4 Tools to See the Biblical Big Picture

Scripture is like a tree. Some parts are the roots, some are the branches and others form the trunk. You will run into problems if you correctly read a line that serves as a leaf but try to present it as if it were the trunk. This is partly what it means when experts advise us to read Scripture within its proper context(s). You could even read your favorite lines word-for-word but end up misunderstanding them if you fail to see where they fit within the whole body. This is, of course, the same mistake the Pharisees made. They were so right–and yet at the same time so very wrong.

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Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you have a message for progressive Christians?

Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you have a message for progressive Christians?

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The word “God”

In religious as well as other history, when we don’t know our own history, we are condemned to repeat it. Condemned not by anyone else, not even “God”, but by ourselves and the consequences of our own willful ignorance.

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The Death and Resurrection of God: The Story in a Post-Christian World

A paper presented to the Living Traditions Symposium Atlantic School of Theology. Oct. 13, 2017

I propose in this presentation to give a glimpse of the material, spiritual, and historical reality as we can now understand it, and explore its implications for Christianity and all religions.

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Crusade Against Catharism

Please, God, teach us to be accepting of others: those who worship differently, different races, sexual orientation, socio-economic level – any and everyone who is different from us for whatever reason. God, you created us and pronounced your creation good. We have no right to be judge and jury. Help us to look inward, recognize our own faults, confess them, and attempt to correct them. We never want to experience another Crusade.

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Why Guadalupe?

In the lowest middle niche, there is a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe directly behind a statue of Jesus on a cross.

Every time I see that Lady, I get ticked off! Why? I can never figure out why this fantasy person is so important or why she deserves all this adoration. Let me briefly share her story. Then I’ll tell you why she ticks me off.

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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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