Bishop John Shelby Spong ~ June 16, 1931 – September 12, 2021
Bishop Spong provided a much needed place for those of us who did not connect with traditional theology. We love you Bishop Spong. You will be missed! Funeral services will be held at St. Peter’s, Morristown, NJ and at St. Paul’s, Richmond, VA. Dates and times will be announced as soon as they are available

Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #14

Thesis #14 – There is power in numbers for sustaining the transcending plausibility and viability of any particular dominant cultural narrative. The more you rub shoulders only with people who believe the same cultural narrative you do, the more plausible that narrative becomes.

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The Eighth Apocalypse: Part 1

This is what the Book of Revelation is really about. It’s not about the end of the world, as such. It’s about the destruction of the feudalistic, repressive, economic monolith which it calls “Babylon the Great”.

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Dear White Women,

A letter reminding modern white feminists of their relationship with black women throughout history

For the 2018 -2019 academic year Rachel will be touring her signature live lecture exploring the history of feminism through the lens of race. Uncover layers of unlearned details, revealing the problematic effects that white centered activism has had on the past and present of the feminist movement and action items you can take to be more intentional and inclusive.

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #13

Broadly socialized allegiance to the dominant cultural narrative is a strong force for sanctioning social conformity (this why all religions essentially equate “good citizenship” with God’s Will, etc.) But even the rebel or the criminal (sinner) must assume the essential transcendent power of the dominant cultural/religious myth in order for his/her deviance to itself have any meaning.

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Who Was Jesus? – Part Two

Part One of our answer to the question of who Jesus was, was basically presented on a secular plane. That changes now, as much of what follows is presented as a statement of belief rather than history.

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Adam and Eve – A New Vision: Part 3

The idea of Adam and Eve as representing consciousness and unconsciousness, as discussed in the Adam and Eve essays Part 1 and 2, was not neglected in later writings of the Bible. It was repeated again and again. For example, in the “begetting” chapters of Genesis we see an interesting pattern. It’s written that many sons and daughters were begotten but only certain ones are mentioned by name.(Gen. 4:17-5:32) This has metaphorical meaning and relates to the three states of being, the three types of consciousness, and reincarnation. The names and the numbers in these “begetting” chapters are a treasure house of Cabalistic information but is beyond the scope of this essay and my capabilities.

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Who was Jesus? Part One

The question about Jesus is not a simple question. In search of the answer, wars have been fought, laws passed and broken, kingdoms gained and lost, and heretics burned at the stake.

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #12

Thesis #12: In its most elemental form, all cultural narratives (mythologies) serve in some way to assure us that, individually and collectively, we are valuable actors in a worthy pageant of transcending and cosmic significance. This answers our strong desire for life to have eternal meaning and purpose (and so to symbolically assert that “death is conquered, death is not the final word.”)

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Adam and Eve – A New Vision: Part 2

Why did God forbid Adam to have knowledge by forbidding him to eat of the Tree of Knowledge? The answer is, God did not forbid Adam to have knowledge, he/she was just pointing out the repercussions of having it. There are, indeed, serious consequences to having knowledge.

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Faith And Reason 360 Episode 16: The Stages of Spiritual Maturity Part 3, featuring Richard Rohr

Growth on the Threshold

In Part 3 of our series featuring audio from Father Richard Rohr’s lecture “The Human Spirit,” Ann and Debo discuss Rohr’s next stage of human development: the realization that my thoughts and feelings are who I am.”

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New Audio Series Sheds Light on Jesus’ Final Days

“The Last Week” with John Dominic Crossan is designed for Lenten study

Part historical exploration, part theological inquiry, part meditation, the new audio series “The Last Week” vividly brings to life the key moments leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection and provides space for personal reflection.

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #11

Thesis #11: Generally speaking, cultural narratives (narrative mythologies) are on one level fictional, since they promise something (immortality) which they cannot demonstrably deliver; however, when taken on faith, they are also potentially true in that each provides some functional easing of anxiety in the face of actual and symbolic threats. Human individual and social life without such cultural narratives would be unbearable and impossible.

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Adam and Eve – A New Vision: Part 1

For thousands of years the Adam and Eve story has dominated the lives of billions of people. Two small chapters! How is this even possible? With today’s social media we can see how an idea, no matter how ludicrous or absurd, can spawn and flourish in a matter of days resulting in riots and mass social upheaval. The same process worked thousands of years ago over longer periods of time but with the same net result. In many ways the old methods were more effective because they were backed up by legions of sword bearing devotees and enthusiasts or people just trying to make a buck.

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The Virtual Black Madonna Pilgrimage

This post is an orientation to our virtual pilgrimage — which I am so excited about! Together, we will journey to 12 Black Madonnas all over the globe — from the Caribbean to Latin America to Asia to Africa and Europe. Each stop on our pilgrimage will include four invitations — (1) to consider my own brief reflections about how cultural perceptions of race and gender impact our experience of the Divine, (2) to engage an idea/piece of art/beauty as we think about our own experiences of the Divine, (3) to reflect on several questions either individually or in community, and (4) to practice a different way of interacting with the world that will hopefully open us up to new experiences of the Divine. 

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #10 (Part B)

hesis 10 – This urge for symbolic immortality is a key source of human creativity and life-affirming energies; it is the underlying function of human cultures, and especially religions, to serve as venues through which people achieve and maintain a sense of participation in symbolic immortality.

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Values to Build a Life On – Pat IV

Dedication to Compassion for All Humanity

The 22nd chapter of Proverbs seems like a random list of statements that are right brain rather than left because they wander around a labyrinth rather than go straight to a clear point. Yet a message of compassion stands out that begins with how children are raised.

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Values to Build a Life On – Part III

Dedication to Citizenship in God’s World

n the 21st century, political campaigns appeal to American voters as taxpayers, as members of a party, religious or identity group, and sometimes as patriots. Citizenship and the obligations of public service that come with it are seldom mentioned. Success in the business or corporate world is admired because national prosperity is an important political goal. Self-interest that is at the heart of the Free Enterprise System and built into legal requirements for corporations is emphasized at the expense of non-profitable ideals of duty, honor, service.

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Values to Build a Life On – Part II

Dedication to Religious Traditions Updated with Democratic Values

Few Millennials or Centennials read books. Freshmen in my history classes prefer online assignments with video clips, diagrams, cartoons, and very short narratives. They like online textbooks with chapters that are short with links to interesting visuals. They read books only when they must. The Bible is something that hardly ever interests them at all. Having grown up a Protestant in the Old South’s Bible Belt, it’s hard to believe how knowledge of the Bible and Judeo-Christian history have declined since the mid-20th century.

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