The relevancy of The Old Testament today

Are there parts of the Old Testament that are said to be relevant today and why?

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Resistance Bible Study

(This is the introduction to a weekly Bible study I’m starting for students at USC. A few days ago, I finished reading a remarkable little book that my dear cousin Judy sent me: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder, a Yale history professor who incisively diagnoses the present danger posed by Trump and the Republicans to the survival of democracy in this country, and offers prescriptions for action. I closed the book, took a deep breath, and resolved to do something new and different toward that end. This “Resistance Bible Study” is the result. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! Any “musings” readers wishing to do their own version of this, please go for it – and keep me posted, too.)

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The Gospel Is Not Good News For Everyone

By Alexis James Waggoner for Sojourners

I’ve been operating under a false assumption. An unexamined theology, of my own making, that I have been forced to confront: The gospel is good news, but it is not good news for all. At least not in the way we want it to be.

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Heeding messages. Whose messages?

This article about messaging is in three parts:

• Part One: Michelangelo’s Biblical Errancy
• Part Two: Meaning and Message Are Intertwined
• Part Three: Asking You to Choose to Believe in Awe

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What Stage of Faith Are You In?

On March 9, David Felten, a Methodist pastor with a congregation in Fountain Hills, Arizona, published “How to Repeal and Replace Christianity’s Addiction to ‘Fake News’ and ‘Alternative Facts.’” He lays out the problems and then suggests a solution that quotes from James Fowler’s book, Stages of Faith (Harpercollins, 1981). I find these six stages very interesting because they answer some basic questions for me, such as why so many people, many well educated, seem stuck in fundamentalist thinking about Christianity.

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A Second Look at Jesus

If you are certain that your understanding of Jesus’ person and ministry is correct because it comes from the biblical gospels, then your first reaction to this article is that I am writing fantasy. Let me reassure you that I am very familiar with the content of the bible, I have studied theology, and I served in parish ministry for thirty-five years with a rather traditional view of Christianity.

However, seeds for change were planted during my ministry, and in retirement I have had opportunity to study the writings of a number of prominent theological scholars who have helped me to understand the gospels as ‘time sensitive’ writings. This has led to a radically different understanding of Jesus and his ministry, a change that has stimulated my faith journey. I will attempt to summarize my journey.

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It’s Probably About Sex

Sexual mores evolve from generation to generation. We cannot reasonably assume that religion sets the rules for sexual relationships, after all, the preponderance of biblical references to marriage praise and promote polygamy. We must strive to find what is true, just, merciful, and liberating in our search for sexual ethics.

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How do we know we have a soul?

The truth of the matter is that nowhere in the entire Bible are the terms “immortal” or “everlasting” linked with the word “soul.” Although it can be confusing because of our common usage of the word soul today, scriptures state very clearly that a soul is mortal, meaning that it dies. (Ezekiel 18:4, 20) Therefore, the Bible calls someone who has died, simply a “dead soul.”—Leviticus 21:11.

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How America Really Lost its Mind: Hint, it wasn’t entirely the fault of Hippie New Agers and Postmodern Academics

By Christopher Douglas

Kurt Andersen in the Atlantic has given us a superb think-piece on how we arrived at our post-truth irrationalism, an American “Fantasyland” dominated by conspiracy theories, paranoia, outlandish ideas, fake news and alternative facts. The new information age accelerated the relativism birthed in the 1960s, Andersen contends, and now we can all mentally furnish our own fantastic dwellings with facts and ideas we want to be true—and we can even find countless likeminded individuals on the Internet who will confirm and embellish our deepest alternate realities.

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John 3:16 incomplete without 1st John 3:16

I have friends who seem to think believing that Jesus died for them is all they need to do. Some of them even treat other people badly and when I say something to them about being more Christian they just quote John 3:16 to me. What are your thoughts?

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Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture

A controversial author brilliantly reclaims the Bible from the literal interpretation of fundamentalists

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Faith in the Fog: Making Peace With the Messiness of the Bible

I’ve often wondered if my growing skepticism would eventually lead me to abandon faith altogether.
As it turns out, diving all the way in to my deepest doubts and fears hasn’t led me away from Christianity, but instead has revealed a richness and beauty to the Christian faith I had never known. It now resonates on a much deeper level, and seems to speak more profound truth than it ever did before.

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Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

For two hundred years, scholars have been analyzing one of the most important books ever written—the Bible—and overturning much of what we once thought we knew. Everyday Christians, however, are not privy to this deeper conversation. It is for these people that renowned bishop and author John Shelby Spong presents Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, a book designed to take readers into the contemporary academic debate about the Bible.

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If There Were To Be A Bible Disclaimer

I am venturing to guess that very few theologically progressive Christians would say that all Bible passages are to be taken literally and viewed strictly as the inerrant and infallible word of God. Some Christians who are already experienced with scripture and those people reading the Bible for the first time may interpret all of what they read as literal concrete fact, ignoring literary nuances related to styles of ancient story telling, metaphor, symbolism, depth of meaning, etc.

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KBOO Podcast with Bishop John Shelby Spong

A pioneer of the progressive Christian movement, John Shelby Spong, returns for the third time to Progressive Spirit. We discuss his 25th book, Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy.

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Understanding the Scriptures

Yes, the idea the Jesus died for our sins, or sinful nature, is really one of the causes for so many people turning their backs on Christianity today.

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Robin Myers Interview – What is the most important Aspect of progressive Christianity?

Robin Myers Interview – What is the most important Aspect of progressive Christianity?

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A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey

This unique reflection was prompted by an invitation Matthew Fox received to speak on the centennial of Thomas Merton’s birth. Fox says that much of the trouble he’s gotten into — such as being excommunicated in 1993 from the Dominican Order by Cardinal Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict) — was because of Thomas Merton, who sent Fox to Paris to complete a doctoral program in philosophy. Fox found that Merton’s journals, poetry, and religious writings revealed a deeply ecumenical philosophy and a contemplative life experience similar to that of Meister Eckhart, the fourteenth-century mystic/theologian who inspired Fox’s own “creation spirituality.” It is little surprise to find Fox and Merton to be kindred spirits, but the intersections Fox finds with Eckhart are intellectually profound, spiritually enlightening, and delightfully engaging.

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