Conversations from Chautauqua

“When I last wrote, I was on the island of Patmos out in the Greek Aegean Sea, following John the Beloved Apostle to his little cave where, in the tenth decade of his long life, he kept company with the crows and envisioned the end of the age and the coming of a new heaven and a new earth. So it is fitting that I continue my pilgrimage to the place where new visions (or nightmares) for the End Time were going to be discussed.” Our meandering pilgrim, Rebecca Cole-Turner, continues her sacred pilgrimage in a remote corner of upstate New York. [Read more...]

Vision, Promise, and Practice: A Response to Rodney Stark

“While it easy to dismiss Rodney Stark’s interview as insulting, inaccurate, and unworthy of a scholar of his stature, I have always followed the principle that a stopped clock is accurate at least twice a day. Although Stark gives a diagnosis without a prescription, his words inspire a thoughtful response on behalf of faithful pastors, seminary professors, and congregants whose theology is moderate to progressive.” Bruce Epperly offers another “mainline” response to Rodney Stark’s interview at Patheos. [Read more...]

Burning our Scarecrows: Re-redefining History

There has been a hip new influx of re-ideology. Or neo-ideologies. For example, there used to be evangelical, now there is a neo-evangelical movement in some churches. Its much like the straw men, they look like what they represent, but they depend on what is behind them to be informed. [Read more...]

Connecting the Dots? Lectionary Reflection for August 15th

The worst sermons I’ve ever preached were those that tried to “connect the lectionary dots” but didn’t offer a coherent message that tied them together. This week I did discern a thread that connected three of the lectionary text dots: texts from Isaiah 5, Psalm 80 and Luke 12. First, let’s look at the dots. [Read more...]

How Churches Break; A Response to Rodney Stark

Are Evangelicals the new Mainline? Not so fast… Professor and Episcopal lay leader Greg Garrett responds to Rodney Stark’s provocative interview on the “demise” of the mainline church… [Read more...]

Who Are the Samaritans Today?

Our Christian past has been rife with breaking God’s human family apart. Could the future of Christianity be about bringing it together? Claremont School of Theology President Jerry Campbell on the call to be bridge-builders in a fractured world. [Read more...]

Prayers for Connecting to the Land

Summer is well underway, the garden continues to flourish and I am taking time to sit back and enjoy the harvest – not just the harvest of tomatoes and squash that are burgeoning in abundance, but also the harvest of beauty and of peace. This is the season when we all feel like sitting back and relaxing. And I recommend that everyone make sure that they do just that. [Read more...]

Fantasies In Our Rear-View Mirror: The Gay Community

It’s ironic how, especially in western countries, we have been indoctrinated to believe that freedom can be across the board. That we can all be equal. The issue with that is that we as Westerners preach this message of equality but don’t believe it. [Read more...]

The God Who Forsakes Us

We live in a world that almost thrives on the need for closure or an ending. We like happy endings in particular. This is why Hollywood makes so much money, we want to believe that happy endings exist. But let’s be honest, life is more like a beautiful piece of quilted patchwork. The colors don’t always match. The lines acrosss the quilt don’t always line up. And it might be shorter than we anticipated. But, it is life. What if Christianity was meant to be more like the the quilt and less like the Hollywood endings? [Read more...]

Picturing God in a Fragmented World: Blogging from An International Gathering of Teachers of Preaching

Trying to sneak into a professional meeting late doesn’t work when you’re wearing shoes that squeak and have to walk the entire perimeter of the room to find the last empty chair. Once seated I took a deep breath and turned my attention to the scene and the speaker before me. 70 teachers of preaching from all over the world sat in the beautiful Chapel at Yale Divinity School. As twilight darkened into night outside, two speakers inspired us to believe that preaching’s day is still dawning. [Read more...]

The Thief is at Your Door: Lectionary Reflection for August 8, 2010

“Dr. McKenzie,” asked one of the students, “if I fast from anxious thoughts, what else will I have to think about?” The rest of the class laughed nervously. She looked embarrassed because she hadn’t been kidding. [Read more...]

Giving Up God(s)

According to process theology – everything is in process – (some ancient jews defined perfection as being in process) – then the last thing we want to do is “arrive.” This is why deconstruction as part of our process is so important, it keeps us ‘perfect’ – maybe idolatry is about worshipping the ‘god’s we don’t dismantle. [Read more...]