6 things people need to hear from churches (but are rarely said)


The recent Pew study on the grown of “Nones” and the “Spiritual But Not Religious” has roiled the church.  But we really shouldn’t be surprised.  We’ve known for a long time now that the apparent “churchiness” of the fifties and sixties was an exception, not the rule.Frankly, I’m not convinced that the statistics charted by Pew are even “a trend.”  It could be argued that Americans are just getting honest about how disenchanted they are with church.Trend or not, the disenchantment can be … [Read more...]

Basketball is Life


Tracking the misadventures of college basketball, Dennis Burman raises uncomfortable truths -- not just about our attitudes toward sports, but our attitudes toward politics.We do not operate on principle. We advocate for our tribe. And if our tribe gets involved in what we can spin or describe as a personal peccadillo, if shading the truth or exaggerating can be explained away as prophetic or patriotic, then so be it.At least the right side wins. Or so we think.But what dies in the … [Read more...]

Beyond Partisanship

I've had it. Don't spin me. Don't lie to me. Don't bury me in a mountain of legalize and tell me I'm ignorant. Don't exploit my tax dollars. Don't sell my country to special interests foreign and domestic. Don't tell me you are for a champion of the poor and squire around DC in limos, fly across the country in government-provided transportation, and dine at DC's finest restaurants. Don't tell me you are a champion of the people and focus on getting re-elected over and over again. Don't poor … [Read more...]

It’s not all about you

For people who don’t believe that there is a god, atheists have a lot to say about the subject.  One of the latest arguments offered by “Godless in Dixie” also rates as one of the more narcissistic defenses I’ve heard offered for atheism:  Jesus didn’t “return his calls.”It would be easy to poke gaping holes in this argument (which GiD counts as one of the more important reasons he is an atheist).  One could simply start with the “me-ocentric” universe in which he lives.  The logic that thing … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]