There is a difference between worshiping Jesus and actually doing what he told us to do. I remember the documentary entitled “From Jesus to Christ” in 1998 on PBS Frontline. It was the serious beginning of my spiritual search for meaning. Becoming more familiar with the actual events of the period of the first 150 years of the common era (CE) helped me understand how … Continue reading Worshiping vs Following
Before I get started talking about those who proclaim the Progressive Christian mantel I thought it would be best to give you what I see as the foundations of both Evangelicals and Progressive Christians. Of course, in about 500 words, so this has to be a truncated version of the story. Progressive Christians Progressive Christianity has been around for more than 500 years now. It … Continue reading The Fundemental Differences Between Evangelical and Progressive Christians
When I came across the book with the quote below in 2013 it solidified my belief that, for the most part, the church has tragically drifted from the words of Jesus to the words of man. I had been pondering that thought for a couple of years; I didn’t know that it was thoroughly thought out by such a powerful person as Tolstoy. It is … Continue reading Terrible To Think What Churches Do To Men…
It’s been pretty obvious to me since I seriously spent four years reading the words of Jesus that his teaching have strong socialist roots. So, why are so many who claim to be Christian against any form of socialism? Just say that word and they go into the immediate attack mode. That is just another of a long list of things I don’t understand about … Continue reading Jesus Was A Socialist
Of course, everything I say here at RedLetterLiving is my opinion, but sometimes it seems particularly necessary to make that declaration. Since I am going to compare some religious establishments on the post, this is one of those times As a little bio for this post, I give you a quick history of my six stages of Christian life: I was baptized into the Catholic … Continue reading The Church Needs Shame…
November 12, 2009 I found an interesting book a while back by Phyllis Tickle entitled “The Words of Jesus”. Phyllis Tickle is the founding editor at Publishers Weekly and is author of more than two dozen book about Christianity. In this book she attempts to take the red letters found in the Gospel accounts and separate them from the surrounding text. She does this, among … Continue reading The Words of Jesus
We need to get over the idea that those who pray the hardest get special favors from God and if he doesn’t answer our prayer requests then we are simply not praying enough. In my mind that is total fabrication and rationalization. Like so many other things, the religious establishment has had centuries to hone this particular message. Yes, I frequently pray to God. Except … Continue reading Those Who Pray The Hardest Get Special Favors
Given what I post here the title above probably sounds like sacrilege to you. But in many ways being an Evangelical was just easier than taking my spiritual life seriously. I was an Evangelical for twenty-five years so there had to be something that kept me going back. Here are the things that I miss about being an Evangelical: The Conservative Evangelical Church is primarily … Continue reading I Kinda Miss Being An Evangelical
Many pastors fear that if they were honest with their congregations about their doubts they would be fired, and the sad fact is: They probably would be. Not fired for some moral indiscretion mind you. But fired for being honest, fired for taking a stand of integrity. Those in the pews are no different. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten from people … Continue reading The Greatest Heresy…
But there is also something else happening. A growing number of Americans (nearly a third, according to one Gallop poll) describe themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” Books with titles like “Christianity After Religion,” “Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time,” and “The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus” are gathering a growing audience. And the Emerging Church movement, seeking to live, as … Continue reading An Emergent Witness for Friends?
I didn’t consider this for many years. I actually thought my experiences rare. I was one of the chosen. I was special. Now I know the truth. God whispers his love in every ear. He isn’t interested in declaring his love to a select few. He doesn’t limit his presence to Vatican City, to the halls of seminaries, to the offices of preachers, or to … Continue reading If grace is true, it is true for everyone. – Part 4 If Grace Is True….
I am going to jump off the series of posts about God’s grace for a quick aside. It amazes me how God can have agape love for us humans. He puts no conditions on his love and he loves each and every one of us. Knowing that God’s love for me is not dependent on me is reassuring indeed. It also amazes me how we … Continue reading Putting Conditions On Accepting God’s Love…..
Many share my love for Jesus. We accepted him as Lord. We were baptized in his name. We became his disciples. We worshiped and adored him. Yet we’ve often divorced the words and actions of Jesus from the God he worshiped and adored. We’ve forgotten the very one Jesus came to reveal. Those of us raised in the Church have a good excuse for this … Continue reading God’s Wrath….
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid…. When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit.“You deaf and mute spirit,” … Continue reading Unclean Spirits….
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered.“No one is good—except God alone. Mark 10:17-18 These words have always troubled me to one extent or another. Let me explain why. The story which they came … Continue reading Except God Alone….
Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of … Continue reading Merely Human Rules….
