A Flat Earth Bible?

The biblical writers believed in a flat earth. It was the stationary foundation of their world view. Under the flat earth was Sheol, the place of the dead. The sky was the domed firmament that held back water. Above it all was heaven. This sounds so, well, ancient. Good science at the time, but bad …

Read more

God, the Bible, and Atheism

As I was doing research for Addressing Atheism, I connected with Hemant Mehta. He runs the Friendly Atheist blogsite. He’s also the author of several books, one of which is the delightful I Sold My Soul on Ebay. Hemant reviewed a rough draft of my book from the atheistic perspective. He was generous with his …

Read more

Piety’s Limitations

Old-fashionedly, I have an aversion to foul language. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but it seems like there’s been an exponential increase in the use of it over the last few years. Every popular show or movie seems to have a script calling for interesting variations of the f-word. Maybe my language-prudishness comes not just from …

Read more

Commandments Eleven and Twelve

The Ten Commandments form the foundation for honoring God and relating to fellow humans. After reading The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks, though, I think we could add a couple of others for the era in which we live. Brooks, a journalist and commentator, offers a candid glimpse into …

Read more

The Night I Apologized for the Church

I never thought I’d feel the need to apologize for the United Methodist Church. Being raised in the UMC fold, and pastoring in it for four decades, I’ve always felt a sense of both comfort and pride. I still do. Pluralism. Emphasis upon grace. Encouragement of people to develop a faith authentic to themselves. Respecting …

Read more

Christianity’s Future?

Religious identity in America continues declining. One survey found that 35 percent of Americans now identify themselves with no religion, and that 44 percent of millennials view themselves similarly. (Christian Century, January 16, 2019) It’s obvious that whatever the Christian church has been doing is simply not working anymore. The future of the church, if …

Read more

Doubting or Questioning? There’s a Difference

“Doubting Thomas” is not an endearing term. It stems from the Resurrection account in John’s Gospel when Jesus, post-crucifixion, shows up in the room where the disciples have huddled. Thomas, though, is missing. When later told about what happened, he replies dogmatically, “Unless I see him for myself, I’m not going to believe” (John 20:19-29). …

Read more

You Can’t Reason with Emotion

I belonged to a very conservative religious group in college. We devoured books that titillated us with scenes of the rapture and the world’s imminent destruction. We sang, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready,” feeling glad we were the ones who were ready and not the ones who got drunk in weekend parties. Some in …

Read more

It’s About Honesty and Humility. Period.

After 40+ years in the United Methodist ministry, two things have become clear. If we’re ever going to resolve our significant differences, we’re going to have to have the honesty to admit that none of us knows what we’re talking about. Each of us sees things only through a very narrow lens. Our genes, ancestry, …

Read more

%d bloggers like this: