Conscious Bliss

I’ve been thinking about this concept of bliss my whole life. What would it be like to be consciously filled with bliss? I had moments of this when I was young, sitting around my family table with my parents and four siblings. I was the youngest and I remember that they would take turns making me laugh, and often I would find myself so caught up that I couldn’t stop laughing, and everyone would join in. And I remember that it was blissful. I didn’t want it to end and it felt like it never would. … [Read more...]

Elizabeth Chapin’s “Facing ‘the Talk’: Conversations with My Four Daughters about Sex”

First, three confessions:1. Elizabeth was my graduate student in the MA Comparative Religion Program at the University of Washington. I promised to read and review her book. I was worried, “Maybe I wouldn’t like it?” Well, NO WORRIES, this is a great book that parents of youth, whether girl or boy, should definitely read!2. I am the father of two grown daughters, I worried I’d find out that I had done something wrong in talking with my daughters about sex. And truth be told, my beloved sp … [Read more...]

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

(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...]