A Letter About Jesus

A very few days ago, I received by e-mail a letter about Jesus from a person who is reading one of my books. His thoughts and questions struck me as being of interest to many people. I quote the letter at length and then share my response. The Letter Your book has persuaded me that much of the language of the Bible and theology is metaphorical and should not be taken literally. Granted that, at what point do you think one reaches a gray area as to whether Jesus was even divine? I … [Read more...]

Does the Bible Matter? Progressive Christians and Scripture

scripture

Progressive Christians are often better known for what we don’t believe than for what we do affirm. I say “we” because I am one of them. There is an obvious reason: we disagree with much of the most publicly visible form of contemporary Christianity. Commonly called “conservative” Christianity, its political form is “the Christian right.” Thus we tend to define ourselves with a series of negations that differentiate “us” from “them.” We don’t believe what they do.  … [Read more...]

Easter Again

I sympathize with clergy who preach about Easter to the same congregation for several years. Of course, you say what you think is most important the first time. So what do you say the second time and the third time and more? Do you avoid saying what you said the first time so that you don’t repeat yourself? But wouldn’t that mean leaving out what you think is most important because you’ve already said it? Or do you proclaim it again, even if in somewhat different words? I am in a … [Read more...]

“Holy Monday”: Public Protest in the Temple

On Monday in Holy Week, Jesus performed the second of two provocative public protests in Jerusalem. The first, as described in my previous blog, occurred on what has come to be called “Palm Sunday.” Two processions entered Jerusalem for the Festival of Passover that year. One happened every year while Judea was ruled by Roman governors, the most famous of whom was Pontius Pilate. Imperial cavalry and troops, displaying the pomp and power of empire, entered the city to reinforce the … [Read more...]

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

I wish that all Christians knew the story of Holy Week. Indeed, I wish everybody, Christian or not, did. But Christians especially. It is the story that should shape our understanding of Jesus and thus our understanding of what it means to be Christian – of what it means to follow him, to follow “the way” that he revealed and embodied. What most Christians know about Holy Week centers on Good Friday and Easter, Jesus’s death and resurrection. The former is commonly understood as … [Read more...]

Lent and the Cross

A few blogs ago, I wrote about a persistent theme of my thinking in my middle and late adult life: memories, conversions, and convictions. Memories of what I absorbed as I grew up Christian more than half a century ago; major changes in my understanding since then; and the convictions that have emerged from those changes. And as I wrote many blogs ago, those changes include a different understanding of Lent with its climax in Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter. If this blog repeats some … [Read more...]

Ash Wednesday: Death and Repentance

Ash Wednesday (this year, March 5th) is the first day of the season of Lent. In liturgical churches, it begins with a vivid reminder of death. As the words “Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return” are said, Christians are marked on their foreheads with ashes in the shape of the cross. The words echo language from the funeral liturgy, “Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” Death is one of the primary themes of Lent. Each of us will die. None of us gets out of here alive. A … [Read more...]


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