The Heart of Progressive Christianity: A Q&A with Marcus Borg

Marcus Borg is the reason I fell back in love with Jesus.

Actually, I had never really fallen out of love with Jesus, because I had never really fallen in love with him in the first place. Yes, I grew up Christian, loved my Church, was confirmed, attended youth group, and had a deep appreciation for God and God’s desire for us to love and care for others, but truth be told, I had never really had much of a tingly affair with the person of Jesus. Especially as a “Savior who died for our sins,” as I had mostly understood Jesus to be up to that point.

So when at the age of 30, I picked up a copy of Borg’s best-selling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, I was surprised to find my heart strangely warmed. Here, coming to life before my eyes was a three-dimensional man who lived in a particular time and community, worked, prayed, loved, got angry, retreated, celebrated, ate and drank with his friends and strangers. He was so… human. And yet he also healed, and listened deeply, and named, and served, and ultimately gave his life up out of deep commitment to his God and his friends. So… divine. I finally got this guy, Jesus! He was one of us, but so much more: an embodied expression of God’s divine wisdom and compassion. A sage; a “way.” Now this was someone whom I could follow and believe in. And so, I fell in love with Jesus, and Christianity, perhaps for real, for the first time.

I am not the only one who’s been so revived. Indeed Borg, one of the leading Jesus scholars of our time, has influenced and re-engaged countless Christians in the mainline church with his work on the historical Jesus and the Bible. He’s the author of 20 books, including The God We Never Knew, Speaking Christian, and the best-selling Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, and The Heart of Christianity. His newest book is Evolution of the Word, in which the books of the New Testament are printed in the chronological order in where they were written (did you know that the book of Revelation wasn’t actually the last written?). He has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show and “Dateline,” ABC’s “Evening News” and “Prime Time,” and PBS’s “Newshour” and “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross. Borg’s historical and metaphorical approach to biblical and Christian language has made him arguably the leading voice of contemporary Christianity, earning him both legions of fans, as well as his critics.

So it was with great excitement that, several weeks ago, I found myself meeting Borg, for the first time. He was in town at the invitation of the Progressive Christian Alliance of Colorado, a relatively new organization of Protestant churches in and around Denver who share a passion for a progressive expression of faith in their communities, the state, and the world. Borg’s topic was simply (or not so simply): “What is Progressive Christianity?” and after listening to him speak for several hours, I understood why he has been the leading voice for progressive Christians for so many years. He presents a compelling vision of Christianity solidly grounded in historical context, and as such, a vision much more luminous and powerful than the “common Christianity” of a generation or two ago that remains the dominant understanding today. Borg’s faith is contagious, and he is clearly passionate about re-educating others so they can fall in love with their faith all over again, too.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Borg at the end of his event, during which he graciously answered some questions on the meaning of progressive Christianity, a Christian’s role in politics, the future of the Church, and what spiritual practices draw him closer to God. Our conversation follows.

What, for you, is the heart of progressive Christianity? 

To some extent, progressive Christians have been defined negatively. And we have done that ourselves, it’s not just that others have said nasty things about us. We commonly have said we’re “non-literalistic” and we’re “non-exclusivistic.” Those are the two biggest negations. But to put it positively now, progressive Christianity takes very seriously that Christianity is about a two-fold transformation of ourselves as individuals, and of the humanly-created world which has most often been a world of domination, injustice and violence – not meaning primarily criminal violence – but the violence of warfare and so forth. So, progressive Christianity is passionate about transformation in the here and now, even as we recognize that that transformation is also long term, and not something that a generation can accomplish.

And it’s not very much about what happens after death. It’s not that all progressive Christians are skeptical about an afterlife, but for me, anyway, I’m very happy to leave what happens after death up to God. And then beyond that, I have no idea how anybody can know what happens after death, and you can’t make something true by believing it. So if somebody says, “I believe in Heaven,” fair enough, you believe in Heaven, but that has nothing to do with whether or not there is one. And so the energy of progressive Christianity is not about believing something now for the sake of a reward later, or not even about being virtuous now for the sake of a reward later, but for being as completely present as possible to this life, and being open to the moving of the Spirit both within ourselves and our societies, and seeking to participate in that movement of the Spirit.

I sometimes speak of Christianity as being about participating in God’s passion … and I don’t mean God’s suffering, which is one possible meaning of passion … but participating in what God is passionate about, which is the whole of Creation. In one sense we don’t have to be terribly concerned about nature. Now here are the qualifications: nature will do just fine on it’s own if we don’t mess with it, and right now, of course we are messing with it, but the strongest passion of the God of the Bible is the transformation of the humanly-created world into a more just, compassionate, peaceful kind of world.

