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The Laughing Jesus

I’ve been reading The Gospel of Judas. It’s one of the different narratives about Jesus that the early church disliked and discarded. Irenaeus, who lived in the 2’nd century, mentions the book in his long diatribe against false teachings, but it had never been found until showing up in the hands of an Egyptian antiquities […]

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The Other American Dream

My first job teaching in a community college was in a small North Carolina farming town.  The entire public school district was housed in single building, and I taught college level religion, sociology, and psychology courses to the juniors and seniors.  Added together, there were about twenty-five.  The district was so tiny that teachers knew […]

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The Story of The Good Samaritan

One day, a lawyer asked Jesus a question about the law.  Being a Pharisee, who believed in a resurrection, he wanted to know the legal requirements for admission to heaven.  “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Rather than answering, Jesus asked the lawyer for his opinion, and the legal scholar quoted verses from […]

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Meeting God

The first time I experienced what I think of as God was as a bored teenager in church, feeling guilty about masturbating.  Masturbation was a regular activity, being a horny fifteen year-old, and the Sears catalog provided visual stimulation.  In my day, catalogs were the equivalent of internet porn.  Unfortunately, I also believed masturbation was […]

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Casualties Of A Different War

My father grew up on a small, family dairy farm in upstate New York.  He would get out of bed at four in the morning, milk cows, deliver milk, and then go to school.  I have a few old milk bottles imprinted with the label of Dann’s All-Star Dairy. That was back in the 1930s.  […]

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What’s Precious and What’s Not

There’s nothing like moving to make you separate what’s precious from what’s not.  I’ve moved eleven times in the last seventeen years.  Somewhere back around move number four I cut my library in half.  At different places along the way I’ve left behind desks, bookshelves, chairs, a tiller, and partial stake in a foosball table.  […]

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Penn State and Us

When I worked with drug addicts, I had a client named Ben.  Ben was in his early twenties, a warehouse worker, a high school drop-out, and an alcoholic who snorted cocaine occasionally.  He was in treatment because the beer and coke exacerbated his temper.  Ben was not a friendly drunk.  Fights with his girlfriends often […]

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One Nation Under God- Part 2

While courts may view the phrase one nation under God with some skepticism, the American people do not.  An amazing eighty-five percent of us believe the sentiment belongs in the Pledge of Allegiance.  That’s a degree of unanimity Americans share about very few things, and it makes me wonder if people have thought this through. […]

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We’re Not As Different As We Think

One of the unfortunate facts of life is that all human knowledge is based in the perception of difference.  There is no subject without an object.  There is no you and me without a distinction between you and me.  We’re not aware of something until it calls attention to itself. I have cousins who are […]

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The Sins of Widow Muzzy

One of the churches I served, in the days when I was a pastor, still possessed its original membership book.  The small, tattered ledger dated to the late 1700’s, when the congregation was founded by Methodist circuit riders.  Names were listed, with dates for admission or termination, and a few words of explanation.  As you […]

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