Demonizing Difference and the Word Police

One of the more disturbing developments in Progressive Christian thought of late is the demonizing of difference.  There was a time when we insisted on differences being acknowledged and everyone being heard.  That was true of advocacy for racial and ethnic differences.  It was also true of advocacy for differences in sex. Now, however, the trend is toward denying difference.Take, for example, the recent legislation tabled, but to be considered next year by the Diocese of Connecticut and wh … [Read more...]

Of Angels and Attorneys: General Theological Seminary

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that … [Read more...]

The Hidden Curriculum at General Theological Seminary: On authority, power, and how they aren’t the same thing

When the Board of Trustees at General Theological Seminary announced that a public statement would be made in the late afternoon on Friday, I was fairly sure whatever was about to be said was not going to be good news. There were telltale signs: Public announcements of the kind made on Friday are never a good idea.  It’s hard to be heard accurately.  Everyone goes home over the weekend to digest the decision made without recourse to further conversation.  Announcements of that kind don’t allow yo … [Read more...]

When Mystery becomes Product: The Case of General Theological Seminary

The first seminaries originated after the Council of Trent.  They were a product of what is sometimes called the Counter-Reformation.  But they were not simply the reaction of the Roman Catholic Church to the criticisms of the Protestant Reformation.  They were also the product of profound disquiet in the Catholic Church itself.  The church was concerned that clergy were not deeply formed in the Christian faith.  They were not competent and they were not well prepared.  So, the Council called for … [Read more...]

General Theological Seminary and Progressive Christianity

The crisis at General Theological Seminary probably hasn’t been felt very far beyond the walls of The Episcopal Church. That’s not surprising. General is hardly a large seminary and, like most of our denomination’s seminaries, its faculty and student body is comparatively homogeneous, denominationally speaking. But the crisis has certainly rocked our little corner of the church-world. In part, because the dispute between General’s faculty and its President-Dean became the instant subject of conve … [Read more...]

Lent: It’s more fun and alleluias than you think

If you spend any time with social media, you probably noticed the number of Facebook postings that featured Puritan Valentine’s Day Cards.  The artwork wasn’t very elaborate, as should be the case with Puritan cards.  But I loved the sentiments.  One card read:“You’ve bewitched me.  There’s no other explanation for the gophers in my garden.”Another announced:“I thought to write you a love poem.  For that thought I have beaten myself with a rough branch each night hence.”And anothe … [Read more...]

Nothing to Celebrate: Question Nine of Ten

   Taking The Dave Test during the Holiday Question Eight: “Can I walk wounded?”Introduction to the seriesMuch of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old in October.In reaction to Dave’s quest to find a durable faith and supportive friends, I wrote a book called The … [Read more...]

No Cause for Celebration: Question Five of Ten

   Taking The Dave Test during the Holidays                                    Question Five: “Can I give up trading in magic and superstition?”                                             Introduction to the seriesMuch of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old in O … [Read more...]


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