Biblical and Sensible.
Progressive-Christian Perspectives
on Personal Spirituality, and Public Life.
(In Mostly Short Posts)

Read a couple of pages – see if that’s true.


Why do we call him, ‘Lord, Lord,’
and do not do what he says?” (Luke 6:46)


These Are REALLY Short and Sweet.

Thy Kingdom Come

The visionary standards
Jesus sets for social life;
the good patterns
the prophets describe
and long for…


The “Kingdom of God” –
the new economy,
the Beloved Community,
the new world order
that the Bible promotes.

☛   See some posts about this.

Recent Politics

Politics is a big issue
all through the Bible
from Moses to Isaiah
to Jesus.

In fact, Jesus was killed
for being a political
problem.

Those who pay no attention
will get what the people who ARE paying attention
really want.
That’s often not pretty.

☛   Posts on Recent Politics

Like a Trumpet

Call out religious fraud.
The Bible does.


Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles
do it often,
and with bluntness and clarity.

Isaiah, in ch 58, is
very direct about it,
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion.”

☛   Click for a post about Speaking Up, Without Bullying.

Non-Violence

“Turn the other cheek” clearly does NOT mean
support evil people!

Did Jesus EVER urge us to support evil people?

He actually teaches us to RESIST evil people
but
to do so without using their
world-destroying
tools of violence.

☛   Posts on NonViolence

As IF You Were Good

God is NOT happy
with imitation religion.


“They seek me out;
they seem eager
to know my ways –
AS IF they were a
people who does
what is right.”

“Why have we fasted –
and You have not listened!”

☛   See: “Lift Our Voices Like a Trumpet!” – another post about Isaiah 58.

What God Clearly Wants

Micah nailed it 2700 years ago.

What does the Lord require of us?
That we act justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly.

Pretty straightforward, but
not always easy.
Still, God holds to this.

☛   Micah 6:6-8, at Biblegateway

Books, Films, Quotes

“A good book is
the precious life-blood
of a master spirit.”
-John Milton


Some people actually DO
know more than we do!
And some people just
say it SO well.

☛   See posts in this category.

Prayer / Meditation

Nothing is more relevant
to social conditions than
the transformation
of persons
that comes
from prayer at its best.
-Dallas Willard

“Jesus OFTEN withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:17

If Jesus needed to do that,
it may be something we need to learn.

☛   Click: Posts on Prayer & Meditation


Newest Articles

You can pay good money and get bad opinions. You have to honor your own freedom of conscience, and consider the attitudes of the person giving advice. Sometimes it's just gossip!

Protect Your Freedom of Conscience from Bad Advice & Gossip

In making our own decisions - or in sticking with them -  It can be hard  to exercise our own good conscience without being too strongly influenced by the opinions of others.  How do we do that? A.  OPINIONS GIVEN IN GOOD FAITH: Sometimes, of course,...
The rich man wins because unjust laws rig the race. Isaiah 10 speaks bluntly about that kind of oppression. "What will you do on the day of reckoning? ... Where will you leave your riches?"

“Woe to those who make unjust laws.” – Isaiah

Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when...
Break through fear. Find sunshine and freedom beyond it.

Let Nothing Upset You; Let Nothing Frighten You; Even Now. (Teresa of Avila)

  An Exercise in Calm   This image - a sledge, hammering against "FEAR" - seems the opposite of the calm Teresa promotes in this little poem-saying. But you know, as Gandhi and Martin King argued and proved in practice, sometimes you can bring great energy...
Jesus -

Are You One of Those Whom Jesus Favors? Who IS He Willing to Teach and Help? (Matthew 11)

Jesus is Different. The Christ is NOT an arbitrary, or unaccountable, or irrational chooser - which is made obvious in Matthew ch 11. Stories in Matthew 11 Jesus and John the Baptist Jesus Began to Speak to the Crowd Woe on Unrepentant Towns The Father...
claw - fear

Are YOU On This List Yet? We are All In Increasing Danger.

TARGETED! One way or another, THESE people, mostly fellow American citizens - all fellow humans and all loved by God - THESE people are living in increased fear now compared to a year ago. "Making America Afraid Again" This is not a careful list; it's just...
The Bible speaks most frequently and directly to the BELIEVERS - to those God calls "my people." It's not the foreigners, atheists and gays who are the target.