Here are some thoughts from Randy Oftedahl over at QuakerQuaker: Now I believe there are many paths, and God in His love for human variety has given us an infinate number of ways to follow the Spirit, depending on what best speaks to our condition. But sometimes I think Quakers, perhaps because we have a particular history as a “peculiar people” or more distinctive worship … Continue reading Religious Superiority….
Source: Deal Or No Deal? Creed Or No Creed? – QuakerQuaker. “Friends have no creeds.” We Quakers often say that. We are committed to no human words but rather to following the Holy Spirit. We believe God speaks to us today – speaks to all who still their hearts and listen. “No official words can substitute for a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.” We … Continue reading About Those Creeds….
I know you expect this post to be about how the church is very much against the idea of evolution. But really it is going to be quite the opposite. Yes, many denominations within the church, like so many other areas of science, deny evolution of the species as originated by Darwin. The Scopes Monkey trial was evidence of that. William Jennings Bryan put up … Continue reading The Church and Evolution….
Anyone who has read much of this blog knows that I take the creeds of the Christian church to have done more harm than good. Here are some words about that by Harvey Cox in his book The Future of Faith: Creeds were always something theologians invented, often to stake out spheres of authority. The vast body of lay Christians knew little about them and … Continue reading Those Non-Western Christians…
Since this is the first post here in 2013 I pray we all make a new years resolution to not embarrass God!! We followers of Jesus seem to think that our self-proclamation that we are Christians doesn’t affect anyone but ourselves. But in reality making that claim and then not living up the actions necessary to show the world that you follow Jesus embarrasses God. … Continue reading Don’t Embarrass God….
It always saddens me to see yet another instance of a Christian church exercising exclusion but that is what this article is all about. This time it is the Roman Catholic church. They stripped Rev. Bill Brennan, a 92-year-old Jesuit priest (that is him in the picture here) of his duties because he performed a liturgy in with a female priest not sanctioned with the Roman … Continue reading A Priest Following His Conscience…..
The primary reason there are 39,000+ Christian denominations is that each are trying to maintain “purity” of beliefs. Here is how that logic usually plays out: ” If we allow differences of opinions among us then we will soon reach a slippery slope where we will slide into heresy. For that reason we must be on the constant watch to exclude anyone among us who … Continue reading Institutional Purity…..
This is the fourth post on the book Saving Jesus from the Church: How to Stop Worshiping Christ and Start Following Jesus by Robin Meyers: One thing every pastor knows is that knowledge is not redemptive. Indeed, sometimes we can know the truth, and it will not set us free…. One of the great divides in the church could be overcome if we got one … Continue reading Saving Jesus — (Part 4) Science is Not the Enemy…..
I came across an article entitled Sheer Christianity in the November 2012 Sojourners Magazine that moved me. I want to tell you a little about it and quote some of the inspiring words. It is by Wesley Granberg-Michaelson who is the general secretary of the Reformed Church of America. I have to admit that I don’t know much about this organization. Here is a quote … Continue reading Sheer Christianity….
I live in Indiana which is pretty much a red State. Senator Lugar, who was our long-time representative in the U.S. Senate was defeated in the primary by Richard Mourdock who proudly announced that he is a loyal Tea Party candidate. His stated view on compromise is when the Democrats finally come to agree with everything Republicans want! I really haven’t been paying much attention … Continue reading God’s Will…
Toward the end of his life, while in a Nazi prison, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was a well known Lutheran theologian, wrote some tantalizing letters to his friend Eberhad Bethage where he wrestles with what he calls “religionless Christianity.”The letters in question were written in 1944 not long before he was executed by the Nazi’s. What did Bohhoeffer mean by Religionless Christianity? Here are some of the words … Continue reading Religionless Christianity???
The phrase “I believe” seems to have a lot of weight in today’s world but to me it is a cautionary phrase. We have to distinguish between “I believe” and “I am”. Let me give you an example of that: “I believe that Jesus told us to take care of the poor.” This seems to be a powerful declaration but is it really? What if … Continue reading I Believe……
In 1997 Richard Carlson wrote a very popular book entitled Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…. and it’s all small stuff. In that book he listed one hundred things to make our lives more peaceful. Some of those topics that I took to heart included: Let Others Be “Right” Most of the Time Learn to Live in the Present Moment Surrender to the Fact that Life Isn’t … Continue reading And Its All Small Stuff…..
Of course all Christians recognize the phrase the kingdom of God from the Lord’s prayer. But the interpretation of that phrase seems to vary considerably depending on what version of Christianity you follow. Here is what Martin Luther said about it in his small catechism: Your Kingdom Come on earth as it is in heaven: What does this mean? The kingdom of God certainly comes … Continue reading The Kingdom of God…..