“We’re having a culture war and Jesus happens to be one of the weapons tossed about by both sides.” — Amy-Jill Levine
Ever feel like Jesus has been kidnapped by the Christian Right and discarded by the Secular Left? Join us this Sunday as we begin a 12-part series called “Saving Jesus,” produced by Living the Questions:
- Introduction: Jesus Through the Ages (May 16th)
- Who was Jesus? (June 6th)
- What Can We Know About Jesus? (June 27th)
- The World into Which Jesus Was Born (July 11th)
- Jesus’ Birth: Incarnation
- Teachings of Jesus: Wisdom Tradition
- Jesus’ Program: The Kingdom of God
- Jesus’ Ministry of Compassion
- Who Killed Jesus?
- The Atonement
- The Resurrection of Christ
- Why Jesus Is Worth Saving
We plan to spread the series out over the year, breaking them into three sets of forums consisting of four parts each. We will explore the first set over the next couple of months (see the dates above) and the other two parts later in the year (and possibly into 2022). Each forum will begin with a video (approximately 30 minutes long) that features numerous biblical scholars (see the list of contributors below). This will be followed by a discussion of the issues and points raised in the video.
Hope to see you this Sunday. Here’s the Zoom information:
Meeting ID: 614 053 6602
Contributors (from the Living the Questions website — for the most part)
Diana Butler Bass
An independent commentator on American religion and culture and a leader in progressive Christianity. Diana holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Duke University and is the award-winning author of ten books, including Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks, Grounded: Finding God in the World —A Spiritual Revolution, Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening, and Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith. She regularly speaks at conferences, consults with religious organizations, leads educational events, and teaches and preaches in a variety of venues in the United States and internationally. Her bylines include The Washington Post, The New York Times Syndicate, and The Huffington Post. She has commented widely on religion, politics, and culture widely in the media including USA TODAY, Time, Newsweek, CBS, CNN, FOX, PBS, NPR, Sirius XM, and CBC.
(1942–2015) was among the most widely known and influential voices in progressive Christianity. He was the Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University and canon theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland. His books have sold over a million copies, including the bestselling Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Reading the Bible Again for the First Time, Jesus, The Heart of Christianity, Evolution of the Word, Speaking Christian, and Convictions. His work has been translated into eleven languages. The Marcus J. Borg Foundation is a repository of his work and the continuing conversation he so deeply engaged.
Rita Nakashima Brock
Founding Co-Director of Faith Voices for the Common Good, an organization dedicated to creating a nationwide community of conscience and a visiting scholar at Starr King School for the Ministry at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. She is the author of the award-winning Journeys by Heart: A Christology of Erotic Power and co-author of Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and The Search for What Saves Us.
William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Brueggemann has authored hundreds of articles, several biblical commentaries and more than 50 books, including A Gospel of Hope, Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out, Sabbath as Resistance, The Prophetic Imagination, Genesis: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, Finally Comes the Poet, and Theology of the Old Testament.
Pastor of the Congregational Church of Sunnyvale, UCC, Sunnyvale, California. Ron is the visionary behind the United Church of Christ’s “God is still speaking” campaign and recently launched Racists Anonymous, a 12-step program aimed at ending racism, sexism, classism and more. He served as the coordinator and spokesman of the initiative until mid-2006 and consults with UCC conferences and churches across the nation. He is a writer, speaker, preacher, and consultant. Ron speaks and conducts workshops regularly on a national level.
Having served as an organizer of various cooperative ministries and a pastor in churches from Texas to California, Bishop Carcaño is the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the Episcopacy in the United Methodist Church. Former Director of the Mexican-American Program of Hispanic Studies at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, she is currently serving as the Bishop of the Desert Southwest Conference.
Emeritus Professor at the Claremont School of Theology and Graduate School and Founding Co-Director of the Center for Process Theology. Recipient of the Grawemeyer Award of Ideas Improving World Order, his many writings include Christ in a Pluralistic Age, God and the World, For the Common Good, Reclaiming the Church, and Jesus’ Abba: The God Who Has Not Failed.
John Dominic Crossan
Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at De Paul University, John Dominic Crossan is generally acknowledged to be the premier historical Jesus scholar in the world. He has written thirty books including Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, Who Killed Jesus? and The Birth of Christianity. A Roman Catholic monk for nineteen years and a priest for twelve years, Crossan is a former co-chair of The Jesus Seminar and a past-president of the Society of Biblical Literature.
A San Francisco native, she has served her call through prophetic action and ministry for justice for over thirty years. This call to “blend proclamation, worship, service and advocacy on behalf of those most marginalized in church and in society” led to the founding of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ in 1991. In 2003, Rev. Dr. Flunder was consecrated Presiding Bishop of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, a multi-denominational coalition of over 100 primarily African American Christian leaders and laity. Rev. Dr. Flunder is on the Board of Starr King School for the Ministry and DEMOS and has taught at many theological schools. She is a graduate of the Certificate of Ministry and Master of Arts programs at PSR and received her Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is also an award-winning gospel music artist and author of Where the Edge Gathers: A Theology of Homiletic and Radical Inclusion.
Senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church in NYC, President of the Healing of the Nations Foundation, and host of “The Time Is Now” on Air America Radio. Newsweek magazine recognized Forbes as one of the 12 “most effective preachers” in the English-speaking world (03/04/96). An ordained minister in the American Baptist Churches and the Original United Holy Church of America, he is the first African American to serve as Senior Minister of one of the largest multicultural congregations in the nation.
