Slavery, Same-Sex Marriage, and How to Read the Bible

9:18 The sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan. 19 These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled. 20 Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard. 21 He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he lay uncovered in his tent. 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their … [Read more...]

Who Could You Call “Bishop” Without Your Fingers Crossed?

(Katharine Jefferts Schori, Gathering at God's Table: The Meaning of Mission in the Feast of Faith, Skylight Paths Publishing, 2012, 219 pages.) This book review is a sponsored post that is part of the Roundtable at the Patheos Book Club. Having been raised in a Baptist milieux, my ecclesiastical instincts reflexively bend in the Free Church direction. And even though my official title these days is "The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg," there is still a significant part of me that wrestles with the ways t … [Read more...]

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

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 not … [Read more...]

Life-changing Mentors and Unlikely Friendships

(Ted Kluck and Dallas Jahncke, Dallas and the Spitfire: An Old Car, an Ex-Con, and an Unlikely Friendship, Bethany House Publishers, 2012, 184 pages.) This book review is a sponsored post that is part of the Roundtable at the Patheos Book Club. In this Information Age, most of us are saturated with an overabundance of raw data, but opportunities for deep, healthy formation are sometimes rare. And in this Networked Age, many of us are also constantly connected to the Internet, but o … [Read more...]

Noah’s Flood: Climate Change Then & Now

6:1 When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, "My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years." 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the her … [Read more...]

Highlights from “Children, Youth & a New Kind of Christianity”

This past week I had the privilege of attending a conference focused on the future of children and youth ministry, which was inspired by Brian McLaren's book A New Kind of Christianity. To learn more about the conference or to see supplementary opportunities, visit http://children-youth.com. (The website also features more information about the speakers listed below: http://children-youth.com/speakers). The following are some of the highlights from the conference. Caveat: Because I was l … [Read more...]

“Before and After”: Cain, Abel, and Archetypes

1 Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, "I have produced a man with the help of the Lord." 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So … [Read more...]

Do You Believe in Miracles?

(E. Kent Rogers, 12 Miracles of Spiritual Growth: A Path of Healing from the Gospels, Swedenborg Foundation Press, 2012, 210 pages.) The opening track of Paul Simon's landmark album Graceland ruminates on what the word “miracle” means in the twenty-first century: These are the days of miracle and wonder / This is the long distance call ... / The way we look to a distant constellation / That's dying in a corner of the sky / These are the days of miracle and wonder.... / Medicine is magical and m … [Read more...]

Paradise Lost or Outgrown? Genesis 3, Original Blessing, and Original Responsibility

1 Now the serpent said to the woman, "Did God say, "You shall not eat from any tree in the garden'?" 2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3 but God said, "You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.' " 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." … [Read more...]

Letters to a Future Church: Take Risks, Be Honest, Stop Equivocating

(Letters to a Future Church: Words of Encouragement and Prophetic Appeals, edited by Chris Lewis, InterVarsity Press, 176 pages.) This book collects letters from 25 Christian leaders in response to the question, "If you had one thing to say to the church, what would it be?" Respondents include Kester Brewin, Walter Brueggemann, Peter Rollins, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, Ron Sider, Rachel Held Evans, and Shane Claiborne — as well as previously published "bonus letters" from Will Willimon, Gardner … [Read more...]