My class is still charting the twenty-first-century reformation. Getting this reformation off the ground isn’t easy. The biggest obstacle is the image of God as a white man sitting on his throne in his mansion above a flat, three-tiered earth, running everything and judging everyone. Even with photos from the Hubble Space Telescope of at least two trillion galaxies and no signs of God, heaven, or hell, the ancient image remains in our minds, prayers, preaching, and teachings.… Read more >
As reported in last week’s blog post, the people in my Charting the Twenty-First-Century Reformation class and I are combatting the anthropomorphization of God (giving him human qualities) by renaming this power or force Creation or the Ground of All Being or Higher Power.
This creates a huge problem for the institutional church, which has built its theology on the ancient model of a flat, three-tiered earth with God living in a mansion above it.… Read more >
This summer, I’ve been teaching a series of classes about Progressive Christian thought. One of the courses is called Charting the Twenty-First-Century Reformation. I would like this reformation to start at Irvine United Congregational Church because this Progressive Christian congregation offers what the reformation needs. But the reformation faces a big problem with mainstream Christianity’s antiquated perception of God.… Read more >
I subscribe to the Monastic Way, a monthly newsletter published by Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun from Erie, Pennsylvania. Sister Joan is progressive, a writes prolifically, supports prison ministries, and travels around the world making the good news good and women relevant.
The July 2018 issue of the Monastic Way was about Mary of Magdala.… Read more >
Sometimes when we read parables in the New Testament, we overreach by looking too deeply for something that is not there or making complex allegories (stories with hidden meanings) out of simple tales.
I’ll use the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16) as an example. It starts with the words “For the kingdom of heaven is like .… Read more >
The thrust of my ministry since the late 1980s has figuring out who the historical Jesus was. This is not easy because the New Testament mostly records the writers’ biases, not historical facts. Consequently, I’m constantly looking for information about what life was like back in Jesus’s time so I can place him into that context.… Read more >
I was an amphibious tank officer in the Marine Corps. The turrets of the tanks we used had 105mm howitzer cannons with huge firepower that made an ear-piercing noise. Ever since my days in the Marine Corps, I have not appreciated loud noises, and this includes fireworks. A few have called me the Scrooge of July 4.… Read more >
“‘It’s Really Hard to Be a Catholic’: The Pain of Reading the Sex Abuse Report” is an eye-catching headline in the August 16, 2018, issue of the New York Times. The world has grappled with the issue of Roman Catholic clergy abusing children for decades. The problem never seems to be resolved, and maybe it even worsens as more skeletons come out of the closet.… Read more >
I recently learned that Christianity has two WOGs. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the first WOG, which stands for the “Word of God.” I explained that even though the words sound very religious, they don’t mean anything to me because I don’t believe that God wrote the Bible. Human beings wrote it.… Read more >
Certain basic ideas are grounded in fact but become mired in fiction. Sometimes I feel like a broken record. I tell people a fact, but it just doesn’t register.
Here are some examples:
- My most frequently stated fact is this: Jesus was born a Jew, lived the life of a committed Jew, and died a Jew.