Most of my spiritual life has existed between Catholicism and Evangelical Christians, with doses of agnosticism in between. I swung in and out of these three modes for almost seventy years before I discovered my true Spiritual home. The Catholic traditions tarnished my spirituality early on by declaring that almost all my childhood buddies, and everyone else for that matter, would not be joining me … Continue reading Progressive Christianity
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
Mother Teresa was once asked in an interview, “What do you say when you pray?” She replied, “Nothing, I just listen.” So then the reporter asked, “Well then, what does God say to you?” Her answer: “Nothing much, He just listens.” Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: Prayer for Ordinary Radicals (Shane Claiborne) Before I get into the main topic of this post, I want … Continue reading Listening To God
Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence (rationalism and empiricism) over acceptance of dogma or superstition…. One of my major projects for 2021 is to understand just what Humanism is all about. I have to get my mind in an objective frame of mind before I … Continue reading Humanism
What the main selling point for religious institutions? What gets them in the door? Is it a place where they can be comfortably entertained on Sunday? The mega-churches seem to thrive with those folks. Is it a place where they can reinforce what they already believe about God? All those who hop from one church to another seem to be looking for that. Is it … Continue reading The Biggest Selling Point
Last week I gave you a catch-up on where I have journeyed in my spiritual life for the last six years. I ended that post with the one big remaining question that I will address here: Do we even need a “public” body of Christ? All the lavish religious cathedrals around the world have always disturbed me. It just seems to me that Jesus never … Continue reading The Public Body…
In case you haven’t visited here before I want to let you know that there are now 39,000+ versions of Christianity around the world. I realize that thousands of them are limited to a particular congregation who split off another body due to differences in what to believe about God, but there are hundreds of versions that have millions of followers and unbelievably many have … Continue reading Take Back The Church Of Jesus
I started RedLetterLiving twelve years ago yesterday to try to answer the basic question of how strongly Christian churches follow the teachings of Jesus. That part of my spiritual journey lasted six years. It was during that period that I went from a passive Sunday morning observer to actively growing my spirituality. I grew a lot during those years and since. What I found during … Continue reading In Celebration of Twelve Years
“Mixing religion and politics is like mixing ice cream and manure. It doesn’t do much to the manure but it sure does ruin the ice cream” Unknown- I could cite all kinds of places in the Christian Bible warning about mixing Ceasar & God but that is just not what I do. Instead, I am giving you the quote above. I don’t know for sure … Continue reading Mixing Religion And Politics
I was fascinated by this modern interpretation of the 10 Commandment when I came across them recently. I must admit that I didn’t really feel that the Old English version found in most Bibles applied to me. It’s kind of like when I read the Bible from cover to cover, I have done that on three occasions, and always found myself struggling through it. The … Continue reading The 21st Century Interpretation of the 10 Commandments.
I’m going to jump in here with some thoughts that are unrelated to the current series. These thoughts were spurred by a quote on the side of my mini-RV that I am prepping for the coming season. I put the sticker along with many others on my trusty vehicle several years ago. I don’t know why it spurred a thought now? All of us think … Continue reading We Pray To The God Of Our Mind…
Given that much of the church of Jesus Christ has morphed into something entirely different, I feel compelled to bring RedLetterLiving out of its six-year hiatus. So, starting soon I will be posting at least weekly here again. The posts here will appear in parallel over at my home blog at RJsCorner.net but I think it is important that is also stands alone here. It … Continue reading Coming Back to RedletterLiving – Again
I’m going to do a philosophical post of my own making for today. I will get back to studying others next week. With this post, I am certainly exercising the creative side. I will try to analyze the mind of a first-century citizen and his writings with my 21st-century views. Up front, I will admit that much of what I speculate is just that, speculation. … Continue reading Miracles And The First Century Mind….
I was going to try and make a couple of posts that attempted to explain the difference between religious beliefs and philosophy of religion, but that just got too complicated and technical so I decided to keep it simple by just looking at examples. Let’s tackle some of the hardest philosophical questions first. Why not? Is God Omnipotent? Some religions, but not all hold on … Continue reading Can God Make A Rock That He Can’t Lift?
