Religion and Science in the Indian Context

During the past year I had the great fortune to spend a little over one month teaching at Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth (JDV), the Pontifical Institute for Philosophy and Religion, in Pune, India. The purpose of my visit was to teach the course “The Scientific Study of Religion” to seminarians (roughly amounting to undergraduate students in the [Read More...]

How I’m Preaching the Resurrection

Easter morning approaches, bringing with it a fresh opportunity — and challenge — to unpack the mystery of the Resurrection to an alternately curious, skeptical and hopeful world. Here’s how a few of our Patheos bloggers plan to preach it this Sunday. [Let us know how you're planning to preach (or would preach) the Resurrection [Read More...]

Done with Substitutionary Atonement

I’m done with Substitutionary atonement. I’m done with the magical notion that human beings need to sacrifice in order to appease an angry God. Sixteen people died at the hands of Sgt. Bales last week. Sixteen innocent Afghanis dead. It’s not entirely clear what happened, but one thing we can say: life had betrayed Sgt. [Read More...]

Progressive Taxation and Christian Faith

Some Americans believe that taxation is theft, and that taking care of the poor and vulnerable is the business of charity alone. Others call for a “flat tax” which they claim is more fair than progressive taxation, which imposes a higher rate of tax on those of higher incomes. Such ideas once represented a fringe [Read More...]

Sticky Denominations?

By Jennifer Gutierrez Director of Urban Ministry for the California Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church Why are mainline denominations dying?  I was recently in a trustees meeting for one of these denominations.  The trustees were grilling a representative from the committee that works with campus ministry.  The overall concern of the trustees seemed to [Read More...]

Towards an Honest Pluralism: Responding to “Being Different”

“The sheer range of religions represented led me to assume that they have few presuppositions in common. This assumption was supported by the fact that the main reason they meet is in order to learn about each other’s traditions.” Nate Gonzales, undergraduate student at the University of Southern California, made this astute observation in a [Read More...]

Ash Wednesday

On my forehead, A sign of the cross, Smudged in ash from the fire That burned down the McMansion of my hubris, And, with it, The money I should have given away, The television I used to numb my senses, The carpet I should have been called on, The doors I should have opened to [Read More...]

Becoming Like a Flute: Meditations on Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday


In a world filled with clutter, noise, and hustle, Lent is a good excuse to step back and rethink how we think and live. In a world of instant gratification, it’s a chance to practice delayed gratification – to fast — so that we can truly appreciate the blessings we have. [Read more...]

A Lectionary Poem: Transfiguration Sunday

A Poem for Sundays there is a place beyond belief, where faith is true and false this promised land I incarnate god and god incarnates me, and together with the incarnations of humanity, we seek to find, create to destroy, this Jehovah, this God, this Christ. in the land of milk and honey, curdled sweet. [Read More...]

Exorcise Wall Street


I am one of those Christians who believes in angels and demons. But I think the traditional Christian understanding of these things needs a major makeover. Seems to me the Tempter comes in many forms, and is just as likely to dote a three-piece-suit and wingtips as he is to have horns and a pitchfork. And perhaps the angels look more like the bums in the alley than the feathered white babies on Hallmark cards. [Read more...]

Earth’s Heartbeat

  (on a hike at Devil’s Punchbowl near Pearblossom, CA) Mountain-shaped silhouettesMark the the tall pale stalk Of a spent yucca:Are these its last lines of praiseFor the land where it stands? Above, the yellow pineSighs with the deep gratitude I feelAs wind vibratesIts long-needled vocal chords. Below, in the canyon,Slabs of pale sandstone tilt sunward.The [Read More...]

Signs of Hope: A Moment with the PC(USA) Moderator

By Cynthia Bolbach, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) One question I’m asked almost more than any other is, “So, where do you see hope in the PC(USA)?” A comprehensive answer would take up more than the word limits of this column. But two things stand out. First, all across the denomination persons are realizing [Read More...]