Author Archive

Prayers for Progressive Christians   Leave a comment

Morwood_Prayers_CoverLiving the Questions is happy to join other Michael Morwood fans in welcoming the arrival of Michael’s newest book, Prayers for Progressive Christians. Michael first walks the reader through the theological shifts that are necessitating changes to liturgical, group, and personal prayer and then demonstrates how these major shifts can be incorporated into a new template for meaningful, contemporary prayer. With Michael’s permission, we’re posting several examples of prayers you’ll find in the book.

Prayers for Progressive Christians is available on both Amazon and on Michael’s website: Michael is a featured presenter in Living the Questions’ DVD curriculum, “Painting the Stars” and other LtQ programs.

A Prayer for Palm Sunday

We gather today
mindful of the many times
we have professed our readiness
to be true disciples of Jesus
to be salt of the earth
to be light in the world.

We acknowledge the daunting challenge
of this profession
in the society in which we live,
with its economic systems
that impoverish and disempower people,
and its political systems
that enable the rich to get richer
and the earth to become poorer.

We remember that Jesus
encountered in his day
systems as unjust as those
we experience in our day,
and who surely felt powerless
to change anything on his own.

We turn our hearts and minds
to his message
to his hopes and dreams
to his ardent desire
for a better society.

We focus on his struggle
his reflections
his prayer
his questions –
where to start?
how to start?
what to say?
whom to choose?
how to keep going?
how to be salt?
how to be light?

We call to mind
how Jesus urged his listeners
to put their trust
in the power of being neighbor
in the power of God’s Spirit within them
in the power of conversion
from religious thinking and practices
that made them feel inadequate
and worthless.

Our prayer today
is a prayer of resolve,
a prayer of determination
that we, each one of us,
will do whatever we can
however small
in whatever way
to bring the real dream of Jesus
to fruition
in our lives
and in our world today.

At the start of Holy Week
we focus on Jesus
human like us
a man with a dream for a better world
a man of extraordinary courage
a man on a journey to the end of his life
a man willing to die for what he believed
a man who knew
he would never see his dream fulfilled
a man who had to trust
that those who came after him
would keep his dream alive.

As we gather once more around bread and wine
we recall Jesus sharing bread and wine
with his friends
shortly before he died.
He invited them to eat and drink
as a sign of their readiness
to keep his memory alive
to give their all
for what he believed and taught.

We, too, eat and drink.
We stand up
as a sign of our readiness to be counted upon.
We give our word.

By our eating and drinking
we commit ourselves
to follow where Jesus dared to journey.


A Prayer for Easter

Today we remember and give thanks for Jesus
and the seasons of his life
– when he was full of life and hope and possibilities
– when life took him into unknown territory
– when life tested him to the limit
– when, in the depths of his Winter, he believed Spring would come.

This Easter season,
we rejoice that his life
and all that he lived for
all that he believed and taught
leads us to see beyond death and darkness
and to believe in transformation beyond our imagining.

In his memory,
we gather once more around bread and wine
symbols of nourishment
of hospitality
of friendship
and of commitment.

We share this bread and wine today
committing ourselves
to be Easter people,
people who see beyond the barriers,
the pain, the darkness and hard times,
people who live in faith, hope and love
in all the seasons of our lives
whatever the ups and downs.

We open our eyes,
we open our ears,
we open our hands,
we open our minds,
we open our hearts.

We pray for one another:

May you love the life within you
may you love the life around you
and may you know that
a part of everything is here in you
a part of everything is here in you.

We pray for ourselves:
May I love the life within me
may I love the life around me
and may I know that
a part of everything is here in me
a part of everything is here in me.


Other prayers cover a variety of other liturgical and spiritual topics. See the table of contents by CLICKING HERE. 

