Jesus’ “Bad” Table Manners

The traditional beginning of the Communion story is “On the night that Jesus was betrayed…” But we did more than betray him that night; we denied him multiple times and abandoned him to the “powers that be.” We expressed shock that any of us would desert him, let alone betray him, and we each said, “Is it I, Lord?” Was our fear of authority figures and the awareness of Jesus’ and our vulnerability already palpable at the meal? Regardless, both believers and betrayers were welcome at his table.

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Getting Started Suggested Reading List

We are often asked by readers for a reading list for those who want to learn more about Progressive Christianity. Below are some suggestions to get you started:

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God: The Evidence: The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World

In the modern age science has been winning its centuries—old battle with religion for the mind of man. The evidence has long seemed incontrovertible: Life was merely a product of blind chance—a cosmic roll of an infinite number of dice across an eternity of time. Slowly, methodically, scientists supplied answers to mysteries insufficiently explained by theologians. Reason pushed faith off into the shadows of mythology and superstition, while atheism became a badge of wisdom. Our culture, freed from moral obligation, explored the frontiers of secularism. God was dead.

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A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

Why does God exist? How have the three dominant monotheistic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—shaped and altered the conception of God? How have these religions influenced each other? In this stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain’s foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present.

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Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

When world-class biblical scholar Bart Ehrman first began to study the texts of the Bible in their original languages he was startled to discover the multitude of mistakes and intentional alterations that had been made by earlier translators. In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman tells the story behind the mistakes and changes that ancient scribes made to the New Testament and shows the great impact they had upon the Bible we use today. He frames his account with personal reflections on how his study of the Greek manuscripts made him abandon his once ultraconservative views of the Bible.

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Who Wrote the Bible?

The contemporary classic the New York Times Book Review called “a thought-provoking [and] perceptive guide,” Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard E. Friedman is a fascinating, intellectual, yet highly readable analysis and investigation into the authorship of the Old Testament.

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Be Subject to the Governing Authorities

Within the last few days, Attorney General Sessions and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders each invoked biblical authority to justify the separation of parents and children seeking entry into the country. The reference was to Paul’s letter to the Jewish Christians in Rome to whom he advised “be subject to the governing authorities”, who are put there by God. Through the ages, this phrase has been used by slave owners to justify slavery, by Nazis to justify extermination, by Royalists in pre-revolution America to insist on loyalty to the king, and by just about anyone who wanted to promote dictatorship.

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Cain in the Land of Nod


The Judeo-Christian story of creation is assumed by biblical literalists to be an accurate, historical representation of the beginning of the universe, with Adam and Eve firmly ensconced as the first human beings to inhabit the earth, and the Garden of Eden as the first habitat. Those who accept this as literal fact are faced with numerous challenges, and in this essay I will focus on one of the most common… the origin of Cain’s wife, whom he meets in a foreign land known as “Nod,” to which he is banished for the crime of killing his brother. To address this issue, I will focus on Genesis 4: 9- 17 (RSV):

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King David the Louse

King David has long been one of my Biblical heroes—or so I thought. The story of David versus Goliath is a powerful metaphor for facing life’s challenges. The little guy takes on the big and the powerful—and wins.

I always envisioned the great King David as the prototype for who and what the Messiah should be: a powerful leader, admired by all, who would lead the chosen people to achieve the highest standards.

Then I bought the Great Courses DVDs on the Old Testament, which consist of twenty-four thirty-minute lectures by Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, a Biblical scholar from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

In lecture sixteen, Dr. Levine talked about who King David really was. That lecture was an eye opener—and not a nice one!

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Hastening Change in the Church

In this episode of Faith And Reason 360 we are honored to welcome author, scholar, and scribe of the popular monthly newsletter “Connections,” Barbara Wendland.

Join us as Barbara discusses the need for a radical update of creed, attitude, and structure in the Christian church, whose practices, Wendland says, are outdated—and this behind-the-times attitude, though revered as traditional by many, comes at the expense of Church success. The world has changed dramatically since the 3rd century; is the Church ready to catch up?

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Progressing Spirit

An inclusive and pioneering exploration of Theology, Spirituality and Current Events

With thousands of subscribers around the globe, Progressing Spirit is the world’s leading outlet for an intelligent, inclusive, and pioneering exploration of today’s theological, spiritual, and social advancements.

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Musing of a Progressive Christian Layman: Was Moses Hebrew or Egyptian?

Since Moses’ name is similar to the name of the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose (or Tuthmosis) III, many scholars speculate that Moses was Egyptian royalty.

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What Jesus Really Did

Christian fundamentalists believe that the most important event in the New Testament is that Jesus died for your sins. Those to whom this makes no sense believe that what matters most is the teaching of Jesus, epitomized, I suppose, in the Golden Rule- “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I would like to argue that neither the “sacrificial death” nor the “teaching” is what Jesus was really about.

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The Source of Early Stories

I have a lot of respect for the non-literal interpretation of the New and Old Testament, but there are certain parts that I cannot see any metaphorical value in.
 My stumbling blocks are these:


1. What is the metaphorical message given by the genealogy found in genesis and in the gospels? It is the former that precisely gives young earth creationists their earth age.


2. What is the metaphorical value of the various horrific laws laid down in Deuteronomy or Leviticus? I can’t see a non-literal interpretation of telling us to destroy people who have sex if a woman is on her period.

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Musing of a Progressive Christian Layman: Was Isaac the Son of Pharaoh?

I have recently read speculation that Isaac was the son of Pharaoh Thutmose (or Tuthmosis) III. If he wasn’t Abraham’s son, that might explain why Abraham was willing to sacrifice him. That’s always bother me. I know we’re supposed to obey God, but not if he tells me to kill my son. How could Abraham even consider something so hideous? No father should obey a voice, even if it was supposedly God, telling him to offer his son as a sacrifice. A father or stepfather would have to be suffering from dementia to consider an order that goes against every human instinct.

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An Early Christian #MeToo and #TimesUp Movement

  Reading Laura Swan’s The Forgotten Desert Mothers as the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and the #TimesUp movement for equal employment for women were getting underway, I couldn’t help but notice the parallels with the women who, …

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The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love

In the history of the Western World, the Bible has been a perpetual source of inspiration and guidance for countless Christians. However, this Bible has also left a trail of pain. It is undeniable that the Bible is not always used for good. Sometimes the Bible can seem overtly evil. Sometimes its texts are terrible.

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Jesus Between Birth and 30

Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman - by Ed Taylor

Between Birth and 30

Unfortunately, the Gospels do not provide us with much information about Jesus’ early life.

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