What Jesus Learned from a Courageous Woman (and what we can learn too!)

One of the more fascinating stories in the Gospels that many Christians conveniently ignore is Jesus’ encounter with the Canaanite woman in Matthew 19:21-28 (par. Mark 7:24-30). Here is how it reads in the NRSV: Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urg … [Read More...]


Technology and Faith: On Dave Eggers’ “The Circle” and the Loss of Privacy

Mae Holland, the protagonist in Dave Egger's terrifying novel The Circle, lands a dream job at the world's largest innovative tech company. Think Google, Apple, Twitter, Microsoft, and Amazon amalgamated into one mega-corporation. Midway into the novel she turns a device on (the company calls the device SeeChange) that makes her life "transparent" to the rest of the world, live-streaming audio and video of her entire life as it happens.Mae, who has by this point become a leading spokesperson … [Read More...]


Shane Claiborne: Pilgrimage to Ferguson

Something felt right about going to Ferguson.And something felt right about going with Derrick.I’ve watched Derrick grow up as an African-American youth in North Philadelphia -- facing unfair obstacles like a bankrupt school system, an epidemic of gun violence, and a tantalizing drug economy. Despite Philly’s 40% high school dropout rate, Derrick graduated. And now he’s in his senior year of college.Derrick has been living with my wife and I during his summer break. As we watched the … [Read More...]

Stump a Bible Scholar: Why Genocide?

Think you can stump a scholar? No question is too tough or too radical (this IS the Bible after all — a tough, radical book) for our new Stump a Scholar series at Patheos Progressive Christian. Every week, we’ll answer your questions about the Bible, Christian history, the Church, theology; and we’re bringing in the experts to tackle your questions. This month, we’re focusing on the Bible and have invited Jerry L. Sumney, professor of biblical studies at Lexington Theological Seminary, to be our … [Read More...]

How To Be a Midwife In Egypt: A Sermon on Ferguson and Our Choices

Editor's Note: I share this sermon preached yesterday at the church I attend, First Plymouth Congregational Church, by the Rev. Dr. Eric Smith. In the aftermath of the Ferguson, MO, tragedy and the ensuing protests, I can't imagine a much better sermon being given in many other churches around the co … [Read More...]

Why “Don’t Say Illegal Immigrant” Is A Problem

Last month, as Americans focused attention on Central American child refugees, Benjamin L. Corey's June, 2013 article, "Why We Need To Stop Using The Term 'Illegal Immigrant'", appeared on my Facebook feed. In it, Corey said using the term "illegal immigrant" was to bear false witness against our … [Read More...]

Monday Meditation: Come Alive

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."-- Howard Thurman … [Read More...]

For Now, Young Black Males Matter…Until the Cameras Go Off

What most people don't understand about poor Black males on inner-city streets:Interesting how the story in Ferguson is shifting to talk about all of the young Black males showing up to protest on the streets day and night. I can tell you now, they will not stay off the streets tonight. But it's … [Read More...]

Jesus Died With His Hands Up, Too

Michael Brown should not have been shot dead by police in Ferguson, Missouri.  His hands were up.  He was unarmed.  It doesn't make any difference whether or not he had stolen earlier something that day.  If he had committed such a crime, he should have been given appropriate justice, not a volley of … [Read More...]

Stump a Bible Scholar: Is Jesus God?

Think you can stump a scholar? No question is too tough or too radical (this IS the Bible after all -- a tough, radical book) for our new Stump a Scholar series at Patheos Progressive Christian. Every week, we'll answer your questions about the Bible, Christian history, the Church, theology; and … [Read More...]

PostChristian: Christian Piatt on the Church and the Future of Faith

"There is no question that Christianity as a religion has been in need of a refining fire for some time, and it's not surprising that the idea is met with some fear and self-preserving instinct. But if we truly trust that it is a fire of perfection and not consumption, what do we have to fear? " -- … [Read More...]

Coffee Hour: America’s True Religion

(Here's one from the vault!  from 1984... it ran in CoEvolution/Whole Earth Review, which was a journal of countercultural thought and technology produced by Stewart Brand and the folks at the Whole Earth Catalog.  Shortly after my article appeared, I went to worship at a Gnostic church in Palo A … [Read More...]

Why I Don’t Care if You Use Prayer Beads

I don’t care if you use prayer beads.I know that seems strange to say. After all, I’m the woman who is passionate about them. I’ve collected them for almost 25 years. I’ve built a living out of writing and teaching and speaking about prayer beads. I love praying with them and think they make a gr … [Read More...]

Practical Theology: Love-Fest

We got the authors of three recent books of practical theology together and asked them to bang their ideas around to see what interesting overlaps and contrasts emerged. Andrew Root of Luther Seminary recently wrote Christopraxis: A Practical Theology of the Cross. Mark Van Steenwyk, founder of the … [Read More...]