Deep Ecumenism vs. Biblical Terror Texts

Column by Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox on June, 28 2018

Recently I underwent, along with about 225 other people, a very moving and powerful encounter in Deep Ecumenism or Interfaith in a synagogue in Ashland, Oregon.  We gathered Friday night with an opening Native American chant written by Chief Arvod Looking Horse and a simple Shabbath ceremony including the lighting of candles followed by my talk on Deep Ecumenism and Deep Ecology.

Unbelievable: Part II

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on January, 11 2018

“Unbelievable” began its life years ago when my daughter, Jaquelin, who owns a Ph.D. degree in physics from Stanford University said to me: “Dad, the questions the church keeps trying to answer we don’t even ask anymore!” She was not hostile. It was just a matter of fact statement. The church keeps posing issues that the secular world has settled, or at least has decided to ignore. Questions such as: Who or what is God? What does original sin mean? What does it mean to say that Jesus died for my sins? Can one really believe in life after death? What does it mean to be born again? Why do we not try to grow up?

Unbelievable – Part I

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on January, 4 2018

The book has elements about it that have bordered on the miraculous. I was not sure I would ever be able to complete it. I had written about ninety per cent of this volume before I had a stroke in September of 2016. The stroke immobilized my right side. It was not clear that I would recover. I could not lift my right hand, nor walk without a walker, dragging my right leg. These symptoms, however, began to fade in about six weeks and all my limbs have returned to functioning, a bit weaker, but functioning nonetheless. My tread mill was a valuable aid. I had used it daily for many years, but now it became important in my rehabilitation. My rule was to use the track for one hour a day. Once I did twelve minute miles or five miles an hour. Today in that hour I do three and one quarter miles, not a jogger’s pace, but steady as strength has flowed back into my body. One symptom, however, has remained resistant to my efforts at recovery. I cannot make my right hand write legibly enough that I can read it. I could use the computer, but that is not natural to me. I never learned to type and hunting and pecking takes so much time. People suggested that I get a program where I talk into my computer and it converts the words to print. I tried that, but perhaps I was undone by my southern accent. Every time I spoke the word “career” the computer would write “Korea!”

Have Our Mainline Churches Failed Us?

Column by Fred Plumer on September, 28 2017

I have been wondering lately, if we are really missing the conscience of our mainline churches in our country. Most of us are aware of the political, social and personal conflicts that are going on in our country right now. And most of us are aware of the sad numbers of our dying churches. I have been wondering if there is a connection.

Trinity Schminity

Column by Rev. 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”?

Column by Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox on March, 2 2017

I first learned of Bishop Spong’s prophetic work and his work with the Jesus seminar over 34 years ago while I was still a Dominican priest working in the Chicago area. To hear of an Episcopal bishop who was approaching the Scriptures with a critical sense of questioning and scholarship and who was supporting gay rights and women’s rights was, needless to say, a breath of fresh air. When Bishop Spong invited me out to Newark to lead a day retreat with his clergy I was pleased to be invited and I recall my opening line to him when I entered his car at the airport: “We heretics need to stick together,” I said. I don’t recall his demurring in any way. Following my day-long presentation (which included circle dancing and I was pleased to see a Bishop participating in such), Bishop Spong said to me: “Usually people leave at lunch time as they are allowed to do but this day was so exciting everyone stayed until the end.”

Column by Rev. Roger Wolsey on February, 23 2017

Bluntly speaking, American Christianity has jumped the shark.* It has been co-opted, hijacked, and derailed.

There are exceptions, but for the most part, the way of following Jesus in the U.S. has become reduced to an overly personalized, private state of mind that involves individuals giving intellectual assent to certain truth claims – believing X, Y, and Z about Jesus and God – instead of a state of mind and a collective way of being that is about becoming less anxious, more serene, more mindful, and more composed and intentional in our actions and way of being. This American form of Christianity still involves living in fear instead of living in faith.