It’s Not Foreigners, Atheists and Gays Who Must Turn! 2 Chronicles 7:14

In this Scripture it’s NOT the foreigners and unbelievers who have to “turn”! WHO ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE? First, notice that in this scripture, it’s not us being spoken to directly. Not the USA, not Nebraska, not First Baptist. It’s important to...

NO RELIGIOUS BULLIES. We Must “Lift Our VOICES” – While We Lay Down Our SWORDS.

"Declare to my people ... their sins." Jesus, Isaiah, the prophets, the apostles - in all of them there's a STRONG Bible pattern of spiritual people speaking up about evil in society. Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet....
Welcome yourself! This a part of forgiving yourself. To forgive means to not hold prior offenses against a person - even if the person is yourself.

Forgive Yourself – Welcome Yourself – Improve Your Relationship

I've often heard "I just can't forgive myself" or "How do you forgive yourself?" Good question. It can be tough. Does it go without saying that forgiveness requires honesty? - that is, confession. It does. It requires openness to reality, without obsessing...
Hand writing in notebook - on a clean page. How do you want to write in your new year?

It’s YOUR New Year! Some Simple Suggestions for 2018

It’s YOUR New Year. Maybe you can’t change a whole lot in your life or your self. Maybe you don’t WANT to change a whole lot. Maybe you don’t even want to change ANYTHING. How nice 😊. But - maybe in an area or two. After all, within certain very real limits, it is...

7 Signs of a Healthy, Christ-Following Christian Faith

  Unhealthy, dangerous forms of “Christianity” seem epidemic today. Are there healthy forms? Here, I believe, is a good example, from the church I attend. A summary of priority concerns of a Christ-following, healthy faith. 1. We strongly emphasize the...
When our Congress and Administration assault our people, as in the December "tax reform" - we will get death and devastation - like this bombed village.

Many Will Die. This Tax “Reform” is a Vicious Assault Against Us and People We Care About.

We never know for sure what's happening - what may be going on behind the scenes. But the GOP wants their "tax reform". If they get it, it seems fairly certain that MANY OF US WILL DIE MUCH EARLIER than would have been the case otherwise. Just hurry up and...

Forgiveness Requires … (A Quick Personal Check-Up)

“Forgiveness requires acceptance of the fact that the past is not going to change.” - unknown   After all, if we could change the past no forgiveness would be needed. Because the offense would have totally disappeared - from experience and from memory....

6 Lessons from New Testament Church Life: Diversity! & Jesus – Justice, Mercy, etc. – ACTS

This short list is a result of a number of hours I spent in the New Testament’s “Acts of the Apostles” recently. I believe there is some valuable teaching here. Headline 1 below gives two preliminary safety measures for Bible study. Headline 2 brings six...
Advent - God With Us - Immanuel - How do we respond?

Advent: Christ Has Come. So, What Do We Have TO DO?

  CHRIST HAS COME. SO WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO? 1. STAND ALONE “Peter … asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘… what is that to you? You must follow me.’” John 21:21,22 If Christ is really present to us in this world, we have to personally respond...

GOOD OLDER ONES

Anteaters Use AND Preserve Their Crucial Resources – Unlike Humans

I'm not interested in imitating their diet or lifestyle. But they act like they're disciplining their appetites in the interests of thinking ahead. What a way to live. I presume these little dudes are not very good seminar-facilitators. Too bad, because we need to get...

Is That Us? – a Navajo Critique of Christianity – “part-time religion”

These are the thoughts of Raymond Friday Locke, from his The Book of the Navajo, Mankind Pub Co, 2001 edition, p5. His take on Navajo culture and perspectives is widely respected. The Navajos for the most part have long resisted Christianity. They look upon it as a...
Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II

John Paul II: Private Prayer and the Dangers of Public Life

For decades he resisted Nazi, then Communist oppression. How did he cope? Connie and I recently watched Karol: A Man Who Became Pope. It portrays Karol Wojtyla's life from his late teens, when the Nazi's invaded his city and nation, through WWII, then through decades...
Short Quotes from Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" Good stuff! Check it out.

Short Quotes – Martin Luther King’s "Letter from Birmingham Jail"*

King's letter is one of many treasures often ignored in American liberal democracy and in bringing Christian moral theology to public life. These are a few shorter quotes, but it's worth reading the whole thing. (Underlines have been added.) I cannot sit idly by in...

