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.
Six years ago on the Saturday of Holy Week, I wrote about what I call The Empty Day.
For many Christians, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter are the key days of that week. For me, as one who is constantly on the boundary between faith and doubt, it is that in-between Saturday which confronts me most vibrantly with the gut reality of Jesus in my life.
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…
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
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…
…but I do.
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
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
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…