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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Moon-Walking Bears, Jesus and Nicodemus: a sermon on John 3:1-17

I am indebted to Jim Kast-Keat, a pioneering preacher who inspired me to open this sermon with the video below. I am also indebted to Bishop John Shelby Spong for teaching me more that I can articulate with words. His excellent book The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic opened the Gospel According to John in ways that have helped me to see aspects of the Divine to which I was once blind. Much of the sermon consists of extensive quotes from chapter 9 of Jack’s book.

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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for a radical update of creed, attitude, and structure in the Christian church, whose practices, Wendland says, are outdated—and this behind-the-times attitude, though revered as traditional by many, comes at the expense of Church success.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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What did Jesus really mean?

A Refreshing Rearticulation of Honest to God Truth

From his saying “This is my body” when breaking bread and “This is my blood” when pouring wine at what has since been referenced as The Last Supper with his disciples (see Matthew 26), it is clear that Jesus rationally grasped as well as mystically (that is, transpersonally) identified with the Oneness of Creation. If what he meant to communicate by way of such sayings had been truly apprehended, such utterances may indeed have been foundational in establishing an ecologically sane, holistically Lifeaugmentative civilization.

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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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Jesus the Tough Guy

http://peacelovejoyhope.com/jesus-tough-guy/

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The Synonymy of Politics and Religion

Mixing politics and religion is far more than tampering with a combustible concoction. Because politics and religion both attempt to address the same needs, dreams and desires, values and principles – they are essentially synonymous terms.

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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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Should Bloggers Smell like the Sheep, too?

Pope Francis is famous for saying that priests (and presumably other church leaders and ministers) should “be shepherds living with the smell of the sheep.” This statement is often repeated and resonates like a mantra. And rightly so—it reflects a powerful vision of accompaniment, solidarity and servant leadership.

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Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography

“Jesus is a magisterial distillation of Crossan’s lifelong work on the gospels and Jesus. It deserves careful and extended consideration by everyone seriously interested in the enigmatic sage from Galilee. With his work on Jesus, Crossan joins the ranks of the truly great biblical scholars of the twentieth century. His ‘revolutionary biography’ is the biography of a revolutionary: the book and its subject are rebels in the cause of truth.”– Robert W. Funk, editor of “The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus” and cofounder of the Jesus Seminar”Crossan paints his Jesus with great warmth and power. He achieves a portrait that both takes in the contemporary background yet accounts for Jesus’ distinctiveness…This Jesus is a Jewish peasant, with a direct sense of God’s immediacy, who shatters all social restraints.” — “New York Times Book Review””This is an extremely interesting, erudite, informative, must-read for anyone interested in the New Testament…Read it.” — “National Catholic Reporter”

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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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It’s about LOVE not creeds!

A sermon for Easter 5B – 1 John 4:7-21

This sermon was preached in 2015 upon my return from Belfast. I went off script for this one. So, the manuscript does not adequately reflect what was actually preached. I went off on a tangent using Robin Meyers’ observation that our historical creeds reduce Jesus life to a comma!

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My response to “Is Quakerism Becoming a Christianity Without Christ?”

By Cap Kaylor on March 16, 2018

In a recent post (3/16/18) on Progressive Christianity, Cap Kaylor asked: “Is Quakerism Becoming a Christianity Without Christ?” He is worried that Quakerism is in a serious decline and is in danger of withering away. He says, “I have come to share the now widely held conclusion that unless the current trajectory is reversed, liberal Quakerism is headed for extinction.” I should note that Kaylor is writing from the perspective of an unprogrammed (silent worship, no ministers) Quaker and not a programmed (speaking, music, and minsters) Quaker. Worldwide only 11% of Quaker Meetings are unprogrammed.

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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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