About Michael Moorwood

Michael MorwoodWith over 40 years’ experience as a sought-after retreat leader and educator, Michael Morwood is well known around the world. Bishop John Shelby Spong writes: “Michael Morwood … is raising the right and obvious questions that all Christians must face. He provides fresh and perceptive possibilities for a modern and relevant faith.” With a dozen books to his name (two of which were banned before he resigned from the Catholic priesthood), Morwood brings an extensive background in spirituality to what he sees as the urgent need to reshape Christian thinking for a new millennium.

Be sure to visit Michael’s website by clicking HERE

Posted March 21, 2018 by livingthequestionsonline in Blog post

Word of God or Just a Storybook?   Leave a comment

This Q&A was first published at on Feb. 7th, 2018

Question & Answer

JP from the Internet, asks:

I don’t understand why, for centuries the BIBLE has been and IS the inspired word of GOD. Now, for some reason, a few (and not chosen few) think it is just a storybook. It is their fault that the United Methodist church is breaking up. The BIBLE is clear on what GOD thinks of homosexuality. If you notice, the churches that are growing are not mainline liberal churches but fundamental Bible-believing churches. I was raised a Protestant Methodist.

Answer: Rev. David M. Felten

Dear JP,

Wow, growing up in the Methodist Protestant Church makes you a member of a unique and particularly tenacious group of Southerners! I understand this is a group that walked out of the 1939 Methodist merger bringing together denominations that had split over slavery 100 years prior. Your MPC ancestors were (and I believe still are) convinced that the Bible is infallible and inerrant (which is demonstrably NOT the case). It did, however, help them make a Biblical case for slavery (and the “attacks of the Abolitionists,” who “would disturb the settled order of Providence, and dissolve the connection between master and slave, that has been recognized by the great Governor of the Universe).

My guess is that the MPC probably doesn’t support slavery any more (at least publicly), but back in the day, they made the same argument for slavery that I think you’re making for opposing basic civil rights for non-heterosexuals: the “settled order” “recognized by the great Governor of the Universe.” I hope we can agree that God’s “settled order” was wrong about slavery. According to the Bible, God’s “settled order” also included the advocacy of genocide, women as property, and rampant xenophobia. I’d like to be able to say that these ideas are no longer considered acceptable, but like zombies, they don’t want to die. Sadly the’ve been given new credence by President Trump (who doesn’t understand why, “if we’ve got the nukes, why we can’t use them”, brags about grabbing women by the genitals, and dismisses whole countries as “shitholes.”) So, far from being embarrassing chapters we’d rather forget, we’ve still got to contend with people who think genocide, misogyny, and xenophobia are OK, but homosexuality is bad.

It begs the question: What is it about the issue of homosexuality that makes people so upset? What is it about basic civil rights for all Americans that causes people to resort to getting God involved in opposition? That’s a strategy that hasn’t worked out too well for God over the years. Breaking news: “God is against basic human rights.” Yikes.

Look, I don’t have an answer – and neither do the poor sots who’ve been tasked with trying to keep the United Methodist denomination from breaking up over the next year or so. It goes right back to the slaveholder vs. abolitionist playbook: anti-LGBTQ advocates clinging to disreputable Bible-passages vs. those convinced that all human beings are of sacred worth (despite what a few passages in the Bible say).

You may not believe it, but I have deep respect for the Bible. I’ve spent my entire adult life studying it. And I’m here to tell you (as evidently one of the “not chosen”) that it is indeed a storybook — but not “just” a storybook. It contains the stories of people who have spent their whole lives wrestling with and interpreting the meaning of life. It is not inerrant. It is not historical. Its books contain stories — stories with way more meaning than mere history. Our job is to interpret those stories for a new generation, not simply try to conform to old ways of thinking.

One of the books I recommend to people who are wrestling with some of the things it sounds like you’re wrestling with is Bishop John Shelby Spong’s “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism.” He, too, grew up in a Southern fundamentalist denomination and has since come to a different understanding of the Bible and his faith. If you get it and read it, I’d love to correspond with you about any questions you have.

