Archive for the ‘Lutheran’ Tag

Chlorophyl as Religious Experience   1 comment

Rossing Photosynthesis poster

“I remember as a child first learning about photosynthesis. That was truly one of the biggest ‘Aha’ moments I have ever experienced. To realize that plants have these amazing chlorophyl molecules that are somehow able to transform the energy of sunlight into food…to realize that all the oxygen we breathe on our planet is created by trees, by plants. I had to ask my mother, ‘Is it really true?’ The connections were so amazing. ‘Yes!’ my chemist mother told me. Yes!’ said my physicist father.

That whole week I pondered the deepening realization that we are all connected in a ‘luminous web,’ a wondrous communion of living beings — and that’s how it felt when I learned about evolution too. It was so wonderful, so amazing. So, for me, before there was any ‘conflict’ between religion and science, there was wonder, amazement about photosynthesis, and gratitude to God for evolution.”

– Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing in Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, and an Evolving Faith

Celebrating the communion of science and faith, Painting the Stars features over a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers in a seven-session program that explores the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality.

Living the Questions contributor, Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing

Living the Questions contributor, Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing

Barbara Rossing  is Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Her publications include The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation, a critique of fundamentalist “Left Behind” theology and articles and book chapters on ecology.  She serves on the executive committee and council of the Lutheran World Federation, where she also chairs the Lutheran World Federation’s theology and studies committee. She has contributed to a number of Living the Questions series, including Living the Questions 2.0 and Saving Jesus Redux

Jesus is Coming. Look Busy!   2 comments

LtQ2 contributor Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing speaks for many rational followers of Jesus when she acknowledges that the rapture is nothing but fear-based spiritual abuse. Calling it the “rapture racket,” she points out how the rapture industry preys on desperate people frightened by unscrupulous and misguided teachers.  In Episode 13 of Living the Questions 2, “Debunking the Rapture,” Prof. Rossing gives an overview of her book, “The Rapture Exposed.” Make sure to check out the clip below — before it’s too late!

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Sadly, even a lot of non-fundamentalist Christians are allowed to believe a soft version of the rapture claptrap (59% of Americans according to a 2003 poll by Time magazine). Many clergy run scared on the subject and can’t come right out and say that not only is the rapture not going to happen on this or that date, it’s not going to happen EVER. To do so would commit one to the study of historical context and a critical reading of scripture that might very well call into question many of people’s simplistic ideas about their faith.

What’s it going to be?  Jesus said love your enemies — unless they don’t believe the right things. Then Jesus is coming back to torture and kill them with extreme prejudice. God is love — unless you’re gay or lesbian and then God thinks you’re an abomination to be “cured” or killed.

The bottom line is that the whole idea of the rapture and the literal and violent apocalyptic second-coming is not only un-Christian but a betrayal of Jesus’ core teachings.

While there is absolutely nothing to fear from the ravings of apocalyptic preachers and fundamentalist personalities, their ridiculous claims continue to erode whatever reputation Christianity still has among thinking people. The challenge for 21st century followers of Jesus will continue to be one of offering an alternative to the fear and violence embraced by so much of the Church. The overall responsibility of disciples today is to bearers of hope and reconciliation to a troubled world;  doing our part to realize peace and bring healing to the nations, one person at a time.

Living the Questions contributor, Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing

Barbara R. Rossing is professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, where she has taught since 1994. She appears in both Living the Questions 2 and Dream, Think, Be, Do.

You can also see Prof. Rossing being interviewed on May 19th’s “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell. Video Link HERE

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