Is There a Future for Progressive Christianity in America?


Editors’ Note: This article is part of the Patheos Public Square on the Future of Progressive Christianity in America. Read other perspective here.Since writing my book on Evangelical vs. Liberal I’ve taken a more skeptical view of what we now call the “Progressive Christian” movement in America. The book was to be a follow up to my study of Fourth Presbyterian Church, a robust liberal Protestant congregation in Chicago. Fourth Presbyterian had an unusual blend of prophetic preaching, pastora … [Read more...]

A Beautiful Legacy: My Friend Bill Harper—Pastor Extraordinaire

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(This is a sermon I gave for Bill Harper’s retirement on April 24, 2015. Bill helped to found Grace Episcopal Church on Bainbridge Island. In twenty years of service, he helped to build an extraordinary, progressive Christian witness, which attracted not only hundreds of parishioners but a thriving youth ministry of more than fifty young people every Thursday night. Progressive Christian leaders should take note of Bill’s amazing legacy.)As some of you know, Bill and I have a few things in co … [Read more...]

The Abundant Zone: Theologizing the Present Age


This post was originally published in Christ and Cascadia, I am sharing it here by permission. I've been thinking that these ideas could be used to rethink, re-theologize our usual assumptions about the terror of "noneness," perhaps, depending on our vision, we can see the present age as an age of abundance rather than scarcity.Among sociologists, it has become conventional wisdom to label the Pacific Northwest – or “Cascadia” – as a “secularized” region, a religious desert – a spiritual “n … [Read more...]

A Book Review of Gerardo Marti and Gladys Ganiel’s The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity.


I have always been suspicious of the concept of an Emerging Church Movement (ECM)—it always feels pretentious in a very unpretentious way—how ironic! So going into reading Marti and Ganiel's The Deconstructed Church, I took a skeptical lens. And while I found myself questioning the long-term strength of the movement, I am convinced that Marti and Ganiel are on to something. And even if the movement may not last, it puts an interesting focus on the overall strength and condition of global evan … [Read more...]

‘Nothing Human Is Alien’: Maya Angelou, Dave Chappell, Tupac Shakur and Gay Marriage. A Sermon


Scripture text: Colossians 1: 15-23: Hymn to Christ’s workWe spend most of our lives making distinctions, black/white, good/bad, high/low, clean/dirty, gay/straight, cool/uncool, day/night, fat/thin, orthodox/unorthodox, Christian/not Christian, Sunni/Shia, Buddhist/Muslim, Israeli/Palestinian, Canadian/American, white/ Hispanic,  Native American/white, dead/alive, old/ young, hip/unhip, Cougar/Husky … it goes on and on… fast/slow, dumb/smart, tall/short, Democrat/Republican, worthy/ … [Read more...]

Job, Grief and Being Sticky-A Sermon


June 15, 2014FIRST READING JOB 38:1-11; 42:1-6GOSPEL READING JOHN 1:29-34You know I have to say that God definitely has a sense of irony. Last Monday in preparing for this Sunday’s service, I realized that today is my 29th wedding anniversary, and I then checked the lectionary text for this Sunday and it was the Book of Job. God wasn’t kidding around.Sort of like, “Hey, Jim, deal with your loss, now is the time." And it’s been eight months since Annette passed, and so maybe that’s … [Read more...]