Monday, July 30, 2012

Michael Dowd, Distilled

Over the last four years I have been on an increasingly focused spiritual journey. I've documented much of it, albeit haphazardly, in this space over the last couple of years.

Most recently, Brian McLaren's book A New Kind of Christianity has marked an opportunity to more completely synthesize where I am now. Indeed, his work is turning out to be a significant touchstone for me.

I hope to say more about that here soon... But in the meantime, I wanted to revisit another significant touchstone: The work of Michael Dowd, author of Thank God for Evolution. This talk by him, which I just got a link to in my email, offers as good a distillation of what he has to say as any.

I commend it to your attention.

 (Post edited slightly to remove some inelegant phrasing and repetition.)

Monday, July 23, 2012


This is good to see. Episcopal Bishop Stacy Sauls ("chief operating officer" of the Church) incisively rebuts a Wall Street Journal columnist who accuses the Episcopalians of caving into the culture by, among other things, opening up marriage rites to include same-sex unions:

...The church has been captive to the dominant culture, which has rewarded it with power, privilege and prestige for a long, long time. The Episcopal Church is now liberating itself from that, and as the author correctly notes, paying the price. I hardly see paying the price as what ails us. I see it as what it means to be a follower of Jesus... 
The Episcopal Church is on record as standing by those the culture marginalizes whether that be nonwhite people, female people or gay people. The author calls that political correctness hostile to tradition. 
I call it profoundly countercultural but hardly untraditional. In fact, it is deeply true to the tradition of Jesus, Jesus who offended the "traditionalists" of his own day, Jesus who was known to associate with the less than desirable, Jesus who told his followers to seek him among the poor. It is deeply true to the tradition of the Apostle Paul who decried human barriers of race, sex, or status (Galatians 3:28)....
Related, somewhat: A rebuttal as well to Ross Douthat's recent New York Times column on liberal Christianity.

(via Sightings)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Camp -- A Quick Postcard

Having a great time... Wish you were here!

Actually, you are, in a way.

I am at the Midwest UU Summer Assembly in Missouri. While I intend to offer more detail later, a couple of quick notes for now...

The first is, that I really am offering my workshop on liberal Christian theology and scholarship. Day One went well, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the week. Some of what I'll be speaking about and asking participants to reflect on comes from the things I've thought about and shared here, and heard from others here.

The second, is the accidental discovery of a bit of online opportunism founded on my URL here... if you miss one letter in it (leaving out the 's' in 'blogspot') you wind up at a completely different place -- some kind of gospel music portal.

I guess I'm at least a little bit flattered... but then I can probably be bought cheaply...

Hopeful Words for the Mainline Churches from a Progressive Evangelical

A favorite writer of this Unitarian Universalist Christian is the Evangelical writer Brian McLaren. He spoke this week at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA), my "mother-in-law church," which DairyStateMom will be attending later this week.

This morning she emailed me this link and this one to stories about his talk.

Decline, he says, is not inexorable in the Mainline tradition ... and he sees hope for the future in the quality of young leadership coming into the PC(USA), often from more conservative Christian traditions.

Is there something we in the UU tradition -- whether or not we identify as Christian -- can learn from this, too?