Suffering and Redemption

Because Lent is a time when we tend to talk a lot about sin, I endeavored on Sunday to explain my framework for thinking about sin.  Some folks asked for a write-up, so here it is if you’re interested. The reason this alternative view is important is that sin, in the Christian mindset, is thought to be responsible for evil, …

My Understanding of Sin

Because Lent is a time when we tend to talk a lot about sin, I endeavored on Sunday to explain my framework for thinking about sin.  It differs from things we might have heard growing up in a modern American Christian context, whether Catholic or Evangelical.  In the spirit of this church’s emphasis on questioning and conversation, I am not …

The Gospel According to Buffy

I am a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I have watched the entire series, including the Angel spin-off, about six times.  I’m watching it again now.  Part of that is comfort; I know the show and know that I will enjoy it, so it’s easy to put on when I just want to relax.  However, when I want …

Come, Ye Sinners

I lamented in church last Sunday that I miss the altar call.  Certainly, it is damaging in a lot of ways.  However, what I like about it is it puts a person to a decision.  If Jesus is, in the words of theologian Schubert Ogden, the decisive re-presentation of God in that the words and works of Jesus put a …

Sin and Suffering

We had a rich and wide-ranging discussion on Wednesday night after dinner. We began discussing the long-promised fifth chapter of Marcus Borg’s Heart of Christianity, which concerns the place of Jesus as central to the Christian faith. As discussions of Christianity often do, this one eventually turned to the Bible. Specifically, we talked about how our witness to the life …

Into the Wilderness

Jesus’ baptism was a spectacular event. The heavens open and the Spirit of God in the form of a dove lands on Jesus’ shoulder. Then a voice from the sky says: “This is my child, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” It is an unquestionable validation of who Jesus was. So he leaves. The Synoptic Gospels say that …

What I Meant to Say Was…

On Sunday, I was highly critical of Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Dallas, as well as others of his ilk that are famous for their criticism of homosexuality.  You can read my comments here, but the main point was that any ethical stance must risk something.  This follows from Jesus’ claim in John 15:13: “No one has greater …

Demons of Reason: Pride and Shame

This week we continue our pilgrimage home to the self and to God through the eyes of 4th century mystic Evagrius Ponticus.  The past two weeks, we have discussed demons that attack through the body and the passions.  Now we arrive at the reasonable demons: vainglory and vanity, later known together as pride.  I say reasonable demons because, according to …