Catch and Release

Every Wednesday at noon here at the University of Southern California, I lead a mindfulness meditation session in our University Religious Center. We have a group of “regulars” who are a mix of students, staff, and faculty, and we always have “newbies” who come to learn meditation practice.  I open the session with a short introduction [Read More…]

A Master’s Degree for our Times: CLU Launches Online Degree in Ethical Leadership

The trailblazers at Claremont Lincoln University (CLU) in southern California are at it again. After the Methodist-affiliated Claremont School of Theology co-founded the multi-religious university CLU in 2011, the school is now launching an online Master’s Degree in Ethical Leadership. “It’s a Master’s Degree for our times,” says Philip Clayton, Executive Vice President and Provost [Read More…]

Why I Am a Progressive Christian

This month, Patheos has invited its many, faith-diverse writers to contribute to a new series called “Why I Am A… in 200 words or less.” Here, columnist John Holbert shares why he’s a progressive Christian. (Read more responses to the question here.) Actually, I was no kind of Christian at all growing up. My family did not [Read More…]

Imperfect, First Seder Springs Hope

“We’re Reform Jews, so this is going to be quick,” the father of my hosting family says as I sit down for my first Seder. I’ve read stories about the Passover feasting tradition lasting throughout the night and into the next morning, and he confirms this with an aside. “I once sat through an Orthodox Seder, and we still had not eaten dinner by three in the morning.” [Read more…]

A Progressive Christian View of Marriage Equality

What is the Christian view of marriage? Of human sexuality generally? Today on the news, I heard one Christian (a Presbyterian minister) declare that God’s plan was for marriage to be between a man and a woman, and I heard another self-described Christian declare that “fags are lawless.” These were, literally, the only voices I [Read More…]

Why I Am a Christian

This month, Patheos has invited its many, faith-diverse writers to contribute to a new series called “Why I Am A… in 200 words or less.” Here, progressive Christian blogger Greg Garrett shares why he’s a Christian. (Read more responses to the question here.) I was raised in one branch of the Christian tradition that proved to [Read More…]

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

Is it possible to push back against the atonement theory formulated by St. Anselm of Canterbury and imagine other meaningful reasons for Jesus to go to the Cross this week?
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Sharks, Dolphins, and the Curious Progressive Theology of Rob Bell

Rob Bell has long swum with the sharks. Everyone assumed he was a shark. But now the sharks are angry, and I can see why: Rob Bell sure looks like a dolphin these days. And my question is: where did he get these new flippers? [Read more…]

Welcome to Progressive Christianity, Rob Bell!

A Review of Rob Bell’s new book: What We Talk About When We Talk About God (2013: HarperOne) A few years ago I wrote a “musing” about Rob Bell’s book, LOVE WINS, in which this former evangelical megachurch pastor abandoned the idea that anybody is going to hell. He now espouses the Christian theology known [Read More…]

WWFS? (What Would Francis Say?)

By Anne Howard, Executive Director The Beatitudes Society Francis. Francis is on my mind right now as we travel toward Palm Sunday, and Holy Week rises into view. I should say that Holy Week looms into view, as this can be a daunting time of year for church folks: preachers and palm-frond gatherers and liturgists and lily [Read More…]

This Is Not a Pipe – and other opinions…

I’m involved in an initiative here at USC to encourage the use of contemplative and meditative techniques in teaching and learning, in all kinds of classrooms. The last gathering of our Contemplative Pedagogy Faculty Interest Group was led by James Collins, assistant professor of classics. He introduced us to theater games which he employs with [Read More…]

Free Will or Lively Imagination?

A week ago, I attended a conference at Chapman University in Orange, CA, devoted to the topic of free will. The speakers included a physicist, a Sikh spiritual teacher, a rabbi, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, and a couple of philosophers. The physicist mused about the possibility, at least at the quantum level, of future events [Read More…]


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