Lay Your Sins on the E-Scapegoat!

We all want our sins atoned, right? On the eve of Yom Kippur, this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen. You can lay your sins on this escapegoat and then watch as your sins are sent out to Azazel, and pushed off the cliff:

If the Bible Is Relative, Does Any Objective Morality Exist? [Questions That Haunt]

Questions That Haunt Christianity

Last week, we welcomed back the Questions That Haunt Christianity series with a great exchange on Tuesday and Friday. This week, we dive into to an equally vexing question about the Bible from Chris:

[Read more...]

Fresh Website, Stale Theology

For years, I’ve had a common retort to those who oppose gay marriage on biblical grounds: Do you make women wear head coverings in church? That’s because prohibitions of homosexuality and head coverings have about the same amount of biblical attestation. When I ask that question, my interlocutors most often pivot to arguments from natural law. That’s because no one — NO ONE — is really a biblical literalist. We all live on the slippery, relativistic slope of biblical interpretation.

Well, now there’s a slick new website that claims there’s a “movement” to bring back head coverings in worship. Oh, I should mention, it’s head coverings for women only — they don’t seem to be interested in the Torah commandment that men cover their heads while at prayer.

As is often the case in such things, you can’t find out much about the “movement” on its website. You can find a link to the “movement’s” founder (and possibly its sole member), Jeremy Gardiner. He writes about himself,

[Read more...]

What Progressive Christianity Needs Is More Apocalypse

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887.

I appreciate what Richard Beck did in his series of posts, calling on progressive Christians to recover the biblical language of spiritual warfare. But, as I noted yesterday, I think there are a couple of weaknesses with that line of reasoning. One is that, while spiritual warfare language is biblical, it does not emanate from Jesus.

So I’d like to offer an alternative, and highly related, corrective to Richard’s.

I think that progressive Christians need to reclaim the biblical language of the apocalyptic.

For one thing, apocalyptic language begins in the Hebrew Scripture. It’s rife in the prophets, especially the later prophets, and most notably in Daniel. (Spiritual warfare language is almost completely absent from the Hebrew Scripture; in fact, in Job, it seems that YHWH and Satan are card-playing buddies.)

Secondly, Jesus is an apocalyptic preacher. From the oldest and probably most reliable Gospel, Mark, comes the “Little Apocalypse.” Therein, Jesus says,

[Read more...]