#SKEPTIMERGENT: the atheist’s dilemma

I would guess that most people who have grown up and stayed in churches do not know what it's like for many to leave. Please, if you are a person who has been in the church for your entire life, please take some time to read the stories of people who have left. And read about how cults function. Try to put yourself in the place of someone who simply can't go along. Someone who has a lot of doubts, questions, problems. Someone who is no longer able to let some things go. Most of us get depressed w … [Read more...]

The Orthodoxy of Humility

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I have heard it said that all prayer is heresy, but God in His infinite love magnetically draws our badly misdirected arrows directly to his heart.Having always considered myself to be a faithful follower of the way of Christ, I have called myself “Christian,” I have called myself “evangelical”. I have considered myself orthodox. As I have continued to grow, I have begun to see that the labels I have worn have very different meanings for different folks. I used to think the slice of the Chris … [Read more...]

#SKEPTIMERGENT: an atheist’s prayer

I’ve spent the last few days revisiting some old friends in Oklahoma City, the city where I grew up and where, when I moved away, I was a pastor. I haven’t been back in a few years, partially because I had been in a difficult place, personally. The last time I visited, I was pretty bitter about some things that had happened to me, and I wasn’t able to fully accept and embrace where or who I was. So, I mostly avoided the people who once saw me as a friend and a mentor.But, this time was diffe … [Read more...]

SKEPTIMERGENT

Welcome to the beginning of a collaboration between various people called “SKEPTIMERGENT.”  This dialogue began as a chat between myself, Rob Davis (who coined the title), Jeff Straka, Doug Pagitt, Victoria Peterson-Hilleque, and Chris Hill, and ended up as a Patheos blog.  I have long been interested in building bridges between those in the unbelieving community (atheists, agnostics, humanists, skeptics, naturalists, etc.) and liberal religious persons, and as such, I jumped at the chance to be … [Read more...]

I AM A TAKER

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In AA’s big book on page 61, a question is asked, “What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self-seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are the things he wants? Is he not even in his best moments a producer of confusion rather than harmony? Our actor is self-centered---ego-centric…”In my life, there has been in … [Read more...]

The Image of Holiness

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I come from a Christian culture that defined “holiness” (being like God) as the ability to follow imperatives or rules. These were affirmed by the Christian story I was formed in, which of course was said to be BIBLICAL. I think the church is badly in need of (or perhaps it’s the church experience I came from), is badly in need of a re-definition of what constitutes “holiness”; but to get to this re-definition we need to begin at the beginning. To be human is to be created in the image of God.  … [Read more...]

Emergent Agnosticism

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I have been struggling with classic depictions of God for the past several months. But I found great comfort in Tony Jones's recent admission in regards to agnosticism or igtheism.I’d be keen to hear what some of you agnostic and atheistic readers think of his essay. (For the record, I’m currently somewhere on the Christian agnosticism/igtheism spectrum.) I am curious if there are others out there in Emergent Village that find similar tendencies in the midst of emergence. Perhaps emergence … [Read more...]

Invited to Your Story

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As we begin 2013, I thought it appropriate to invite you into your story. Sounds a little silly to say, but I truly believe that for those of us hungry to discover God in our lives, we need only look as far as the story we have, and particularly its expression today. If it is true that the friend of God and the presence of God is always found in the moment, and if God is always present with us, then we need only look as far as us to discover where God is initiating and inviting us into the … [Read more...]

By Invitation Only?: Private Summit Actually Threatens to Undermine Emergence Christianity

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The day before the national book event honoring Phyllis Tickle in Memphis, roughly 50 (Correction: 35) emergent movement leaders had a State of Emergence Christianity meeting. The meeting was organized by Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt, also the organizers of the book event.  (Correction: Phyllis Tickle called the meeting and contracted JOPA Productions to organize it. This article is intended as a critique of organizing styles, not a personal or professional attack. Please see my follow up blog for … [Read more...]

The genesis of a more honest story…

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I don't exactly know when my belief in the absurd story of Genesis finally evaporated from my mind, the mythical story of God digging his hands into the earth like an artist shaping and molding the human body. And when the artist finally pleased with his work, embraced it, breathing into its nostrils, humanity came to life.It was beautiful to think of creation this way, so profoundly special, so about us. But, are we more freaks of nature, rather than the ultimate end to grand de … [Read more...]


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