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.

read more

A Prayer to NoOneUpThere

I first discovered the Reverend David Keighley and his poem “Leaving Home” years ago in a newsletter published by Bishop John Shelby Spong. I read “Leaving Home” every Friday as part of my early morning quiet time, when I do prayers (Progressive Christian style), relevant readings, and prep for the day. I always look forward to my weekly time reviewing “Leaving Home.” It helps me realize that I am not in this alone as I try to paddle upstream and show people an alternative to the church’s fourth-century approach to living in the twenty-first century.

read more

Why Progressives Need God: An Ethical Defence Of Monotheism

Environmental destruction, poverty in the midst of obscene wealth, one war after another. Our biggest crises are getting worse. Secularism makes this inevitable by denying any moral authority higher than the ruling classes. By contrast, religious traditions offer accounts of who made us, for what purpose and how we should live, but whilst some are more constructive than others it is only monotheism, defined as divine harmony, that provides the philosophical and ethical framework necessary for people to lead better lives. Drawing on cultural analysis, political philosophy, Christian apologetics and theodicy the author shows why, in order to resolve our crises, progressives need to reaffirm the goodness of the natural environment as a blessing from a good god.

read more

Rolling The Stone Away: LGBTQI Elders Meet The Next Generation Of Christian Activists At A Watershed Conference

Five hundred years after Martin Luther’s reform, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people, and allies celebrated fifty years of valiant efforts to make churches Christian—that is, welcoming, inclusive, and just.

read more

Sermon: Us, Evolution, and the Universe

Everyone in this room shares 99% of their DNA with everyone else. And 98.8% with chimps. And 50% with bananas. How can that be? Well, most of our DNA contains instruction on cell reproduction, a process that all living things share. But it’s that 1% that differentiates us- blue eyes and brown, a big nose, a little nose, 5’6” and 6’5”. And 4% of that one per cent is from our Neanderthal cousins. Homo Sapiens who stayed in Africa never met Neanderthal and so have none of that DNA. The rest of us do.

Given these facts, certain questions arise. The first question is: who are we?? What are we??

read more

The Gifts of the Magi Are Always Here

Myths are traditional stories told in every culture, oftentimes with much of the historical basis lost over time. Myths are our collective story of what our lives mean and how to thrive. Jean Houston, scholar, author and philosopher active in the “human potentials movement” says, “Myths are more than old tales; they are ‘codes and roads and maps.’ Where we wind up on life’s journey depends on the map we carry with us.”

read more

Gospel Americana, the music at Thad’s

Thad’s Band plucks the heartstrings with tunes that evoke real-life spiritual experience. The lyrics, peppered with oblique biblical references, invite the listener to explore their many possible meanings. Thad’s Band vibrates the essence of progressive Christianity, lyrically liberating the faith from the confines of dead dogma. Like the kin-dom of heaven that’s coming but already here, Thad’s Band is the present future of music for progressive worship.

read more

Robin Meyers Interview: Do you call yourself a Christian?

ProgressiveChristianity.org’s Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you call yourself a Christian?,

Robin Meyers is Senior Minister of the Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

read more

The Power Hidden in a Choice

The two-faced Roman god, Janus, was often portrayed as a door with one face looking toward where you have been and the other looking towards where you are going. New Year’s Day ushers us into the month of January, named for Janus, symbolically suggesting that we are leaving an old year and entering a new one. Which seems like a good idea, especially this year, as long as we don’t drag our anger, resentment, and hurt from 2017 into 2018.

read more

Bubble Up Faith

Perhaps adding bubble blowing to your spiritual practice will help you remember that doubt is a part of faith, and allow yourself to glimmer and gleam, like bubbles, as you move through life.

read more

Try a Little Kindness: The Politics of Engagement

I was walking with a good friend about a month ago and another white supremacist rally was in the news. “Joe, what can we do about these people?” I asked. “How do we change their hate filled values?”

“We love them,” Joe responded. “Engage with them. Stop demonizing them. That was Martin Luther King’s approach to such people.”

read more

Church, State, and Compassion

In a 2016 survey by the Pew Research Center, 23% of Americans said they have no religious affiliation, up from 16% in 2007. In 2017, 59% said it is not necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values, an increase of 7% in three years. Fewer than 40% of Americans report attending church on a weekly basis, but that number is probably inflated according to church leaders, who say fewer than 20% are in church on any given Sunday.

read more
}

As Legends Go

Conceiving of a Holy Nativity

A pdf copy of this commentary can be read and/or printed here. When I was a boy growing up in mid-nineteenth century Middle America, public Christmas displays were a lot less complicated. Churches representing various denominations of …

read more

What does the Advent season call us to do in troubled times?

A Trump presidency is what I can best depict as a “disastrous opportunity,” because it encourages an intersectional dialogue as well as activism against potential erosion if not dismantling of decades-long civil rights gains. Americans on the margins have the most to lose in a country pivoting away from their full protections and participation in a multicultural democracy.

read more

As Legends Go: Conceiving of a Holy Nativity

For anyone who might still want to hold out that Jesus is still the reason for the season, the obvious question is why? If there’s any lingering claim to Jesus’ divinity by way of a virgin birth that could actually result in some sort of redemption for this weary old world, I might be all for it. But that’s an ancient hope, borne of a fanciful legend, whose fruition will take more than singing some beloved old carols, all the while debating whether or not to spike the eggnog.

read more

A Challenge to the Religions of Abraham

As human consciousness slowly developed over its evolutionary period, a high level of perception was the result but there remained a deficiency. That level of perception was incomplete. Humans were left unable to comprehend certain realities. One was the importance of their relationship to the biosphere of the planet. Within that biosphere there is a layer that allows all life to exist. Another; it did not provide comprehension of the importance of their relationship to planetary nonlife. The Abrahamic religions in their time attempted to address these issues. Care for the earth as a provider, care for each other, and an Apocalypse at the end well served their purpose. We now find that this religious understanding was far too simplistic and that the Abrahamic simplicity is coming back to haunt us. The reality is that we are facing the possibility of a Sixth Extinction. It is a reality of our own doing. Planet Earth is under siege. Judaism, Christianity and Islam urgently need to address this human consciousness deficit issue. The time has come for them come together with an intra religious configuration wherein all life and non-life on Planet Earth is able to find its universal meaning.

read more

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming—New Verses for Advent/Christmas Carol

This beloved carol originated in a 16th century German monastery. Legend
has it that a monk was inspired to create it after a Christmas Eve forest walk during
which he saw a blooming rose. The imagery is based on Isaiah 11:1 referring to
the Branch of Jesse, a central Messianic symbol: “There shall come forth a shoot
from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.”

read more

The Case of Prodigal Job: A Closer Look at Grace and Faith

An important reason for declining biblical literacy, I believe, is spiritual starvation caused by the marriage of fundamentalism and materialistic capitalism in evangelical churches. Many Americans describe themselves as spiritual, not religious; thereby rejecting inflexible moral and religious guidance by churches that measure divine approval in dollars and attendance counts. There are lots of Americans who recognize the difference between genuine piety and marketing success tracked by congregational growth, donations, and merchandise sales.

read more