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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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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