• Ready, Set…RECEIVE!

    Essay by Lauren Van Ham on June, 7 2018

    The June sun was shining, but the whipping wind had us under hats and hoods, huddled close to hear the Naturalist’s instructions, “These flowers just poked out of snow last week.  Up here, Summer turns to Fall by mid-August.  Tundra takes hundreds of years to grow and one sloppily-placed hiking boot can destroy it all.” Then, he pointed across the Alpine carpet, to a collection of immense boulders and we began – adults, grandparents, and children (I was one of those) – hopping rock to rock.  A few paused, using their telephoto lenses to capture the blooms mere centimeters wide; the athletic made it into a game of how quickly they could “gazelle” from one rock to the next; and others moved with deference to the altitude, reaching for each inhale of thin air.  Other species – marmots, elk, birds – might have been looking on quizzically, but we did all we could to not touch our feet to the strong, fragile life below.

  • So what happens now?

    Essay by Rev. Gretta Vosper on May, 24 2018

    And so, as you know, I eschew the language of traditional Christianity (and liberal, and progressive) and work, instead, to model and inspire others with how it is we might live, loving and celebrating life in its many guises and wrestling with the innumerable challenges that doing so presents. All the while, I remain confident that while it may be the least popular way, it remains the only way to reduce Christianity to its most essential truth – that we must love one another – and tell that story to a new and very precarious world.

  • What is God?

    Essay by Fred Plumer on April, 26 2018

    A few weeks ago, I recommended to our Progressing Spirit writers that we should all write articles that responded to Bishop Spong’s book, Unbelievable. Then it hit me. I was going to be doing the article this week and as I had suggested to our writers, I would have to start with Spong’s first thesis. “Holy moly,” what was I thinking? For Spong’s first thesis is “God.” Now, I am a student of the Bible. I have been studying it for over forty years. Nearly thirty years ago I came to the dramatic conclusion that the vast majority, if not the entire Bible, was written as metaphor by people who may have been very bright for their time in history but were largely ignorant of the world that inherited this book. We really do not understand the world they lived in, and obviously, they did not understand the world we live in today. Many of their sincere beliefs would be considered, at best, superstitions today. That is one of the reasons it has always amazed me people can argue for an inerrant interpretation of the Bible, using the Bible to “prove” their own interpretation.

  • Engaging in Good Friday

    Essay by Eric Alexander on March, 31 2018

    Easter week can elicit many questions. Did Jesus physically rise in a miraculous resuscitation on the third day after his death? Was the holy temple curtain torn in two from top to bottom at the moment of his death? (Mt 27:51) After his death, did the bodies of many dead saints rise up from their tombs and flood Jerusalem appearing to many? (Mt 27:52) Let’s face it, progressives often come to very different conclusions on these topics than most conservative evangelical pastors do. But one thing that most tend to agree on is that Jesus was executed on a day that we recognize today as Good Friday.

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  • Bleeding Edge Practitioners

    Essay by Rev. Gretta Vosper on February, 22 2018

    Rejecting or reinterpreting traditional religious beliefs has always undermined family relationships, communities of faith, and the general coherence of the public. Many who haven’t crossed the threshold of a religious building in decades (if ever) hold rigidly to the privileges they believe religion provides them. Toy with those beliefs and you are unwittingly challenging the rights of the privileged, rights they too frequently enjoy denying those who do not share their beliefs. And those who do participate in religious communities with regularity are often invested in language and ritual they believe is integral to their experience. “Without reciting the Lord’s Prayer when we gather, how will we remember who we are?” they worry.

  • “God” Isn’t in the Bible

    Essay by Rev. Mark Sandlin on February, 8 2018

    Language is more important than many of us realize. More precisely, the specific words we choose to use impact our way of thinking, our social behavior, and many other perspectives of our lives. It’s actually a fairly recent development in the human brain in terms of our long history as a species. The frontal lobes of our brains have actually expanded to handle its expanded work requirements.