The Resistance Bible Study Podcast

Friend and frequent contributor to ProgressiveChristianity.org,  Rabbi Brian, has compiled conversations with 12 of his Biblically literate friends in a series of podcasts that both delight and educate.

Join Rabbi Brian as he talks to Reverend Jim Burklo, Dr. Tracy Hartman, Rev. Irene Monroe, Pastor John Pavlovitz and more as he seeks to find out what the bible is and how to use it to fight oppression.

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Publications from “Progressive” Australian and New Zealand Authors

Publications from “Progressive” Australian and New Zealand Authors

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Theology From Exile Volume I: The Year of Luke 2nd Edition: Commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary for an Emerging Church

The struggle for distributive justice-compassion continues into the first quarter of the twenty-first century and beyond in what may become a post-democratic world order. Whether Jewish-Christian scriptures continue to be relevant to contemporary “spiritual not religious” folk may determine what becomes of “Christianity.” This second edition of The Year of Luke is a valuable, contemporary resource for progressive preaching, teaching, Bible study, and resistance, grounded in postmodern biblical scholarship of Karen Armstrong, the late Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and the Westar Institute’s Jesus Seminar, as well as the transforming work of Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, whose theology of Creation Spirituality has reclaimed Catholic mysticism for postmodern cosmology.

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PATHWAYS Theological Education

An Online Institute for Progressive Christian Theology

PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc., is a Progressive Christian learning community seeking to empower transformative leadership for justice and peace within and beyond the church by engaging heart and mind to consider what it means to know, love and serve God in today’s changing world. 

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Jesus Stories

Have you ever wanted to hang out with Mary and Joseph, or Jesus and the disciples? What would it have been like to be a fly on the wall, or hiding unnoticed in a corner as some of the most familiar and beloved scenes played out? In this intriguing collection of short stories (and one novella), John Mabry allows us to do just that. With vivid and often delightful prose, he brings these compact Gospel stories to expanded, breathing life. Teeming with conflict, emotion, and humor, these stories reveal the humanity behind the Bible’s characters like nothing you’ve read before.

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Jesus ain’t no super-hero!

The anonymous gospel storyteller that we call Mark, provides us with the shortest of the four gospels — just 16 brief chapters. But don’t let that fool you. The writer of this account of the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth packs more action into his short gospel than any of the racy novels, spy thrillers, mystery novels or tell all biographies that you can find today on Amazon. Today’s reading occurs barely half way through our anonymous storyteller’s account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and already Jesus has: been baptized in the river Jordan and been tempted in the wilderness by the evilest of villains, Satan himself.

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Hidden In His Own Story

Discovering Jesus in the Parables of the Gospels

Hidden in His Own Story is an invitation to reconsider and re–imagine both the humanity and divinity of Jesus. It is an invitation to people who are not familiar with the Bible stories and have only heard them through other sources, also to many who have rejected traditional interpretations of the stories as religious dogma, and to many people who are so steeped in the stories that they have become cliché.

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“Unbelievable” is believably clear and concise

Spong posits 12 theses to encourage a new reformation, a new re-formation of our spiritual lives. He begins with the theistic image of God, replacing the vision of God as a Supreme Being with God as Being itself. That first thesis challenges many fundamentals of creedal faith. Without a judgmental god to appease, there is no need of “God’s great rescue plan” for mankind, no need to limit our understanding of Jesus’ crucifixion as a sacrifice for the sins of all: “There can be no ‘substitutionary atonement’ in the Christianity of tomorrow.”

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Adultery and Jesus

This past winter, I designed a new course entitled Learning the Art of Midrash (biblical interpretation) Using the Gospel of John. I’m a recent convert to the power of that Gospel (previously it never made much sense to me), and I wanted to use the many stories in John (none of which are literally true) to teach people how to use midrash to dig into a story and find the underlying truth often hidden in the details.

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The Mythologies of Science and Religion

I’ve written before that I am at “that age” when you look for connections, a time late in life indicated by recent studies. Regular readers will know that, during my morning prayers these days, I’ve been slowly absorbing Fritjof Capra’s 1975 book, The Tao of Physics. I find physicist Capra’s writing more accessible than that of Stephen Hawking, though I wonder how dated his science may be today, even as he demonstrates a pretty thorough understanding of Eastern spirituality.

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Nature, Destiny, and the Garden in Eden

A central problem in Christianity is represented by opposing views of the Genesis account of the origin of humanity in a special garden. One set of voices looks at the opening chapters of Genesis and shouts “Believe it!” They go so far as rejecting modern science and constructing museums to display early life on earth the “way it must have been.” Another set of voices calls out “Unbelievable!” This extreme often considers Genesis irrelevant and needing serious revision.

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Microdosing on Christianity

It’s been a thing for a while in Silicon Valley. Computer engineers, seeking a creative edge, take small doses of hallucinogens on a regular basis. They claim it enhances their problem-solving capacities without impairing their ability to function. (Having lived in that part of the world for over two decades, I can attest that while IQ’s are high in Silicon Valley, EQ’s – emotional intelligence quotients – are often not up to par. Folks in that business already get away with odd behavior, so who notices or cares if they microdose on the job?)

Hearing about this phenomenon got me to thinking. What else could people microdose, to good effect? Then it dawned on me that Christianity might well be a candidate.

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God is too big for just one religion

Joseph Campbell taught that all religions are true as long as they are taken poetically and metaphorically. However, when we try to take a religious text as being historically or factually “true,” then they all become false. God doesn’t write books. While we may wish for absolute truths, the fact of our spiritual lives is that we have to think critically and morally interrogate our beliefs constantly as we navigate our way between truth and “fake news.”

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Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes

n this boldest book since Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Bishop John Shelby Spong offers a compelling view of the Gospels as thoroughly Jewish tests.Spong powerfully argues that many of the key Gospel accounts of events in the life of Jesus—from the stories of his birth to his physical resurrection—are not literally true. He offers convincing evidence that the Gospels are a collection of Jewish midrashic stories written to convey the significance of Jesus. This remarkable discovery brings us closer to how Jesus was really understood in his day and should be in ours.

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All Christians are Asylum-Seekers

  A Christian IS an asylum-seeker. All of us. Each of us. By definition. As refugees, don’t we need to flee from the sin of this world? Don’t we come to the proverbial Gates of God’s Kingdom …

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Leading a Retreat on the Bible

If you were going to lead a retreat on the Bible (focusing on its origins and purpose), what questions would you find valuable to address?

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Why Was Jesus Upset with Thomas’ Lack of Faith?

From modern eyes, it is hard to think Thomas was any different than any other disciples who had already witnessed the resurrected Jesus. Thomas alone had not seen with his own eyes what the others claimed to have seen. And here it is so easy to get pulled into thinking that seeing with one’s eyes is the real issue.

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This Rabbi On That Rabbi

A modern Portland, Oregon rabbi explains Jesus’s messages

An outside-the-box, modern rabbi from Portland, Oregon explains the Jewish messages of Jesus. Rabbi Brian’s style is approachable, warm, honest and quirky. He quotes Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy to help explain the intent of the phrase “I am the way the truth and the life. No one gets to the Father except through me.”

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