Would Jesus Join a Church?

Christianity has become a protected membership, where insiders are separated from outsiders by a wall of orthodox beliefs and moral judgments. In this post I will argue that membership is always about purity, separation, and exclusion. Purity may not be about ritual or dietary restrictions in most cases; at least this is generally true ofContinue reading “Would Jesus Join a Church?”

The Rapture of Being Alive

In his interview published under the title The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers voiced the popular idea that myths are an ancient (and largely discredited) means whereby human beings have searched for the meaning of life. After a pause, the scholar of mythology Joseph Campbell replied, People say that what we’re all seeking is aContinue reading “The Rapture of Being Alive”

Spirituality Basics 2: The Beyond Within

In Spirituality Basics: The Human Condition I explored our situation as it comes together (or perhaps rather, falls apart) around the delusion of a separate identity known as ego. Insofar as our ego is insecure and driven by ambition to resolve or compensate for this insecurity in various ways, we end up in an evenContinue reading “Spirituality Basics 2: The Beyond Within”

Creatures and Creators

Human beings are creatures of nature. Our physiology and complex nervous system are products of the evolution of life on planet Earth, and the roots of our genetic code are entwined with countless other life-forms. Some mythological accounts notwithstanding, our species evolved over many millions of years and we are utterly dependent on the web of lifeContinue reading “Creatures and Creators”

Contents Under Pressure

The phenomenon of religion has evolved with the rise of human culture, perhaps going back millions of years to our hominid ancestors. Its function has always been to “link together” (religare) the separate concerns and activities of daily life in a coherent way by orienting it all around a single transcendent focus. “Transcendent” here doesn’t necessarily meanContinue reading “Contents Under Pressure”

Open-Box Theology

Theology is reasoning (from logos) about god, or simply the study of god. Even simpler, theology is our theories about god, how we talk about god, the words we use to make sense of god. Theology is god-talk. If there is a clear distinction between religion and spirituality, it comes down to this business ofContinue reading “Open-Box Theology”

Reality Choices

Anderson: “We have to make choices from a range of different stories – stories about what the universe is like, about who the good guys and the bad guys are, about who we are – and also have to make choices about how to make choices. The only thing we lack is the option ofContinue reading “Reality Choices”

Faith in the Wake of Tragedy

Excursus: The senseless slaying of innocent children and faculty at a Connecticut elementary school challenges our faith in a god who cares for us. Over the course of my conversations with Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard and Tillich, our working definition of faith has shifted away from nouns and deeper into verbs. Faith is something much more fundamentalContinue reading “Faith in the Wake of Tragedy”

The Focus of Faith

Schleiermacher: “We should have fewer complaints of the increase of the sectarian spirit and of factious religious associations, if so many of the clergy were not without understanding of religious wants and emotions. Their stand-point generally is too low.” A bit earlier Schleiermacher makes the point that one would not go to an art enthusiastContinue reading “The Focus of Faith”