John Dominic Crossan Quote

My point, once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally.

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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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For Mainline Christian Clergy

This simple combination of “the Bible is the word of God” and “Jesus died for your sins” is what the public thinks lie at the core of Christian faith. I remember being told at Union Theological Seminary in 1963 that what we were learning would take 50 years to trickle down to the church membership.

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How and why did the word ‘holy’ get in front of the word ‘bible’?

How and why did the word ‘holy’ get in front of the word ‘bible’?  I ask this because in my church the Bible is given immense authority with the word ‘holy’ and is then used by our church leaders to tell is us what to do and how to be saved.  Would Progressive Christianity want to remove this word ‘holy’ away from these writings so that our hierarchical church structure can no longer rest on its traditional doctrines and practices?

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Fierce: Women of the Bible and Their Stories of Violence, Mercy, Bravery, Wisdom, Sex, and Salvation

Women in the Bible aren’t shy or retiring; they’re fierce and funny and demanding and relevant to 21st-century people.

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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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Introducing the Last 7 Words of Christ Our Black Mother – A Lenten Series

This is public theology. As precious Patrons, I’m inviting you in to my theological process. Beginning on Ash Wednesday (March 6) and concluding on Good Friday (April 19), each week I will publish a photo and brief reflection on each of Christ’s 7 Last Words on the Cross.

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Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne

Womanist Midrash is an in-depth and creative exploration of the well- and lesser-known women of the Hebrew Scriptures. Using her own translations, Gafney offers a midrashic interpretation of the biblical text that is rooted in the African American preaching tradition to tell the stories of a variety of female characters, many of whom are often overlooked and nameless.

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The Refutation of Literalistic Creationism with Science

So, let me see if I can summarize in a few words what thousands of books and articles have been written about over decades costing untold billions in research grants on phenomena taking fifteen billion years to happen after the “Big Bang”. The result of such research perhaps resulting in the end of civilization in the big “dang!” (nuclear war). 

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The Origins of the Bible: The Old and New Testaments

Introducing Bishop Spong’s landmark series on the Origin of the Bible covering both Old and New Testaments.

His scholarly analysis and signature insights breakdown the past, present and future of these sacred texts.

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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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“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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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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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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Resurrection: Fact or Fantasy?

Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Or is this a fairy tale?

This issue, along with who God is, could keep the twenty-first-century reformation from moving forward.

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