A Highway of Liberation: A #BlackLivesMatter Sermon for Advent

BlackLivesMatter

The past month has made it abundantly clear that black people in this country suffer the fate of the exiled: those who live in an Empire as conquered, imprisoned, displaced, and invisible to the dominant institutions of power. What does Isaiah’s prophecy to the exiles of his day have to say in our moment?Raymond Arsenault tells the following story in his book Freedom Riders: The Supreme Court had ruled against segregation in interstate travel and facilities, and yet no one had tested how t … [Read more...]

Jesus Did NOT Come To Save Your Sins

Baby Jesus

I used to know it all. I used to have it all figured out. I had answers for almost everything – including backup answers in case my first answer was insufficient. My “life-verse” was first Peter 3:15, which served as my motivation to “always be prepared to give an answer.”I used to be obsessed with knowledge. In fact, at times I would fall into despair if I came across a problem I could not figure out. I looked at external sources of knowledge (such as philosophy and science) as ways to bolst … [Read more...]

Prayer as Cracking Shins on Altars

Part 1 of 6 in a series on prayerReligious folks all too often relate to God through divided categories: sacred/secular, church/world, body/soul, matter/spirit, purity/impurity. This comes from a religious vision in which encountering God can only take place for certain people in certain places under certain conditions. The word “holy,” for example, has often designated beliefs or practices that are divided or “set-apart.”Take the ancient Judaism of Jesus' day. In those times, the entire … [Read more...]

“Kill the Commentators” and if you have time the propositionalists too

soren kierkegaard

Soren Kierkegaard series PART THREE  The Soren Kierkegaard (SK) series has sought to present some of the major theological/cultural concerns associated with the philosopher/theologian in light of our current situation in protestant Christianity. Although SK lived more than 150 years ago his thought is just as relevant today, perhaps even more, than when he first wrote.In Part one I gave a brief introduction to SK as a Christian thinker who has been significantly misunderstood and … [Read more...]

Rebellion and Awe

Scale

I am grateful to my people of origin, the Evangelicals. Sure they scared the hell out of me, left me with a dank reservoir of guilt and shame, and gave me an image of God more like an alcoholic father than the author of love and mercy—but I am sure I will get over those things eventually.When I was growing up, we Evangelicals were still afraid of popular culture and condemned everything that wasn’t us—from Lutherans to The Love Boat to Roller Disco—it was all just different shades of the Devi … [Read more...]

Why Evangelize Evolution?

IMG_0094

I’m often asked, “Why do you evangelize evolution? What ‘good news’ does science offer?” The following is my typical response...I used to be confused by many aspects of the world, including my inner world. Thanks to an embrace of big history as my creation story, I no longer am. I now have a depth of understanding that saints and sages down through the ages, including the biblical writers themselves, never imagined possible.I used to struggle with temptations and what I considered “sinful … [Read more...]

re-imagining God

homeless

in recent news an image of Jesus from the 4th century was found in Spain on a glass plate. This made the headlines not just for it's age but because Jesus is pictured in Roman style with no beard and in a toga. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-29480874 there are actually similar images in mosaics in Britain in Roman villas converted into early churches.  now i think we can be pretty certain that whatever Jesus looked like as a 1st century Palestinian Jew he did not look like a … [Read more...]

TEDx: Are God & Reality Converging?

md-tedx-2014-b

I was recently engaged in a spirited conversation about "Convergence Christianity" with my friend and colleague, Eric Elnes, at his home in Omaha, Nebraska.Eric described how he sees things evolving in the post-evangelical, post-liberal Christian world, and I shared how I've been noticing a similar convergence occurring in a wide range of secular and religious contexts.What exactly is converging? You can see Eric's take on this question here.As I've traveled North America the past twe … [Read more...]

Pursuing the Peculiar

Russell Rathburn

There is of course the notion that we all want to find points of connection—we want a big tent, we want a broad-way. It has been a hallmark of this thing of ours, that it is okay to be you, and it is okay for me to be me and we will find a point where we connect and let us celebrate that.And I celebrate that.But what I am really interested in is the points where we diverge. Where we do not quite line up. I want to see the peculiar and the particular in you and I want you to see the p … [Read more...]

Do You Have a Gaudy God?

GaudyIceBar

Raining brimstone, epic deluges, trumpets from heaven...is your God showing off?We have all heard of insecure people who act out by throwing fits.  The kid who bullies others on recess, the child who screams when he doesn't get his way, the buff guy in the military who wants to fight at the bar.  We call these people "show-offs" and "assholes."  But what happens when you find your divinity throwing a hissy-fit?One of the first things you can do is exempt your God from these tantrums.  A … [Read more...]


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