Wrestling with new ideas is never easy – especially when they seem to threaten a comfortable, established way of looking at the world. To paraphrase Harry Emerson Fosdick (a Baptist, BTW), “The enemy of Christianity isn’t change, but stagnation.” To celebrate and encourage the cessation of change will continue to drive young and old alike out of what’s left of the church.

But, if we embrace the core values of justice and compassion expressed in the Bible, we are compelled to stand with the oppressed and voiceless, accommodating the reality that the Spirit is flexing with our evolving humanity. For me, clinging to values that exclude and disrespect others is made even worse when they’re justified by out-of-context Biblical proof texting. It’s theological malpractice.

Read Jack’s book. Go sit in a quiet place and ask yourself, will God really love me more because I hate the right people? I’ll leave it to you.

Committed to Progress,


PS: Just to be clear, I doubt the MPC is growing (I think there are only a few dozen MPCs left, scattered across the Confederacy). And as a matter of fact, it’s a myth that “fundamental Bible believing churches” are growing like crazy. Everybody’s losing members — even those wildly liberal Southern Baptists have lost a million members in the last 10 years. If you want more statistics, you can find them on the web.

About the Author

Rev. David M. Felten is a full-time pastor at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church in Fountain Hills, Arizona. David and fellow United Methodist Pastor, Jeff Procter-Murphy, are the creators of the DVD-based discussion series for Progressive Christians, “Living the Questions”.

A co-founder of the Arizona Foundation for Contemporary Theology and also a founding member of No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice, David is an outspoken voice for LGBTQ rights both in the church and in the community at large. David is active in the Desert Southwest Conference of the United Methodist Church and tries to stay connected to his roots as a musician. You’ll find him playing saxophones in a variety of settings, including appearances with the Fountain Hills Saxophone Quartet.

David and his wife Laura, an administrator for a large Arizona public school district, live in Phoenix with their three often adorable children.

CLICK HERE for to view this article at

Posted February 8, 2018 by livingthequestionsonline in Uncategorized

BOGO Sale on all Adult LtQ Curriculum Programs! Three Days Only!!   Leave a comment

LtQ block coversTHREE DAYS ONLY! Buy one get one FREE! Wed Feb 7th – Fri Feb 9th

Buy one Adult DVD-Based Curriculum program & Get a 2nd DVD-Based Curriculum program of equal or lesser value FREE! To place your BOGO order, log into your member account (or create a new account), add the adult DVD-based curriculum edition program to your shopping cart and continue through checkout. For more details, CLICK HERE

Posted February 7, 2018 by livingthequestionsonline in Uncategorized

Do you “stand” on the bible or do you have a “stand” on the bible? Q&A   Leave a comment

This post was originally published on July 24th, 2017 at

NJ via FaceBook, writes:


How is it that liberal-minded people who claim that they are open to allowing people to believe what they want and live the way that they want attack people like me who stand on the Bible? That’s real tolerant now isn’t it?

Answer: By Rev. David M. Felten

Dear NJ,

First off, allowing people to believe what they want is just one characteristic of “liberal-minded people.” But to characterize liberalism as some willy-nilly-believe-what-you-want perspective is a false claim. True, liberals are OK with people believing what they want – but only insofar as those beliefs respect the basic dignity of other people and doesn’t do others harm. That’s a big difference. I’ve also heard it said that liberals tolerate anything but intolerance. I think that’s about right.

And let’s be clear, you’re probably not being “attacked” for being a person who “stands on the Bible,” but for being a person who’s “stand” on the Bible is not in keeping with other peoples’ “stand” on the Bible.

Let me remind you that people “stood on the Bible” to defend slavery, they “stood on the Bible” to keep women from having the vote, they “stood on the Bible” to defend segregation. Without “liberals” who opposed those racist, misogynist, and un-American practices, our world would be a very different place indeed (and not for the better). Many of those appalling liberals, by the way, were faithful Christians who appealed to the Bible to further the causes of freedom and basic human rights. I’m going to assume that, in these areas, you agree with them and their “liberal” interpretation of the Bible.