So here we are in the middle of a contentious election cycle, with a lot at stake. Given what you’ve just said, what is our responsibility as progressive Christians in the political system? And how would you encourage us to be “in the world, but not of the world”? 

I like that language a lot from John’s Gospel, to be “in the world, but not of the world.” And what I understand that to mean is, to be centered in God means to have a center that goes deeper than the humanly-created world at any given time, and yet to be passionately involved in that world. Minimally, in this election, and in any election season – but especially one in which a lot is at stake – minimally in a democracy, the Christian responsibility includes voting. To withdraw from voting because “religion and politics don’t mix,” is basically to leave the running of the world up to those who would like to manipulate the system in their own interest.

In this election, it’s very hard for me to accept that anybody who knows quite a bit about the Bible, and who takes the Bible and Jesus seriously, could vote for a set of policies that basically privilege the wealthy, and that either maintain or even increase the U.S. military budget. We are already as a country as powerful as the rest of the world put together, and to suggest that we should increase our military spending … what are people thinking of when they think that? Is it that we have we become such a fear-based society that appeals to fears about our security, as seen by some political strategists as an effective campaigning technique?

There’s so much about the central economic direction and the central military policy of our country that I find as a Christian unacceptable. And I probably don’t need to say, “And that means you should vote Democratic.”

So you’ve been at this a while, writing and speaking  for some 40 years now. What shifts have you noticed during this time? And why are progressive Christians still largely invisible as a movement, as a voice, in the Christian landscape? 

Over the last 20 years I have seen the appetite within the Church for – whether you call it progressive Christianity or not – I’ve seen the appetite for this orientation grow. The reason I say that is partly a reflection of the number of invitations I get, and people I know well such as Diana Butler Bass, John Crossan, Joan Chittister and Karen Armstrong, get. We all get more invitations to speak than we can possibly fit into our schedule. And book sales reflect that too. There’s a large book market for progressive Christian authors. Probably still not as large as for conservative Christian authors. So I think there is this growing appetite. Diana Butler Bass even speaks in one of her  books about this new form of Christianity being publicly visible in the early ’90s.

And so why are we still largely invisible? One of the reasons is that most mainline congregations, without even thinking about this language, have sought to be “big-tent” congregations. Another less positive way of putting it, they’ve been conflict-avoidant. They’ve been, many of them, unwilling to risk offending any members. So they’ve continued to articulate a kind of lowest-common-denominator, fairly conventional form of Christianity … not wanting to be like the Christian Right. So let’s not have any sharp edges … and fear of loss of membership if they do. And all of this has happened during a time of declining mainline membership. If mainline membership had been growing during the last 40 years, there might have been a lot more willingness to take public positions that might cost you a few members.

And then, an obvious reason: we don’t have any radio stations, we don’t have any television stations. And somebody might ask, well why don’t you? Well, I don’t know if that would be a smart use of resources. But in terms of public visibility,we are way behind the Christian Right.

So what would it take for us to claim our space in the public square? 

Some existing congregations may be strong enough to start naming themselves as a progressive Christian community as part of their identity without worrying about losing a number of members upon whom their financial viability depends. I don’t know how many would be willing to do that. But that’s one way to begin to attain some visibility. Secondly,  I think the future – and I’m speaking of from now to 10 to 30 years out – there’s going to be an increasing number of small Christian communities that will come into existence that do not want to own a building, but want to use unused space; that probably will not have a full-time stipendiary professional clergy person. And those communities will find it very easy to claim a particular identity becuase there are no financial impediments to them claiming that identity. And that will be somewhat of a return to what the very early forms of  Christianity were like. Small, very intentional, intimate communities of commitment.

The other things I think of are anecdotal. I’m very grateful that there was a Christian presence during the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, especially in Manhattan, and other communities too, where liberal and progressive clergy or divinity school students were there dressed in their clerics, holding bible studies, eucharist, whatever. It’s a good example of what we were talking about earlier today, about joining with the social justice movements of our culture in visible ways.

A number of books have been written about the future of Christanity.  If you were to write your own “future of faith” book, what would you title it?

Well, Elaine Pagels has already used it. It was going to be the title of my memoir – but I’m not going to write a memoir – it was going to be Beyond Belief. Beyond Belief, into relationship, transformation…

What about From Believing to Beloving, which you spoke about in your talk earlier? 

