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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Prayer and Progressive Christianity

I am puzzled about prayer in the context of Progressive Christianity which has replaced the interventionist God “up there” (or “out there”) with the God within. The typical conventional church service liturgy invariably includes an intercessions segment. What meaning does this segment have in the context of progressive thinking? Should it be abandoned?

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The Transitory Nature of Beliefs, Part II

A reflection and commentary for Holy Week & Easter Observances from the perspective of a progressive thinker from the Christian faith tradition.

  Symbol, Ritual, and Learning to Distinguish True & False Myths Because religious progressives often like to emphasize actions over words, and doing over some musty, ancient, stratified system of believing, I’ve asked what part any creedal statement of belief might still be …

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New from Award-Winning Author Diana Butler Bass

Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks

The author of the multiple award-winning “Grounded” and leading trend spotter in contemporary Christianity explores why gratitude is missing as a modern spiritual practice, offers practical suggestions for reclaiming it, and illuminates how the shared practice of gratitude can lead to greater connection with God, our world, and our own souls.

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Another Take on Blessing

Entrenched theists can go on believing that their God can interfere with the natural processes of existence by conveying her blessings on chosen individuals or groups. If you want to believe that God blesses America, you can, but be aware that it is an empty phrase.

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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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Collective Christian Memory

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” it is said, and a background in literature has taught me that in earlier periods writers often borrowed from one another without compunction or complaint.

But I was shaken, early in my activist writing career, to discover another writer had “borrowed” something I had written for her Methodist curriculum. She put her name as the author because she had “adapted” it. I had felt similarly offended when I noticed Cat Stephens failed to acknowledge on an album that “Morning Has Broken” is an old hymn that he “adapted.”

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Is God a person?

In my theology, “Yes, and…”

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O. M. G.

Sermon preached on April 3, 2016 at The First Church of Amherst

I wonder how many OMGs have travelled around the globe in the last minute, the last day, or even the last year. More than we can count. I wonder what millennials and the rest of us are thinking about when we/they text this message! Is it a shorthand form of prayer?

I wonder to what these mini-prayers are being addressed, especially by Millennials. I even wonder to what our prayers are being addressed.

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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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What’s the Main Source of Global Conflict? Survey Says: “Religious Beliefs”

By Hemant Mehta for Patheos

Would eliminating religion from the world make it a better place? You could argue that one from every possible direction and never settle on a solid answer, but a new survey from U.S. News & World Report says that 30% of people believe “religious beliefs” are the primary source of global conflict, more than any other option.
Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2018/01/25/whats-the-main-source-of-global-conflict-survey-says-religious-beliefs/#rQkAEKLGVFp15Lmv.99

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The Search for New Vocabulary

Part Two

the second concept for which we might find common ground pertains to the actual difficulty we encounter when we try to love. How easy is it to act lovingly in an unconditional way? Are we capable, or does something stand in our way? And if there is a blockage, what might that be? The traditional Christian answer is, yes, there is a blockage, and it goes by the name of sin.

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The Personal Face of God

God is not a “thing” to be grasped or known or understood absolutely; yet the entire witness of scripture and saints and Jesus is that God is within our reach.

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Tillich’s Challenge: The Search for New Vocabulary

Part One

We started by asking if we could replace the word god with the word love. We have seen that both words are not easily defined or understood. And yet, given the importance of finding common ground, I think that at least for the time being, we should give it a try and replace the word god with the word love in the context of humanist/Christian dialogue. Christians can talk about god all they want when talking among themselves, just as humanists can deny god all they want when talking among themselves. But when talking to each other, using the word love, as exemplified by the Samaritan, would be a helpful way to begin the dialogue. If we can agree on love, then will follow the awareness that indeed we have much more in common.

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A time of gathering

“Come Again?” …we ask meaning, “tell me one more time, I didn’t quite get your message.” …Come again?
And God, the creator, by whatever name we summon does.

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For Christ’s Sake! It’s Not About God!

– a sermon on the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25: 14-30

We all know full well that millions and millions are suffering and dying and yet to protect ourselves we bury what has been given to us, because we are afraid of being consumed by the wicked master who will surely banish us into the darkness if we do not keep safe what we have been given. We dare not risk loosing anything at all, lest we end up in the outer darkness weeping and gnashing our teeth.

So, for the most part we play it safe and we don’t take any risks and we spend our lives living in fear of that wicked master. If I had to draw a line between the wicked slave-master and some character, I wouldn’t have that line end up with God. Indeed, I’m sure that the wicked master is not God.

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Feast if the Transfiguration ‘A’

  It is good for us to be here. Be attentive. The Webster Dictionary defines an ‘aha moment’ as a point in time when one has a sudden insight or realization and I would add, a mystical …

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