A Little Farther Down the Path: Convictions

Perhaps nothing illustrates the way my thinking has changed over the past decade better than the evolution in my appreciation for Marcus Borg.

Like many students of conservative, evangelical theology—the tradition in which I grew up—I first learned of Marcus Borg in his role as one of the most prominent figures involved in something called The Jesus Seminar back in the 1980s and ’90s. That endeavor comprised 150 academics and laypersons who met occasionally to debate the authenticity of the sayings and deeds attributed to Jesus in the Gospels. The group’s methodology for registering their individual opinions—i.e. depositing colored marbles in a box, each different color representing greater or lesser likelihood of authenticity—provided ample material for jokes and put-downs in the conservative circles where I moved at the time. Continue reading

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The Devastating Effects of Correct Doctrine

The liturgy has been finalized and is being printed for this evening’s Gathering for Worship In the Liturgical Tradition​. The homily is prepared. All other elements necessary for the service have been cared for. It is a beautiful morning here in central Ohio, and I am looking forward to tonight’s gathering. Nonetheless, my heart is heavy.

I am thinking this morning of how devastating religious belief can be. I am recalling how many of my friendships have been weakened, how many relationships have suffered–some to the degree that they no longer exist–all because of religious beliefs and doctrinal “convictions.” Continue reading