December 20, 2020

Someone just asked me for a recommendation for a book that would facilitate their deep-dive into the Christmas story and would meet them where they are in their faith journey – which includes deconstructing some of their inherited traditionalist theological assumptions. I suggested The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Birth, by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. They put the multiple stories that we have come to know as “the Christmas story” into historical context. They... Read more

December 5, 2020

Sallie McFague, in her classic book, Models of God, offers a thought-provoking suggestion for the task of theology in each age. The task, the challenge, she says, is to find new metaphors, new concepts, for doing theology even while we use the Scripture as the basis for doing so. In fact, the Scriptures themselves offer us exemplars for doing this very thing. She writes, In other words, to do theology, one must in each epoch do it differently. To refuse... Read more

November 25, 2020

A new book, How Millenneials Can Lead Us Out of the Mess We’re In: A Jew, a Muslim, and a Christian Share Leadership Lessons From the Life of Moses, by Mordecai Schreiber, Iqbal Unus, and Ian Case Punnett explores leadership through an interfaith conversation about a shared ancient religious narrative for our current situation. Here’s the book’s blurb: During troubled times, millions have been inspired by the stories and spiritual lessons of the selfless leadership of Moses. In a world increasingly... Read more

June 7, 2020

There is an excellent and concise overview of the historical foundations of and development of white supremacy in the book, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God, by Kelly Brown Douglas. The opening chapter lays out the history of the “Anglo-Saxon myth” as it took shape in the founding of America. The Anglo-Saxon myth says that Anglo-Saxons are an exceptional and superior race of people. This myth began with the idea that Anglo-Saxon institutions are exceptional, and... Read more

May 27, 2020

Here is a statement (originally published here) from my seminary, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, in response to the death of George Floyd by police brutality: __ The United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities is outraged and grieved at the death of yet another unarmed Black person while being detained by the police. We join countless voices in the Twin Cities and across the nation calling for justice for George Floyd and an immediate end to the... Read more

May 23, 2020

Yesterday, Trump declared churches and houses of worship to be “essential” and called on governors to lift restrictions on religious gatherings–threatening to override those restrictions if they weren’t lifted. In my home state, Minnesota, , Gov. Walz announced this afternoon that in-person religious services can resume on May 17, with restrictions and in accordance with social distancing guidelines. I agree with many others who have taken issue with Trump’s assertion that the church and houses of worship should be considered... Read more

May 17, 2020

“The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity—activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man.” Ernest Becker wrote these words in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Denial of Death, published in 1973, just a year before he died of cancer. žThere are many ways that COVID-19 has exposed... Read more

May 10, 2020

During the worship service I viewed this morning, a pastor referred to God as a mother, praying to “mother God.” This was a beautiful expression and, of course, timely on Mother’s Day. Another pastor read from Isaiah 49, noting that the text compares God to a mother nursing her child. Mother’s Day is a perfect occasion to reflect on female images for and references to God–so often neglected and marginalized in a Christian tradition shaped by and stamped by patriarchy.... Read more

May 1, 2020

This pandemic has exposed a lot of things, one of which is a division in society between those who take science seriously, and those who don’t. Trump’s recent suggestion that Americans might be saved from the Coronavirus with an injection of disinfectant was both ludicrous and dangerous, but it yet again exposed the breach–this time with bleach. Popular evangelical Christianity, so crucial to Trump’s election, is not known for a deep respect for science. Young earth creationism, the brain child... Read more

April 10, 2020

Tom Petty sang it well: “The waiting is the hardest part.”   Today is Good Friday. In Christian liturgy, it’s the day we reflect on the death of Jesus. Throughout the globe and here in the U.S. so many who have lost loved ones to the ravages of coronavirus mourn. Christians reflect on their deaths and the continued threat of the virus in the liturgical setting of Good Friday and of Holy Saturday. Weeks ago, Trump expressed the desire see... Read more

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