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

Radical Paul and Radical Jesus

Given the amount of criticism of Paul over the centuries, if we can try to understand Paul in light of his authentic letters (the seven letters he, in fact, actually wrote), we soon discover that the radical Paul (the Paul of his authentic letters: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon) had a lot in common with the radical Jesus (the Jesus of history). Stated more accurately, the Jesus we learn of in the gospel stories had a lot in common with Paul.

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Did Paul Distort the Message of Jesus?

Christianity before Paul.  In order to explore the question of Paul distorting the message of Jesus, we need to ask the question, What was Christianity like before Paul, which would be in the early decades after Jesus’ death?  Paul wrote his letters from approximately 51-62 CE (Common Era).  Therefore, in the thirties and forties CE, what was the Jesus movement like?

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The Role of Religion in Healing the National Divide

Paul learned from his encounter what it means to be a human being. He was shocked and deeply disturbed when he came to understand the limitations and weaknesses of his human nature. His sense of moral superiority was expunged from his consciousness.

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Rediscovering the Authentic Paul

Paul and Jesus.  The life, mission, and writings of the Apostle Paul loom large over the Christian Church.  Whatever our personal opinion of Paul, after Jesus, he remains the major personality in the growth and shaping of the early church.  His contribution to Christianity is immeasurable by virtually any standard.

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Jungian Psychology, Paul’s Dilemma, and the Future of Civilization

In Romans 7:15, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that I do not; but what I hate, that do I.” Many people have pondered over these verses, but everyone who has tried to break a bad habit knows exactly what he’s talking about. There seems to be a part of us that knows what we should do, but that part just gets swept away when making decisions in our everyday lives. Why do these contradictions exist within ourselves? The psychology of Carl G. Jung provides some answers.

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Pentecost, Prejudice, and Pandemic

I feel like we are being strangled, the life choked from us – disbelief, sorrow, fear, rage. Violence in the streets, jails, and cages at our border, targeting black and brown men, women, and children; a virus stalking us all, turning familiar comforts into threats.

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The Place of Faith and its Relationship to Science

Some people are highly devotional because it is scary having one’s paradigm shattered. This is to be exposed to the chaos of one’s own mind (the devil!). It is much easier to cling to the established artifacts of one’s own thinking then to fall into the pit of chaos. Most people would rather die than admit that the belief system/paradigm that they have carried most or all their life is wrong in spite of proof of error time and time again.

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Faith, Hope, Compassion – Paul’s Answer to the Global Stress Epidemic

When Paul dictated a paean to love in his message to Corinth, he was not thinking of wedding ceremonies; rather, he was imploring the community to overcome internal conflict.

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Making Sense of the Easter Stories in the 21st century

You may have sung this morning’s hymns and heard the gospel reading and wondered “Is this make-believe?” Perhaps you’ve never entered this church before, let alone attended on an Easter morning. You’re home for the weekend with your family or boyfriend or girlfriend or you’re here alone. Are you’re sitting here struggling over some of the details of the resurrection story that leave you perplexed, cynical or simply scratching your head. These are claims made by the apostle Paul and others who struggle to convey an experience of possibilities that cannot be fully expressed in words.

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Those whom John says Jesus “hates” look very much like the Gentile followers of Jesus…

When John accuses “evildoers” of leading gullible people into sin, what troubles him is what troubled the Essenes: whether—or how much—to accommodate pagan culture.

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Jesus the Christ? – BRUNCHtalks 8

Jesus is not some sort of cosmic bargain with a demanding, jealous, elsewhere god, sacrificing himself so that we can live happily ever after! Jesus of Nazareth was fully human. The Christ is the experiece of Jesus his followers encountered after his death. The Cosmic Christ is neither human nor divine, but rather a gateway into the MYSTERY’s presence among us. Our BRUNCHtalks continue to explore what it means to be Progressive in approach: Christ-like in action.

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Concise Scrooge

Progressive thinkers cannot avail ourselves of the false security fundamentalist believers bring to church Sundays and to the Bible daily. We can, however, compensate for our dismissal of literalism with an answerably intense commitment to metaphor. And metaphor proves especially powerful in narratives. Narrative masters like Dickens can move our hearts as they bring our fellow creatures vividly and credibly alive. But they can do more: they can provoke our intellects and excite our imaginations. We love a story, instinctively, but we go a step farther and subject the tale to closer scrutiny and more probing critical analysis. (That, incidentally, is why I find Luke’s story of the road to Emmaus one of the most affecting New Testament narratives. It’s an account of a real-life journey, peopled with thoughtful and feeling human beings, who move from grief to joyful insight.)

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Paul for the People: John Dominic Crossan Imagines a “Letter to the Americans” in His New Video Series

By Peter Laarman for Religion Dispatches

Crossan follows 201o’s “The Challenge of Jesus” with the newly released “The Challenge of Paul,” available free of charge to up to 1,000 congregations, colleges, or seminaries.

Intrigued by the idea of bringing high-end critical pedagogy to the people, I asked Crossan how his passion for biblical studies led him to want to engage with laypeople – and what that experience has been like.

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FaithandReason® presents The Challenge of Paul, featuring John Dominic Crossan

Paul is one of Christianity’s most impactful, yet most debated and misunderstood figures. In “The Challenge of Paul,” John Dominic Crossan gives us the benefit of his lifelong search for the Paul of history to create a new understanding that sheds new light on Paul and why he is more relevant than ever today.

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How accurate is the Bible?

I hear people quote 2 Timothy 3.16* as their way to “prove” the Bible is historically accurate and should be obeyed in every way. With all the violence and out-dated rules in the Bible, this interpretation seems hard to justify. Is there another way to read this?

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What Happens to D&D When God Is Promoted and Jesus Is Demoted?

Watch what happens to most of the D&D when the theistic god of yesterday is promoted to encompass the entire universe. One can no longer think about a small Master Puppeteer but more in terms of a force that some call Creation or Ground of All Being. This force has no gender, sexuality, children, color, or religion. It’s simply there, everywhere, creating.

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The Two Gospels

I recently heard a Christmas Eve sermon titled “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” recited entirely in rhymed couplets and delivered without a manuscript. Running for nearly eleven minutes, it was quite a remarkable feat.

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What if Time Has No Beginning and No End? – Video Sermon

Accepting that the world has a beginning and an end leads to a dismissive view of poverty, pollution, warfare, and social classes. While everyone certainly has a right to their personal beliefs about life after death, Muslims, Christians, and Jews must focus on the life that we know and to root our faith in what we can see in front of us. The early church was so confident that Jesus was coming back soon that they ignored many important matters of ethics. We cannot afford to make that mistake.

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