Is The Book of James Proto-Marxist?

thehardestquestion

If someone is naked, starving, and wrongly imprisoned, your faith and beliefs are barely relevant, if at all, to their plight. As The Book of James argued two millennia ago, “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” I explore this idea further in my new post at [The Hardest Question] on “Luther Was Wrong: Behavior Is Believable”: http://thq.wearesparkhouse.org/featured/ordinary23bepistle   The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg is a trained spiritual director, a D.Min. graduate of San … [Read more...]

Jesus Getting Caught with His Compassion Down

thehardestquestion

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 … [Read more...]

“Your Daughters Shall Prophecy”: Fulfilling the Promise of Pentecost, Abolishing the Laity, and Ordaining Women

Title: Pentecost art work[Click for larger image view]

A  Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2012 Many pastors think of Acts 2 as the locus classicus for preaching Pentecost Sunday. After all that chapter describes the "first Pentecost." However, as an alternative way of approaching Pentecost, perhaps it is important to remember that scholars tell us the Acts of the Apostles was not written until perhaps a century after the first Pentecost. So for the first hundred years of early Christianity, Acts 2 would … [Read more...]

Jesus’ Subversive Donkey Ride (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for Palm Sunday)

palmsunday

In Mark’s fast-paced style, we see three different days of Holy Week in chapter 11 alone. The first eleven verses are what we celebrate as Palm Sunday. But in verse 12, we see a clue (the words, “On the following day”), which indicate that the events regarding the fig tree and the aggression against the Temple happened the next day. Monday continues through Mark 11:19, where we read that, “when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.” And in verse 20, Mark lets us … [Read more...]

“John 3:16 — The Rest of the Story” (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for Sunday, March 18, 2012)

Caduceus Cross on Mt Nebo

Note: I previously posted this lectionary commentary in 2011, when this same passage was the Gospel Lesson. I offer it again for those who may find it newly useful or who may have missed it the first time. Part I: Floating on the Surface: the immediate context of Nicodemus and John 3:14 One reason "born again" Christians made John 3:16 famous is its proximity to the story of Jesus telling Nicodemus that “no one can see the kingdom of God without … [Read more...]

#OccupyChurch: Jesus Threw out the Moneylenders for a Reason (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary on John 2 for March 11)

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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 … [Read more...]


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