     RECENT COMMENTS

Main Issues – Key Articles Here

"THIS IS HOW they made the pleasant land desolate."

The Bible fairly often makes a direct connection between the desolation of a land (and its people - and, obviously, its economic life) and moral corruption in the people's prior social, legal, and economic patterns. Here's an example from Zechariah 7. The residents...

Why Many Christians Do Not Vote Republican

This was written about 12 years ago (as of today, in February 2017). Wow. And the problems remain, and have grown; which means these things still need thinking and talking about. References and Bible quotations...

Prophets MUST Improvise, In and For Our Cities – a review of “Resurrection City” by Peter Goodwin Heltzel

The prophet’s task is to “reorder” and “refashion” the urban environment to be more just and peaceable. Yet ... the work of social transformation must be based on a deep inner transformation. That's the burden of this excellent book (quote from p97). Resurrection City...
Religion Running Government, Theocracy, We would regret it

Theocracy (Religion Runs the Government) – We Would Deeply Regret It

I am a church person, a person of faith. But I don't think we need a government that rules as if it were the voice of God. This nation's Constitution was written partly in order to help us avoid theocracy. Unfortunately there are Americans today who clearly think the...
Jesus -

Why I Pay Attention to Jesus Christ

WHY? Why should we focus any more on Jesus Christ than on Abraham or Moses or Isaiah? Or on the laws in the Bible, or prophecy, or the end of the world? Is focus on Jesus more needed than pointing out sins – especially other people’s sins? Is Christ actually more...

On War – and Its Effects on Humans

Quotes from the e-newsletter I get from Information Clearing House. ... the United States, for generations, has sustained two parallel but opposed states of mind about military atrocities and human rights: one of U.S. benevolence, generally held by the public, and the...
2 kinds of religion are very distinct – maybe opposites. Many, many churches or individuals show one or the other to be blatantly dominant.

Two Types of Religion – Authority vs Love

Seems to me there are obviously two primary modes for religious practice in this world. That amazement is the opposite of complacency and self-satisfaction. And that gentleness is very different from constant critique and...
fish racism

Jesus and Racism – Samaritan Lives Matter – Black Lives Matter

Samaritans in Jesus' day were both religiously and racially despised. The phrase "Samaritan lives matter" would have been very offensive to the Jewish culture in which Jesus was raised and in which he was a teacher and doer of good. But to Jesus, clearly Samaritan...

German Christians Sold Out to Power and Glory

[A Review of Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, by Charles Marsh, 2014] This book is not written to coddle nor to discomfort whatever our self-image is as American Christians today; Marsh is trying to show reality. To me, two eras of Bonhoeffer's life seem...
Neighbor

If You Do Not Love Your Neighbor Whom You CAN See – Can You Love God?

The author of "1 John" makes a simple, blunt, very logical analysis of our emotional attachments - or professed attachments. (1 John 4:20) If you do not love your brother whom you can see, how can you love God whom you cannot see? Well, John, that's easy! We do it all...
Don't go with the flow. Turn the other cheek means resist them, nonviolently, as Jesus did.

Turn the Other Cheek MEANS Resist Them Non-Violently

I. THE PROBLEM: Jesus says to turn the other cheek. [See a summary of this post.] Is it ever appropriate for Christians to resist authority? Many of us feel there is much in the behavior of our national leaders that cries out for criticism and resistance. Are...
Moral economic behavior stressed by Isaiah

Are Economic Matters a Moral Issue? Isaiah Thinks So.

  In spite of Isaiah, and other Bible sources, we’ve all heard this - something like: I. It is NOT the government’s place to interfere in economic matters - tell people how they should spend their money or how they should treat their employees. That warps economic...
100 quotes

100 Quotes

  Nerd alert! This is a list that used to be behind the quote widget on the upper right of the page. They are from various places, maybe half from my personal reading (books). I'm not documenting sources because I don't have time or did not record them. There's good...

Hitler Defended Christian Morality and Family Values

Current prominent figures, speaking words the "Christian Right" wants to hear, are not the first national leaders to use Christian morality as a rallying cry. These words are from 1933: "The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which...

7 Signs of a Healthy, Christ-Following Christian Faith

  Unhealthy, dangerous forms of “Christianity” seem epidemic today. Are there healthy forms? Here, I believe, is a good example, from the church I attend. A summary of priority concerns of a Christ-following, healthy faith. 1. We strongly emphasize the...

