According to a 2013 study by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institute, 23 percent of 18- to 33-year-olds are religious progressives, 17 percent are religious conservatives, and 22 percent are non-religious. By contrast, only 12 percent of 66- to 88-year-olds are religious progressives, while about half are religious conservatives. Second, the conversation about income inequality in the U.S. and abroad — the … Continue reading Religious Conservatism On The Wane….
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…..
If you blog long enough, someone will eventually call you a heretic. Self-appointed orthodoxy watchdogs plague the internet almost as much as porn. Say something outside their particular theological tradition and they’ll damn your soul to an eternity in hell as fast as you can click “publish” on your blog post. My latest accusation of heresy came last week on Twitter. My theological crime? I … Continue reading Being Called a Heretic…..
On December 5th, The Diversity Chronicle posted a blog with the clever title ‘Pope Francis Condemns Racism and declares that “All Religions Are True” At Historic Third Vatican Council’ . People quickly spread the piece via social media, and many—especially Evangelical Christians—attacked the Pope. The fact that the article was a spoof and not true should serve as a reminder to always research and verify … Continue reading ‘Evangelicals and Catholicism…
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”?
Sometimes I take a peak at the website I put up for the church I was once a member. I have been gone for three years now but nothing has changed on that site since I left. The pastor just doesn’t see the Internet as being valuable in reaching out to the community. But one thing that is updated is the text of his sermons … Continue reading The Sit Back And Wait Syndrome….
When St. Augustine wrote On the Trinity, he tried to work out a conundrum. He wanted to figure out how women could be the image of God. He finally solved the puzzle by writing that when a woman is alone, then she is not in the image of God. It is only when she is joined with a man, when she is one flesh with … Continue reading The Image of God….
There are some folks who would say they are Christian, but they are looking less and less like Jesus. And there are some folks who would never claim to be Christian, yet their hearts and their passions are slowly moving closer and closer to Jesus’ heart. It’s up to God to sort all that out. Being more like Jesus is what we are trying to … Continue reading Reflections…
Jesus clearly told us again and again to love your fellow-man. As a matter of fact he said all the commandments and previous prophets melted down to loving God and loving each other. Nothing else is nearly as important. Why do we find it so hard to even begin to live up to that command. For so many of us, particularly those in the U.S. … Continue reading Fear Your Fellow Man….
Jesus Avoided Theological Certainty Within the New Testament, the people Jesus seemingly condemns the strongest — and most frequently — are the ones who have the greatest amount of theological certainty — the Pharisees. The spiritual leaders, the most prestigious religious institutions of the their day, the ones who were the most confident, the most sure and vocal about theology, were flat our wrong — … Continue reading Theological Certainty…..
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?
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…
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???
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 admit that I find the gospel of partnering with God for the healing of the world much, much harder than the gospel of God loves you and wants to give you a ticket to heaven. It’s harder emotionally, physically, financially, socially and culturally. It’s tiring. Without the Holy Spirit, without worship, without community I’d give up and go back to that old gospel. It … Continue reading The ‘Other Gospel’ was easier
Despite his having written an entire biography of Paul in Acts, Luke seems to be curiously unaware of Paul’s life and ministry as reflected in Paul’s authentic letters. None of Paul’s letters are mentioned in Acts. The language and theology of Paul’s speeches as told by Luke are so different in vocabulary and theology from the Paul of the authentic letters that it seems much … Continue reading Studying The Bible….
Mark Driscoll, the attention grabbing minister of the Mars Hill megachurch, is at it again. He’s pushing his badass Jesus who has, as he put it a few years ago, “a commitment to make someone bleed.” Driscoll has a personal need for a sacred tough guy because he has some sort of theological kink or character twist or… whatever, that leads him to declare, “I … Continue reading His Own Version Of Jesus….
Worth reading is a recent interview with Pope Francis conducted by Eugenio Scalfari of La Repubblica. Scalfari, an atheist, had written to request an interview, and was floored when the Pope himself called to schedule a time. The whole interview is worth reading and pondering. I was especially struck by one interchange in which Pope Francis says something very akin to something George Fox said. … Continue reading A Quakerish Pope?
