Archive for the ‘theology’ 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

LtQ on “Culture Shocks” with Barry Lynn   Leave a comment

Felten Culture Shocks

Co-creator of Living the Questions,  Rev. David Felten, was interviewed this week for the nationally syndicated radio show, “Culture Shocks” with Rev. Barry Lynn. Lynn is an ordained UCC pastor, constitutional lawyer, noted activist, and longstanding civil libertarian. For over twenty years, he has served as the executive director for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving the constitutional principle of church-state separation as the only way to ensure religious freedom for all Americans. David serves on the board of his local chapter of AU in Phoenix, Arizona. The interview was aired on Monday, June 10th and will be available streaming online by clicking on the graphic above or HERE, the Culture Shocks website. 

God Does Not Explain   Leave a comment

Kushner_God Comforts

“The time has come and is long-since past” to abandon “the idea that God is ‘in control’.” It is an idea “so troublesome as to be utterly useless. But to think of the Divine as that power called love, the one who “suffers with” and comforts the afflicted regardless of the outcome, has spiritual integrity born of real life experience.”

In Rabbi Harold S Kushner’s “book, The Lord is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the Twenty-Third Psalm, the rabbi notes that ‘in times of trouble, God does not explain, God comforts.’ Through grace, suffering makes compassion possible, and what is more central to the life of faith than striving to be more compassionate?”

Book Cover high res— from “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity” by David M Felten and Jeff Procter-Murphy

“Most people in church grew up listening to those who claimed to have all the answers. Who knew that the questions were more interesting, that ‘living’ them is true faithfulness. Felten and Procter-Murphy have given the class such superb resources that no one is in a hurry to graduate.”

— Dr. Robin R. Meyers, Senior Minister, Mayflower Congregational UCC Church; Professor of Rhetoric, Oklahoma City University

Undiscovered Fire…   1 comment

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin FIRE

“Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love; and then for the second time in the history of the world, humanity will have discovered fire.”

— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Painting the Stars is Living the Questions’ new series celebrating the communion of science and faith and exploring the promise of an evolutionary Christian spirituality. It features a dozen leading theologians and leaders in the area of evolutionary spirituality and a participant guide by author and evolutionary theologian, Bruce Sanguin. Watch for it in the summer of 2013! Find out more at Living the Questions.

Pierre Teilhard de ChardinPierre Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit priest and philosopher who trained as a paleontologist and geologist. Many of his ideas came into conflict with the Catholic Church, particularly regarding the doctrine of Original Sin, his views concerning the origin of humanity, and his teaching of evolutionary theory. To limit his influence, the French Jesuits sent him as far away as they could, which at the time was China. Little did they know that he would fall in with a group of scientists who were on the verge of an archaeological breakthrough: the discovery of Peking Man (which only enhanced Teilhard’s reputation). For his work and publications, he was reprimanded, his works were condemned by the Holy Office, and he remained in relative obscurity during his lifetime.

Personal God or People?   Leave a comment

Bernard Brandon Scott doesn’t need a personal God — he needs people…

“I get people who say, ‘Well, don’t you need a personal God?’ I don’t have a problem with God language; I have a problem with the reification of God language. God language is the way we talk about these ultimate values, for me. I don’t need a personal God. I DO need other people to relate to — and it’s that relationship with other people that is God. Now, that won’t pass the creedal test, but I’m not worried.”

Vocabulary note:

“Reification” = from Latin res “thing” + facere “to make.” Reification can be loosely translated as “thing-making;” the turning of something abstract into a concrete thing or object.

Also known as concretism (or the fallacy of misplaced concreteness), reification is a fallacy of ambiguity, when an abstraction (abstract belief or hypothetical construct) is treated as if it were a concrete, real event, or physical entity. In other words, it is the error of treating as a concrete thing something which is not concrete, but merely an idea. For example: if the phrase “fighting for justice” is taken literally, justice would be reified.

 — adapted from Wikipedia

Brandon ScottBernard Brandon Scott is Darbeth Distinguished Professor of New Testament at the Phillips Theological Seminary in Oklahoma. He is a charter member of The Jesus Seminar, co-chair of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, and a consultant to the American Bible Society experimental film translations. He is the author of a number of books, including Re-Imagine the WorldHear Then the Parable, and The Trouble with Resurrection. 

Unbound from Yesterday’s Fears…   1 comment

Spong Ground of Being

“If God is the ground of being, as I believe God is, then the only way you and I can worship God is by having the courage to be all that we can be — in the infinite variety of our humanity. Whether we are male or female, gay or straight, transgender or bisexual, white or black or yellow or brown, left-handed or right-handed, brilliant or not quite so brilliant.

No matter what the human difference is, you have something to offer in your own being.  Nobody else can offer what you have to offer.  And, the only way you can worship God is by daring to be all that you can be and not be bound by the fears of yesterday.”

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NLS_Spong6_Jan27_03

The retired Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, John Shelby Spong is one of the featured contributors in several Living the Questions series. He is a columnist and author of over sixteen books including Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism and Why Christianity Must Change or Die. Lecturer at Harvard, Humanist of the Year, and a guest on numerous national television broadcasts including The Today Show, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, and Larry King Live, Bishop Spong continues to write and lecture around the world. His newest book is The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic. 

A Christianity That’s Not Stuck   1 comment

 

Stephen Patterson thinks that Progressive Christianity is about “being willing to think critically about one’s faith and about the traditions of one’s faith and the resources like the Bible — to think critically about these things and not simply assume that it all has to make sense. Progressive Christianity means you’re free to explore and to question and to develop new expressions of faith that are more appropriate or true to what you think you’re discovering about Christianity. So, Progressive Christianity, I guess you could say, is Christianity that’s not stuck in some present stasis — let alone stuck in the past. We have to move forward.”

Progressive Christianity:

  • thinks critically about faith, traditions, and resources

  • doesn’t assume it all has to make sense

  • frees one to explore and question

  • develops new expressions of faith more appropriate to contemporary understandings

  • isn’t stuck in the past

 

PattersonStephen J. Patterson specializes in the study of the historical Jesus, Christian origins, and the Gospel of Thomas (an early Christian gospel not found in the New Testament). He is currently the George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University. He is the author of numerous books including Beyond the Passion: Rethinking the Death and Life of Jesus and The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus and the Search for God. He is featured in the DVD series Living the Questions 2.0 and  Saving Jesus Redux. 

“Thinking Critically with Stephen Patterson” is an excerpt from a DVD series on the origin of the Bible currently in development by Living the Questions.

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