Who is God?

For eons, humans have viewed God as a huge, external, and all-knowing human-like figure who rewards some, punishes others, and ignores many, and whose actions in the world often seem mysterious and inexplicable. This is the projection model of God: we humans unconsciously created the figure of God in our own image and projected this image “out there.” Worse, this belief assigns the responsibility for change onto a fictional character to whom we keep praying, hoping that this “God” will someday hear us, or do what we ask, or show us why things are the way they are, or something.

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Hyper Change and Religious Trauma

After retiring as bishop, John Shelby Spong told us Why Christianity Must Change or Die, speaking as someone in exile from a church that was alienated from modern reality. I would like to add “Why is change so difficult?” and answer from the perspective of history in combination with science.

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Mother Teresa and Doubting Thomas

The story of Doubting Thomas (John 20:24-29) takes place at the end of the Gospel of John. Like the rest of the Gospel, the Doubting Thomas tale is not a true story but rather what we call religious history. The truth is inside the story. The surface story says that Thomas the Twin (rumored to be the twin brother of Jesus, but that idea has never been substantiated) was not in the room for Jesus’s first appearance to the disciples after his crucifixion. But Thomas was there for the second appearance a week later. Jesus insisted that Thomas touch his wounds, after which Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Thomas the Twin then became Doubting Thomas. His role in the history of the Jesus movement is to tell us that doubting is a no-no, and believers must have total faith in Jesus as God.

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Apostle to the Apostles: Mary’s Story

So here, let me honour Mary the Apostle to the Apostles with this my imaginary account of Mary’s story. Remember the power of our imaginations to breathe life into what appears to all the world to be dead.

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Engaging in Good Friday

Easter week can elicit many questions. Did Jesus physically rise in a miraculous resuscitation on the third day after his death? Was the holy temple curtain torn in two from top to bottom at the moment of his death? (Mt 27:51) After his death, did the bodies of many dead saints rise up from their tombs and flood Jerusalem appearing to many? (Mt 27:52) Let’s face it, progressives often come to very different conclusions on these topics than most conservative evangelical pastors do. But one thing that most tend to agree on is that Jesus was executed on a day that we recognize today as Good Friday.

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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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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 Story of Creation: Shedding Some Light”

Ever wonder how everything came into being? Ever wonder why? Was it merely a random chance occurrence, or was it something done with a purpose? And how does your answer to such questions determine how you look at the world and life? People have considered such questions for all of recorded history, and perhaps as long as there have been people.

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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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Playing Favorites

The Problem with Blessings and Curses

“Have a blest day?” What in this world does that mean? Better luck or good karma, instead of bad? In the ancient world, denoting someone as “blest” was a way of expressing a deity’s special favor towards that person. If that sounds quaint, there are still plenty of people today who believe they can curry favor or improve the odds of achieving more blessings than curses; while politicians routinely conclude their speeches by invoking the Almighty to bless the good ‘ol USA. There’s just one problem. It doesn’t work.

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The Foundational Way -The Human Life of Jesus

Although revered as a ’Jewish holy one’ Jesus was seen to much enjoy ‘secular’ life on the streets, and in doorways, on hillsides and seashores and in village centres. He was most often seen and heard in these ‘secular’ places for there he carried out nearly all his teaching, demonstrating and healing.

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Reading the Gospels as midrash

  Question & Answer   Ginny from Reno, Nevada asks: Question: Why is it so important to you to view the Gospels as “midrash” rather than as history? Answer: Rev. Mark Sandlin   Dear Ginny, It’s not …

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Lessons in Political Theology from Jerusalem

On Wednesday (12/6/17), President Trump announced a dramatic change in Middle East policy by declaring the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Most Israelis were thrilled. The government of Israel declared Jerusalem to be its eternal capital in 1980. What is important to note about this declaration is that it is an expression of Jewish nationalism. The claim has little support in Jewish history or from Jewish scriptures.

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The Case of Prodigal Job: A Closer Look at Grace and Faith

An important reason for declining biblical literacy, I believe, is spiritual starvation caused by the marriage of fundamentalism and materialistic capitalism in evangelical churches. Many Americans describe themselves as spiritual, not religious; thereby rejecting inflexible moral and religious guidance by churches that measure divine approval in dollars and attendance counts. There are lots of Americans who recognize the difference between genuine piety and marketing success tracked by congregational growth, donations, and merchandise sales.

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If not for our sins, then why did Jesus die?

Sir, with all due respect, you shared well concerning how Jesus did not die because of sins. Please share your views on the reason or why Jesus died.

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How Toxic Shame Turns Evangelization Into Abuse

Toxic shame is one of the most powerful forces in human culture.

It is commonly discussed in therapy and self-help circles. People also regularly talk about the “guilt and shame” of cultural Christianity, especially as it relates to sexuality.

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A Review of John Shelby Spong’s “Unbelievable”

By Zachary Houle

Once in awhile, a book comes along that completely shatters your Christian world view… Unbelievable basically takes all you think you knew about the church and the Bible, and aims to turn everything on its head.

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