Christian Universalisms

Just as there are many “Christianities,” there are many forms of “Christian Universalism.”

I seek to follow the faith and practice of the historical Jesus, regardless of how later belief systems and their enforcers may have reinterpreted his ministry to suit their own theological or political notions.

In addition, I just finished Stephen Finlan’s 2008 book, The Apostle Paul and the Pauline Tradition, which describes how Paul’s ministry was also reinterpreted,1 first by his own

Continue Reading

“Do not be afraid” – Stephen Finlan (excerpt)

Originally published on Quaker Universalist Conversations, 6/13/2014.

Stephan Finlan is pastor of Mathewson Street United Methodist Church, Providence, Rhode Island. He has taught theology at Fordham, Drew, Seton Hall, and Durham Universities. He is author of The Apostle Paul and the Pauline Tradition (2008), Options on Atonement (2007), and Problems with Atonement (2005).

The follow is an excerpt from The Family Metaphor in Jesus’ Teaching

Continue Reading

Géza Vermès’ Dream

Géza Vermès was a prolific Hungarian Jewish “historical Jesus” scholar and translator of the Dead Sea Scrolls who died on May 8th (see this 1994 interview, Escape and Rescue—An Interview with Géza Vermès, and this eulogy by Hershel Shanks). Vermès’ 1973 Jesus the Jew: A Historian’s Reading of the Gospels was powerfully influential in reintroducing us to Jesus as the greatest in a tradition of charismatic Galilean holy men. The

Continue Reading

Frederick Buechner: “The Sign by the Highway”

Earlier this week, I started excerpting Frederick Buechner’s challenging book, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, by Frederick Buechner (New York, N.Y.: Harper Collins Publishers, 2007, pp.28-31).

My mother Lois gave me the book for my birthday in 2006, and I read through it slowly and thoughtfully over the next two years as a morning devotion. Knowing her so well, I can only imagine that she had found Buechner to be a

Continue Reading

Don’t know why I like this…

…but I do.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAIqk5KUBRQ?rel=0]

 

Chocolate Jesus

by Tom Waits
from the album Mule Variations (1999)
photograph by Richard Kalvar

I Dont go to church on Sunday
I Dont get down on my knees to pray
I Dont memorize the books of the bible
I got my own special way
Bit I know Jesus loves me
Maybe just a little bit more

I fall on my knees every Sunday

Continue Reading

Austin: 1922-2013

Dad's birthday

My relationship with my father has always been more complexly private than the one with my mother.

To some extent this is sadly true for many men and their fathers, at least in patriarchal cultures. There are societal and biological pressures on men—almost from

Continue Reading

“Listening in tongues”

In a recent post on Quaker Pagan Reflections, the blog he shares with his helpmate Cat, Peter Bishop of Mt. Toby (MA) Friends Meeting has given me a phrase which I believe speaks to the heart of Quaker faith and practice.

Peter writes about “how difficult it is to express in words what worshiping in silence means to us,” even across the perceived barriers within Quakerism itself:

I see [some] Friends…using Christian language and Biblical reference

Continue Reading

Richard Beck: On reading the Beatitudes in prison

Richard Beck publishes a powerful blog called Experimental Theology, about which he writes:

The title of this space comes from two places. First, as a research psychologist I try to integrate theology with the experimental social sciences. Second, many of the essays here are theological experiments, exploratory and provisional essays that do not necessarily represent my views on matters of faith or ethics.

His June 18th post arises from leading a weekly bible study at a

Continue Reading

Site Footer