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8 December 2016: The Common Roots of Hanukkah and Christmas (Originally Posted December 2003)

Religious people frequently assert that they have received their truth by divine revelation. It is a strange assertion, leading almost inevitably to the power claim that there is a single “true church” or religious system that alone offers salvation. It also produces such irrational doctrines as papal infallibility and scriptural inerrancy. A study of religious …

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Q & A:

Are the creeds, the doctrines and the dogmas of the church, an expression of the way people thought 2000 years ago?

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1 December 2016: Jesus’ call is for us to be whole and real, not religious; loving, not moral and righteous…

  This week’s guest author is Rev. David Felten, author and co-creator of “Living the Questions.” Dear Jack, When I learned of your stroke in September, I was en route to the fourth Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane, Queensland. Having no details at that point and being a half-a-planet away, I was anxious about having …

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Q & A:

In your book, WHY CHRISTIANITY MUST CHANGE OR DIE, are you willing to admit the possibility that Christianity needs to die? Does not the faith of the future have to be a completely new faith?

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24 November 2016: A New Christianity, a New Prayer Bishop Spong Style

“My goal in life is to pray without ceasing”. Bishop John Shelby Spong In his book A New Christianity for a New World: Why Traditional Faith is Dying & How A New Faith is Being Born, Bishop Spong addresses multiple issues worthy of further consideration especially because the coming year 2017, marks the 500th anniversary …

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Q & A:

If the Virgin Birth is not true, then how could Christ, in his completely human conceived state, accomplish salvation for mankind?

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17 November 2016: Does the Religious Faith of a Supreme Court Justice Matter?

In President Obama’s recent nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be the ninth justice on the Supreme Court, a new reality forced its way into our consciousness. With the resignation of Justices David Souter in 2009 and John Paul Stevens in 2010, the last representatives of Protestant Christianity — by far the largest religious …

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Q & A:

I love the column — thank you for the insights. I am a science nerd — I taught and worked in the field of science all my life. I am also working on a degree in theology. I took my first biology classes about 46 years ago. When I learned about Darwin, I had an ah-ha moment. If the human species lives according to the model of the survival of the fittest, we will become extinct. That is part of the model that is often overlooked. Every organism must successfully fill a niche to survive. Only those organisms that learn the "law of cooperation" will ultimately win the day. That is what Jesus was trying to teach us. It is all about relationship — not domination.

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10 November 2016: Prejudice: An American Reality and an American Tragedy

It is time that we as a nation stop pretending and face the facts as they are. The evidence is overwhelming. Despite concentrated efforts to perfume intolerance under code words like “states’ rights,” “voter fraud,” “conservative values” and even “religious freedom,” this country is still caught in a web of ancient prejudices. In our public …

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Q & A:

I have read in a number of places that the books in the New Testament were not written by the people named. Is this true? Were the actual authors of Matthew, Mark, and the other gospels among the twelve disciples of Jesus?

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3 November 2016: Selling the Story

As Bishop Spong continues to recover, we are pleased to have as guest author this week Gretta Vosper. Attila the None The headlines are pretty clear. Both Pew Research Center and the Public Religion Research Institute have told us that people, especially young people, aren’t so much avoiding church as not even thinking it is …

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Q & A:

How do we know when God is speaking to us?

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27 October 2016: Hospitality between I and Thou, A Meditation on Bishop Spong’s Thesis #9: Ethics

I need to speak candidly with you about hospitality, perhaps the most iconic of Christian values and one of the easiest to go on attributing to the historical Jesus in spite of how much else has been stripped away from his biography. We need to discuss this because of the scary things people have been …

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Q & A:

What would an expurgated version of the Nicene Creed look like when its archaic imagery has been replaced?

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20 October 2016: Bishop Spong and My Painting

I am really not comfortable writing this article. There is a sense I am writing an obituary and nothing could be further from the truth. Bishop Spong is a beloved friend and he is apparently doing well in his recovery. I suppose I am a little nervous knowing that he will be reading what I …

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Q & A:

"What is a miracle? Do you believe in miracles?"

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13 October 2016: Thanks to Bishop Spong

Have you ever been pressured by friends or family to buy into today’s modern evangelical spin on Christianity? Or, have you ever been pressured not to share the latest scientific discoveries or academic scholarship for fear of disrupting the simple faith of others? As a child I was sent to Christian school and bible study …

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Q & A:

An eight-year-old girl in my congregation has a father who has cancer and will likely die soon. She told a family member that she knew her father would not die because she was praying “really hard” to God. How would you respond to this child?

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6 October 2016: Responding to Bishop Spong’s 12 Principles and the Future of Religion

Dear Faithful Readers: Bishop Spong is now home in New Jersey and continues to recuperate from his stroke. Until he is back to his writing we will continue to publish Weekly Essays, some from his treasure trove of past essays and some from guest authors. This week we are pleased to offer you this article …

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Q & A:

Hearing you in public and reading your wisdom inspires me to reconsider my Christian upbringing in a more progressive way, thank you.

The Cross, an instrument of death, repels me as a barbaric way to symbolize Christianity.  Were a modern day Jesus or a female equivalent to die from gunfire, would it be appropriate for the resulting places of worship to feature guns on top of their buildings, for religious leaders to wear guns around their neck, for the guns to be featured in earrings and other accessories, all for honoring the new messiah?

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