On the 50th Anniversary of Thomas Merton’s Death

Monday, December 10th marks the 50th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death—which has now been confirmed as a martyr’s death by the recent solid and important investigative study, The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton by Hugh Turley and David Marin (as well as by my own encounters over the years with three CIA agents who were in Southeast Asia at the time).

read more

Publications from “Progressive” Australian and New Zealand Authors

Publications from “Progressive” Australian and New Zealand Authors

read more

The Intersections of Oppression

GCORR presents The Rev. Dr. Pamela Lightsey’s vital conversation talk on the intersection of oppression and her experiences in Ferguson, Mo. We invite you to browse the GCORR website to learn more about the work of GCORR and to find resources to assist you in having your own vital conversations.

read more

Haud Ignota Loquor (Speak not of what is not known)

Generations before the birth of Jesus, Virgil wrote in the Aeneid the solemn advice that we should not speak of what cannot be or what is not known. We would all be a lot better off if religions of all stripes had followed that advice. The world’s great faiths offer moral insight and direction (though even that should be critically received) but this wisdom is encrusted with magical thinking and unsubstantiated truth claims that have little or no bearing on the real world. Progressives seek to reveal the wisdom of faith without passing along the neurotic or false claims of our traditional faith.

read more

Is a universal community under one religion possible?

Can this (Christian) faith create a new institutional form that fosters a truth-seeking, universal community?

read more

Journey to Liberation: The Legacy of Womanist Theology

By Filmmaker Anika Gibbons

In this film, filmmaker Anika Gibbons ’13 takes a deeper look at the radical spirituality and scholarship within the lives of the founding mothers of Womanist theology and Womanist ethics. She focuses on their significance as African-American theology and history, and on the role played by Union in that founding.

read more

What the Church Needs is Some Good Sex

It is a tough time to be a Catholic Christian. The current scandals of sexual abuse, by priests around the world, follow a nearly 20-year run of similar episodes. But the lack of transparency in the Catholic Church is no news. Two decades ago, I discussed the problem with my dear friends from Rome. They were shocked that Americans were so shocked. “What is the big deal? Why the fuss?” they asked, waving their hands above their heads. “We Italians have always known better than to leave our children alone with priests!” I found their response both hilarious and appalling. But can we expect any real change of behavior in the Catholic Church as long as it remains a male-dominated monarchy?

read more

Building Bridges: Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Friends

Building Bridges combines an exploration of the life and work of Letha Dawson Scanzoni with stories of people she continues to empower through her writing and the Evangelical & Ecumenical Women’s Caucus – Christian Feminism Today, an organization she cofounded.

read more

Love Beyond Belief: Finding the Access Point to Spiritual Awareness

By Rev.Dr. Thandeka

Using insights from the brain science of emotions, Love Beyond Belief: Finding the Access Point to Spiritual Awareness narrates two millennia of lost-and-found stories about love beyond belief as the access point to the heart and soul of spiritual life. Many of today’s “spiritual but not religious” people – one in four US adults – have found the access point to spiritual experience that Western Christianity lost: unconditional love. Love Beyond Belief tracks the history of this lost emotion.

read more

Does the GOP have a racist cut-off point?

President Donald Trump traffics in racial epithets.

Since his first year in office, Trump’s displays of xenophobic, misogynistic, LGBTQ-phobic, and racist remarks (to name just a few from his laundry list of bigotries) appear to have no cutoff point.

The Republican Party under Trump doesn’t seem to have one, either.

read more

Ego and Other Barriers to Community

The obvious obscenity of narcissism or bloated egos among politicians (and preachers) makes us want to turn our heads and avoid contact. However, it deserves to be considered that some of the most mean and egotistical people are simply starving for attention and affirmation. What if we chose to give others attention and approval in advance? If we all need air, water, food, and sleep, and we also need positive social contact, then it would be foolish to deprive anyone of air, water, food, or sleep and it is equally foolish to fail to give others attention and approval. We all need meaningful connections and we should have the courage to reach out and make those connections.

read more

True Inclusion: Creating Communities of Radical Embrace

In True Inclusion, public theologian and pastor Brandan Robertson shares how to move your church from mere welcome to radical embrace. Pointing to a clear biblical imperative for radical inclusivity in the sanctuary and in the public square, Robertson presents a paradigm-shifting vision of community, “where nothing is simple, nothing is easy, but everything is beautiful.” Learn practical, step-by-step approaches to becoming deeply, robustly, and richly inclusive of all people regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status.

read more

She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse

Winner of the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion, this classic text explains what feminist theology is and how we can rediscover the feminine God within the Christian tradition, offering a profound vision of Christian theology, women’s experience, and emancipation. First published in 1992, it immediately caused a groundswell reaction for and against the concept of women’s participation and role in the Christian church. It is both controversial and thought provoking. It served as the seminal text in the analysis of woman and Christianity. This 25th anniversary edition, with new content, will keep it in the forefront of the feminist theology conversation.

read more

Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others

Barbara Brown Taylor continues her spiritual journey begun in Leaving Church of finding out what the world looks like after taking off her clergy collar. In Holy Envy, she contemplates the myriad ways other people and traditions encounter the Transcendent, both by digging deeper into those traditions herself and by seeing them through her students’ eyes as she sets off with them on field trips to monasteries, temples, and mosques.

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

Should Christian liturgies reflect reality?

Can Christian liturgies be made to reflect reality rather than nostalgia?

read more

Why We’re Still Here

The Emerging Church held its first service 10 years ago today. The progressive movement is largely comprised of small, liberal, academically oriented congregations who are committed to expressing their faith in passionate social justice involvement. To make it to the 10 year mark in very conservative Springfield, MO is reason for celebration!

read more

BRUNCHtalks2 – Progressive in Approach

Whenever we try to articulate what God IS, language fails us. For the most part, the institutional church has defined God with words and expected that members of the institution will confess loyalty to those words. Many of the words, with which the institution has traditionally described God, craft an image of God as a supernatural being up there or out there who is responsible for creation and from time to time interferes in the workings of creation. As we continue to learn more and more about the magnitude of creation, both in time and space, our traditional words about God seem even more puny. While some respond to our ever-expanding knowledge about creation by attempting to make our notions of God fit into the tight little containers that were crafted by our ancestors, some are seeking new ways to speak of the CREATOR OF ALL THAT IS, WAS OR EVER SHALL BE. How might a progressive approach to religion enable us to expand our images of the Divine MYSTERY?

read more