Do you “stand” on the bible or do you have a “stand” on the bible?

So, don’t mistake the liberal tendency towards tolerance (which allows you – in broad strokes – to believe what you want and do what you please) to remain silent when what you believe and advocate fails to respect the rights or freedom of others. You can claim that your “stand” is the definitive interpretation of what the Bible says, but so did the slave-owning, sexist, and racist Christians of the past – and so do the discriminatory, misogynistic dogmatists of today.

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Using the word “God” and balancing tradition and wisdom

These questions were put to me by an Italian philosopher on the occasion of the publication of my book on education, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human, into Italian. I felt they were deserving of sharing with an American audience as well.

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Choosing a Bishop Spong book for your group

Boy you are asking a tough question that begs for a good response. I suppose that is why this ended up on my desk. Frankly the choice would depend on the level of sophistication of your group.

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Thoughts on Atheism, God and Religion

I don’t think an atheist does need God. My colleagues who identify as non-theists or post-theists or panentheists need the word ‘god’, but not the traditional understanding. They need the word because, as the late scholar Marcus Borg believed, if we lose our exclusive Christian language, we will lose Christianity.

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Keeping Our Beloved Hymns

it is the responsibility of each generation to create new works of art that reflect our realities and our values and, let’s be honest, our foibles. If our message is not more compelling than “Amazing Grace” and the “Old Rugged Cross,” how is anyone going to believe it is “good news” (gospel)? It’s hard work to convince people to accept new songs to love, but the effort is worth the challenge.

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Where progressive Christianity is going from here

As progressive Christianity has absorbed the Emergent label it has inherited a tension between those two macro factions. Mainly, those who still see Jesus as ontologically unique in comparison to every other human ever to live — and those who don’t.

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Civil Disagreements and The Powers That Be

Even though I find redemptive suffering to be horrible theology, it does seem to be the underpinning that 1 Peter’s author is using to encourage Christian slaves to endure the suffering that they are subjected to under their masters. The larger implication, however, is that you are doing it because you are “following in [Jesus’s] footsteps.”

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Bibles in Public Schools

Question:
Why is it that our children can’t read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

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How do you account for the atrocities happening around the world?

The question that has always haunted me is this: if the Holy Mystery is love and that is already in our essence, then how do you account for the Holocaust, inhumane conditions and treatment of the people of Somalia, Southern Sudan and all of the other atrocities that are happening around the world and in our own country? Where is the Beloved, the Holy Mystery, and the love of God?

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Understanding the Scriptures

Yes, the idea the Jesus died for our sins, or sinful nature, is really one of the causes for so many people turning their backs on Christianity today.

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Interpreting “The Great Commission”

The “whole world” is a big place (today we know our universe is made up of two trillion galaxies!) so there is plenty of space to roam in. While Matthew’s “Great Commission” talks about teaching the commandments Jesus has taught, at the heart of these are love of God and love of neighbor and vice versa. Our neighbor is not restricted to the two-legged ones, but all creation deserves to hear that humans are busy loving all creatures–not destroying other creatures in narcissistic fits of greed and violence that end whole species while endangering human generations that follow with a depleted earth.

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Progressive Christianity on the concept of hell

That is an excellent question and we progressive Christians really would do well to have some thought out responses when our more evangelical friends ask us about these matters – as well as our agnostic, atheist, and spiritual but not religious friends ask us this same question. As with so many things, progressive Christianity doesn’t have any official stance about this, but it does seem to be the case that most progressive Christians do not have a concept of hell as part of their faith and practice. I cannot speak for all of progressive Christianity, but I can share how this progressive Christian understands things – hell isn’t even part of the Bible and shouldn’t be a part of Christianity. To be blunt about it, let me repeat, Hell isn’t Christian – or Jewish. It’s pagan.

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How to experience a living relationship with God

The most enduring challenge faced by those who want to help others have the experience of a living relationship with God is our utter refusal to come up with a succinct definition of god that everyone will agree upon. Further complicating the challenge provided by the sheer number of ideas we are left with about the god we call God, is our assumption that everyone else shares the same idea we have. I think it was Peter Jennings, in a convocation address to Carleton University, who named our penchant for assuming that even people we know nothing about believe exactly the same way that we do, “the Vanna White Syndrome”.

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Why still call yourself a Christian?

I enjoy what you have been saying about Jesus, and I am becoming much more progressive than I used to be, but still I have a hard time understanding why someone with your beliefs still remains a Christian? If the Jesus you still “believe” in is not the Jesus that resurrected and was God incarnate, then why do you still call yourself a Christian?

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Why do we assign a gender to God?

I have used the term “God” here several times to explain how we became more patriarchal. But the truth be told, no one has been able to decide where the word God came from or how long ago. The word God is a relatively new European invention, which was never used in any of the ancient Judeo-Christian scripture manuscripts that were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek or Latin. Scholars tend to agree that is was sometime in the 6th century, probably in the Germanic culture and a derivation of the word, gudan.

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What was the point of Jesus dying on the cross was if it wasn’t to save us from our sins?

To me, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem – humbly riding into town, bouncing around on the back of a previously unridden ass as people gathered to greet him singing and shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord,” signals that Easter is going to be a story about confronting The Powers That Be.

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How to be loving …

  Question and Answer   Question:   Dear rB, You talk about loving and not being filled with hate. I remember this past summer you turned the racist, anti-Semitic graffiti outside your house into a teaching moment …

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Oh My G-g-od!?

Setting aside the concern of how biblical scholars discern when to capitalize God, for me, there are certain differences in how I experience people using God versus god.

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