Contemporary Theology that doesn’t alienate our elders

  Question & Answer Roland from Sydney, writes: Question: How can the clergy educate its members into contemporary theology and attract back the church alumni without alienating the aging conservatives that finance the local church? Answer: By …

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How to respond to homophobic preachers

What can we do about a preacher in our state whose website is “Godhatesfags.com” and who is constantly harassing churches that seek to be open to new knowledge about homosexuality?

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We are living in a time of unprecedented evil

We are living in a time of unprecedented evil, yet we don’t see it; we can’t see it. Not only has industrial civilization lost the ability to distinguish good and evil, we typically confuse the two and casually treat things that are downright anti-future as good.

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Prayer and God

Whether the person engaged in the act of prayer believes in a supernatural deity or force or the benevolence of the universe, we are the only answer we’ve got to the challenges facing our world. Some will work toward solutions compelled by the god in whom they believe. Others will work toward solutions compelled by theirs own sense of compassion and responsibility. Goodness comes into the world through our own hands, voices, and actions.

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Christians and Gun Ownership

What are your views about so many Christians being in favor of gun ownership? Doesn’t that completely contradict the Jesus of peace we read about in the Bible?

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Worldwide today: Christian beliefs in salvation

Do you have any reliable estimates of the number of Christians worldwide who do not subscribe to the viewpoint that “salvation comes only through Jesus Christ”?

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The church’s role in U.S. racism

With the #TakeAKnee movement growing, what do you think the Church’s role in racism in the US is?

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Islamophobia: misinformation and blatant lies

Lots of people are worked up with fear and misinformation. Sometimes it seems that facts just don’t matter anymore. But don’t give up! Keep paying your dues to the reality club and keep your Islamophobia decoder ring handy. Don’t let people who are taken in by every anti-Muslim snake-oil salesman that comes around derail your commitment to what I think Jesus would want us to do: to treat “the other” with respect and dignity. Practice hospitality. Build genuine relationships with those who are excluded or lied about. And maybe, “all of a sudden,” a whole new world will emerge.

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The relevancy of The Old Testament today

Are there parts of the Old Testament that are said to be relevant today and why?

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What do you see as the ideal church?

If you were the moderator of the United Church of Canada with no restrictions… what would the church look like? What do you see as the perfect/ideal United Church of Canada?

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Spirituality outside the context of religion

  Question & Answer   Mike from SanFrancisco asks: Question: I am interested in spirituality but not in religion but isn’t spirituality the same as religion? Answer: By Rev. Matthew Fox Recently I had a thoughtful discussion …

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God as manifestation or separate from Creation

Buddhists tend to think of God as a manifestation of creation; Christians think of God as separate from creation. Do you understand that distinction?

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Being on the wrong end of discrimination

A friend recently suggested that Christianity arguably emphasizes forgiveness more than other major religions, the reason being that Jesus, viewed as illegitimate by his community, was mocked and taunted as a young man. Perhaps Mary was as well.

Being on the wrong end of discrimination, he was led to cultivate an attitude of forgiveness towards those who attacked him. Any thoughts on this idea?

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How do we know we have a soul?

The truth of the matter is that nowhere in the entire Bible are the terms “immortal” or “everlasting” linked with the word “soul.” Although it can be confusing because of our common usage of the word soul today, scriptures state very clearly that a soul is mortal, meaning that it dies. (Ezekiel 18:4, 20) Therefore, the Bible calls someone who has died, simply a “dead soul.”—Leviticus 21:11.

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When was the concept of the Devil introduced?

I can’t respond fully to all the questions, but let me share some thoughts. The pre-Christian world is a mighty big place, so I’m going to focus on the origin of what is called the satan in the Jewish tradition. An excellent book, by the way, is that of Elaine Pagels’ The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics.

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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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