The Moral Priorities of Jesus – What Did Jesus Teach?

He said, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' but do not do what I say?" Maybe he meant it. This short book (40 pages) is available as a free pdf, or as a paperback at LULU.com (see the links below). It treats the following issues.  Here, each chapter title is followed by...
Advent - God With Us - Immanuel - How do we respond?

Advent: Christ Has Come. So, What Do We Have TO DO?

  CHRIST HAS COME. SO WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO? 1. STAND ALONE “Peter … asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘… what is that to you? You must follow me.’” John 21:21,22 If Christ is really present to us in this world, we have to personally respond...

The Civilized Are Responsible

Originally published in 1976. My how times have not changed. The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless...
brick-layer at work

The Kingdom of God – that is, God’s New Economy: We Are Called To Seek It.

"Over and against these senseless modern myths ... there is the "myth" of the God of goodness who has chosen people to prepare a kingdom of justice, truth, and love on earth. This myth dies hard. Why should we refuse to admit that Christ taught it to us?" [from Andre...
Jesus -

Is Trump a Christian? What Does It MEAN to Believe in Christ?

There was some excitement among certain Republican Christians when Dobson said Trump had become a "baby" Christian and should be cut some slack on that basis. Two problems with that: A novice at practicing the Christian faith is not someone we should automatically...
hand writes with a pen in a notebook

The Quiet Places in Our Lives Make Our Public Activity Safer

  Contemplation and Public Action The public good is most in danger when the voluntary visits to contemplation are neglected in favor of immediate communitarian action. We don't have to go off and become full-time contemplatives. But times of stepping aside from the...
Gun on Bible

Fascism Appearing In America (says “The American Conservative” Magazine)

I've written some articles comparing America today to Hitler's Germany; and it seems it's not just me being paranoid and over-reactive. That concern is appearing in a number of places. Now The American Conservative magazine is running an article, "Hunger for...

Jesus Pushes Us to Judge Our OWN Lives – Not Other People’s

Jesus was a highly respected teacher of morality and of the spiritual life. So, logically enough, a man asked him to take a stand on a moral issue between the man and his brother (Luke 12:13-15) - Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide...
Gun on Bible

Christians Should Not Enforce the Bible.

Here's another example of the misunderstanding and misuse of Scripture by the 'religious right'.  This was quoted to me to show that no Christian could ever vote for Democrats. "Don't you realize that if even one person is allowed to go on sinning, soon all will be...

Prayer and Meditation – Basic Activities

Hand writing in notebook - on a clean page. How do you want to write in your new year?

It’s YOUR New Year! Some Simple Suggestions for 2018

It’s YOUR New Year. Maybe you can’t change a whole lot in your life or your self. Maybe you don’t WANT to change a whole lot. Maybe you don’t even want to change ANYTHING. How nice 😊. But - maybe in an area or two. After all, within certain very real limits, it is...
Break through fear. Find sunshine and freedom beyond it.

Let Nothing Upset You; Let Nothing Frighten You; Even Now. (Teresa of Avila)

  An Exercise in Calm   This image - a sledge, hammering against "FEAR" - seems the opposite of the calm Teresa promotes in this little poem-saying. But you know, as Gandhi and Martin King argued and proved in practice, sometimes you can bring great energy...

4 Short Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Here are links to 4 short articles related to Thanksgiving, with very brief summaries. 3 Short Lists for Making Thanksgiving Work 1. Why we don't want to hear about it. 2. What it does NOT mean. 3. What it DOES mean. Think Thanks on Thanksgiving The...

3 Short Lists for Making Thanksgiving Work

A. Reasons We DON'T LIKE to Hear About It. We're having a rough day. We're having a rough five years. We aren't really awake yet. We're physically sick. Some people are being stupid - or even mean or dangerous. We've just got too much going on. We're mad...

A Quick Personal Check-up: SINCERITY IN PRAYER

Hypocrisy or insincerity is the first thing to guard against in prayer. Beware not to say what you do not mean. ... Pour out your heart before Him.      - John Wesley   It might mean sometimes writing out one's prayer. That helps us to be aware a) whether we are being...
Resolutions - Do Today

A Quick Personal Check-up: IT TAKES SILENCE

God is the friend of silence ... We need silence to be able to touch souls. - Mother Teresa   ... because, I suppose, it calms US down. Wow. Even GOD likes it when we seriously calm down. It enables us to be comfortable with ourselves (or FORCES us to be!), so then we...
Resolutions - Do Today

A Quick Personal Check-up: DO WHAT OTHERS WON’T

  "Today I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't." - Jerry Rice   If you want personal change to appear in your future, work on it in your personal present. Or, as has been often said, if you aim at nothing you are likely to hit it. This is...

