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…
I thought that since it has been six years since I seriously posted here, I would use this post as a catch-up to where I am in my spiritual journey and end it with a serious question that remains unanswered. I have personally founded my spiritual life on the teachings of Jesus. It was an epiphany moment for me when that finally happened. Since that … Continue reading My Spiritual Journey
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 want to use the post as my official apology to the world for Evangelical Christians. I know that won’t mean much but it matters to me to apologize for this ugly group. I am a person who has proudly proclaimed that I am a “Follower of the Teaching of Jesus”, but no longer call myself a Christian. I am inspired by his teachings of … Continue reading A “Follower Of Jesus” Apology for MAGA Christians.
Don’t you realize how much damage you are doing to Christ’s church? JUST QUIT IT! Why can’t you see how you are acting is driving people away? JUST QUIT IT! I know you are deadly afraid that everyone is now looking elsewhere for their spiritual needs, but don’t you realize that maybe the primary reason for that is you and your current actions? JUST QUIT … Continue reading To My Evangelical Friends.
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
I am not one to haphazardly join or agree with an organization without first being certain I know what they stand for. I have been stung once in that regard and I won’t let it happen again. My allegiance to ProgressiveChristianity.org is a process, not an epiphany. After discovering this organization I looked for what they stand for and found it in the following graphic. … Continue reading What Does Being A Progressive Christian Mean?
In order to be called ‘Swiss cheese,” you must have so many holes per cubic inch. In order for a wine to be called “Bordeaux”, it must be made in France. There is no such requirement for anyone or anything to take on the label “Christian”. “Anything can label itself as being “Christian,” so we must always look to the person of Christ to guide … Continue reading The Christian Label
I’ve seen the light go out in people’s eyes when they decide it’s safer to embrace a doctrine or a policy that their gut tells them is wrong than it is to challenge those who say it’s right. I’ve watched open minds close and tender hearts harden. I’ve seen people pretend to believe things they don’t actually believe and do things they don’t actually want … Continue reading Conformity….
“In a world swimming in violence, in a land where “messiah” meant militancy, Jesus never acts violently. Whenever violence is addressed, Jesus condemns it. Whenever His followers try to act violently, they are confronted. Whenever Jesus encounters people who deserve a violent punishment, Jesus loves them. And in doing so, He leaves His followers with a nonviolent example to follow. When people around the globe … Continue reading Jesus and Violence…
What do we do as Christians when confronted with these harsh realities? The Bible urges us to “remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself!” (Hebrews 13:3). Jesus knew what it was like to have a loved one incarcerated. His cousin, John the Baptist, was falsely accused and arrested (and eventually executed). Perhaps this is why Jesus, in Matthew 25, tells his disciples … Continue reading To Set Prisoners Free….
Young and old, rich and poor, and people from every social, economic, political and cultural background are starting to rethink their faith. A fresh movement is happening, and in its purest form is about one thing: following Christ. This transformation is reshaping the Christian landscape. Believers are starting to simplify their faith in order to exemplify Christ—a simple yet profound way to live out the … Continue reading Revolution….
The church frustrates me. I was once asked by a wealthy church what they could do to help end homelessness. I looked around and saw the thousands of square feet that lie empty every night, the dozens of toilets, the showers in the family life center, the full industrial kitchen and wanted to say, “It is a two step plan. 1) Read the Gospels. 2) … Continue reading Not Taking Jesus Seriously….
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…..
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 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….
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?
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….
“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….
Christians will not be agents of reconciliation and healing as long as they see the world from the perspective of the privileged or fail to even attempt to see from the viewpoints for those who are unlike themselves in important ways. We have a higher calling than simply to be representative of our race, class, nationality or whatever else defines us in this world. “As … Continue reading Agents of Reconciliation..
3) We turn Christianity into a culture rather than a lifestyle. We have turned Christianity into a market. We have reduced Christianity to products we consume, sell, and advertise. We are more about profits than prophets. Christianity has become a culture rather than a lifestyle. We’ve been taught to consume Christian products rather than being Christian. We’ve been taught to be salespeople for Jesus rather … Continue reading Inspiring Quotes…
2) We focus on The Great Commission over The Great Commandment The Great Commission does not supersede the Great Commandment. Our mission is first and foremost: “Love God with all your heart and mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” What we have done is divorce The Great Commission from the Great Commandment. We falsely believe our commission to make disciples is separate from our … Continue reading Inspiring Quotes….
The Lord’s prayer is rightly the most spoken prayer in Christianity. But there are several statement in that prayer that are for the most part glossed over by many in the current day church. One of the most obvious is “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. Here is what Martin Luther thought of these words: The good … Continue reading He Told Us How To Do It……
Morf Morford considers himself a free-range Christian who is convinced that God expects far more of us than we can ever imagine, but somehow thinks God knows more than we do….. As he’s getting older, he finds himself less tolerant of pettiness and dairy products. SOURCE: Morf Morford: It’s NOT the economy, stupid | Red Letter Christians. I am going to do a rare cross post … Continue reading God Knows More Than I Do…..
“as we returned from work, we saw three gallows… The SS [guards] seemed more preoccupied, more worried, than usual. To hang a child in front of thousands of onlookers was not a small matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was pale, almost calm, but he was biting his lips as he stood in the shadow … Continue reading Where Is God???