For those of you who have found this blog via the radio program, welcome! Please take time to explore and come back often. You already found the blog. You will also find sermons, sermon podcasts, upcoming shows, Religion For Life podcasts, my church's website, the blog for our excellent Adult Forum, and a personal blog about my grief over my son's death this past summer. Check the menu bar up top.
I don't write nearly as frequently here as I used to do on Shuck and Jive. Many posts there were short, chatty, newsy, and often focused on my denomination's politics. I now have Facebook for that. Creative energy that I put into Shuck and Jive now goes into the radio program itself. This blog seems to be for more reflective pieces.
I have been reflecting for some time on religion, particularly my religion. The current series on Religion For Life is the future of faith or the future of religion. I have been speaking with some interesting people on this program. What I am hearing is that the future of religion will be less about theological beliefs and more about ethical practice. This obviously won't be everyone's future. Yet for many, and this number is growing, there is a desire for a meaningful life more than for metaphysical speculation.
I have received some feedback from people who are interested in what I believe. That is not new. Heresy hunters in my denomination have been interested in what I believe for some time. For them, my reflections are a threat to "the faith." I don't deny that. My reflections are a threat to a belief system that I think is outdated and is passing away.
Others are interested in what I believe out of anxiety. They tend to disapprove but are not sure what to do about it. "He can't say that, can he? He can't believe that, can he?" There is a nervousness about a taboo being broken or a foundation that is shaken. To those, I say don't panic. This is how positive change happens. Hang in there. Trust the process. Try not to judge. You can hold whatever beliefs you have as long as you want. All is fluid. Nothing is carved in stone. Consider this reflection "brainstorming" and remember, I am on your team.
There is also an interest in what I believe from those who are on a similar quest. In my conversations with Daniel Dennett, he noted that religions will either end or mend based on their ability to respond adequately to the modern world, particularly, the transparency available to us through the internet. Religions did not appear in the era of modern science, but if they are going to survive in this environment and be a positive force for good, they will have to adapt to the universe that science is uncovering. These people are interested in what I believe because they, too, are interested in what religion might become. Let us create!
About a year and a half ago, I made a series of posts at Shuck and Jive under the heading "What Presbyterians Believe (except me)." These posts provide a nice start for my reflection on religion. Here are the five posts. I invite you to read them in order:
- What Presbyterians Believe (except me)
- What Presbyterians Believe (except me) Part 2
- What Presbyterians Believe (except me) Part 3
- What Presbyterians Believe (except me) Part 4
- Religion For [this] Life
During Lent, beginning this Sunday at my congregation, I will take four of the five Sundays to reflect on the Bible, Jesus, God, and the Meaning of Life. Sometimes you just have to take on the big questions! If you have been intrigued by the radio program, and you live in the area, I hope will you come and join us on a Sunday morning. Send me an e-mail and I'll go for coffee with you!