I wrote this poem in an attempt to explore the life of Bathsheba. I wondered what it might feel like to experience challenging events in her life. When my friend Kathy Smith read the poem at a gathering last week at my church, Solomon's Porch, she pointed out that when stories from the Bible are told from the perspective of women, the narrative sounds quite different.BathshebaI. Bathingnight air scented lavender and rose massage my neck rub my hands along my thighs my husband will not … [Read more...]

Atheists Promoting Bible Study?


You know we're living in an odd world when atheists encourage people to read scripture. 50,000 people a day sample science blogger PZ Myers' Pharyngula posts. "There's no surer way to make an atheist than to get someone to actually read the Bible," says Myers.Here is why: Genesis 6 and 7, for example, tell of God planning and executing the slaughter of billions of innocent animals and millions of children in Noah's flood. In the words of one distraught parent, "A few weeks ago I read my … [Read more...]

Facebook is Helping Me Grieve


By Jana RiessIn the news last week I read a story about a mother whose college-age daughter had died, but the mother kept her Facebook profile alive and active so that friends and family could continue to post their memories. Months passed, and then someone took it upon himself or herself to alert Facebook that this young woman was, in fact, dead -- a clear violation of Facebook's stated policies. Citing privacy concerns, Facebook "memorialized" the page, and the young woman's mother can no … [Read more...]

Disciplining Church Discipline


As people defend Mars Hill's policy on church discipline and consider those similar policies of other churches, there is a big assumption being made. The common refrain is often that Mars Hill and churches like them are simply being "biblical" in their approach. This seems to be the home base that they and their supporters tag every time there is a challenge to their methodology.The assumption that I propose, is that the very existence of not only Mars Hill but every other church that boasts … [Read more...]

Is Scientific Evidence Modern-Day Scripture?

The following is cross-posted from my HuffPost blog (where it has received 200+ comments). It is also posted on Connie's and my Metanexus blog, here.We are in the early stages of what I think historians will one day call religion's Evidential Reformation. Increasingly, most of us (the devout included) relate to scientific, historic and cross-cultural evidence as more authoritative than the dictates of an all-male ecclesiastical body or a literalist reading of Scripture.A good example of … [Read more...]

The Prayers of Lent

PATHEOS – March 2012Just a few days before Lent began this year and in anticipation of it, Doug Pagitt--who somehow always manages to pastor us all, thank God-- set a date for the two of us to engage in a Skyped conversation about Lent. But not about Lent in general, he said. Rather, he wanted us to talk about Lent from my perspective as a liturgical Christian. Since almost nobody ever asks me to speak as a liturgical, I was as much charmed as pleased. [In the South, those are two entirely d … [Read more...]

Phantom Deity Disorder


The other day while having dinner with friends I subconsciously reached my hand toward the attractive woman seated next to me. It was an effort to steal a private moment of affection with my wife by a brief grasp of her hand. Everything was perfect except for the fact that the woman sitting next to me was not my wife nor was she of any romantic interest at all. To her, my flaccid and foreign gesture would have seemed like an invitation to bow our heads and say grace.  Fortunately, just as I was … [Read more...]

Conversation with John Shelby Spong on Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

Here is my conversation with Bishop John Shelby Spong on his book "Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World" from my Radio Show.In the conversation I ask John why people are not hearing from him the point he is trying to make, that the Bible is important to our lives and we should fully engage with it, and rather they hear him and others saying they want to get rid of the Bible?In the second video I ask him what we should do as an alternative to a simplistic literal reading of … [Read more...]

Wisdom From Kierkegaard

This Quote by Kierkegaard is rocking my world the last few weeks. The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we as Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my life will be ruined. How would I ever … [Read more...]

A Tapestry of Belief and Experience

Diana Butler Bass’ Christianity after Religion explores the tension between spirituality and religion, and experience andbelief.  Her work is more descriptivethan constructive, but it sets the agenda for Christians who wish to addresstwenty-first century spiritual challenges and not the issues of a bygone era.  Bass notes that belief has oftenbeen a deterrent to taking Christianity seriously among the self-described “nones”and “spiritual but not religious.”  She reflects on her experience of a … [Read more...]