Yeah, beloving God … when you think of the biblical roots of that … the Great Commandment is not “you should believe your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” but “you shall love the God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” So to speak of Christianity as “beloving” God … how biblical can you get?

Believing has very little transformative power. You can believe and still be angry, mad, and so forth. Before 1600, the English word “believe” did not mean believing statements or teachings or doctrines to be true. Rather it’s direct object was always personal; and “believe” meant what we mean by “belove.” To “belove” is to commit yourself to, pledge yourself to. We are changed by what we “belove.”

A lot of people are saying the mainline church will have to die in order for a new thing to be born. What do you think about that?  

What I hear on the grapevine are projections that 25 years from now, 40% of mainline congregations will no longer exist because they’ve just gotten too small to support a clergy person, maintain a building, or all the members have died. I think part of the transformation will be an increasing number of  small, intentional, committed communities that may have no professional clergy or physical plant. But rather than thinking, oh my God, the Church is disappearing, it’s worth thinking about the fact that a relatively small intentional community of deep commitment can sometimes have a much greater effect than a large, conventional community. A committed community of 100 can have a bigger effect that a conventional community of 1,000.

Or to use another example, and I hope this isn’t self-serving, but my wife and I contribute about $10,000 a year to our local church. And we probably know 20 couples that contribute around that much. Now imagine if none of that went for building maintenance or salaries? Now I don’t imagine these small communities of the future are all going to be that wealthy, so they can have that level of contributing, but my hunch is that about 90-95% of most church budgets these days go for institutional maintenance, which includes contributions to the national church as well as buildings and staff and so forth. So these smaller communities of the future may have hardly any overhead. And therefore the possibility of doing some significant things in a community, or by supporting groups that are doing significant things, really increases.

I put out on Facebook that I’d be talking with you this weekend, and invited questions. One that several people wanted me to ask was, What is your spiritual practice? How do you pray?

I’m very fortunate that my life work includes spending hours a day reading and thinking and writing about God and Jesus and Christianity, and I don’t know if I want to dignify that by saying it’s a very intentional spiritual practice, but I think it has some of the effects of a spiritual practice. Just being, if you will, “mindful” of that, much of the day.

Secondly, I try to remember, and mostly do, to – for want of a better verb – talk to God several times in the course of the day. And I can do that silently, but I can also do that out loud if I’m alone, and for me that has the effect of reminding me of the presence of the sacred … and of my own desire to center ever more deeply in God, the sacred. I think our relationship with God in some ways is like a human relationship. And how does a human relationship deepen and grow? It does that by paying attention to it, spending time in it, being present to it.

I also have some “attention” exercises that I use when I’m outside, particularly. I pay attention to the feel of the the air – is it dry, is it moist, is it raining cats and dogs? The temperature of the air … all of this is a way of trying to bring myself into the immediacy of the present. Looking at the sky – if it’s clear, there might not be a lot to look at, but to notice that. And if it’s cloudy or overcast, to pay attention to the texture of the clouds. All of this is part of what I would call an “attention” exercise and I try to do that every morning.

Do you read the Bible devotionally, as well as scholarly?

Seldom. I’m more likely to read The Book of Common Prayer. And of course that has a lot of biblical passages, especially from the psalms, and biblical language. I’m not against devotional reading of the Bible, it’s just that it doesn’t occur to me.

Your newest book is called Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written.  Would you tell us a little bit about it? 

So far as I and my publisher know, this has never been done before. And it’s just such an obvious thing in a way!  I mean, scholars have written for a long time about what the earliest documents are, but as far as a New Testament that actually does that, I think that’s new. Some of the interesting things about it are: the earliest books are the seven genuine letters of Paul; Mark is the first Gospel; Luke is probably the last gospel. The book of Revelation is about mid-way through (#14 of 27). And it’s not only that that’s a little bit surprising to people, but it also has some interesting effects on what we make of the documents. The familiar New Testament ends of course with the Book of Revelation and it suggests that we’re still looking for what Revelation talks about. It’s almost like an open ending to the bible: “Yes, and he will come again!”  But when you put the Book of Revelation at number 14, it’s like, oh ok, so this tells us what the author wrote to some Christian communities near the end of the first century and he expected this to happen soon, and obviously it didn’t happen. Versus how it feels when it’s at the very ending of the Bible, with “Amen, Come Lord Jesus!” I’ll be very interested to see what happens to it. Harper tells me it was very fast out of the gate, so we’ll see.

