Why I Am Not God

Creation of Adam

At first glance, the premise seems self-evident. Yet, it’s not as simple and straight-forward as it might seem. Human beings (myself included) have a natural inclination — a sort of instinct — for thinking and acting as if we were in control of everything and therefore believe ourselves to be responsible for the outcome of everything. We become frustrated and angry when things don’t go our way or when unforeseen influences change or frustrate our plans. We humans may give lip service to believing in a god, yet we act as through the deity in charge is Us. That’s not Continue Reading →

A Believer’s Reflections on a Faithless Nation

Immigrant Children in Cages

It’s the Fourth of July holiday and there’ll be fireworks and public celebrations all across this country. Don’t get me wrong: there is a lot to celebrate here. In theory, the American democracy is a bold and exciting experiment. We enjoy a fairly educated population and, for many people, a high standard of living, and even unimaginable wealth. Politicians are fond of proclaiming loudly (and to vigorous applause) that we live in the “greatest country on earth.” Whether that’s true or not — whether it was ever true — is open for discussion. I would suspect that not a few Continue Reading →

A Liberal Christian Manifesto

Here’s a question that came to my Facebook news feed: “Why is everyone on my page that whines, bitches, complains or simply are outright obnoxious about our president a Democrat? I haven’t seen 1 single Republican say or share the things you guys do.” I gave him a brief answer, but then allowed myself a few days to formulate a reply. What I came up with has some interesting and, I think significant, elements to it. First of all, I want to answer the question with a question: Who posts anything  (beyond pictures of their last meal or kittens) on Facebook? It has to be people who are motivated Continue Reading →

The Week That Collapses Time

Today is Palm Sunday in Liturgical Christian circles. It begins the week known by many as “Holy Week” and it focuses on the Last Supper, arrest, trial, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ. Many devout Christians — let alone those for whom Christianity is only a set of moral principles– have not had the opportunity to go deeper into the meaning of this week and the liturgical celebrations that the Christian Community participates in. The meaning of these rites goes far beyond what is seen on the surface, and, in many cases, even beyond the words and gestures used in Continue Reading →

The Evangelical-Catholic Heresy and the Betrayal of Jesus

Heretic

Chapter 1: Heresy Heresy: now there’s a word we don’t see very often anymore. Of course, I encountered it when I was in the seminary, studying the history of the Christian Church. Even when I was studying the matter, heresies were little more than strange Greek-sounding names that we had to memorize in order to pass our exams: Adoptionism, Arianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism, Nestorianism, Manichaeism, etc. ad infinitum. It’s such an anachronistic word, and such a foreign concept now. It originated in centuries long past, when academic clerics wrote long letters to one another arguing about arcane details of belief. At Continue Reading →

What’s the Good Word, God?

Gospel of John

As I write this, the feast of Christmas begins at sundown tomorrow. It brings me to think about the awesome masterwork of faith and understanding that is the Gospel of John, and probably the key concept that forms the foundation of John’s understanding of who Jesus was and is: his very nature or essence. His understanding goes far beyond just an appreciation for Jesus and his role in the history of humanity; it goes to the heart of Jesus’ role as essential bridge between the divine and, not only the human, but even the entire universe. Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Continue Reading →

The War on Christmas? (Part 5)

Christ Child

This is the last of five articles in my “The War on Christmas?” series, entitled “The Birth of the Christ.” I hope that readers of this series will be able to distinguish the “true meaning of Christmas” from all the accretions that have been added to this celebration throughout the centuries (and consequently come to realize how silly the notion of a “war on Christmas” really is). When all is said and done, what is the “true meaning of Christmas?” Christmas (Christ Mass) is a liturgical celebration of the Christian Church that commemorates the appearance of God in human flesh and blood and his Continue Reading →

The War on Christmas? (Part 4)

Scrooge

This article will look at “True Meaning of Christmas.” All tthe gift-giving, the Santa myth, the decorations, etc. take second place to what must be the most transformative influence on Christmas in history: the publication of Scrooge by Charles Dickens in 1843. By this time, many of the English Christmas traditions were well-established. But Dickens wanted to point out the hypocrisy of the upper classes with regard to the destitute poor in early industrial London. Taking his cue from the babe in the manger (and a genuine Christian focus on the poverty of the Christ child in contrast with the richness of God), Dickens Continue Reading →

The War on Christmas? (Part 3)

Coca Cola Santa

In the first two articles in this series, we’ve been focusing on the dynamic behind those who claim a “War on Christmas” exists. Now, in this article that I call, “The Coca Cola Saint,” we can turn our attention toward sorting through the layers of tradition surrounding Christmas to see if we can lay bare more of its true meaning. In the US, Christmas evokes images of Christmas trees and Santa Claus and flying reindeer (especially Rudolph) and stockings stuffed with gifts and lights and stars and angels and special seasonal songs. Sometimes, there’s Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in Continue Reading →

The War on Christmas? (Part 2)

Holy War

This is Part 2 in my series on the “true meaning of Christmas.” The topic today is “War, Victims, and the Satanized God.” If people believe that there’s a “War on Christmas” going on, then there must necessarily exist an enemy who causes this war, victims of this warfare, and a god who justifies the war and who rescues the virtuous (the “us”) and punishes the impious (the “them”). Let’s start by looking at war itself. War is waged ostensibly for self-preservation. No sane person puts him/herself in harm’s way for the pure enjoyment of it. The costs of war — great as Continue Reading →