Jesus in Eden

Column by Rev. Jim Burklo on 7 September 2023 0 Comments

The Bible is a mirror.  In it, we see the structure of our psyches.  We see the scaffolding of our spirituality.  What makes the Bible holy is not that it is the “word of God”, but rather that so many of its passages offer such breathtakingly vivid reflections of the journeys of our souls.

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I have Christian spiritual books from different church denominations, Catholic mystics, protestant progressives, and various New Thought Christian thinkers.  I feel it's important to draw on these different sources for inspiration and study.  Does encourage this inclusive study?


Dear Chris,

Thanks for your compelling question.  The short answer is, YES; encourages inclusive study.  Indeed, we believe Christian faith and understanding are always evolving.  Just as we believe Christianity is not the only way to God, in the same manner, we believe additional ideas and insights on Christian faith are always important in developing a mature understanding of Christian faith.

As an example of this, check out a recent array of articles posted on the website.  There are articles dealing with the Second Amendment, with ethics and the choices we make, and with Jesus and wealth.  There are articles that touch on "transformative activism," on the culture wars prompted by conservative politics, and on the spiritual teachings of the bodhisattva from the culture of Viet Nam.  Also, the Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, a mystic scholar and popular author, makes frequent contributions to

Not only do we encourage inclusive study, we affirm the idea of inclusivity.  Indeed, our idea of the emerging church (i.e., the church of the future), is that it be a church of radical inclusivity--a church where everyone--and we mean everyone--is welcome.  My own denomination, the United Church of Christ (the most progressive of the Mainline denominations), celebrates this in what we call our extravagant welcome, which we normally announce as part of our words of welcome at the beginning or our services of worship.  These words of welcome are:

"no matter who you are or where you are
along your life's journey, you are welcome here."

This extravagant welcome builds on Jesus' own practice of open table commensality where, simply put, everyone was welcome at Jesus' table.  Jesus was renowned for breaking bread with anyone and everyone, including tax collectors and prostitutes, the societal rejects of his time.

Given the approach to study your question would suggest, Chris, you're on the right track.

Blessings and peace,

~ Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Frantz




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