Sounds like we could have a whole separate interview about that book!  Thank you, Dr. Borg, for your time today. 

 

Deborah Arca is the Managing Editor of the Progressive Christian Channel at Patheos.

About Deborah Arca

Deborah Arca is the Director of Content at Patheos.

  • http://www.darkwoodbrew.org Eric Elnes

    Nice article! But re: “we don’t have any television stations” – Marcus should know about Darkwood Brew! http://www.darkwoodbrew.org Better than broadcast television because it’s interactive with its internet audience – and far more cost effective. Darkwood Brew streams weekly, and has viewers around the world!

    • Pat

      And there’s also ChurchNext TV and Day1, but they’re not interactive like Darkwood Brew. It’s a good idea, though. It could be because of the technology of the day, people are choosing to get their message out differently than using the traditional radio waves. Although, now that I think of it, Doug Pagitt has a radio show. I think the Progressives are out there, it’s just not in the DNA to be as out there banging the drum as the Right has done.

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  • katie

    what i don’t understand about progressive christianity (from what i’ve read), is that although so many current political topics are discussed in full – such as death penalty, war, economics – it seems that abortion is totally avoided. is that progressive christians are primarily pro-choice? and if so, how do you reconcile that with your christianity?

    • Frank

      They cannot hence their silence.

      • Matt Thornton

        Perhaps many see a distinction between the choices they don’t make for themselves and the choices they foreclose for others?

        • Frank

          Perhaps but how does that justify the morality and ethics around the issue? Where is the choice for the unborn?

          • Matt Thornton

            Frank – the choices you reference are critical and complex. However, none of them exists in a vacuum, but rather have to be seen in the context of other choices and implications.

            In the case of abortion, the potential futures of the fetus is one set of concerns, but so is the set of potential futures for the mother. I see the ethical and morality issues in terms of the sum of outcomes that extend far beyond the end of the birth canal. To your question specifically, the unborn isn’t competent to choose anything. Not saying that to be harsh, but in the same way that I would say I wouldn’t be competent to choose in the event I was in a persistent coma.

            I think we can agree that it would be immoral to kill a fetus for sport. I think many of us can agree that killing a fetus for simple convenience is likewise wrong.

            However, I wonder if we would also agree that placing an infant in a home where we knew the infant would be abused is, at best, a dubious moral step. Would it be moral to leave an infant in such a situation when we know the abuse is taking place? Keep in mind I’m not asking the legal question, but the moral one.

            I frame the issue this way not to be inflammatory, but rather as a lens for looking at what I believe is an honest set of differences and perspectives that inform the larger debate about abortion. Until we can grapple with the argument with more nuance and good will than trading “It’s murder!”/”No, it’s not!” incessantly, I don’t think we’re going to get this one sorted.

            Personally, my bias is to recognize that there are tremendous stakes involved for everyone, but to optimize for the preservation of options in the face of complexity. I see very few clear moral choices in this debate, and pretending that there are does everyone involved a disservice. Just my $.02

          • Frank

            Matt you bring up good pints but we cannot base our moral actions on hypotheticals.

            The truth is the unborn are the least of the “least of these” in our culture and that is inexcusable, immoral, unethical and antithetical to the Christian faith. No amount of nuance or complexity changes that.

          • Matt Thornton

            Frank – didn’t see how to reply to your latest, so replying here.

            A hypothetical, to better understand what should be a clear case of ethics/morality – you shall not kill:

            Assumptions:
            1. Killing another human is wrong
            2. Preservation of life is a reasonable goal
            3. A parent has a duty to his child’s well-being

            Scenario:
            1. I am in my house with my teen daughter
            2. A person, unknown to either of us, enters the house and attacks my daughter with a knife.
            3. I kill the intruder

            Questions:
            1. Did I act in an ethical way?
            2. Would it have been more ethical to allow my daughter to be killed?
            3. How do I square either answer with the commandment not to kill?

          • Frank

            That’s great but how does that justify killing the unborn for convenience sake?

            Lets say your daughter is alive and well but yet to be born? I assume you would try and stop her being killed right? That would be the ethical and moral thing to do right?

          • Matt Thornton

            Yes – I would (and did) do everything possible to see that she was born healthy, and well loved and cared for afterward. I agree with you very much about that being a moral path.

            My point with the example was not to ‘justify’ killing anyone (unborn or otherwise) but instead to react to your comment above about ‘unforgivable’, etc. I was trying to use a simpler example than abortion to dig into the ways we might decide between the lesser of a set of harms.

