Part 4 of a 4-part series leading up to Holy Thursday. Each day 3 disciples present at the Last Supper are highlighted. It is partially inspired by the Unity teaching of the Twelve Powers. Part 1 sets the context and Jesus speaks to Peter, Andrew and James. Part 2 is John, Phillip and Bartholomew. Part 3 is Thomas, Matthew and James son of Alphaeus.read more
To me, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem – humbly riding into town, bouncing around on the back of a previously unridden ass as people gathered to greet him singing and shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord,” signals that Easter is going to be a story about confronting The Powers That Be.read more
Marching with thousands of joyful, passionate people at the Women’s March in Seattle last weekend and seeing all the causes their signs supported – health care for all, diversity, respect and equal rights for all people, I realized the ultimate expression of all the things we were marching for would look, to me anyway, very much like the Culture of God; like the “Kingdom of Heaven” described by Jesus in the beatitudes. At the march in Seattle and marches around the world, people were intent on creating what they might call a better world, or a world of peace and justice. And if Jesus is right, if the excluded will be blessed by inclusion in the culture of God; if those who take action to make this world more like the culture of God will be blessed for their efforts, then with all due respect to Jesus and the original recorders of his words, I’d like to offer some beatitudes for the 21st century.read more
That’s a gift of the Psalms, that praying them, we feel less alone. Those who wrote the psalms were imperfect, much like us. They didn’t know everything, but they had feelings about everything. And, like us, they had multiple situations and events to have feelings about, some good, even great, some bad, even evil. They reflect the human range of experiences and emotions.read more
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?read more
Claremont School of Theology is United Methodist in origin and affiliation; and ecumenical and interreligious in spirit. Students are nurtured by Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason and are prepared for lives of ministry, leadership, and service. Graduates are prepared to become agents of transformation and healing in churches, local communities, schools, non-profit institutions, and the world at large.read more
Timely and timeless, this retelling of the story of the world’s first woman in her own voice resurrects a lost feminine archetype in the midst of what is arguably the most powerful uprising of women in recent history.
Women looking for the source of their power not found in the temptress/helpmate archetype of Eve, will ind it in this lavishly illustrated picture book, written for children but relevant to the adult work of gender reconciliation and equality. Rooted in the theology and mythology of both Judaic and Christian traditions, this story of a woman demonized for her strength traces gender and the birth of patriarchy back to the dawn of time using the simple language of story rather than theory.read more
Each year as Lent approaches, I find myself flirting with the idea of giving up Lent for Lent. Lent is just too much work. For centuries, during Lent the church has emphasized so many concepts that seem alien to the 21st century mind. Each year during Lent preachers are required to undertake the unenviable task of unpacking unpopular, seemingly antiquated concepts in an effort to encourage the contemporary churchgoer to entertain the equally antiquated rituals of Lent. I mean Christmas and Easter might attract a few more people to our sanctuary, but how do you attract people with talk about repentance or fasting? Just look at our readings for this morning. Temptation is the order for toady. Eve and Adam succumbing to temptation, the Apostle Paul prattling on, heaping condemnation upon the first parents for having given in to temptation, and then Jesus himself resisting temptation from non-other than the Devil. Not exactly cheery stuff designed to bring comfort on a cold damp winter morning, where apart from the time change, there are very few signs of a longed for spring.read more
This idea of God has a long history, which the remarkable scholar and ex-nun, Karen Armstrong has written up as “The History of God”. God is an idea that has played an extremely important centering role in our evolving culture. God became the ultimate point of reference. It was the idea of God as creator of the universe that led to the rise of modern science, as mediaeval theologians tried to discover what they called ‘the ways of God’ by conducting experiments. It was they who laid the foundations of today’s empirical science.
But also associated with this idea of God were the values of love, compassion, honesty and truth. These make such moral demands of us that they transcend us. And though the idea of God had its beginning in our mythological past it remains, therefore, a useful symbol for our highest values. Even the New Testament asserts. “God is love”.
“An Unorthodox Faith” proposes an alternative to traditional Christian creeds and theology with a simpler humanist theology of love and compassion. It explores the implications for faith and ethics based on the proposition that “God is love”—not a loving supernatural being, but, more radically, frail human love itself. The book deconstructs traditional images of God as cosmic creator and occasional interventionist, the apocalyptic image of Christ, the image of the Holy Spirit as a supernatural being, medieval images of heaven and hell, ancient doctrines of sin and atonement, and contemporary beliefs in resurrection and eternal life. When all of these concepts are removed from traditional Christianity, what remains is a deeply spiritual humanism of service and social action—a way of living that reflects the words and deeds of the historical Jesus.read more
Reading Bishop Spong and Marcus Borg primarily, along with “Ministry Matters” and other readings, has lead me to believe if we attach the “Common Lectionary” to our Hebrew founders (as Bishop Spong has done) we have a better shot at arriving at the inner soul end point we desire.
This Lectionary is based on the belief that the new fundamentals should be taught.read more
We’ve been robbed of the power of the story of Sodom. It should be a strong companion to Matthew 25:31-46, which also gives dire warnings for those who do not serve Jesus by feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger and the other Works of Mercy. It’s a path that ends in destruction.read more
Sometimes our greatest breach with Scripture is not when we outright contradict it–it’s what we choose to prioritize, diminish or outright ignore. There is a time for everything under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We need to put first things first and second things second.
Much of Christianity focuses on salvation plans and doctrinal ideas.read more