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Showing posts from May, 2011

"Second Coming" Kookiness: what the library says

I want to follow up on last week’s Adult Forum titled, “The Second Coming/Rapture/Apocalypse: What the Bible Really Says and Why Most of What You Are Hearing is Full-Goose-Bozo-Crazy-Kookiness.” I’d like to summarize that Forum for those of you who couldn’t attend, and offer some further thoughts. The first thing to remember whenever someone says, “The Bible says ________” about anything (the use of wealth, homosexuality, the role of women in leadership positions, who Jesus is and how we are saved, etc.) is that “the” Bible is not “a” singular book, but a library of books: 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. Ask yourself: how would you react if someone walked up to you and said, “You know, the library says that________”? You’d think that’s a crazy thing to say. And you’d be right. There were many different apocalyptic theories that were out there before Jesus’ time, and even in the New Testament, there is not one or two, but three or four different takes on the


I want to raise a complex, but very important, issue that’s been on my mind a lot lately. It has to do with leadership, particularly religious leadership. Daniel, a colleague in ministry and close friend of mine (and godfather to our son, Will) got me thinking about this during one of our frequent conversations. Daniel says that there is a tendency in many religions to create a sense of “the group,” “the faithful,” and “the enemy.” Now read carefully: This tendency, Daniel writes, “…becomes the toxic element in religion. It is certainly toxic for the ‘other’ and over time for the group itself.” Why? Because some religious groups increasingly need “to purify by finding an ‘other’ to vilify .” We all need to be on guard against this tendency to “purify” ourselves by “vilifying” others. Let me be specific: My frustration with all the controversies rolling around in the Episcopal Church is not so much with the controversies themselves: whether women should be allowed to be priests

The Royal Wedding, bin Laden... and Mother's Day?

We live in a world of too many opinions offered too quickly on too many topics, and so it’s with some reluctance that I offer my thoughts on three seemingly unconnected events of the last ten days: the Royal Wedding a week ago today, the killing of Osama bin Laden earlier this week, and Mother’s Day this Sunday. “What could possibly connect these events?” you might ask. Well, maybe nothing, but here goes: In reflecting on the Royal Wedding, I’ve been wondering: Is the Bishop of London right in his homily when he pronounced “it is good” that the whole world should be celebrating this marriage because, like all marriages, it was a day of hope, or are others right in dismissing it as expensive escapism? In reflecting on bin Laden, I’ve been wondering: Is President Obama right when he said the “world is a safer place” as a result of -- in the words of a colleague friend of mine -- “a decade-long icon of extremism, terror, and gratuitous violence” being dead, or are others (such as th