Has Christmas Been Swallowed by the Miraculous?

Like a preacher who has pastored a congregation for more than a year, I am faced with the task of saying something about Advent again without simply saying what I said last year in my Advent blogs. And I commend those to you.Of course, some repetition is unavoidable. Hard to talk about Advent and Christmas without seeking to emphasize what matters most. What is Advent with its climax in Christmas about?To say the obvious, Christmas has rich cultural meanings. It is the most … [Read more...]

Remembering Our Death: What May Be at Stake

col_2_image

A great change has occurred in the rituals, formal and informal, surrounding dying and death in North America. Here and in other contemporary western cultures, our customary practices around dying and death, have changed dramatically. For millennia, both were part of the familiar fabric of human experience. But no longer.There is more than one reason. Life expectancy was much lower. As recently as 1900 in the United States, it was 45 years. Infant and children mortality rates were high. Of … [Read more...]

What Would It Have Been Like to Be A Companion of Jesus?

I began keeping a journal in my early 30s, now forty years ago. I wish I had begun earlier. I would value having a written record of thoughts and experiences from my 20s and even earlier.I mention my journal because browsing in a volume from twenty years ago is the trigger for this blog. Namely, I was reminded of preparing a short summary of what Jesus was like for a live appearance on a major network television morning news show on Good Friday.The producer told me that I would be asked … [Read more...]

Responding to a Critic: Misunderstanding or Misrepresentation?

To write about religion is to court controversy, conflict, and criticism. It confirms the counsel of conventional etiquette that it is best in polite conversation to avoid two subjects: religion and politics.So I know that conflict and criticism are part of writing blogs for Patheos. Indeed, that’s what makes it worthwhile doing. If my blogs got no responses, generated no conversation, why would I want to spend time writing them? Life is too short.But it is not as clear what I should do w … [Read more...]

Top Religious Trends 2014: A Christianity Co-Opted by Individualistic, Exclusivist Faith

Editors' Note: This article is part of the Public Square 2014 Summer Series: Conversations on Religious Trends. Read other perspectives from the Patheos community here. Patheos has invited a number of us to write an end-of-summer post about what we find “most critical within our tradition” today (italics added), “the issue of greatest import.”My tradition is Christianity – especially in its American form. I have been both all of my life. The most critical issue within American Christianit … [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.  We’re not like them.At t … [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 similar si … [Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X