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1 September 2011: Political Gridlock and Presidential Politics

As I watch political gridlock creating recession in the United States, I find myself at a loss for words.  It does not help that I have just finished reading William D. Cohan’s book House of Cards, based on the collapse of Bear Stearns in 2008.  In that book, I discovered that the behavior of many …

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Q & A:

I heard you speak in Charlotte last October at Myers Park Baptist Church and thoroughly appreciated you and your books.  I have bought two sweet young pygmy goats to help me with the weeding on our four acres.  I have never had anything more than a dog or a cat as a pet so this is an adventure of sorts.  I know many folks raised around livestock do not have the same appreciation that I do for this inquisitive, alert creature.  I have even started a goat blog to share our experiences. (Don’t worry, I am a middle school counselor during most of the year and my husband is in law enforcement. - we do have other things to do in our life!)  My concern is how the Bible characterizes goats as opposed to sheep. Don’t laugh, okay, laugh if you must…but I don’t think from what I’ve found they are getting a fair personality assessment.  YOU are the man I’d like to hear from about how this negative reputation for goats in the bible came to be. I bet it’s another of man’s distortions or perceptions at the time scripture was written.  I’d love to see your response to this—wonder if your audience would be interested.  I enclose a picture of my goats for your enjoyment.  Keep on with your marvelous work.

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25 August 2011: Meditation on Turning 80 in London

I marked the 80th anniversary of my birth in Green’s Restaurant, Duke Street in London this summer.  What I thought was to be a quiet, romantic dinner with my wife Christine was jarred a bit when we arrived at the restaurant and were told “Your table for five is ready.”  Five, I thought, who are …

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Q & A:

As a cleric, you can’t be expected to understand the technicalities of architecture and engineering, but crashing planes into skyscrapers would never be enough to cause them to collapse straight down.  Those three buildings were demolished by pre-set charges.  When the American people finally realize that, they will also realize that the entire deficit was manipulated by the (privately owned) Federal Reserve Bank.  Both invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were deliberately manipulated for the oil barons.  We have made the world a playground for the rich.  Men invented money and it is usury which is constantly making the rich richer and the poor poorer.  When that situation applied in France a couple of centuries ago, the result was calamity for the wealthy.   Can you hope that God will intervene to change things?

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18 August 2011: Lecturing in the Church of Scotland

To come to Scotland is to come to that mysterious land of clans with their identifying tartans and clan warfare; to a nation that forced the English to build Hadrian’s Wall, and to a land that still harbors deep independent feelings that cause Scotland’s membership in the United Kingdom still to be publicly debated.  It …

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Q & A:

Week after week in the liturgy we have “Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”  How do you, as a progressive Christian scholar, understand this?

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11 August 2011: The Lecture Tour of Germany, Part III: Marburg

Our task and the agenda for the third day of our lecture tour of Germany was to go to the city of Marburg where the University of Marburg is located.  This was a particularly exciting opportunity for me because Rudolf Bultmann, the man I regard as the greatest New Testament scholar of the 21st century, …

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Q & A:

This is a question I have been asked a number of times and I would love to know the answer.  You often mention that the gospels were written at different times and are able to quote the time line as to which gospel was written first, who copied off whom and approximately when and many other details.

Can you tell me the background behind these insights?  I have had this discussion with several people and they immediately dismiss my assertions, but unfortunately I do not have the further information to continue the debate.  Was this new insight due to biblical study or was some of the original script subject to carbon dating?  I would love to know.

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4 August 2011: The Lecture Tour of Germany, Part II: Gottingen

My lecture tour of Germany was joined from the very beginning by a unique Frenchman named Raymond Rakower, who accepted Gerhard Klein’s invitation to come to Germany and to accompany us.  Gerhard Klein has been the translator into German for four of my books.  Ray Rakower was his French counterpart, who has translated two of …

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Q & A:

Thanks for your excellent work.  Would you please comment on Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins in regard to its internal validity and its potential to change the debate which involves your work?

 

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28 July 2011: The Tragedy in Norway and Its Meaning

My heart aches for Norway.  I have visited that country where I lectured in a large Lutheran Church in downtown Oslo and admired some of Norway’s most creative clergy.  I have also felt the reaction of Norway’s ecclesiastically conservative Christian leaders who seem to believe that preserving yesterday’s truth, not engaging the world, is their …

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Q & A:

Have you read the recent book by Rob Bell “Love Wins,” containing his thoughts on heaven and hell? He is a pastor in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area.

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21 July 2011: Our Political Debate – A National Embarrassment

Either those who now run the legislative wing of our government are irresponsible and frivolous with this nation’s health and well being or there is something I do not understand about the current crisis in Washington.  I am both amazed at and disgusted by the behavior of some of our elected representatives.  Let me test …

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Q & A:

I am the father of a gay daughter whom I feel was made beautiful and perfect.  Jesus says nothing condemnatory about sexual orientation.  How should I explain Romans 1 and I Cor. to her?  I love her deeply.

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14 July 2011: The Lecture Tour of Germany, Part I: Background and Content

Earlier this summer as part of a European lecture tour, Christine and I went to Germany for three public lectures in three cities and two press interviews.  The invitation to include Germany on this trip came from a retired Lutheran pastor named Gerhard Klein, who has translated four of my books into German, which have …

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Q & A:

My mother and I had the honor of meeting you at the National Cathedral some five years ago and the reason I am writing to you now is that we are watching a special on John Wycliffe and we really rely on your knowledge.  What is your view on him?  What to believe or not?  I think though he had gone through a lot of courage trying to translate the Bible into English, in the 1500’s if I am not mistaken.  This book sure does get a lot of attention no matter what one’s beliefs are.  Thank you for your time.  I hope this finds you well.

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7 July 2011: Examining the Meaning of Resurrection, Part VI: Seeing Through a Glass Darkly

Something happened at the first Easter.  Some insist that it was an event that occurred on a single day.  Others suggest that an experience was identified with that day making it a symbol of a breakthrough to a new consciousness.  Theologians and biblical scholars alike still debate whether it was an internal or external happening, …

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Q & A:

I've read Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism and am now reading Jesus for the Non-Religious In chapter one of Jesus for the Non-Religious you wrote "The religious debate in our time results rather from the exploding new horizons of learning that have re-shaped our perceptions of reality, coupled with a new biblical scholarship that previously had not been allowed to escape the academy for fear that it might erode the confidence of the people who sit in the pews"  Having been raised Catholic, I can remember sitting in the pews during mass and reflecting on how little the mass involved the Bible - three brief passages, the same ones every year - and thinking that if the Bible is the word of God, why the church didn't do more to engage its parishioners in biblical history and education.  So, I'd like to find out more about deliberate efforts to keep people in the pews - the lay person - from biblical scholarship that "previously had not been allowed to escape the academy."

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30 June 2011: Examining the Meaning of the Resurrection, Part V: The “How” Question — What Was the Context in Which Easter Dawned?

We come now to our fourth and final question in search of the meaning of Easter.  Then with clues, hopefully well established, I will seek to draw some conclusions in the final column in this series.  We have thus far identified Simon Peter as the person who stood in the center of the resurrection experience …

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Q & A:

The Wyoming legislature is considering laws that would make it illegal to apply Shariah laws in our courts.  That is incredibly stupid, I know, but apparently that movement is sweeping the country.  Seems to me that since those espousing such laws say they are like Old Testament laws and a few years ago we had Christian Reconstructionists wanting to make Old Testament law the law of the land.  Comments for your articles?

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