Cookies of Love: a Progressive Pastor’s Encounter with Fred Phelps

Brother Fred – is dead. When someone passes it is right and well to remember them. The following is a recounting of an encounter I had with the late, spreader of homophobic hate – Fred Phelps — at his worst, and perhaps at his best. During my last semester of grad school I was involved in monitoring the proceedings at the General Conference of the United Methodist Church (effectively, the “Congress” of the denomination that meets every four years to… Read more

Happy Slave Patrick’s Day!

            While we’re digging through our wardrobes trying to find that one item of green clothing that we own, and while the bars are stocking up to prepare for happy throngs tonight, and while certain folks challenge ecosystems by dumping green dye into rivers,             we might do well to ponder a part of the St. Patrick’s Day story that often gets forgotten — Patrick was a slave.    … Read more

A Progressive Christian view of Sin & Sinners

  With the advent of human beings from the long processes of evolution and natural selection, a species was created that: is aware that it exists; has high critical thinking and tool-making skills; is capable of humor and self-reflection; can work as co-creators with God; can choose to worship God and be awed by, respect, and care for God’s creation; and who can choose paths of great self-harm and destruction.   We are potentially moral beings. We can decide to… Read more

Mardi Gras, Sodomy, & Us: the sodomites among us – tend to be us.

I see sodomite people. Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday. The day before Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent. A time for living with passion, vim and vigor, and for zealously sucking the marrow out of life. It’s also a time when some folks feel a need to wag their fingers. I’m feeling moved to wag a finger of my own – at those who tend to do the finger wagging. The following article is one of my favorites… Read more

Our Sin of Hating Fabulous & The Death Throes of Homophobia

We hate people who are fabulous. We always have.  Cain killed Abel because Cain had sin in his heart – and because he was jealous of his brother offering a fabulous offering to God. Joseph’s brothers hated him, threw him in a pit, and sold him into slavery because they had sin in their hearts  — and because they were jealous of their brother’s fabulous dreams and his fabulous, colorful (rainbow?) coat. Emmet Till was beaten to death because his… Read more

Have a Just Valentine’s Day

It’s the time of the year when lover-dovers show their love and affection for their snookums by buying sweets and gifts of beauty. Chocolate and flowers are the top sellers (if anyone is crushing on me, I prefer dark chocolate and Gerbera daisies – just sayin’). As a Christian blogger, you might expect me to take this time to remind us that it’s actually called St. Valentine’s Day, and that it’s an official feast day in the Roman Catholic Church,… Read more

Seeing Martin Luther King Again for the First Time

“Is another King book necessary?” This is the question that Edward Gilbreath asks in the Acknowledgments at the end of his book Birmingham Revolution. Let me weigh-in with a decisive “Yes.” This book’s contribution to the literature about Martin Luther King, Jr. meets a need in American Christianity and in America herself. This book reminds evangelicals (esp. white ones) that MLK was a true brother in Christ and it reminds secularists as well as liberal and progressive mainline Protestants of… Read more

7 Ways to find a Progressive Christian Church

Spirituality is a good thing. Religion is too. Religion comes to us from the Latin religare which means “to bind together.” Biologists, anthropologists, and sociologists contend that humans are social creatures and we’re at our best when we associate and interact with others. Granted, some of us are more introverted and need more space away from others — but even my introverted friends would all say they enjoy others and thrive because of them. There is strength in numbers. Rosa… Read more

16 Ways Progressive Christians Interpret the Bible

I’ve long stated that Atheists and fundamentalists each tend to read the Bible in the same wooden, overly literalistic manner. The difference is that atheists reject what they read in that manner, while fundamentalists believe it. There’s a lot of truth to that – enough that it tends to piss off members of both of those groups off when they come across what I said. However, I’ve also said that All Christians pick and choose which portions of the they… Read more

Progressive Christianity isn’t Progressive Politics.

  You’re a progressive Christian? So you’re a liberal Democrat right? Not so fast. Sometimes words that seem similar have little to do with each other. The chances for confusion increase especially in the case of heteronyms (words that sound the same and spelled the same, but have multiple meanings). The bear had to bear the burden of having to hail a cab to escape the hail in order to bail out her friend who was charged with bailing a… Read more

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