What Did JFK, MLK, & Gandhi Really Think about Birth Control?

Many commentators have noted the ironic, misogynistic, and audacious scene of yesterday's Congressional Committee hearing in which only men were called to testify about the controversy surrounding funding for women's contraception.Equally troubling were the three huge posters displayed behind the committee of John F. Kennedy, Jr.; Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mohandas Gandhi. The intended point was that these three figures symbolize the courage to stand up for the dictates of your conscience … [Read more...]

How to Decide If You Should Read Diana Butler Bass’ New Book

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The latest book from my fellow Patheos blogger Diana Butler Bass arrived on my doorstep last night. I've enjoyed her previous books, and am looking forward to this most recent offering in particular after hearing her lecture a few months ago on some of the book's main themes.In celebration of yesterday's publication date, I'm posting the three links to the blog posts I wrote about those lectures. You may find these posts helpful in discerning if you want to read the whole book: “Reclaiming C … [Read more...]

Christ-peddlers: If God is still speaking, how do you know if someone is authentically speaking for God?

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Note: This post is the fifth in a six-part series on the ancient Christian document called the Didache (50-70 C.E., pronounced "DID-ah-KAY). Links to previous entries in this series are at the bottom of this post. 11:1 Welcome the teacher when he comes to instruct you in all that has been said.... 11:2 If he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. 11:5 But he must not remain more than one day, or two, if there's a need. If he stays … [Read more...]

How Do I Find Time to Pray?

I've been experimenting with various ways of ordering my schedule and prioritizing my workload. In response to the question, "How do I find time to pray?" my best current answer is, "Either you do or you don't."My college Health and Exercise Science professor had a similar philosophy about exercise: "If you don't start today, what makes you think you're going to start tomorrow?" But I'm not sure sure exercise (or really much else in my schedule) is precisely analogous to making time for … [Read more...]

The Gospel According to Process-Relational Theology

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Last week I had the opportunity to attend the annual Emergent Village Theological Conversation. Emergent Village seeks to embody and practice what they call “generative friendship,” which includes a commitment to maintaining relationships over time despite a diversity of theological beliefs and practices. The name “emergent” itself alludes at least in part to an openness to new ways of talking about God, new ways of doing church, and new ways of being Christian that are emerging today in exciting … [Read more...]

The Pragmatism of the Didache: Eucharist Like You’ve Never Heard It Before

9:1 Concerning the Eucharist, give thanks this way. 2 First, concerning the cup: We thank you, God, for the holy vine of David your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever. Next, concerning the broken bread: We thank you, our Father, for the life and knowledge which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be the glory forever. 9:4 Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, … [Read more...]

Cultivating Contentment: Enough Is as Good as a Feast

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(Adam Hamilton, Enough, Revised and Updated: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity, Abingdon Press, 2009/2012, 165 pages.) "Enough is as good as a feast," according to proverbial wisdom. Indeed a feast (or an all-you-can-eat buffet) can leave us stuffed, bloated, and miserable. And in this book Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the well-known and fast-growing United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, invites us to make analogous insights into how we approach … [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...]

What To Do If You Need a Retreat, But Can’t Leave Home

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(Paula Huston, Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit, Ave Maria Press, 2011, 170 pages.)I have had the opportunity to go on a few five-day contemplative retreats in recent years: to the Abbey of Gethsemane in Kentucky (where Thomas Merton was cloistered), the hard-to-reach Monastery of Christ in the Desert in New Mexico, and the saguaro-cacti-surrounded Desert House of Prayer in Arizona. Unfortunately, the last of these retreats was more than five years ago.In r … [Read more...]

Is Baptism Overrated?

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Preview: Baptism is not overrated when it is viewed as a powerful sacrament and a transformative means of experiencing grace. And I recognize that many of my Baptist and Anabaptist forebears were persecuted, suffered, or died for the right to baptize adult believers as they saw fit according to their local congregation.Nevertheless, baptism is overrated anytime it is used as a barrier to Communion or even as a barrier to church membership. Open Communion to all without exception is both what … [Read more...]


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