#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 invites us … [Read more...]

Is Jesus the “Human One”? A Lectionary Commentary on Mark 8

Jesus does not echo Peter’s title “Messiah,” but instead refers to himself as “the Son of Man.” Why do many Christians almost exclusively emphasize Jesus Christ, neglecting a title Jesus repeatedly calls himself: “Son of Man?” What does this term mean?And are you on the path to becoming a fully alive human being like Jesus was? I invite you to explore further in my 600-word lectionary commentary on this week’s Gospel lesson in my new post at [The Hardest Question] on “Is Jesus the 'Human One? … [Read more...]

Reading the Bible with Jews: A Lectionary Commentary on Romans 4

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Many Christians have become accustomed to the realization that Jesus lived and died as a Jew. But the Jewish New Testament scholar Pamela Eisenbaum challenges us to the further realization that Paul Was Not a Christian.At my new post at [The Hardest Question] on “Reading the Bible with Jews,” I offer a 600-word lectionary commentary on Romans 4:13-25 that interprets this passage in light of the growing field of Jewish New Testament scholarship.I invite you to read the rest the … [Read more...]

What Happens to Those God Loves? (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary for Feb 26)

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9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." 12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. 14 … [Read more...]

Paul: Misogynist or Mystic?

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12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, "Be … [Read more...]

A Progressive Christian Explores Healing Prayer: A Spiritual Practice for Preaching Mark 1:40-45 (Lectionary Commentary for February 12)

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Although I do not know anyone personally with leprosy, much less anyone who has been healed of the disease, I will nevertheless seek to explore some of what it may mean for twenty-first century, progressive Christians that both Jesus and his early followers regularly practiced various forms of healing prayer.There are a number of entry points into this scripture that we could consider.  Some of the more comfortable methods of interpretation might be to turn the focus away from ourselves and … [Read more...]


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