Give Thanks Freely – but Not for EVERYthing!

It’s (almost) THANKSGIVING We appreciate food, and housing, clothes, and transportation. We prize friends. We are very grateful for family. We live by faith and fellowship. We feel – and express – thankfulness for many wonderful blessings. But there are some things we...
hand writes with a pen in a notebook

The Quiet Places in Our Lives Make Our Public Activity Safer

  Contemplation and Public Action The public good is most in danger when the voluntary visits to contemplation are neglected in favor of immediate communitarian action. We don't have to go off and become full-time contemplatives. But times of stepping aside from the...

You Can Pray and Still Be Wrong

Here's William Jennings Bryan, about 100 years ago. He's rejecting the idea that because a man is rich, powerful, and a faithful churchgoer his behavior should be automatically honored and imitated. It is not necessary that all Christian people shall sanction the...
Book Cover - Occupy Spirituality

Changing this World: the Activism of Prayer and of Silence – a review of “Occupy Spirituality” by Bucko and Fox

I am very pleased with this book ("Occupy Spirituality").  It is a conversation between a young activist and an old one.  Adam Bucko (late 30’s, raised a Catholic in Poland, helps run a ministry to homeless youth in New York City) and Matthew Fox (late 70’s, a...
Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II

John Paul II: Private Prayer and the Dangers of Public Life

For decades he resisted Nazi, then Communist oppression. How did he cope? Connie and I recently watched Karol: A Man Who Became Pope. It portrays Karol Wojtyla's life from his late teens, when the Nazi's invaded his city and nation, through WWII, then through decades...

Email – She Is Eager to Scare Us All!

Scary Email I received an anonymous forwarded email the other day that combined a bit of good spiritual advice with a lot of classic Republico-Christian fear-mongering. Actually, it wasn't totally anonymous. It was signed (several senders back) by "Carolyn". This is...

How Goes Your Pilgrimage? – Parker Palmer, a Quaker View

Sometimes the pilgrimage does not go so well. Sometimes we wonder if we're still moving forward at all. In the tradition of pilgrimage, ... hardships are seen not as accidental but as integral to the journey itself. Treacherous terrain, bad weather, taking a fall,...

Spiritual Refreshment – A Musical Bath for Our Souls

A man saw the whole world as a grinning skull and crossbones. The rose flesh of life shriveled from all faces. Nothing counts. Everything is a fake. Dust to dust and ashes to ashes and then an old darkness and a useless silence. So he saw it all. Been there? Done...

The Soul of Prayer – Peter Taylor Forsyth on Spiritual Genuis

"Prayer changes things." It puts us into direct contact with God, and thus brings God into more active contact with our personal lives and surroundings. That more intimate, active presence of God does indeed tend to change things in and around us. Peter Forsyth, a...

Does Prayer “Work”? “Scientific & Pastoral Perspectives…”

Here's a review of another book on prayer as promised a couple of days ago. [Here's a more recent review of a book on prayer - P T Forsyth's Soul of Prayer] My second acquisition at Pastors' Seminar was: Scientific and Pastoral Perspectives on Intercessory Prayer: An...

You Can Pray And Still Be Very Wrong

Here's William Jennings Bryan, about 100 years ago. He's rejecting the idea that because a man is rich, powerful, and a faithful churchgoer his behavior should be automatically honored and imitated. It is not necessary that all Christian people shall sanction the...

As We Think, So We Are

I recommend for your attention this excellent recent comment by bookaholic. Here are some excerpts. This little bit about Jesus: "he was not energized by and focused on his enemies" is some kind of key. I spent several years in a small town where a favorite topic of...

A Prayer About Intimacy, Beauty, and Spiritual Reality

Jesus' prayer in John 17 is unusual - for it's length and for its "flavor." It is relatively long. Actually, it's short by the standards of some preachers, but it's long by New Testament standards, and there aren't many prayers in the whole Bible that are longer. To...
Share
Tweet
Pin
+1
Share
Email