The Little Denomination that Could Have

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.

Land, Family, Failure, Prayer: Reflecting on Wendell Berry’s Farmers’ Manifesto

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:

Are We Modern Yet?

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.

Trinity Schminity

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.

Holy Wisdom

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”?

Marking the 100th Anniversary of Fundamentalism in America by Bullying Religious Minorities

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on May, 11 2017

Right after Easter in 2015, I arrived at church as a fellow staff member was going out the door saying, “I’m going to get a picture of one of the banners.” “What banners?!” I’d come in the back way to town and hadn’t seen that down the main street of Fountain Hills, eight churches had posted large identical banners overnight: “Progressive” Christianity: Fact or Fiction?”

Earth Day 2017: The Return of Healthy Religion?

Column by Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox on May, 4 2017

There is such a thing as “fake news”; and “fake science;” and there is also, we must make clear, such a thing as “fake religion” and certainly of “fake Christianity.” I would maintain that all those persons and institutions political and corporate that are in purposeful denial about climate change are in direct contradiction to everything Jesus taught and tried to teach.

Is Jesus the Only Way?

Column by Rev. Roger Wolsey on April, 27 2017

As a progressive Christian pastor and author I frequently receive critical pushback from conservative and fundamentalist Christians who adamantly declare that the only way to experience salvation is by giving intellectual assent to certain specific truth claims about the life of Jesus. Scratch that, they don’t generally care about his life, their focus is primarily upon Jesus’ death and his resurrection. Their message boils down to “Unless you believe that Jesus died for your sins and that he physically rose from the grave, you are a heretic, and will go to hell when you die.”

The Season of Relief

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on April, 20 2017

The calendars we give and receive as Christmas gifts – Sudoku-a-Day desk tear-offs, or expensive, hang-on-the-wall art photography – don’t pay much heed to the Christian calendar aside from noting its two largest festivals – Christmas and Easter – and helping retailers take advantage of a few minor ones – Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, and Hallowe’en. Denominational church calendars fill in more of the blanks, but we all know that the year we follow starts on the first of January, a bleak and dreary date in the northern hemisphere and a riot of colour and beauty in the southern. I don’t know anyone who hangs up a calendar that starts the first day of Advent and marks their year in the way Christians once did long ago. Of course, I don’t know any monks. Perhaps they do.

Bigger, Stronger, Wiser, Kinder

Column by Cassandra Farrin on April, 13 2017

After a hard winter for many of us, of deep snows and lost loves, in this holy week commemorating death and resurrection, the cherries and pears and plums are blossoming and our thoughts are opening with them. What are we also becoming? In Chapter 4 of the Dhammapada, “Flowers,” the Buddha is said to have offered this teaching:

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