Is God a person?

In my theology, “Yes, and…”

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Succumbing to literalist interpretations to justify prejudices

I belong to a church that has a fairly sophisticated membership. We are inclusive and pride ourselves on our openness to diversity of race, socio-economic background, ethnic background and sexual orientation. It’s a warm, comfortable atmosphere in which to worship, and people remark on the welcoming nature of our congregation. I cringe, however, every time we enter the Lenten season, especially as we get closer to Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Some of the references to the Jews clearly foster an anti-Semitic atmosphere. There are Jews in the choir and some in the congregation as well. While sophisticated people realize there is a 2000-year span of time between the Crucifixion and today, still there are people who succumb to literalist interpretations and justify their own prejudices. I am especially concerned about the impression this makes on children and for the feelings of the Jews who sit in the pews and listen to these readings. How can we address this and still read the accounts in a faithful manner?

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Bible: Word of God or Just a Storybook?

I don’t understand why, for centuries the BIBLE has been and IS the inspired word of GOD. Now, for some reason, a few (and not chosen few) think it is just a storybook. It is their fault that the United Methodist church is breaking up. The BIBLE is clear on what GOD thinks of homosexuality. If you notice, the churches that are growing are not mainline liberal churches but fundamental Bible-believing churches. I was raised a Protestant Methodist.

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On abortion, gay marriage and antichrists …

I want you to clarify for me certain issues that seem to me to impact our common existence. Are you in support of gay marriages and abortions? Do you think we have the antichrist and the Dragon in our midst today?

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How would Jesus handle today’s politicians?

There is a lot of political discussion these days about resisting Trump and other politicians that don’t seem to reflect the ways of Jesus. What do you think Jesus would do?

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How to define yourself by discovering and re-claiming who you really are.

  Question & Answer John from Tucson, asks: Question: First let me tell you I am an atheist. Prior to this I was raised in the Roman Catholic tradition and was a member in good standing for …

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Reading the Gospels as midrash

  Question & Answer   Ginny from Reno, Nevada asks: Question: Why is it so important to you to view the Gospels as “midrash” rather than as history? Answer: Rev. Mark Sandlin   Dear Ginny, It’s not …

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What does the Advent season call us to do in troubled times?

A Trump presidency is what I can best depict as a “disastrous opportunity,” because it encourages an intersectional dialogue as well as activism against potential erosion if not dismantling of decades-long civil rights gains. Americans on the margins have the most to lose in a country pivoting away from their full protections and participation in a multicultural democracy.

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How to hold a Children’s Christmas Pageant today

If, as you say, the stories of Jesus’ miraculous birth are pious legends, what are the implications for staging a children’s Christmas pageant in a small suburban church?

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If not for our sins, then why did Jesus die?

Sir, with all due respect, you shared well concerning how Jesus did not die because of sins. Please share your views on the reason or why Jesus died.

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Is the sense of self an illusion?

Would you comment from your Christian perspective on the Buddhist assertion that we have no separate self or separate existence because we cannot understand who we are without understanding who we aren’t, and our separate existence is known only because of everything we are? Is the sense of self an illusion?

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Roy Moore? Pardon me, I thought you were Joseph.

An Alabama politician just compared Judge Roy Moore’s “dating” of teenagers to the relationship of an adult Joseph to a teenaged Mary. What does the Bible actually say about Joseph and Mary’s ages?

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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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