When Religion Goes Rogue

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on July, 15 2021

In Canada, it wasn’t just the Roman Catholic Church involved. Both the United Church of Canada and the Anglican Church also participated in the residential schools program which, for decades, forcibly removed Indigenous children from their families for the purpose of educating them into the dominant white, Christian culture of the country.

If Not God, Then What?

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on March, 18 2021

Using the word “god” to conjure an all-powerful deity with biblically-proportioned prejudices and condemnations is dramatically different from using the word “god” to call us to a “no matter what” sort of love. I talk about this a lot. About ditching archaic language. About reading more than just the Bible or not reading the Bible at all.

Playing for Love in the Time of COVID

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on June, 18 2020

The world has shifted on its axis since my last article appeared in Progressing Spirit. As I write, the number of COVID-19 deaths has passed 400,000, a number that shrinks from the reality experienced around the globe. As countries attempt to reopen their economies, anti-racism protests are sweeping the globe. Immune to neither challenge, we in Canada are little more than a quiet simmer when compared to the legitimate rage being expressed across America and around the world.

Queen’s Dream

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on February, 13 2020

Of course, it is not just a racial issue that hammers at the foundations of our social order. Or a gender identity or sexuality issue. Or political, social, or familial. It is an issue that is experienced by all of us and that undermines our self-confidence, and our willingness to be vulnerable, our ability to see what is really before us

No, This Isn’t For You

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on October, 3 2019

It is a sad thing to close the doors of a church. Hard as it is for the congregation’s members, however, the event has a far deeper, though often unseen and uncalculated, impact on the health of the community in which that congregation was practicing its increasingly irrelevant faith. As churches age and weaken, their focus necessarily turns toward survival and away from the world outside their doors.

The Future Church: Over to You

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on June, 6 2019

Armed with fifteen years of exposure to critical contemporary Christian scholarship, the congregation’s leaders, rather than fire me, embraced the opportunity to explore what church beyond belief might look like. It has been a bumpy ride at times; there is no doubt about that.  Still, the work was important, and we have proven that a church built on the values of liberal Christianity neither undermines nor requires belief in a supernatural, interventionist, theistic god called God.

Lost in Translation

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on February, 28 2019

For many progressive Christians, our ability to remain in the communities we love is dependent upon our willingness to translate what we hear, sing, and say on Sunday morning. Much of the “content” of a weekly service continues to use the language of traditional Christianity and privilege the very rituals and artifacts which progressives no longer accept literally.

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.

Jack on Prayer

Column by Rev. Gretta Vosper on August, 23 2018

It was a delight to be at Chautauqua Institution in June to hear Bishop John Shelby Spong (Jack) explore the theses presented in his latest and last, last book Unbelievable: Why Neither Ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation Can Produce a Living Faith Today. Over the course of four days, he shared his perspectives on Christianity in a style that is exquisitely his own. Taking questions from dedicated “Women” and “Men” microphones, the integrity with which he approaches his work and those intent on wrestling with it was, as always, apparent. He would not let his audience off the hook. He would not allow them to be content with the easy, well-trod paths up the mountain. His cajoling impatience is his invitation to us to raise our own rallying cry, even if we don’t quite know what to rally around yet. He is content to shake the bejeezus out of our preconceptions and then get out of the way so that we might find our own path.