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12 January 2017: A Letter from Bishop Spong

Dear Friends, 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. …

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5 January 2017: The Ultimate Source of Anti-Semitism – The Circumstances That Brought Judas Into the Jesus Story

I return today to a subject that I have covered before. It is essential however, to this series on the sources of anti-Semitism, so I ask my reader’s indulgence while I once again bring Judas into focus. My request to you is a simple one. Suspend for a moment your critical faculties, as well as …

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Q & A:

If God doesn't intervene, what is the meaning of intercessory prayer?

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29 December 2016: May our world learn to see the infinite shades between black and white.

This week’s guest author is Mike McHargue, Author and Podcaster Evolution shaped our brains to take shortcuts. Our senses relay to the brain a ceaseless, torrential downpour of stimulus and information, and so our neurons team up to sort and sift this stream into higher-order abstractions–mainly categorizations in the form of either/or classifications. Prey or …

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Q & A:

When Jesus said, "In my house there are many mansions," was he giving legitimacy to the other world religions like Islam and Buddhism?

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22 December 2016: The Terrible Texts: Be Fruitful and Multiply and Subdue the Earth (Originally posted August 2003)

Christians have never been significantly committed to the preservation of our common environment. Ecological concerns are present in Church life, but they never quite make it to the top tier of the issues that consume ecclesiastical energy. That is usually reserved for theological and sexual concerns. To be fair, each denomination probably includes some environmental …

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Q & A:

What is it about this Jesus that you find so compelling? When I hear the Christmas story from the Bible I believe that I am listening to fairy tales. Stars do not announce the birth of a human being. Angels do not sing to hillside shepherds. Virgins do not conceive and give birth. Is there something behind the old mythology that I am missing? Can you still, with any integrity, refer to Jesus as “the son of God?”

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15 December 2016: I, and many others, stand upon Bishop Spong’s shoulders

We continue this week with guest author Roger Wolsey, United Methodist Pastor and author.   It’s accurately said that “we stand on the shoulders of giants” and John Shelby Spong is one of mine. Bishop Spong has been a tremendous influence on my life as a pastor who is also a theologian and writer. Though …

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Q & A:

The Bible speaks of God addressing particular people, e.g. Abraham, Moses, Elijah and Nathan directly. Other people claim that God has spoken directly to them. How do you account for or explain that?

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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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