The Life Tradition versus the Death Tradition in Christianity

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A man died. The people who knew him gathered to share memories. Finally, a portrait was commissioned. But as generations passed, the painting did not seem fine enough. The heirs of the portrait, who had become wealthy, created a new golden frame, immense, carved with motifs from the portrait and encrusted with jewels. People began to feel that the old portrait of that dark fellow with the haunting eyes pulled the effect down. As it began to peel from age, they extended the frame inward. One day … [Read more...]

Highlights from Jesus Seminar on the Road in D.C.

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For regular readers, with this post I will have finally had a chance to share all my notes from the various events I have attended in recent months. The following are from the one-day Jesus Seminar on the Road workshop back in March in Washington, D.C.  Joanna Dewey "The Social World of the Roman Empire and its Christian Communities" Note: Joanna Dewey is the Harvey H. Guthrie, Jr. Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies at the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts. A … [Read more...]

What Is the Gospel According to You? Three Meanings of “Good News” in Mark 1 (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for January 22)

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Note: If you want to skip to the section specifically on Mark 1:14-20, scroll down to parts two and three, but the introduction and part one help set-up these later sections. Introduction We're familiar with the Gospel According Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which are each quite distinct. Many of us are even familiar with the Gospel According to Thomas, Mary, and Q. But what is the Gospel According to You from the vantage point of twenty-first knowledge? What is the Gospel According to Your … [Read more...]

#OccupyChurch: Jesus Threw out the Moneylenders for a Reason

Andy Lester was one of the most important professors I had in seminary. I took two classes from him: Introduction to Pastoral Care and Pastoral Care Confronts Anger and Conflict. As part of the latter class, we helped edit his book A Pastoral Theology of Anger, which cuts against the grain of the tradition that anger is always a sin. Perhaps the most important reading assignment in that class was an essay by Beverly Wildung Harrison titled, “The Power of Anger in the Work of Love.” She invites us … [Read more...]


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