Among today’s front line issues of defense on behalf of basic human dignity and human rights are LGBTQ rights and reproductive choice. Bizarre Biblical attitudes toward women and sexuality notwithstanding, neither of these (as we currently understand them) are topics in the Bible (uh-oh, no place to “stand”!). Similarly, although there’s no mention of cultural practices like female genital mutilation and sex-trafficking in the Bible, many conservatives “stand” with liberals in opposition to these sex-related challenges – and do so on the grounds of that eminently liberal notion of human rights.

Then, if you manage to filter out all the propaganda, cultural prejudices, and superstitions from the Bible, there are plenty of examples of where scripture is clearly aligned with what you would call today’s “liberal agenda.” Opposing racial injustice and the U.S.’s unjust immigration policies are just two examples where liberals have all kinds of Biblical precedent on which to “stand.”

So, don’t mistake the liberal tendency towards tolerance (which allows you – in broad strokes – to believe what you want and do what you please) to remain silent when what you believe and advocate fails to respect the rights or freedom of others. You can claim that your “stand” is the definitive interpretation of what the Bible says, but so did the slave-owning, sexist, and racist Christians of the past – and so do the discriminatory, misogynistic dogmatists of today.

~ Rev. David M. Felten

About the Author

David Felten is a full-time pastor at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church in Fountain Hills, Arizona. David and fellow United Methodist Pastor, Jeff Procter-Murphy, are the creators of the DVD-based discussion series for Progressive Christians, “Living the Questions”.

Taking the Lid Off the Questions   Leave a comment

Special to The Telegraph

I question everything I don’t understand and even many things I think I do understand. I’m curious, especially about Christianity. I question why some Christians think the dogmas they believe are more important than the actions they perform. And it gets me into lots of trouble — with lots of people. People who believe mysteries are to be accepted and not questioned find me heretical. And heresy is not very popular in Middle Georgia (although many pray for me to be converted and I appreciate that.) Consequently, I have felt quite lonely here from time to time, until now.

“What a delightful surprise it was to find a whole army of people who not only ask the questions, but live the questions.”

What a delightful surprise it was to find a whole army of people who not only ask the questions, but live the questions. Several of the more open churches in Macon, like Centenary Church, have been sponsoring a program called, “Living the Questions,” where they have permission to ask any question they’ve always wanted to ask — but didn’t — for fear of being thought a heretic. The web page, tells you all about it.

Two Arizona pastors, David Felten and Jeff Procter-Murphy, founded this organization. They realized they had engaged in fascinating discussions in seminary but were never allowed to introduce these same discussions to their parishioners. They discovered that many adult Christians felt stuck in sixth-grade catechisms, and when they began to question some of those mysterious beliefs and were not allowed to discuss them, they began leaving churches in droves.

We know children can believe without questioning. But you know your child is growing up when he asks, “Hey, Mom, is there really a Santa Claus?” Once we begin to think seriously about a mystery or a myth we begin to question it, and Christianity is a religion full of mysteries and myths. Christians grow up to be thinking adults and they don’t want to stop thinking on Sunday. Unfortunately, Christianity has tried to keep a lid on these questions and, as a result, 4,000 churches close every year.

Most Christians find their faith is strengthened, not weakened, through the process of questioning, and why not? If I find the doctrine of Atonement disgusting, I can do one of two things. I can just accept the fact that God the Father is an angry, vengeful God who could not be appeased until he watched the brutal murder of his son as a sacrifice in place of us and pretend it’s OK. Or, I can ask, where did this ugly doctrine come from? and research the four different interpretations which have tried for centuries to soften and then eliminate this ancient misunderstanding of God.