Where does one start with this topic? To me, all these types of serious discussions start with Wikipedia. They seem to always give me a good high-level view of the topic at hand. Philosophy of religion is “the philosophical examination of the central themes and concepts involved in religious traditions. The philosophy of religion differs from religious philosophy in that it seeks to discuss questions regarding the nature … Continue reading Getting Started with Philosophy of Religion
When I decided I wanted to study the philosophy of religion I had no idea what I had bitten off! I now know that it is one of the major branches of Philosophy. I knew Socrates had things to say about it 400 years before Jesus, but I never dreamed how far it went from there. Since almost every culture that has existed has either … Continue reading The Philosophy of Religion
I”m still not really in the camp with Progressive Christianity. Maybe I should just stick to the phrase “follower of the teachings of Jesus” Here are some comments that tend to push me in that direction. It is from a webinar on the subject from the Church of Christ version of Christianity. 1) You sometimes hear progressive Christians say things like, “The Bible is not … Continue reading Some Mainline Thoughts on Progressive Christianity
When I put my RedLetterLiving blog in hiatus five years ago there was what seemed to be just a ragtag group of theologians and clergy that thought as I did. Following the Red Letters was what Christianity was all about to them and to me. Everything else is a distraction. Now here we are five years later and I have joyfully discovered that many of … Continue reading Progressive Christianity
I will admit here that I got a first time comment today that I immediately sent to the trash because I don’t have the energy to deal with it on a serious level right now. It goes like this. “I will ignore the needs of the 99 in order to prevent the 100th one from getting something he doesn’t deserve”. This comment also declared that … Continue reading Whose Fault???
What About The Bible… ? (Chapter 6) This is the final post on my series about the Bible. It has been an enlightening time for me. This final post is about the history of Christianity and how it seems to stop with the establishment of the biblical text. But before I get into that I must mention that I have found that to really understand … Continue reading The History Of Christianity???
I’m not sure who brought up the concept but it is about how churches are actually more like clubhouses than anything else. They are buildings that are built almost exclusively for their members comfort. Yes that comfort does bring in some to hear the message but that seems to be very secondary at best. I had a recent round of comments on this topic over … Continue reading Everyone Needs A Clubhouse….
What About The Bible… ? (Chapter 5) I used to mourn the fact that there are almost 40,000 different versions of Christianity around today. But, in reality maybe I should celebrate that statistic. At least it shows that we are all trying to find the heart of God. But the problem with this is that we end up picking the type of God we want. … Continue reading Religious Diversity…
What About The Bible… ? Chapter 4 When we treat the Bible as a history book we come to more thoroughly understand the varied opinions put forth. But I very much understand that a significant portion of those who call themselves Christians believe that every word, every punctuation mark came directly from God and therefore is literally true and without the possibility of any error. … Continue reading The Bible — History Book Or Idol???
MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (AP) — A snake-handling pastor who appeared on the National Geographic television reality show “Snake Salvation” has died after being bitten by a snake during a weekend church service in Kentucky. SOURCE: Snake-handling Ky. pastor dies from snake bite – Yahoo News. While this is maybe of the extreme part of the spectrum it is still a typical example of how we pick … Continue reading Our Own Version….
What About The Bible… ? (Chapter 3) How did the Bible get so filled with things that have nothing to do with the messages of Jesus? That is one of many questions I have pondered over the last decade. I want to study more about King Constantine and how the Bible was put together under his watchful eye. Here is the crux of what I … Continue reading How Did The Bible Get So Filled…
What About The Bible… ? (Chapter 2) I know that from all the rhetoric about this topic you are expecting the next word in the title to be “Clear” but actually for me it is “Fuzzy”. I don’t know how many times in my life I have heard the phrase “just study the bible for the answer to your problems. When a child dies from … Continue reading I Read The Bible And Everything Became….
What About The Bible… ? (Chapter 1) I have been spending quite a bit of time lately thinking about the Bible and my experiences with it over the last decade or so. Around 2003 I decided to take up a serious study of theology and in particularly those around the words of Jesus. I naively thought I could get some clear directions for my spiritual … Continue reading The Thing Is…..
Christians mistakenly believe that apologizing discredits everything they’ve ever said. As if saying “we’re sorry” will somehow negate the fact that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. In reality, apologizing promotes honesty, transparency, authenticity and humility, things all Christians should exhibit throughout their lives. When Christians apologize, it adds integrity and legitimacy to their words and actions… Maybe this is why … Continue reading “I’m Sorry”?
Since the First Century, if not before, the choice of people of faith has been between empire approved institutions or the individual or tiny group quest for peace, justice and personal, if not cultural, transformation. Could any of us even begin to imagine how different European (and world) history would have been if, instead of massive armed hordes of Crusaders, Christianity had been represented on … Continue reading Christianity, Empire, and a USS Mother Teresa?
Evangelism is a term very similar to “Jihad” in terms of public relations. It is a term cherished by those of us “inside” Christianity, but despised by those on the outside. Christians may think “spreading the Gospel,” but to others it means “socially awkward situations where you pressure me to accept YOUR beliefs.” Some on the progressive side of Christianity have suggested we should just … Continue reading Is Evangelism A Dirty Word???