This Guy Scares Me!

I don’t scare easily and am generally very accepting of people. However, I want to introduce you to someone who scares me and see if he scares you also.

read more

From the Director – Why keep “Christianity” in our name and mission?

There have been many people over the years who encourage us to drop “Christianity” from our name. Here are my two cents on why I am not ok with that.

Progressive Christianity is a unique and beautiful movement. It is a vital landing space for hundreds of thousands of humans around the world. Though small, it is growing. And there continues to be a very large percentage of people in this world that consider themselves Christian. At some point many of those will question what they are being told in church. Many will find that the theology presented in their church does not match their understanding of science and/or their values. And they will, perhaps, consider leaving their church. But many will not if their isn’t a better alternative. People who have Christianity in their heritage, their culture, and their traditions are often not ready to straight up leave Christianity all together.

read more

The Love Affair Doesn’t End With a Few Apologies: The SBC and Racism

The SBC has done much in recent years to leave racism in the past. Public apologies and resolutions have been forthcoming denouncing racism and all its trappings. Milestones include the 1995 apology for its complicity in slavery, the enthusiastic election of an African-American president, Fred Luter, in 2012, and the 2016 repudiation of the Confederate Flag. So this year, when a resolution was proposed to denounce the recent resurgence of white supremacy and the alt-right movement in US culture, it seemed like the stage was set for a routine—but deepening—commitment by the SBC to distance itself from racism in all its forms.

read more

Why Interfaith (and Interspiritual) Studies and Awareness are Epically Important in Today’s World

When we ponder religion and faith, we often think of their more modern day manifestations and how much devastation and destruction has been done in the name of religion. It is hard to remember that most major religions were born out of a profound mystical experience, flowing from an inner realization, which was then attempted to be shared via language and action. My own feelings toward religion have been complicated, confusing and challenging. Growing up in a very liberal, progressive Christian church, I had a meaningful and positive experience of the community that gathers around an organized religion and yet it was impossible for me to forget the vast atrocities which have been done in the name of Christianity over the last 2000 years. I also felt tired of the same mistranslated, seemingly irrelevant book used week after week, the same teacher held up on the pedestal week after week, a man who had died fighting for his cause over 2000 years before, who while an amazing human, was no different than you or I, just a man. I looked around and saw many incredible human beings doing phenomenal work in the world, affecting positive change and expanding upon some of the great mystic teachers, and yet no one was singing about them each week.

read more

Reviving the Reformation: A Jewish Believer Peers Backward to Move Biblical Truth Forward

Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism were both catapulted from the Land of Israel in the first century. Even though they came out of the same soil, the Hebrew Bible (Tanach), they ended up a distance from the starting point in opposite directions.

This book is an attempt to restore the true Biblical Messianic faith described by the Tanach. Wearing deerstalker caps with pipes in hand we need to follow the evidence from the first century C.E. before the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem to about the middle of the second century. This investigation will require us to peer through the dust of Roman destruction to evaluate the often fragmentary details. We need to sort through the orthodox and less traditional interpretations of the facts to get closer to the truth.

read more

From Ancient Times to the Present: Transferring Guilt Makes a Mockery of Justice

  One of the foundations of modern ethics is crumbling. Having rights is about being respected as a human individual who shapes his life through choices. Whether with respect to original sin, honour based violence, modesty dress …

read more

Christian Unity: Warts and All

I’ve noticed a generational divide in the quest for Christian unity. People of different ages often articulate different priorities.

Many veterans of the work for Christian unity focus on what Christians have in common. Younger ecumenists often talk of finding peace in the midst of real differences.

This divide follows a natural pattern of healing and reconciliation. It reflects more than just two sides of the same coin.

read more

Moral Imperative vs. Moral Equivalency as a “Religious” Inquiry

A Commentary in the Aftermath of Recent Acts of Violence, Domestic Terrorism & Yet Another Culture War

Not long ago, I received a group email message from an acquaintance. A devout Muslim, he’d written to his circle of friends to tell us he was leaving the country in a few days to undertake a pilgrimage known as the Hajj. The purpose of Ejaz’ message – and as part of his required preparations for his pilgrimage — was to ask forgiveness for any wrong he may have intentionally or unintentionally committed with anyone in his circle of friends and acquaintances.

read more

Presence and Process

While the Christian church in 21st century North America is experiencing decline, interest in Buddhist-derived Mindfulness meditation is on the rise. Yet Christianity also has a rich meditative/contemplative tradition.