Resurrection is another one. Why is St. Paul’s idea so different from the later evangelists? Everyone agrees that Christ lives, but three of the four evangelists have the physical body of Jesus contacting the eye witnesses while Paul, on the other hand, calls it a spiritual body. Paul compares it to a seed that dies in the ground and then grows into a beautiful plant; the plant looks nothing like the seed; it might be a ghost. There is no doubt we’re talking about a Christian mystery here; something that cannot be explained in human language. Something that welcomes questions.

Our two pastors, Felten and Murphy, published their book five years ago, “Living the Questions, The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity,” and it truly is filled with wisdom.

After many chapters on our most pressing questions, the pastors end their stimulating tour of what it means to be a progressive Christian with these words, “Those who embrace mystery are set upon a life-long path of discovery, growth, and gratitude for the wonder of it all” (pg. 228).

Over 6,000 churches across America, including our own Centenary Church, seem to agree.

First posted by The Telegraph AUGUST 05, 2017. Reposted with permission.

Bill_CummingsDr. William F. Cummings is an internationally known scholar, consultant, teacher and speaker. He is the author of more than five hundred published articles on Leadership, more than one thousand TV shows on Leadership and the author of “Behind Your Back”.  His new book is called “My Daily Dose,” “a prescription for every working symptom with directions included.”

Contact Dr. Cummings at:

Posted August 9, 2017 by livingthequestionsonline in Uncategorized

50% off All LtQ Curriculum – 5 Days Only!   Leave a comment

Save 50% and Get Ready for Your Fall Classes Today!

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Coupon code F5CE applies only to DVD-based curriculum products purchased from The coupon code F5CE must be entered in order to receive the special 50% off price. Offer valid through 11:59 p.m. CST, August 11, 2017. Not valid on previous orders or combined with any other promotional offers. You are welcome to share this offer, just click on the “forward email” link below to share with others via email. Sale ends Friday, August 11th! 


Posted August 7, 2017 by livingthequestionsonline in Uncategorized

“Beyondering” Podcast goes “out of bounds” with LtQ co-creator, David Felten   Leave a comment

DMF Beyondering LogoLiving the Questions co-creator Rev. David Felten joins Australian pastors Matt Cutler and Lucas Taylor in their “Beyondering” podcast, where they seek to ask the taboo questions and unearth new ways of seeing and embodying the Christian story. For Matt and Lucas, it’s all about “beyondering” to a faith out of bounds.

Recorded in front of a live audience at the Common Dreams conference in Brisbane, Queensland, in September of 2016, the podcast is just under an hour long.

CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast now.

Then be sure to leave a comment on the SOUNDCLOUD page and follow the Beyondering podcast.  Don’t miss Lucas and Matt in conversation with their other guests including John Shelby Spong, John Dominic Crossan, Diana Butler Bass, Rob Bell, and Robin Meyers (among many others).

DMF with Matt & Lucas

Matt Cutler, David Felten, and Lucas Taylor at Common Dreams 2016 — Brisbane, Queensland

Jesus Doesn’t Have Any Skin in the Game…

“There are values — of compassion and generosity and empathy and care for the downtrodden and an awareness of the creation that needs to be cared for. All of these things are values for me that I don’t think are Christo-centric and that don’t need Jesus in the mix — but, when Jesus is involved there are some good stories to tell. And so, whatever the church looks like (in 50 years), I would hope that it continues to acknowledge that Jesus has some good angles on these things, but that I don’t think (and it’s strange to even talk like this!) but I don’t think that Jesus has any skin in the game as far as his being included in the furtherance of these values. If he were here today, I think he’d say, ‘I could care less. I don’t need to be in this. What’s important is that you embrace the values that I embraced. It’s not about believing a bunch of stuff about me, it’s about doing what I asked you to do.’”

— Rev. David Felten (in response to the question: “What will the church look like in 50 years?”)

CLICK HERE to listen to the podcast now.

Posted July 14, 2017 by livingthequestionsonline in Uncategorized

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