The Greatest Threat to American Christianity

I would suggest the greatest threat to AMERICAN Christianity is Jesus himself. The Jesus of the Gospels is a stranger to most Christians in the USA. Fundamentalist and conservative Evangelicals promote a version of the faith based on fear, exclusivism, the “hereafter,” legalism, arrogance, and a dearth of compassion. In their preaching and theology, good news has become bad news. Continue reading

Cotton Patch Gospel for Today

(31 minutes) I was invited to deliver the sermon at Downey Avenue Christian Church on July 30, 2023. It is based on the vision and ministry of Clarence Jordan, who in 1942 led in establishing Koinonia Farm, christened with a Greek word meaning “a community that is united by common… Continue reading

Evangelism (Luke 4:16-19)

In several places on this blog, I point out that our word “evangelism” comes from the Greek word used in the New Testament for “good news.” The church did not invent the word euaggelion. Roman propaganda used the term to refer to the “good news” brought by the emperor as… Continue reading

Why Do We Christians Get It So Wrong? Part One

(13 minutes) Consider this remarkable fact: in the Sermon on the Mount, there is not a single word about what to believe, only words about what to do and how to be. By the time the Nicene Creed is written, only three centuries later, there is not a single word… Continue reading

Atheists, “Christians,” and Followers of Jesus

(14 minutes) In a church I pastored years ago, there was a sweet older lady who was simple in her faith, steadfast in her devotional life, and obsessively regimented in her daily routines. During one of our class discussions on the nature and priority of love, she said, “I just… Continue reading

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 “The Hand of God on the Shoulder of a Troubled World”

The third Sunday of Advent often focuses on joy. Laughter motivated by unadulterated joy can indeed be the hand of God on the shoulder of a troubled world. Such laughter is a gift from God, a gift that we need in a world of terrorism and violence, estrangement and bigotry, greed and lies. Continue reading

The Wisdom of Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer was a genius. He was a profound theologian, a talented organist, a brilliant scientist, and a deeply empathetic physician. He wrote a book which changed the whole direction of biblical studies and theology (The Quest of the Historical Jesus). He was a gifted musician who wrote the definitive… Continue reading