Rescuing Thanksgiving

Column by Rev. Mark Sandlin on November, 23 2017

The warmth of the house on Thanksgiving day; the comforting aromas of a home-cooked meal; the thankfulness that felt like it filled the air as family gathered, embraced, and shared stories from the past year; all of it was a reflection of my mother to me. It was a celebration of comfort, abundance, gratitude, and love. It was a celebration of family. And mom was the linchpin of the family for us.

Secretly, Thanksgiving was probably my favorite holiday back then. Yes, even more than Christmas. I loved Thanksgiving!

Dogma and the Perpetuating of a Dead God

Column by Rev. Mark Sandlin on September, 21 2017

In 1966 the cover of TIME magazine asked the jarring question, “Is God Dead?” It was the first time TIME used only text on it’s cover and the impact only added to the striking question.

“Is God Dead?”

Three simple words that for a brief time created quite a stir throughout the United States. Many angry sermons were delivered in rebuttal. Even Bob Dylan got in on the action in a Playboy interview saying, “If you were God, how would you like to see that written about yourself.” The National Review even asked the question if perhaps it was TIME that was dead.

Why I’m So Political

Column by Rev. Mark Sandlin on July, 27 2017

It surprises me just a little bit how frequently I get asked about my very visible participation in politics. The truth is while some might assume that as a minister I probably start my day off with prayer and/or a devotion, I start my day with about an hour of reading through the news and scheduling the stories I find the most important or engaging on various social media outlets. Probably the most notable of those outlets is The Christian Left. As you might imagine the name “The Christian Left” provokes plenty of negative responses, everything from “isn’t that an oxymoron” to “they call the organization that because all the REAL Christians have LEFT it.”

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.

“Hopey-Changey”

Column by Rev. Mark Sandlin on March, 30 2017

Churches are dying at an alarming rate. Every year more than 4000 churches close their doors for good and more than 2,765,000 people leave the church each year.

Yet we, the Church, insist on doing the same thing over and over again and somehow expecting different results. When confronted with change we tend to insist that “it has always been done that way,” as if history is an acceptable excuse for continuing down our path to demise.

A Letter from Bishop Spong

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on January, 12 2017

As you may have heard, while visiting in Marquette, Michigan I suffered a stroke. The date was September 10th. Since that time I have worked hard to regain my strength. I have been quite successful in that and now have no trouble walking or using my arms. It has been a learning experience. Health is a major demand of my life. I still use my running track each day for about three miles, so I feel most fortunate. The book I was writing on “Charting a New Reformation” will meet its deadline and be at Harper by the due date, the first of March, 2017. I entertained returning to my column, but as the time goes by I no longer have the strength to keep up that schedule, so I have informed Fred Plumer of ProgressiveChristianity.org that I will not be able to return to that task. I write to notify you, my readers, and to enable Fred to begin the process to choose a successor.