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Somehow by downloading the app I must have agreed to their email spam policy buried deep within their terms of service that nobody reads. This morning’s spam was a new installment of their “charts” which show the top song’s shazamed for that week. The subject line of the email said “It’s Biebers world, we’re just living in it” and it showed Justin Bieber's new album that has broken all kinds of sales records. As an aside, the charts also featured Selena Gomez’s new album, adorned with a nude picture of her on the cover. Which was weird because all I know about Selena is from 10 years ago when my kids watched her as a teeny bopper on Barney & Friends. Now she’s older, and nude. She looks the same to me as when she did on the Disney shows, which makes it even weirder. Suffice to say, this email made me wonder what the heck is going on in the world. Apparently I live in a cave.
"As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And Matthew got up and followed him.
(If you have never listened to any of All Saint's Rector Ed Bacon's progressive sermons I really encourage you to check them out)
This Lent I've been thinking about mortality and the dark side not only in my personal life but also in our shared social, economic, and political lives. We Americans live in the most individualistic country in the world. The ideologies rooted in the soil of extreme American individualism permeate every aspect of our society - and that includes our religion. Maybe that's why we seem much more likely to confront our individual dark side and our individual mortality than our collective and social ones.
As I sat one recent morning looking over some of this year's essay's from Bishop Spong, I found one with a Q & A from a reader asking about how to make the Church relevant for modern day people (yes, the BIG question of the century indeed). In his response Bishop Spong wrote: "Most of our doctrinal explanations have long passed their 'sell by' shelf life." I really loved that quote.
This is a funny interview of Bart Ehrman by Stephen Colbert on the Colbert Report. It's definitely worth the 6 minutes to check it out. If you don't know Bart, he is a scholar who went to Wheaton College to pursue the evangelical ministry, but through his study there, and his subsequent Ph.D studies at Princeton, he ended up writing multiple best selling books about the many errors and contradictions in the Bible. I find his scholarship to be excellent.
Welcome. This project is designed to promote awareness and understanding about the various types of people who classify themselves as "progressive Christians" and participate in "progressive Christian" communities. All voter data on the associated surveys is completely anonymous and completed in partnership with Survey Monkey.
Now to those of you who know my theology, you will know that I don't literally go for the heaven / hell and king / throne imagery in this parable - but I don't want to get into a big exegesis about that in this post. What I do want to get into though is the points Jesus is making. He's making two points (1) love ain't about intellectual beliefs (2) if we want to "believe in Jesus" we do that by serving "the least of our brothers and sisters." That's how we show that we "believe" (properly translated as agree) in what Jesus was saying...
Here's the Bible parable I'm talking about:
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I specifically created this blog post to offer a resource for you to simply send to anyone you know who is confused about the evolution vs. creationism debate.
by Jesse Dooley
|5 Points of Jesus 101|
Do you want to make a major positive impact in this world? Do you appreciate the message of love from Jesus, but not necessarily all the ambiguous conditions and pre-requisites that some folks add to it? Well there's good news...we can in good conscience follow a philosophy which is much less about what we believe, and much more about how we believe.
When Jesus spoke of "belief" he used words that translated in Greek to the word πιστεύω (pisteuō) and from the Hebrew word אָמַן ('aman) - and these words had a bit of a different meaning from what we understand today when we use the word "believe." To Jesus, belief meant to trust, commit to, or be steadfast in. In other words, to Jesus belief was action related, and not merely an intellectual agreement.
Jesus once said in a parable:
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If you want to be a follower of Jesus, here are 7 things you can think and believe with confidence.
This post is Part II in a series on morality, and this installment uses the topic of LGBT for a muse. I don't plan to go into depth specifically on the issue of homosexuality, as I have already done that in this post. Instead, this time I want to take a specific swat at delineating the biblical topics of homosexuality from sexual immorality - as I think the two are often tossed into the same bucket which causes a lot of confusion.
In Paul's letter to the Galatians, which most scholars accept as authentic, Paul writes the following as he tee's up his Fruit of the Spirit doctrine:
"Now the works of the flesh are these; adultery [sexual unfaithfulness], fornication [sexual immorality], uncleanness, lasciviousness [unbridled sensuality], idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, and revellings [orgies]…"
Wait? Did Paul accidentally forget homosexuality in his magna carta of sins? No, of course not. While it's clear that Paul has real issues with sexual morality, he does not comment here on the issue of two people of the same sex in a loving and committed relationship. This is because:
I recently received some direct feedback asking why I (or anyone with similar views as me) felt the need to keep the word "Christian" in my religious designation. They asked "why not just call myself something different all together to avoid confusion, and keep the word Christian sacred for people who believe all of the cornerstone creeds of Christianity?" He referenced my manifesto: Am I a Christian? where I say that I don't require bible inerrancy, virgin birth, a trinitiarian God, fulfilled prophecies, or a literal resurrection, to identify with Christianity ... And he asked why not just call myself a "Jesusist" or something totally different to remove any ambiguity?
[If you're new to this series on Progressive Christianity, this is Part 2. You can also check out Part 1 here: What is Progressive Christianity.]
So I proceeded to read the article (which was sent to me by a "fundamentalist" friend following a discussion we had about my thoughts about Noah's Ark being the ancient Semitic cultures bid at re-purposing much older Mesopotamian Ark story, as a method to share their theological insights).
Now I'm going to admit something here and probably render myself pretty much irrelevant to a huge cross section of American cool people, but I have never once watched The Office, even though no less than a trillion people have told me that I absolutely HAVE to watch it!
So I began to wonder just what a comedian, who plays a super-nerd, in a show about working in an office, could possibly have up his sleeve to enlighten Oprah about? And my curiosity got the best of me, so I clicked on the episode to see what was up ... And to my delight, it was very interesting!
Here's the question of the day: Is Bishop Jack Spong a Heretic? Or is Jack Spong a hero? Or perhaps is he both?
For those who don't know who Bishop John Shelby "Jack" Spong is, he's a retired Episcopal Bishop of Newark, New Jersey. He still preaches in churches and writes lots of books on Christian subjects. And he still says the traditional Christian creeds and wears his clerical vestments with pride. But when he discusses Christian theological subjects, many folks become bewildered by his controversial positions when compared to many American mainline traditional interpretations. Some people call Bishop Spong a Christian, others a heretic, and others call him an atheist. Given all the controversy that surrounds him, Bishop Spong has articulated his thoughts into "12 points" (or theses) and they're listed below. Can you come to a conclusion of your own based on just these points?
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by Christian Evolution
OK, maybe some folks do believe that donkey's talk, but for today's purposes we are going to discuss a non-talking donkey.
Numerous study averages show that about 20% of Americans regularly attend a church. But interestingly, that number is steadily declining on a track to become only 10% by 2050.
Similar to the story of Noah's Ark, this story of Moses taking dictation from God to record Israel's law code is an example of ancient Bible writers borrowing earlier pagan ideas and overlaying their own unique slant to them. This concept took me a while to digest when I was first introduced to it, but these facts shouldn't cause anyone any strife. Rather they can offer a deeper and honest understanding about how Bible stories were developed, and liberate anyone who may feel that these words were literally spoken by the God of the Old Testament into the ear of Moses. Let's look a bit deeper: