God Will Never Abandon the Church

“It doesn’t matter to me if mainline denominations continue to exist in their present form. Their present form seems destined for death.” Jenny Williams at the Call & Response Blog offers this post on the future of mainline denominations. Consider her insights a preview of what’s to come next week when we present a compelling forum on the Future of Mainline Protestantism here at Patheos. [Read more...]

Praying in a Certain Place: Lectionary Reflection for July 25, Luke 11:1-13

I’ve read this text many,many times. But this time, something hit me at an emotional level that before I’d only grasped intellectually. It may sound quite obvious to you. [Read more...]

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Summer Spirituality: Peace is Just a Breath Away

“Spiritual growth often involves ritual and repetition, and nothing is more repetitive than our breathing. In my use of these breath prayers, I often imagine that every breath I take is an opening to God and that I am breathing the same air as Jesus’ first disciples.” Bruce Epperly continues his Summer Spirituality series… [Read more...]

A Calmer Response to the Tea Party

“The newspapers, TV, and religious talk shows are dominated of late by battles between liberals and conservatives. The Tea Party is a lightning rod that raises these disagreements to a fever pitch. Most of us know the hostile words that mainline Protestants are inclined to say about the Tea Party movement. (To be honest, I’ve also experienced this temptation.) So what would a more balanced response look like?” Guest blogger Philip Clayton offers a progressive response to a series of articles defending the Tea Party posted recently at the Patheos Evangelical Portal. [Read more...]

Protests, Consensus and Community at GA

“We cannot force love, but we can ask for it. I pray that this will be God’s gift to those of us who stay in the denomination: that we will be afflicted (even against our own desires) with a holy compassion for those against whom we are currently entrenched.” Guest blogger and seminary student Talitha Phillips reflects on the recent protests at a national Presbyterian gathering in the context of building a relational church. church. [Read more...]

Air-Conditioning and Christian Faith

Have you ever wondered what air conditioning has to do with Christian faith? Its obviously not something that Jesus thought about so why should we get concerned? I have just read a fascinating article and conversation at Alternet about whether we can and should live without air conditioning. [Read more...]

Clearing Away the Psychic Clutter: Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42

The story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42)is the Gospel lection for July 18, 2010. I’ve always thought that Martha gets some bad press here. After all, she has welcomed Jesus into her home and is in the process of making him an elaborate meal. And what thanks does she get for her trouble? A negative comparison with little sis and some advice on simplifying her menu. [Read more...]

Spirituality and the Quest for Justice

“This week’s scriptures speak to spiritual lives of North Americans today. They diagnose our condition and provide a pathway forward. With the “perfect storm” of a massive oil spill, economic uncertainty, continuing foreclosures, the ongoing two-theatre war, the threat of global climate change, terrorism, culture wars, growing racism, and shifts in geopolitical power, many people wonder if government or business can fix anything…” Theology Professor Bruce Epperly considers what this week’s biblical texts mean for us today… [Read more...]

Games Scientists and Theologians Play

What if religious beliefs about divine beings were caused by natural processes rather than real divine beings? Or what if religious beliefs were random unnecessary by-products? Religion is like leftover trash that can be done away with. What is someone committed to belief in God left to do? [Read more...]

A theology that can change the world

We are made for story. For narrative. For life. For moments to unfold. For pages to turn. But our story isn’t part of one single meta-narrative. Our views evolve from a multi-centered existence. From multi-centered narratives. We participate in a life of pluralistic possibilities that draw us into the reality that there is more discovery involved with our existential dilemmas than finding one single answer that offers the illusion of peace. [Read more...]

Summer Spirituality: Holy Adventures

“I have a daily spiritual practice that has changed my life. As I leave my Lancaster, Pennsylvania, home for my morning walk, I make two verbal affirmations – usually in a low voice so I don’t wake the neighbors – “This is the day that God has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it!” and “What surprising adventure will I have today?” Bruce Epperly on the spiritual practice of holy adventure. [Read more...]

My Thirst for Evidence

“I find comfort in those two tones that indicate that an episode of a “Law and Order” franchise is coming on. I don’t mind watching reruns because I’ve usually forgotten the outcome. I feel the same way about the “CSI” franchises and the television show “House.” This might be my personal television vice, but I suspect that it’s part of a wider fascination with evidence. That is, many people have become increasingly interested in various forms of evidence– through technology, skepticism, a need for healing or a quest for justice – and how it plays out around us.” Guest blogger Monica Coleman shares her fascination with ‘evidence’ from her Beautiful Mind Blog. [Read more...]