Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Not Your Daddy's Jesus

Plaid Shoes makes a good point about the dearth of UU resources on Jesus.

I'm working up a 10-hour adult RE class/summer camp workshop on contemporary progressive scholarship on Jesus. I'm thinking of proposing it as a workshop at the UU summer camp I go to, and maybe field-testing it as an adult RE class at my church.

Here's my initial draft.

Not Your Daddy's (or Mommy's) Jesus

New visions of the New Testament's message

Traditional Christianity teaches that Jesus was the Son of God who came into the world to be sacrificed as a ransom for the sins of human kind since the fall of Adam. Many Unitarian Universalists who have come out of Christian churches have rejected that interpretation of Jesus and left Christianity behind. Yet UUs are not alone in our disquietude with the traditional teachings about Jesus. A growing number of scholars and thinkers within the Christian tradition are also rejecting those teachings. Delving back into the scriptures, they are finding instead a revolutionary message of radical inclusivity in the story and teachings of Jesus and are seeking to reshape Christianity into a religion of Jesus instead of a religion about Jesus. Through readings and discussion, this workshop will introduce participants to various thinkers who are part of this new, progressive encounter with Jesus that is rippling through Mainline Christianity. We'll learn about the work of Marcus Borg; the Jesus Seminar; Brian McLaren and others. Short readings from various sources will be provided.

Comments and feedback not only welcome, but positively begged for...


  1. +1

    Also, I think there's an argument to be made that UUs speak with more authority on Christianity than any other subject, where we're blatant latecomers.

  2. Sounds very interesting! I would take the course.

  3. Beautiful description--very tempting, and carefully points out that this movement is very much one of mainline Christianity.

    A tiny niggle, which I mention only because it implies that the Jesus Seminar is about all you have in your toolkit, which I know is not true: Marcus Borg is a fellow of the Seminar, so I wouldn't list them separately. (Or, rephrase to "Marcus Borg and other members of the Jesus Seminar.") Another resource you might want to use is Bart Ehrman.


  4. @Amy:

    Thank you for your encouragement!

    Good points on Borg being a part of the Seminar (although I've already submitted the proposal and description, so probably too late to correct). And I do plan to read some Bart Ehrman and consider him in this as well... And some other folks, too... Thanks for the input!!!

  5. Love, love, love. That is, I love that you're designing this course, and the idea Jesus taught was unconditional love (and radical inclusivity). This has been a preaching point at UUCF for the last year. The name Jesus still makes a number of folks squirm, but message is one of extreme importance. First many of the UUs I know are squeamish about Christianity (thus not so radically inclusive as UUs profess to be), and discussion about the crux of the Jesus as teacher method (like Buddha as teacher) could make some folks rethink and drop some of the, "Ew, Jesus," reaction. Second, many UUs don't know the bible as literature and history. Turning a scholarly eye on the New Testament with a look a the historical Jesus might appeal.

    Keep us posted.


  6. Did you do this? How did it go? I am going to start something at my church like this in September, and would love to not have to reinvent the wheel if you might be willing to share. Thanks!!

  7. I did, and will do... Update coming up...


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