Why Separation of Church & State Matters More Than Ever

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on March, 7 2019

We’re in the middle a major identity crisis in our country – and a lot of it has to do with our collective failure to remember (or in some cases outright deny) that most of our founders were highly suspicious of religion. As you read this, theologically conservative Christians are escalating their efforts to revise history and take concerted action in consolidating their political power and reinforcing their prejudices with the force of law.

A Conversation with Bishop John Shelby Spong: Part 3 “On Conservatives, Liberals, and the Way Forward”

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on November, 22 2018

David Felten: You’ve talked about how hard it is for people to grasp what is meant when we’re talking about atheism or non-theism. There’s another word that a lot of people aren’t completely happy with but it’s the one we’ve kind of been shackled with. Is there a word other than “progressive” we can use – another approach?

A Conversation with Bishop John Shelby Spong: Part 1 “On Small Minds and Big Ideas”

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on November, 8 2018

The following is taken from an interview with Bishop John Shelby Spong on September 18th, 2018. Recorded at his home in Richmond, Virginia, it has been edited for length and thematic focus.

Saving Christianity from Easter

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on August, 16 2018

Jesus’ life was not an expression of a judging, vengeful vision, but was about manifesting a way of life that wasn’t driven by mere survival. Jesus’ life was grounded in a commitment to freeing people to love beyond their boundaries and their fears – beyond tribe, race, ethnicity, gender. This is the kind of love that enabled him to give his life away.

A Conversation with John Shuck: Part 2 “All Shuck. No Jive.”

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on May, 17 2018

What follows is the second part of an interview with the Rev. John Shuck. In this installment, Shuck offers perspectives on the risks of being honest in the “corporate church” and the struggle in dealing with other people’s worldviews when coping with personal tragedy.

A Conversation with John Shuck: Part 1 “On Being an Atheist in the Pulpit”

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on May, 10 2018

The following is taken from an interview with the Rev. John Shuck on April 3, 2018. Recorded in an out-of-the-way corner at Portland’s famed Powell’s Books, it has been edited for length and thematic focus.

“Mezuzah the $#!t Out of It”

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on January, 18 2018

I’m often inspired by the spiritual practices and traditions of faiths other than my own. Many of them come in handy as suggestions I can make to members of my congregation. With the exasperation many are feeling over our current political reality, I’ve had my mind on practices that could potentially help people push back the darkness and ground themselves in simple, life-affirming actions.

A New Template for Religion: A Conversation with Michael Morwood, Part 3 – Worship, Prayer, & the Other Side of the Story

Column by Rev. David M. Felten on November, 9 2017

What follows in interview form is the final installment of three columns inspired by a presentation Michael Morwood offered at the Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane, Queensland, in 2016. In this final segment, Morwood offers a new perspective on worship and prayer – along with some concluding thoughts on religion in general and recommendations on a way forward.

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.