Musing of a Progressive Christian Layman: Women in Church Leadership

  How can any 21st century woman believe that only men must lead in the home and church and that a woman’s role is to submit to male leadership? How can a woman attend a church that …

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Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Christian Ideas – Part 7

Thief on the Cross

Lawyer and historian Cameron Thorne found an ancient Templar scroll that referred to Jesus as “The Thief on the Cross.” He and his fiancée, Amanda Spencer, try to uncover several secrets of early Christianity before a splinter group of Mormon zealots finds them and destroys them.

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9 Reasons I Never Became Protestant

I have read a lot of articles from my Protestant friends and colleagues celebrating the 500th year of the Protestant Reformation this past year. They varied in timbre and tone—some were overtly triumphalistic while others offered a balanced treatment of the pros and cons.

Despite that, I was struck by how the Reformation just seemed to be taken for granted to be a universally good thing by virtually all Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals. I guess it’s to be expected that people wouldn’t call into question the origins of their own movement. I was still taken aback by how it was simply taken for granted. Whether it is spoken outright or simply implied, the idea that the Reformation was simply a good thing seems embedded within the American consciousness, even at the secular level.

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Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Christian Ideas – Part 6

Cabal of the Westford Knight

In David S. Brody’s novel, Cabal of the Westford Knight (2009), a Canadian Catholic priest explains to lawyer/historian Cameron Thorne and Amanda Spencer, a British researcher, several unorthodox beliefs.

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The Immaculate Conception Equals the Immaculate Deception

I read a fun story in the newspaper last week about a congressman who received a lecture from a radio commentator because he confused the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception with the doctrine of the Incarnation—an easy thing to do, since both are total foolishness.

One might call the Immaculate Conception and the Incarnation fake news from long ago, but the church insists on continuing to market this fake news to its own detriment. In the twenty-first century, neither doctrine makes sense to anyone who has taken a biology course. That’s not how babies are made.

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Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Christian Ideas – Part 5

The Last Templar

The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury (2005) opens in Acre, Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, in 1291. As the city burns, a Templar knight, Martin of Carmaux, and his mentor, Aimard of Villiers, board a galley with a mysterious Templar chest. The ship vanishes without a trace.

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Is Quakerism Becoming a Christianity Without Christ?

I write as another who loves the Quaker Faith but increasingly wonders if he can find a place in it. I have been a part of three Quaker communities, serving as clerk for one and being invited to accept the pastorate of another. Having attended national Quaker gatherings and corresponded with meetings from the Atlantic to the Pacific, I have come to share the now widely held conclusion that unless the current trajectory is reversed, liberal Quakerism is headed for extinction. The patient is sick. The disease has been misdiagnosed. The prognosis may be serious but it is too early to hang black crepe from the windows and send out death notices. With the right medicine there is still hope. But let’s first examine the symptoms.

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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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Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Ideas – Part 4

The Book of Love

In Kathleen McGowan’s The Book of Love (2008), Maureen Pascal, a journalist, needs assistance from the man she loves, Berenger Sinclair, and her cousin, a Jesuit scholar at the Vatican, to unravel Matilda of Tuscany’s biography and to find The Book of Love, a gospel written by Jesus, before a secret faction within the Catholic Church destroys it. The Church is afraid the revelations in these documents will inflict irreparable damage on the Church and its doctrines, so they will do whatever is necessary to make certain Maureen and her friends fail in their mission.

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Christians As Truth Seekers and Agnostics

Christianity should encourage and honor the ongoing search for truth. This requires tolerating absence of certainty and respect for emerging scientific knowledge, which leads to updated understanding of human rights and morality. Lessing’s statement about the true value of a person should reflect the view of all who follow the Judeo-Christian tradition, for it focuses on devotion to God through the unending quest for truth rather than holding to cultural idols.

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Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Christian Ideas – Part 3

The Alexandria Link

In The Alexandria Link (2007) by Steve Berry, Cotton Malone, a retired elite operative for the U.S. Justice Department, has become a Copenhagen rare-book dealer. He intends to lead a more stress-free life, but his son is kidnapped. The kidnappers force him to try to find the lost Library of Alexandria, which vanished approximately fifteen hundred years ago.

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Why are they afraid?

One suspects that some institutional churches are still AFRAID if reality demands that scriptures are not to be taken literally.  Why?

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Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Christian Ideas – Part 2

The Da Vinci Code

Do Christians – the more fundamental or conservative ones, at least – read anything other than the Bible? If they’re reading contemporary fiction or seeing movies like The Da Vinci Code, they are not screaming heresy as loudly as would one might expect. Eighty million copies of The Da Vinci Code were sold worldwide and millions more saw the film version even though author Dan Brown makes many claims that are unorthodox.

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Richer Thinking (and Praying) About Poverty

Americans think poorly about the poor. The corollary to the American dream of economic and social advancement by hard work has been the false assumption that the poor have only themselves to blame. In his seminal book, “The Undeserving Poor”, the author, Michael Katz, explains why Americans have tended not to understand poverty as the product of systematic forces of political economy. The labor movement in the US was co-opted by the capitalist elite into denying the existence of social and economic classes. Religion played a perverse part, as well.

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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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Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Christian Ideas – Part 1

The Celestine Prophecy

It’s amazing to me how theologically progressive modern novelists are and yet they are being read by millions, who don’t appear to be disturbed by unorthodox ideas about Christianity that are in these novels.

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Honoring Mildred Loving this Valentine’s Day

For Black History Month on Valentine’s Day 2018, I’m showing my love for Mildred Loving (1942-2008). She’s often overlooked in the pantheon of African American trailblazers celebrated in February. However, in ruminating on this political era where African American civil rights are under constant assault, and the erosion of LGBTQ rights are contested under the guise of religious liberty, I give Mildred Loving a double shoutout for the catalyst she was in both interracial and same-sex marriages in this country. It’s her shoulders I, and so many others, stand on when it comes to marriage equality.

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Love is All You Need (Domestic Abuse Unplugged)

Though adherents of virtually all religions will claim that love is central to their belief system, the unfortunate fact is that religious indoctrination usually comes with a healthy dose of patriarchy, misogyny, as well as homophobia and nationalism. This lays the foundation for a culture that often encourages, defends, protects, and lies about domestic violence. Our words shape our thinking. Our thinking shapes our culture. Our culture tolerates a horrifying rate of domestic violence that is begging for us to change.

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