Exploring God’s Activity

J. Bennett Guess has served in the national setting of the United Church of Christ since 2000.  He was the Director of Communications for the denomination from 2007-2011.  In 2011 Guess was elected to his current position:  Executive Minister of the United Church of Christ's Local Church Ministries and a member of the UCC's five-person Collegium of Officers. In the Spring/Summer edition of the Still Speaking magazine, Guess concluded his article about the denomination's new "Faith In" project Read More …

Age & Belief in God

A few days ago a Huffington Post article reported on a recent study "based on data collected as part of the General Social Survey by researchers at the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago" that found older people are more religious.  The pattern of higher rates of belief in God among older respondents was consistent throughout the world (in the 30 countries considered by this research). So What? While some commonly held views about religion are not Read More …

We Belong

"We belong" is a two word summary of the sermon I heard the Rev. Dr. Ronald Patterson preach yesterday.  That idea was so powerful that I chose to forgo the normal format for the sermon discussion group I have been facilitating the last several weeks. Patterson mentioned the first question in the Heidelberg Catechism (1563): What is your only comfort in life and in death?  He also shared and built upon the answer.  Our group, at my request, looked at the same issue through child-like eyes Read More …

Review of Divinity of Doubt

Meet the Author Vincent Bugliosi started his legal career in the L.A. County District Attorney's office, where he successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials, including receiving 21 of 21 murder convictions.  In that capacity he is best known for the Charles Manson case.  That experience enabled him to write Helter Skelter (1974), which remains the biggest selling true-crime book in publishing history.  Since then, Bugliosi has continued his career as a writer with another Read More …

Trust/Mistrust in God & Worry

A recent article in the Scientific American, co-authored by Sarah Estes Graham and Jesse Graham, considers a scholarly article in the July 2011 edition of the Journal of Clinical Psychology written by a group that includes professors from Harvard Medical School.  The research found: Studying hundreds of devoutly religious Jews and Christians, the researchers explored what religious cognitions can lead to more or less worry. Specifically, they found that mistrust in God . . . was associated with Read More …

God’s Role in Your Halloween Candy Consumption

"If God knows, will you eat that Halloween candy?" is a question worth answering, and the title of Cathy Lynn Grossman's USA Today article.  As a means of answering that question she explores recent research: According to lead author Kristin Laurin of University of Waterloo, Canada, "This is the first empirical evidence that simple reminders of God can diminish some types of self-regulation, such as pursuing one's goals, yet can improve others, such as resisting temptation." So Read More …

Review of Speaking Christian

Meet the Author Marcus Borg is Canon Theologian at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, Oregon.  He is also professor emeritus in the philosophy department at Oregon State University, where  he was the Hundere Chair in Religion until his retirement in 2007.  Borg is among the most widely known and influential voices in progressive Christianity.  He is best known for his work as a fellow in the Jesus Seminar, his biblical scholarship, and as the author of twenty books.  His most recent Read More …

A Few Thoughts on Who Jesus Is

Yesterday the United Church of Christ's Stillspeaking Writers' Group shared fourteen thoughts about who Jesus is.  Three of their thoughts spoke to me: Jesus is the one who makes God real for me Jesus is the one who calls me out to the other on behalf of myself In Jesus, God shared in the kind of life you and I live So What? As you continue on your holy week journey what are some of your thoughts about who Jesus is?  Has some aspect of who Jesus is become more clear for you in Read More …