            My reasoning in setting it up this way was that many (perhaps a majority) of situations where the ethics and morality are clear and well aligned with most common readings of the Bible. These situations are much, but not all, of the story. Abortion for convenience is probably in this category, but ‘convenience’ is a slippery concept, and heavily context-dependent.

            There are additionally a non-trivial number of situations where there aren’t simple answers, and we’re forced to choose between a set of potentially bad outcomes. In those cases, the direct answer (say, killing is immoral, abortion is unforgivable, …) isn’t necessarily the most moral one.

            In the example I showed above, if I had decided not to kill the intruder, I would have been (potentially) sacrificing my daughter’s life to my sense of morality. Personally, that is not a choice I would make, so I’m left having to sort out the ethics of disobeying a direct commandment.

            To draw out the analogy, if I say that abortion is always unforgivable and should never happen, then I’m (implicitly) saying that I judge any harm that results from the pregnancy and birth as a lesser harm than the abortion, and thus more moral.

            Having had a bit of direct experience with kids who aren’t wanted, for example, I’m not sure forcing a birth is always in everyone’s (or even anyone’s) best interest. Similarly, I don’t think I could look my daughter or my wife in the eye and force them to carry a child to term against their wishes if that pregnancy was the result of a rape. And the list goes on.

            So all of that is to say that I agree in the main that abortion is a bad, perhaps immoral, action. There’s a big difference between usually and always, though, and I have a strong caution when applying absolutes to the complexities of human behavior. I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t try to, but rather that it’s usually not possible to look at individual actions and principles in isolation.

            From a policy perspective, that leaves me believing that outlawing abortion is likely to create more problems than it solves, and thus a strict ban is likely less moral than trying to find some workable compromise.

            Regardless of where I see the beginning of life relative to conception, I know that there are a substantial number of well-intentioned and thoughtful people who believe something different, and this serves to underscore for me the importance of finding a policy solution that works for more than just one cohort of the population.

            Finally, I take the injunction to love my neighbors and enemies very seriously, and for where we are in the abortion debate in the US, I don’t find it possible to square a ‘my way to hell’ stance with that core command.

          • Frank

            The question was how do the Dems reconcile abortion with the Christian faith. You reconciled it with your secular reasoning for sure and I am not arguing with your reasoning but I have yet to see from anyone a reconciliation of allowing abortion on demand while calling yourself a Christian.

    • Lucretia

      A lot of it depends on when you think life begins and ends, which I think is as much a scientific as a theological issue. It’s pretty clear that killing a healthy adult is a black and white issue, but it’s a lot less clear when it comes to fetuses and people on life support.

      • Canton Millard

        The is an unscientific, silly and very dangerous misunderstanding.

      • Ed

        So, since it is unclear to you, do you think it’s just fine and dandy to kill some 42 million “suspected” humans each year in the world? Are we not innocent until proven guilty?

    • Eileen

      Abortion is always a difficult issue.
      The religious right tells us that life begins at ejaculation(!) which is before conception, and yet has no problems with the lack of free health care for women who are pregnant and need it, doesn’t support income for single parents, doesn’t want the state to provide women with the means to raise a child if they cannot work themselves. It also supports the death penalty for convicted felons.
      The “right to life” at talked about by the religious right is simply the right to conceive, but there is no thought of follow through responsibility of society to provide appropriate care for any individual who is consequently born.
      For many progressives (I can’t speak for all) abortion is a moral and religious issue which must be put in its context. It is between a woman and God. It is not our place to judge whether or not the choice each woman makes is correct or not, it is God’s right to judge, not ours. Abortion can be sought for a myriad of reasons, and the public don’t need to know the minute details of every case.
      It always seems to me that if a woman is placed in a difficult financial situation and simply cannot afford to raise the child, those who are against providing mothers with the financial support they need are as much at fault as the woman chooses to have an abortion.
      If a woman chooses to abort because she wants to keep up with my economic and financial circumstances and I am unwilling to help her then I am as much at fault as she is, – from my reading of scripture.
      I suspect there would be far fewer abortions if there was
      1. better sex education in schools
      2. better access to health care for pregnant women
      3. better financial support for families with children who need it
      4. free medical care for children whose families are struggling
      and so on.

      • Ed

        Oh my goodness, where do I begin…

        Since when is the “religious right” responsible for another person’s actions. Should they pay to have all men perform an “ejaculation”; if conception starts where she asserts? I’m sure all other people who are not the religious right are more than happy to have people simply screw around and have someone else pay for it.

