Showing posts from May, 2016

Who Are We? Part 3: Buddhism

READING: Luke 9:23-25 Then Jesus said to them, “You who wish to be my followers must deny your very self, take up your cross every day, and follow in my steps. If you would save your life, you’ll lose it, and if you’ll lose your life for my sake, you’ll save it. What profit is there in gaining the whole world if you lose and forfeit your heart in the process? REFLECTION: Who Are We? Part 3: Buddhism So last week we talked a whole lot about New Thought. Today, the third part of the series looking at the question, “who are we?”, we look at the Buddhist take on the question. Last week, I also mentioned I would discuss some of my concerns about the New Thought paradigm. Actually, Buddhism’s critique of New Thought gets at my concerns very well. So by looking at Buddhism’s critique of New Thought in the first part of this talk, we are also looking at my concerns. I first want to be clear. I do not mean to disregard or dismiss New Thought completely. It has

Unitarian Universalism Needs Jesus

from Wikipedia on Unitarianism, "Part of a series on Christianity" I will put my thesis on the table right away if the title did not put it out there already. If UUism is going to grow, it needs to focus more on the person of Jesus and his teachings. (Before you turn away, please note my emphasis on the person and the teachings of Jesus and not the divinity and the cross of Jesus.) The Question of the Nones Here is the dilemma facing organized religion which UU, like it or not, is – the quickest growing group of people when it comes to religious affiliation is the group who claim no affiliation at all, a group of people that have been labeled the “Nones.” (When asked their religious affiliation, they answer “none.”) The Nones have grown by a whopping 10% in the past 25 years, and 4% in just the past 5 years. They are the second largest religious group in the country, behind only Catholics in population. At the same time, mainline denominations have been declining precip

Who Are We? Part 2: New Thought

In a chapter of her excellent book Bright-Sided titled “The Dark Roots of Optimism,” author Barbara Ehrenreich argues that the roots of the self-help movement are found in what the new movement stood against. The beginning of the Self-Help movement arose out of a rejection of the pervading world-view of the time, Calvinism. Calvinism is what the Puritans and the Pilgrims shared in common. The early days of the Congregational Church had Calvinism as its theological foundation. Same with the Presbyterian church, the Reformed Church, and even some Baptist traditions. Calvinism can best be explained with an acrostic that is famously used. TULIP. Yep, using the name of a beautiful flower to describe a rather unbeautiful theology. T = Total Depravity – the human self is marked by sinfulness from cradle to grave U = Unconditional Election – through no fault or condition of their own, a select few are marked for salvation  L = Limited Atonement – Christ died for this select

Who Are We? Part 1: Intro

The Hebrew word used here is tselem . Some versions translate tselem as image. Others as likeness or even resemblance. In Genesis 5, the same term is used to describe Adam’s son Seth. Adam had a son in his own likeness, in his own image, the New International Version puts it. The Eastern Orthodox highlights this doctine known as Imago Dei, in the image of God. The Greek word used for tselem and one the Orthodox tradition makes central to its faith practice is the word "icon." We are created as icons of God. We are a tangible picture that God chose to show what God is like. And if we contemplate this reality deeply enough, God is revealed to us. This word icon is also associated with Christ. Colossions 1:15 states Christ is the icon of God, the perfect, uncreated icon of God. The Jewish understanding of the notion we know as Imago Dei makes it even clearer. Here, the literal meaning of the word tselem is shadow. We are created to be God’s shadow. We are literall