Jesus Getting Caught with His Compassion Down

Jesus is usually so mind-blowingly impressive that we can forget he did not emerge from the womb fully grown. In his encounter with the Syrophoenician woman, Jesus’ heart seems hardened when he refuses to heal a child in need. But isn’t Pharaoh supposed to be the one with the hardened heart?!I explore this dynamic in my new post at [The Hardest Question] on “Jesus Getting Caught with His Compassion Down”: http://thq.wearesparkhouse.org/featured/ordinary23bgospel The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg is a … [Read more...]

En La Lucha: (Dis)covery, (Im)migration, and Social Justice

As a religious people who affirm human compassion, advocate for human rights, and seek justice, we must never make the mistake of confusing a legal right with a moral right. The forced removal of Native Americans from their land and onto reservations was legal. The importation and sale of African slaves was legal. South African apartheid was legal. The confiscation of the property of Jews at the beginning of the Nazi regime was legal. The Spanish Inquisition was legal. Crucifying Jesus was … [Read more...]

On Bullshit: Todd Akin Did Not “Misspeak”

Representative Todd Akin, a six-term member of Congress and the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, said on Sunday: "It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare [pregnancies from rape]. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."These comments produced a firestorm of backlash, prompting Rep. Akin to release a statement saying, "I misspoke in this interview." Reading between the lines, it seems important to me not … [Read more...]

The First Source: Direct Experience

In 1962, only a couple of years after I was born, pollsters found that 2% of Americans claimed to have had a “mystical experience” of God. In 1976...that number had risen to 31% of the population.... By 2009, 48% of Americans confessed that they had had a mystical encounter with the divine. ...Not everyone who has experienced [the Sacred] afresh is an evangelical, fundamentalist, or Pentecostal. Indeed, they hail from many sorts of faiths.... What if the 1970s were not simply an evangelical rev … [Read more...]

Everything’s A Miracle

(Tim Stafford, Miracles: A Journalist Looks at Modern Day Experiences of God's Power , 2012, 219 pages.) This book review is a sponsored post that is part of the Patheos Book Club. Chat with Tim Stafford about his new book and share your own experiences on Wednesday, July 25, from 2-3 pm EST, at the Book Club. As I reflected on Tim Stafford's book about miracles both contemporary and biblical, a quote from Annie Dillard came to mind from her book For the Time Being: There were no formerly hero … [Read more...]

Decentering Jesus: My Journey to Unitarian Universalism

When I was 12, the most salient books on my parents' shelves were two red-bound volumes, The Case of Leon Trotsky and Not Guilty. These made up the report of the Dewey Commission of Inquiry into the Moscow Trials. I never read them with the wide-eyed fascination I brought to books like Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis, but I thought of them in the way in which other children thought of their family's Bible: they were books that radiated redemptive truth and moral splendor. If I were a really … [Read more...]