The Origins of the Bible: The Old and New Testaments

Introducing Bishop Spong’s landmark series on the Origin of the Bible covering both Old and New Testaments.

His scholarly analysis and signature insights breakdown the past, present and future of these sacred texts.

read more

Peace on Earth to Angry People of Good Will

  At Christmas we think of peace and talk about good will, but in the 2018 season we are focused on anger in our country. At a time of general prosperity, political processes in America and Europe …

read more

Christmas

When Jesus was born in Nazareth, nobody took notice. There were no wise men, no shepherds in the field. It wasn’t until about 30 years later that some people did take notice, his disciples, because they were drawn, and Pilate, who as crucifier-in-chief crucified all trouble-makers. When Pilate gave the order, the disciples, all 25, women and men, hid in the shadows for fear of their lives. The hiding, however, did not last long. As they comforted one another in both their loss and their fear, they felt the spirit of their lost one alive in their midst, and they knew that the cruelty of the Empire against the One who loved was not the final word. They knew, not that a body had been resuscitated, but that the ultimate power in the universe was not death, but life. And not just life, but life in love.

read more

Hidden In His Own Story

Discovering Jesus in the Parables of the Gospels

Hidden in His Own Story is an invitation to reconsider and re–imagine both the humanity and divinity of Jesus. It is an invitation to people who are not familiar with the Bible stories and have only heard them through other sources, also to many who have rejected traditional interpretations of the stories as religious dogma, and to many people who are so steeped in the stories that they have become cliché.

read more

Nature, Destiny, and the Garden in Eden

A central problem in Christianity is represented by opposing views of the Genesis account of the origin of humanity in a special garden. One set of voices looks at the opening chapters of Genesis and shouts “Believe it!” They go so far as rejecting modern science and constructing museums to display early life on earth the “way it must have been.” Another set of voices calls out “Unbelievable!” This extreme often considers Genesis irrelevant and needing serious revision.

read more

Liberating the Gospels: Reading the Bible with Jewish Eyes

n this boldest book since Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, Bishop John Shelby Spong offers a compelling view of the Gospels as thoroughly Jewish tests.Spong powerfully argues that many of the key Gospel accounts of events in the life of Jesus—from the stories of his birth to his physical resurrection—are not literally true. He offers convincing evidence that the Gospels are a collection of Jewish midrashic stories written to convey the significance of Jesus. This remarkable discovery brings us closer to how Jesus was really understood in his day and should be in ours.

read more

Exercising Empathy

Empathy is more than sympathy, it involves a deeper understanding of, and even the ability to anticipate the feelings of another person. There are two kinds of religion, the personal piety sort whose goal is to avoid punishment and attain reward, and the empathic journey of faith that seeks to be a blessing to others, even those who are not yet born. Maybe there is really only one kind of religion because, as this sermon argues, religion without empathy is really just self-service with rituals.

read more

Jesus Matters – BRUNCHtalks 5

Jesus MATTERS – BRUNCHtalks 5
by Rev. Dawn Hutchings

Audio only click here

Moving beyond the sacrificial interpretation of the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth to explore a progressive way of following Jesus. Jesus’ way of being provides hope for 21st century christian communities who embrace the LOVE we meet in the stories about Jesus that have been handed down to us. Can christian communities provide a space where people can gather together to learn how to love?

read more

“Perfection” In The Thought Of Jesus

What we we think is perfection, and what Jesus and the ancients meant by it, are different. When he said, “Be perfect, even as God is perfect,” he did not mean without error; or, as some have assumed, as merely complete in who you are (as if one’s own uniqueness is different from another’s, and that everyone needs to only be true to their own selves).

read more

The Christian Life Is Impossible. Therefore…..

Every so often, I read the Sermon on the Mount, to get back to the basics of my faith.

I read it last week, and had a revelation: the Christian life is impossible.

read more

Jesus the Christ? – BRUNCHtalks 8

Jesus is not some sort of cosmic bargain with a demanding, jealous, elsewhere god, sacrificing himself so that we can live happily ever after! Jesus of Nazareth was fully human. The Christ is the experiece of Jesus his followers encountered after his death. The Cosmic Christ is neither human nor divine, but rather a gateway into the MYSTERY’s presence among us. Our BRUNCHtalks continue to explore what it means to be Progressive in approach: Christ-like in action.

read more

John the Anti-Semite?

For years, I refused to read any of John’s writings. I thought the Gospel of John was a bunch of mumbo jumbo and the Book of Revelation was full of craziness. Thanks to the Reverend Ken Wyant’s Bible study at Irvine United Congregational Church, I changed my opinion about the Gospel of John—but I still want to ban Revelation.

read more

Jesus’ “Bad” Table Manners

The traditional beginning of the Communion story is “On the night that Jesus was betrayed…” But we did more than betray him that night; we denied him multiple times and abandoned him to the “powers that be.” We expressed shock that any of us would desert him, let alone betray him, and we each said, “Is it I, Lord?” Was our fear of authority figures and the awareness of Jesus’ and our vulnerability already palpable at the meal? Regardless, both believers and betrayers were welcome at his table.

read more

Spiritual AND Religious

A sermon for Pentecost 12B – John 6:35,41-51

Bread, Bread, Bread, the gospel according to John: “I am the bread of life. I am the bread that came down from heaven. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, and if you eat it you’ll never die. I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. If any eat this bread they will live forever.” Bread, Bread, Bread, for five weeks in a row, preachers all over the world are doing our darnedest to serve up Jesus as the bread of life, bread for the world, bread that comes down from heaven, bread that provides eternal life. Bread, Bread, Bread. I who am not supposed to be letting bread pass my lips; I have been called upon to create sermons that will satisfy the lectionary’s insistence that we gorge ourselves on words and images which offer up Jesus as bread for the world.

read more

The Galilean Sandals

FREE! Children's eBook

It starts with a fifth grade field trip, and a pair of magic sandals. Arthur and Rosa can somehow “become” Ben and Rachel who lived around the time of Jesus. As they figure out how their sandal traveling experiences are interconnected, they hear Jesus’ message through the eyes and ears of his followers.

read more

Suppose it was like this…

Jesus was a man born in the usual way. Mary and Joseph were his parents, and he had some brothers and sisters. His home town, Nazareth, was a small hamlet occupied mostly by poor peasants who eked out a living on small plots of land that were increasingly appropriated by the wealthy. Four miles away, the city of Sepphoris was a bustling scene of government projects that provided day labor for the peasantry, and often Joseph took Jesus with him to the city as they sought to support the family.

read more

Jesus and Fig Trees

Did you ever read something in the Bible and wonder what you just read? So, you read it again. It still makes no sense. You try again. Nothing.

Here’s an example from Matthew 21:18–19. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem and was hungry. He saw a fig tree, but he went to it, he found no fruit, only leaves. Jesus said to the tree, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the tree “withered at once.” Huh?

read more

Jesus’ Encounter with a Literalist

Scripture Lesson: John 3.1-21

Nicodemus may not have been the first or last literalist that Jesus encountered, but he is one whom most of us would least imagine to be one. He was “a leader of the Jews,” which meant he was well-educated and versed in the scriptures. He would have been very familiar with the nuance of words, and the various meanings that religious words might have. So it seems odd that he would not have known what Jesus was talking about when Jesus spoke with multivalent words.

read more