our verbal assessments about God. 

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Be Responsible!

Morality and the Coronavirus

As the coronavirus spikes out of control in the United States, I am exhausted by the whiny, self-centered cries of people over how their freedoms are being denied by city or state mandates to wear a mask and social distance.  As of this moment, this self-centeredness is literally killing us in frightening, almost unimaginable numbers. 

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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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Beyond Atonement Theology

Letting Go of the Mantra: "Jesus died for our sins"

Within the world of progressive Christianity, it is amazing how the Christian faith, supported by the Christian Church, has continued over the decades and centuries to teach and preach the mantra: Jesus died for our sins.  It would be hard to measure the hurtful guilt and pain this teaching has caused God-fearing Christians over the years.

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What Makes Progressive Christianity Progressive?

  As progressive Christianity continues to emerge and evolve, it is important to seek clarity on the vision of Christian faith it calls us to.  The word progressive bears significance.  A progressive faith is an evolving faith, …

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Can a Person Be an Atheist and Still Believe In God?

Theism, or supernatural theism (for the most part, they bear the same meaning) is a monotheistic conception of God that has been with us since the idea of monotheism first began to emerge in our Judeo-Christian story–after the Exodus (1,200 Before the Common Era), down through the time of the Babylonian Exile (587-538 BCE).

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Reflections on God

Laying To Rest the God of Supernatural Theism

In support of progressive Christianity, it is important, in the church and in our Christian faith, that we present the Bible, God, and Jesus in ways that are believable.

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Towards a New Conception of God

Since the dawning of creation, God continues to be the great conundrum, the great mystery, the great unknown, the great challenge of human existence.  This God is not only the God of Christianity, but also the God of Judaism and Islam and other world religions who call on God’s name.

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The Bible You Didn’t Know You Could Believe In

Within the emerging world of Progressive Christianity this book seeks to present the Bible, God, and Jesus in ways and language that are believable.

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