A robot is a useful piece of technology typically used for complicated or dangerous tasks. Robots, often mass-produced, make no decisions on their own and are completely controlled by others. I’m beginning to realize that every time I go to church I’m becoming a little more robotic – programmed into being the perfect fit as a member of my congregation. I guess it’s inevitable that … Continue reading Robotic Christianity.
Be Willing to Change: I don’t expect to fully understand God by the time I’m done with middle school, high school, college, or when I retire—faith is a Pilgrim’s Progress, a journey of continual growth and maturity. God is too big and glorious to completely understand within a set amount of time, so my ideas, opinions, and understanding of God—my theology—will change. But why do you … Continue reading Willing To Change….
“The quest to feel certain becomes an idol when a person’s sense of significance to God and security before God is anchored not in their simple trust of God’s character, as revealed on the cross, but in how certain they feel about the rightness of their beliefs.” – Greg Boyd SOURCE: Faith, Doubt and the Idol of Certainty: An Interview with Greg Boyd. I can say … Continue reading Faith, Doubt and the Idol of Certainty: An Interview with Greg Boyd
1. As we often proclaim, Friends are, for the most part, non-creedal and non-hierarchical. When we are at our best we’ve avoided creeds, and when we are at our worst we’ve just been bad at them. One of the apparent features of the emerging church movement seems to be a general disinterest in formal creedal statements of belief that everyone is expected to conform to … Continue reading An Emergent Witness for Friends…..
“Americans react to the poor with disgust,” said Susan Fiske, professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University and the originator of the neuroimaging tests. She has studied attitudes toward the poor for a dozen years. “It’s the most negative prejudice people report, greater even than racism,“ Fiske stated. No doubt part of that response is aesthetic. Some of those who are very poor … Continue reading Hating the Poor but Loving Jesus?
“Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man … living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture … Continue reading How The Other Side Sees It….
Right after 9/11, I asked a kid in my neighborhood what we should do in response. His answer: “Those people did something very wrong…” He thought pensively and continued, “But two wrongs don’t make a right.” As Martin Luther King taught us, you cannot fight fire with fire, you only get a bigger fire. You fight fire with water. You fight violence with nonviolence. You … Continue reading Shane Claiborne’s Statement on Syria – Red Letter Christians
I like to think of the Great Emergence as reported in the book by Phyllis Tickle as “Post-Religion”. It moves beyond what we call currently call religion into the next phase of focusing on the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. It moves beyond building cathedrals to building relationships and love between all of God’s people not just those in our particular version of Christian … Continue reading It Moves Beyond….
There is no “right way” to have church, but there is a wrong way. Scripture gives us very little instruction for church. We are told to “gather together” (Hebrews 10:24), we have the example of the Eucharist set by Christ (Luke 22:19), and we have a command to address the needs around us (Acts 4:32-35, 20:35, Hebrews 13:16, James 1:27), we are told to be … Continue reading 8 Good Reasons to Change Modern Church Service
On the morning of Saturday, August, 24, Love Wins showed up at Moore Square at 9:00 a.m., just like we have done virtually every Saturday and Sunday for the last six years. We provide, without cost or obligation, hot coffee and a breakfast sandwich to anyone who wants one. We keep this promise to our community in cooperation with five different, large suburban churches that help us … Continue reading Feeding Homeless Apparently Illegal in Raleigh, NC
When you consider that the Bible was written by over 40 separate authors and compiled from thousands of manuscripts, in different languages, over hundreds of years, from a variety of locations around the world, with little collaboration, and ultimately interpreted into hundreds of translations—there are bound to be ambiguities…. Ultimately, all of these biblical issues force Christians to ask some huge questions: Is God true? … Continue reading Troubles with the Bible…
Everyone in America knows the catchy slogan: What Would Jesus Do (WWJD)? Of all the Christian memorabilia donned by the church, these bracelets and T-shirts have remained at the top of the list for quite sometime. For only $5.99, you too can show the world that you follow in the footsteps of Jesus, to do what Jesus would do when faced with temptation. The apostles … Continue reading So, Why Don’t We???