Faith and Foolishness: When Religious Beliefs Become Dangerous

Religious leaders should be held accountable when their irrational ideas turn harmful

Religious leaders should be held accountable when their irrational ideas turn harmful.

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The Human Condition

I reject the virgin birth, sinless life, divinity, and physical resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.  And that’s just a short list of the traditional Christian doctrines that I don’t buy into. There are a lot of open-minded, …

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Top Ten Reasons ‘Burn a Qur’an Day’ is Anti-Biblical

The Dove World Outreach Center, a non-denominational church in Gainesville, Florida, announced in July that it would host a Qur’an burning event on its church property in observance of the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks “to warn Americans about the dangers of Islam.”

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Eternal Life

I have been asked many times, Well, do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus and of eternal life for believers? Yes or no?
My answer is: “Well, it’s both ‘yes’ and ‘no’!”

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Heaven Within

I see no conclusive evidence for an afterlife. Having said that, I find enormous meaning and power in the metaphor of heaven and feel very motivated by the many ways we can manifest heaven both in this life and beyond our life.

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Everlasting Life: A Progressive Perspective

Bruce Epperly gives us the bullet points on how Progressive Christians have left go of traditionally negative images of heaven and hell in favor of a more loving, honest and transcendent vision of everlasting life.

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Is Downward Dog the Path to Hell?

Evangelicals and fundamentalist Hindus come together in their denunciation of yoga

Yoga- a beneficial practice or the work of the devil? The increasing popularity of yoga in the United States has sparked controversy among evangelical Christians and fundamentalist Hindus. In this article, Jain reports the view points of several Christian and Hindu figures, who criticize the practice of yoga in America, and provides counter arguments to the monolithic views on the ancient practice.
 

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BE LOVE NOW: The Path of the Heart

Jim Burklo presents a review of the book BE LOVE NOW: The Path of the Heart.

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Does the Historical Jesus Matter? Testing good theology

This coming weekend will be marked by a 25th anniversary gathering and celebration for the important scholarly enterprise known as the Jesus Seminar. A good time to ask what difference it makes when the Jesus of history turns out to be considerably more interesting than the myth-encrusted Christ created by the church over the centuries. Or does it make any difference at all?

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Religionless Religion: Beyond Belief to Understanding

In these perilous times when the very survival of the human species is at stake, there is a desperate need for wisdom to provide guidance. The sacred literature of the world’s major religious traditions is a source for such wisdom, but it has largely been misinterpreted and misunderstood, and, thus, instead of being a source for wisdom, it has been a source for confusion and conflict. The ancient scriptures, for the most part, were written in a language which is quite different from ordinary language. It is a mythological language, which is symbolic, and therefore its meaning is hidden. In the Bible, for example, there are many narratives that appear to be historical, but they are history that has been mythologized, and therefore their surface meaning is not their real meaning. Clyde Edward Brown clearly illustrates that the correct interpretation of the world’s religious texts would lead to a different concept of religion. Instead of belief in the literal truth of texts that have been misinterpreted, the emphasis would be on having those religious values, such as social and economic justice, which are common to all religions.

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Women Healing Women: A Model of Hope for Oppressed Women Everywhere

Much has been written on the plight of women in Indian society, but this book presents an effective practical response to the appalling injustices – and a model of hope for agencies and programs for oppressed women around the world. This book recounts the true story of “Maher”, a remarkable project and centre for battered women and children located near Pune, India. Founded in 1997, the project has provided refuge to more than 1250 women, half of whom might otherwise have been murdered, committed suicide, or starved to death. Maher is an interfaith community that honours all religions and strongly repudiates caste distinctions – making it a rare beacon shining new hope upon some of the gravest problems in India and around the world. The book is rich with stories – poignant first-hand accounts by women and children whose lives have been transformed by the Maher project. Later chapters explore the larger implications of this pioneering work, with guidance for implementing similar projects elsewhere. Written in a concise narrative style, “Women Healing Women in India” is an easy and compelling read.

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What About Sin?

Obviously how we think about sin changes how we think about repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation.  If we understand sin to be primarily personal… the burden is on us individually to change our behavior. Change in personal behavior is always good when we identify behaviors and thoughts that we know we need to change.  But personal change does not adequately deal with destruction and hurt and evil that can come from the corporate, communal sin. For example: we might know that we have to change our attitudes toward homeless persons…and be more generous in our personal charity.  And it is good to do so.  But that still does not change the structural economic and political situations that will continue to result in more and more homeless people.  Or we might become aware that we personally need to be more open minded to those who are different from us.  So personal transformation is good.  But that does not change the systems of racism, sexism or homophobia. That infuses much of our cultural landscape.

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From The Backporch Of The Church

A Jungian psychoanalyst and former Presbyterian minister offers a perspective on Christianity and the Church from Jungian psychological perspective.

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Always A Seeker

Certainly the most influential and helpful reading I had done over the years was in the various Buddhist traditions. It is true that on the surface there are significant differences from the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha. And it seems important to note that the historical Jesus had only three or four years to formulate and articulate his teachings, while the Buddha’s teachings evolved over several decades. And certainly these two great teachers were coming out of very different cultures and social settings.

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Confessions of a Cowboy Christian and Practicing Buddhist

Beyond miles and miles of Sonoran and Chihuahuan desertCriss-crossing the Southwest and Northern Mexico,Where local folks know how to stand "tall in the saddle" as they sayAcross a landscape that seems to go nigh on to foreverEven beyond the Boundlessness of you, O' God,Here imaginations may touch the beauty of all creationAnd horizons meet the very edge of eternity.

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Jesus and Buddha-Kindred Spirits

That is the core truth of Buddhism. We expect things to go well, and when they don’t, we suffer. The truth of Buddhism is that when we drop our desire for life to be different than what it is, at least a lot of our suffering will disappear as well. Drop the attachments, and the suffering will be dropped as well. That’s the way to enlightenment in Buddhism. You hear in the core teachings of Buddhism the bringing together of laughter and suffering, laughter as an image for accepting everything as it is, as perfect just now, and sorrow as an image for wanting it to be more hopeful. We hold those two things in balance all the time, and I believe the same is true in Christianity. Christianity also is an attempt to hold together laughing and sorrow. I want to suggest that as we move toward Easter that we might see this journey as that balance. You can’t have Good Friday without Easter Sunday. You can’t have Easter Sunday without Good Friday. Christianity at its essence brings together suffering and laughter.

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