Spiritual theologian, Matthew Fox has been a pioneer in recovering the ancient but often ignored creation spirituality tradition and in developing alternative forms of education. Author of 36 books that have been translated into 70 languages, his work on behalf of eco-justice, gender justice, women’s rights, and gay rights got him silenced by the Vatican and then expelled from his Dominican order after 34 years. He is currently an Episcopal priest. Among his books are: Original Blessing, A Spirituality Named Compassion, Stations of the Cosmic Christ, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Times, Hildegard of Bingen, A Saint for Our Times, The Lotus & the Rose: Conversations on Tibetan Buddhism & Mystical Christianity, and Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the God Without a Name.
holds Honours degrees in Mathematics and Old Testament Language and Literature. Ordained as a Presbyterian minister, he served in Kurow, Dunedin and Wellington. He held Chairs of Old Testament Studies at theological colleges in Brisbane and Dunedin before being appointed as the foundation Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. From this he retired in 1984. His major publications include God in the New World, Resurrection – A Symbol of Hope, Faith’s New Age, In the World Today, Tomorrow’s God, The World to Come, Christianity without God, Wrestling with God, Coming Back to Earth, Such is Life!, From the Big Bang to God, Reimagining God, On Me Bike, Portholes to the Past, and Witness to Change.
University Professor of New Testament Studies and Jewish Studies, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies, and Professor of New Testament studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science in Nashville, TN. Her publications include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, Short Stories by Jesus, The Gospel of Luke, and the co-edited Jewish Annotated New Testament, 2nd edition. Dr. Levine is a Yankee Jewish feminist whose primary job is teaching the New Testament to candidates for Christian ministry.
Author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is an Auburn Senior Fellow and a leader in the Convergence Network, through which he is developing an innovative training/mentoring program for pastors, church planters, and lay leaders called Convergence Leadership Project. He works closely with the Center for Progressive Renewal/Convergence, the Wild Goose Festival, and the Fair Food Program‘s Faith Working Group.
Robin is an ordained United Church of Christ minister who has served Mayflower Church in Oklahoma City for 34 years. He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Philosophy Department of Oklahoma City University, a columnist, peace activist, and widely traveled lecturer on the merits of progressive Christianity. He is the author of seven books including the national bestseller, Saving Jesus from the Church, and is a member of the God Seminar at the Westar Institute, home of the Jesus Seminar.
An award winning talk-show host, editorial commentator, and host of the “The McMahon Group” and “The God Show” both on KTAR radio (Phoenix, AZ). Pat’s professional and personal contributions have been recognized with seven Emmys, major national and international radio awards, numerous civic, educational, religious and humanitarian awards. He is a recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Ottawa University, the Arizona Broadcasters Lifetime Achievement Award, and is the only two-time Hall of Fame recipient of the Arizona Broadcasters Association.
Culver “Bill” Nelson
Founding Pastor Emeritus of the Church of the Beatitudes in Phoenix (which grew into the largest church in the United Church of Christ under his leadership). A founding member of The Jesus Seminar, he serves as the editor of the Westar Institute’s magazine, “The Fourth R”, and is a much sought-after lecturer and speaker.
Rebecca Ann Parker
Seminary President, Professor of Theology of Starr King School. She is an ordained United Methodist minister in dual fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association. She serves on the board of Faith Voices for the Common Good, an interfaith think-tank focused on progressive religion and politics, and is co-author of Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us and author of a book of collected essays Blessing the World: What Can Save Us Now.
A professor focusing on Christian origins at Willamette University, he is the author several books, including The Forgotten Creed: Christianity’s Original Struggle Against Bigotry, Slavery, and Sexism, The Lost Way, and The God of Jesus.
Roman Catholic Sister and leading American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. She has ministered to numerous inmates on death row, and has authored two books based on her experiences with several inmates on death row, Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions. Prejean bases her work at the Death Penalty Discourse Center in New Orleans.
Former Academic Dean and Emeritus Professor of Church and Society at the Saint Paul School of Theology, Sample is a freelance lecturer, workshop leader, consultant. His books include Ministry in an Oral Culture: Living with Will Rogers, Uncle Remus, and Minnie Pearl, and co-editor of The Loyal Opposition: Struggling with the Church on Homosexuality. He is currently the coordinator of the Network for the Study of U.S. Lifestyles.
Bernard Brandon Scott
Darbeth Distinguished Professor of New Testament at the Phillips Theological Seminary, University of Tulsa, OK. He is a charter member of The Jesus Seminar, co-chair of the Bible in Ancient and Modern Media Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, and a consultant to the American Bible Society experimental film translations. He is the author of several books, including Re-Imagine the World and Hear Then the Parable.
John Shelby Spong
The retired Bishop of Newark, New Jersey, Spong is a columnist and author of over twenty-five books including Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism and Why Christianity Must Change or Die. His books have sold more than 2,000,000 copies and have been translated into every major language of the world. Lecturer at Harvard, Humanist of the Year, and a guest on numerous national television broadcasts including The Today Show, Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, and Larry King Live, Bishop Spong lectures around the world.
Dave is an Anglican priest, writer whose books include How to be a Bad Christian (and a better human being) and Black Sheep and Prodigals – an antidote to black and white religion. He regularly broadcasts on the BBC’s ‘Pause for Thought’ and is also a qualified teacher of the Enneagram. Dave lives in London with his wife Pat where he is establishing a new church in a pub.
Emilie Townes is an American Christian social ethicist and theologian, and is currently Dean and E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society at the Vanderbilt University Divinity School. Focusing on Christian ethics, womanist ethics, critical social theory, cultural theory and studies, as well as on postmodernism and social postmodernism, she is the author of such books as Womanist Justice, Womanist Hope, and Breaking the Fine Rain of Death. Professor Townes is an ordained American Baptist clergywoman.
Director of Justice and Reconciliation at Trinity Wall Street in New York. She is a blogger for the Huffington Post; author of Church Meets World; editor of What We Shall Become; and author of numerous articles and chapters on social justice and the church.