Why I’m So Political

Column by Rev. Dr. Mark Sandlin on July, 27 2017

It surprises me just a little bit how frequently I get asked about my very visible participation in politics. The truth is while some might assume that as a minister I probably start my day off with prayer and/or a devotion, I start my day with about an hour of reading through the news and scheduling the stories I find the most important or engaging on various social media outlets. Probably the most notable of those outlets is The Christian Left. As you might imagine the name “The Christian Left” provokes plenty of negative responses, everything from “isn’t that an oxymoron” to “they call the organization that because all the REAL Christians have LEFT it.”

What does it mean to speak of God’s reign?

Column by Kevin G. Thew Forrester, Ph.D. on July, 20 2017

One of the most characteristic features of Rabbi Jesus’ teaching is his experience of the reign of God as present here and now. This manifestation of God’s reign is not a reality to be feared, but as we hear in the synoptic gospels, is to be received as “good news.” But why? What are some of the qualities of the reign of God that tell of its goodness in our lives? And what does it even mean to speak of “God’s reign” in the 21st century within a culture in which kingdoms and monarchs do not exist, and resonate within our imagination and lives as antiquated and oppressive?

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on July, 13 2017

Most 21st century Christians have grown up indoctrinated by a conventional religious experience that offers the assurance of having all the answers tied up in a little bow, just for the believing. Many still find this to be comforting, but a growing number are antsy. On the verge of becoming what Bishop Spong calls “church alumni/ae,” they know too much. Archaeology, astrophysics, and any number of other scientific disciplines continue to make discoveries that compel us to re-evaluate our true place in the universe – and we are right to be feeling increasingly humble.

Column by Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox on July, 6 2017

Speaking of a need for a Reformation makes me question whether the time has arrived for a new religious order that is in fact not tied to a particular religion but is a Spiritual Order, one that might help people of various religious faiths and none to gather around a common value and focus. I think our times call for a focus on the sacredness of the Earth and all her creatures. Therefore I propose a new order called “The Order of the Sacred Earth.” Its members may come from any and all life-styles, married, single, celibate, gay, straight and from any and all occupations so long as their work mirrored the values of honoring and supporting the Earth and her creatures. Blue collar and white collar workers would be welcomed. People of all religious traditions and none would be welcome.

Column by Rev. Roger Wolsey on June, 29 2017

Most of my attempts to connect and relate to God – involve silence.

And most frequently, not much more than that.

I sometimes wonder if there’s really much difference between seeking to connect to God – and not seeking to. Similar experience and results.

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on June, 22 2017

It’s been four years since I decided to publicly identify as an atheist. After the manner of time’s calming influence upon things about which we were once so passionate, my perspective on the wisdom of the decision has altered. And as we so often do, I revisit that decision from time to time and wonder if, given the opportunity to relive those days, I would make it again.

Column by Cassandra Farrin on June, 15 2017

June is planting season in Idaho. One can drive along rural highways past fields of corn shoots followed by the satisfyingly dark green foliage of mounded potato starts, fresh mint, and sugar beets. Small-scale and industrial farmers alike rush against the short growing season of the high desert to get plants into the ground after the last frost but before the July heat can kill the tender seedlings. This is the time of year I can’t help but recall Wendell Berry’s wonderful poem, “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” Now, I could have long conversations with Berry about some of his less appealing notions, but this poem speaks in a wonderfully anti-imperial, Christian voice that I can embrace. Here is how it begins, in an ironic tone:

Column by Fred Plumer on June, 1 2017

About ten years ago, I attended a two day conference that garnered a lot of anticipation and excitement about the topics, which were: a new way of communicating our religious beliefs and the discussion of postmodern theology. Near the end of the conference, I was ready for it to be over. It had been a good conference. The keynote speakers were well respected and leaders in their fields. But I was done.

Column by Rev. Dr. Mark Sandlin on May, 25 2017

From “extreme monotheism” to “homoousion” to “partialism” to “modalism,” Christianity has a wide and wild variety of understandings of the theory of the Trinity. Frankly, that reality should not be too surprising. After all, the Trinity is in fact a theory and it is a theory that one must be fairly creative with to fit into all the necessary theological perquisites it comes burdened with. That is not to say it is too convoluted to have meaning, but I certainly don’t bestow upon it the meaning that most mainline theologies would like for it to hold.

Column by Kevin G. Thew Forrester, Ph.D. on May, 18 2017

Over these past several weeks, I’ve been reflecting anew on what it means to be a wise person. This is due in part because in the congregations I serve, we describe the spiritual journey of Holy Week as “The Wisdom Way of Christ,” exploring the stories and experiencing the reformed liturgies as a holy path for 21st century seekers. As human beings, we long for wisdom and it is extolled in poetry, song, and art. But what is wisdom, particularly in the spiritual tradition and how does it differ from what we might describe as the “wisdom of the world”?

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