        As for free or subsidized health care, there are hundreds of clinics that provide such services for women who are pregnant – both liberal and conservative. Eileen, you are simply a propagandist. As to the rest of your paragraph, it appears that you believe that people have a right to be completely irresponsible, and through some privilege of just being alive, the rest of society is obliged to support their anti-social behavior. You have no idea, obviously, of what is actually going on in the real world.

        As to the issue of abortion being an issue between a woman and God; yes I agree entirely. The problem with your statement is that you are implying that God has not made up His mind on abortion, and He looks at it on an individual basis. Wow, what can I possibly say to the uninformed other than…. God made up His mind with the beginning of time; abortion is not only not cool, but is a mortal sin, as well as murder of a fellow human being, and most of all, one’s own child. All of science agrees with me.

        So we come to the most assaulting of statements upon mankind… that “It always seems to me that if a woman is placed in a difficult financial situation and simply cannot afford to raise the child, those who are against providing mothers with the financial support they need are as much at fault as the woman chooses to have an abortion.”

        Eileen… are you a woman? I ask this question because you have left women as victims, as parasites even; deploying there participatory actions as innocent, and their most precious gift – children – as a nuisance upon themselves, their immediate desires, and society as a whole. Do you really hate women and children so much?

        Yes, I agree with you on your four points. Many people – of all persuasions – are trying to help in your assertions. To condemn any group of people who care, or to assert that any group does not care, is to not only do a dis-service to those who put themselves forward, but points out the divisiveness of our society…. something that can never benefit the society.

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  • Lucretia

    Thank you for this interview. Borg’s book on the heart of christianity is a major reason that I’ve started going to church again (and again is being generous, more like for the first time since confirmation to be honest).

  • Ed

    “Indeed Borg, one of the leading Jesus scholars of our time, has influenced and re-engaged countless Christians in the mainline church with his work on the historical Jesus and the Bible. He’s the author of 20 books, including The God We Never Knew, Speaking Christian, and the best-selling Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, and The Heart of Christianity. His newest book is Evolution of the Word, in which the books of the New Testament are printed in the chronological order in where they were written (did you know that the book of Revelation wasn’t actually the last written?). He has appeared on NBC’s “Today Show“ and “Dateline,” ABC’s “Evening News” and “Prime Time,” and PBS’s “Newshour” and “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross. Borg’s historical and metaphorical approach to biblical and Christian language has made him arguably the leading voice of contemporary Christianity, earning him both legions of fans, as well as his critics.”

    Wow, that pretty much buries Borg in the fertilizer of liberal heresies.

  • numenian

    Wonderful article and great commentaries. But I have a small problem with one particular statement: “Some existing congregations may be strong enough to start naming themselves as a progressive Christian community as part of their identity without worrying about losing a number of members upon whom their financial viability depends. I don’t know how many would be willing to do that. But that’s one way to begin to attain some visibility.”
    Maintaining the use of divisive labels is something to encourage? We may chase way the generous members who helped with the financial viability of a congregation because they must be: a) building-lovers; b) Right wingers; c) Digressives (not sure if I am not being redundant here); d) blind to truth; e) name something?

  • Brad

    wow. i am always amazed at those who are so sure what “God” wants or expects. somewhere along the line those who are so sure of “God’s will” might want to look into what “idolatry” or “hubris” means. just saying. for those who want to quote the bible, God killed the first born in Egypt…even the cattle, as if they had a stake in letting slaves go! insane. God also commands Joshua and company to decimate the villages of Canaan, even crushing the skulls of infants against rocks! so much for your “God of love” and “sanctity of life” positions! “get over yourselves” would be my advice.

    and who cares about the babies of 18-20 years ago who are killing others in Afghanistan and other countries? i wonder how many “pro-life” folk are worried about the largest tax expenditure devoted to the military industrial complex that routinely kills human life?

    • usarmyveteran

      Brad,
      Of all the comments I read thus far, yours make the most sense. Having seen the outcomes of war(s) both in terms of the human misery and humongous waste of monies they inflict on us, I am always perplexed by the “moral” stand of our “Christians” who pontificate about the preciousness of the “unborn” while they also protest against paying a single dime more in taxes to help the poor and needy. It should be between a woman and her God as to what she wants to do with her fertilized ova.

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  • Pastor Dave Clark

    I remember one woman in a church I served who read Marcus and her life changed. She said that she always thought she didn’t belong in church because her beliefs didn’t line up with traditional interpretations of faith. She said, “For the first time, I fell like I belong and I can come to church with integrity.”

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