This book is an exploration of meditative/contemplative practices in both Christian and Buddhist contexts, emphasizing their areas of affinity. Common characteristics and effects of meditative/contemplative practices are defined.

read more

The word “God”

In religious as well as other history, when we don’t know our own history, we are condemned to repeat it. Condemned not by anyone else, not even “God”, but by ourselves and the consequences of our own willful ignorance.

read more

Why We Stay: What The History Of Mormonism Reveals About The Origins Of “Rae”

By Max Mueller for Religion Dispatches

Americans cannot understand our race past and present without grappling with the power of religion—in particular religious writings—to unify and divide. If race is primarily a construction of culture, then the original construction site was on the page, in particular, as I mentioned before, on the pages of our religious writings. And I’m not just talking about sacred scriptures. I’m talking about all the writings that America’s religious people produce in relationship (intertextually) with their religious scriptures. From public writings like sermons and legal codes, to private writings like journals and letters, these writings all make up what I call the “Mormon archive,” which is a smaller part of the “American archive.” The archive, I argue, is not just a physical and metaphorical space where (race) history is preserved. It is also where (race) history is made.

read more

Fear. (It’s ok to fear.)

I sent out an email a few weeks ago about fear.

I wrote that I was scared.

And I was when I wrote it.

I am not in that sharp place of re-surfaced terror today.

When I wrote, I wrote from a place of fear. My sense of alarm was apparent to those who read my words. (I am thankful to be a powerful enough writer to express my emotions in my words.)

Allowing myself to be scared made me feel I was not so alone. Support from so many allies followed, and that also made me feel I was not so alone.

read more

Islamophobia: misinformation and blatant lies

Lots of people are worked up with fear and misinformation. Sometimes it seems that facts just don’t matter anymore. But don’t give up! Keep paying your dues to the reality club and keep your Islamophobia decoder ring handy. Don’t let people who are taken in by every anti-Muslim snake-oil salesman that comes around derail your commitment to what I think Jesus would want us to do: to treat “the other” with respect and dignity. Practice hospitality. Build genuine relationships with those who are excluded or lied about. And maybe, “all of a sudden,” a whole new world will emerge.

read more

How can Progressive Humanism Counter Islamism’s Corrosive Divisiveness?

By George Suchett-Kaye for Conatus

Externally, we must also support the brave dissidents who found themselves trapped within the confines of committed Islam. They find themselves in the position that Galileo was in, centuries ago – facing a clerical system that would not listen and would not tolerate. Arabic thought brought back Greek philosophy to the West through the translation movement that started in the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. Greek philosophical works were translated into Arabic, and were subsequently augmented with Islamic science and philosophy. With the Christian conquest of Spain, Sicily and Jerusalem, in the 11th century, these writings were translated into Latin and found their way into European cultures. Let us now “return the favour” and deliver Humanism and Progressive thought to the East, because both our civilisations depend on it.

read more

That Time a Woman Stood up in Church and Called Me a Muslim

By Bert Montgomery for Patheos

When my friend Sue first met Tom, whom she would eventually marry, he was introduced to her as a Sunday School teacher at a Baptist church. Her immediate response was, “you don’t look like a Baptist Sunday School teacher!”

Sue had a mental template, a way of categorizing what Baptist Sunday School teachers should look, dress, and act like. Tom didn’t fit any of those things. Her mind scrambled to categorize him so she could know how she should speak to him, how she should relate to him. But, in her mind’s filing system, Tom was not anywhere close to her “Sunday School teacher” box. (By the way, Tom was, and still is, a Sunday School teacher at a Baptist church; and he still doesn’t look the part).

read more

Urdu-language Multifaith Golden Rule Poster

This Urdu-language multifaith poster featuring Golden Rule texts in 13 religions is published by Scarboro Missions with support from members of the Urdu-speaking community in Canada and around the world. The Urdu language originated in India in the thirteenth century as a blending of languages – chiefly Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit along with many local dialects. Urdu eventually developed as a language of culture, poetry and song. Upon the partition of India in 1947, Urdu became the official language of Pakistan and remains prevalent in India due to its linguistic similarity to Hindi and the immense popularity of Bollywood films. Today, nearly one billion people understand spoken Urdu, not only in South Asia but also in the Middle East, Europe, North America and other parts of the world as a result of large-scale migration from the Indian subcontinent.

read more

Civil Rights Memories 1963-64

Three years ago many classmates gathered for a fifty year reunion. It was reassuring to hear many of them tell how this civil rights involvement shaped their later careers, where in different forms and contexts they became involved in many efforts to fight the results of bigotry, injustice, poverty and ignorance. Over a dozen went to Selma in ’65. One, as a rookie pastor, founded the first integrated day care in Louisiana, shortly after finishing seminary in ’68. Many are involved these days in welcoming immigrants, fighting for health, housing and nutrition and opposing injustice and discrimination in many forms.

read more

Interview with Toni Renolds – “What is the story of your faith journey?”

Toni Reynolds, a Union Theological Seminary student and “Young Leader in Religion”, shares her thoughts on what it means to be a Christian.

These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!

read more