According to John: Clean by the Word

Again, I’m announcing this late, but you can get more information on the Google+ event page, and you can watch using the viewer below. Note that the Q&A app will be active and you can ask questions or make comments.

Would You Like a World that Was Perfectly Square?

Not sure? Tonight you can find out!

0964440601On the Energion Hangout tonight I’ll be interviewing my friend Dr. Dolly Berthelot, author of PERFECTLY SQUARE: A Fantasy Fable for All Ages, and an all around great person.

Let’s get the commercial part out of the way first. This book was first published in 1994, and its message is still relevant, possibly even more relevant, today. In fact, I suspect that in another 50 years, its message will still be on point and up to date. So I’ve taken up distributing the book. You can find the Energion catalog page at the link above or by clicking on the cover picture.

And while we’re at it, you can find the interview tonight (7:00 pm central / 8:00 pm eastern) via the Google+ Event page, or you can use the embedded viewer here.

With that out of the way, let me tell you about Dolly Berthelot. I encountered Dolly through the CommUNITY Dialogues™ program she offered through the Human Relations office here in Escambia County Florida. I believe I got involved through mutual friends at the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Pensacola (then Pensacola Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship).

My view of diversity programs at the time was negative, to say the least. I had attended a number of these programs while in the USAF and also some with civilian organizations, and they were uniformly boring and generally useless. I remained committed, however, to the idea that we could learn to reap great benefits from our differences by listening to one another.

I’d say that the key failures of diversity programs that I attended were rather straightforward. First, they had a tendency to tell you what a few differences were and basically explain that you had to get along anyhow. Then they’d attempt to make all the diverse people in the room drop all their differences, or treat them as unimportant, so they could get along. It appeared that the diversity trainers really didn’t like diversity. Their hope was that everyone would cut off the rough edges and get along, or just not mention anything that might be controversial.

In CommUNITY Dialogues™, things were quite different. Dolly taught (and encourages) unity in diversity. We are all different, and this isn’t a problem to be solved, but an opportunity to be grasped. We need to make the most of our diversity because it’s a great thing.

So now, 20 years after the book was first released, and quite a number of years after I enjoyed that dialogues program, I’m taking up distributing this book. For various reasons (I’ll get her to explain tonight), Dolly hasn’t been as active. But she’s passionate and ready to go with the message of unity in diversity. Join us!


According to John: The Whole House Was Filled with the Fragrance

I’m late again. Check the Google+ event or use the viewer below. I really am going to catch up with my blogging, announce these things earlier, and post comments afterward. Really I am!

Hangout Tonight: Social Justice, Good or Bad?

I know this is late, but tonight I’ll be hosting the re-do of this hangout with Elgin Hushbeck, Jr. and Steve Kindle. You can get the details on the Google+ Event page, or view using the embedded viewer below.

According to John: Have I not Chosen You, the Twelve?

john bannerTonight, internet permitting, I continue my study of the gospel according to John following Dr. Herold Weiss’s book Meditations on According to John. You can find more information at the Google+ Event Page, and view either there or via the embedded viewer below.


Discussion Tonight: Violence in the Bible

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On the Energion Hangout tonight at 7:00 PM central time, we’ll be discussing the topic of violence in the Bible, with a particular emphasis on the Old Testament. But as participant Dr. Alden Thompson will doubtless remind us tonight, there’s violence in the New Testament as well. Alden Thompson is author of the very first title in the Energion catalog, now in its 5th edition, Who’s Afraid of the Old Testament God?. Joining Alden will be Dr. Allan Bevere, author of The Character of Our Discontent, a book that resulted from his decision to preach from the Old Testament more, even though he’s a New Testament scholar.

I’ve known Alden Thompson for a long time. He was my professor for two years of undergraduate Hebrew and for my first quarter of Aramaic. It is no accident that Who’s Afraid of the Old Testament God? was first in the Energion catalog. It was out of print and I ask to reissue it because I wanted to use it in my own teaching.

I would say, in fact, that Alden is one of the major reasons why, despite all the doubts I’ve had over the years, I’m still a Christian. No, he didn’t prevent me from leaving the church following seminary, and I’m no longer a member of the same denomination, but the kinds of approaches to the various problems in both biblical studies and theology have stuck with me. In addition, I use some of the approaches he teaches, both to inspiration and to dealing with diversity in the church, quite frequently.

Alden takes a kind and gentle approach to working with those who disagree, no matter what their perspective. He’s careful with questioners’ faith, while still being willing to take their questions seriously.

I met Allan Bevere more recently, through the medium of blogging and then of print publishing, but I’ve also developed a friendship with him. Allan takes orthodox Christian doctrine seriously and is a pastor first and foremost. He is also an adjunct professor, and helps prepare other pastors.

Tonight I intend to challenge both these scholars regarding difficult passages of scripture. Can we bypass the violence? Can we look at some aspects of scripture as just plain wrong? If not, how do we deal with such passages as Numbers 31?

I think this discussion will be lively and lots of fun!

If you prefer YouTube:

Correction – According to John: Salvation is from the Jews

I posted this hangout incorrectly in my previous post. The Google+ link is now on my own page, and the correct YouTube viewer is below:

I apologize for the confusion!

According to John: Salvation is from the Jews

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Tonight I discuss the 15th chapter of Dr. Herold Weiss’s book Meditations on According to John, “Salvation is from the Jews.” You can find more details at the Google+ event, or watch using the embedded YouTube viewer below.


According to John: Remember My Words

Tonight’s study on According to John, based on Chapter 14 of Dr. Herold Weiss’s book Meditations on According to John, will have me going far afield from the gospel of John into a discussion of individual and community memory and the importance of a message transmitted by and shaped by a community. I will argue that rather than seeing this type of transmission as a weakness, it is, in fact a great strength and should be embraced.

What does it mean today to hear Jesus saying “Remember” (John 15:20) today? What is the role of the Holy Spirit in all this?

Who Are the Homeless?

9781631991271sI want to keep everyone thinking about social justice. In my view, if more people become more aware about what is going on and take action, whatever action they believe is best, we’ll be better off. Discussing this and related issues can only help.

We have multiple Energion authors who have a variety of views and are addressing these in their own way. The video below is by Renee Crosby, author of The Fringe (and Soup Kitchen for the Soul). The Fringe (a eucatastrophe press title)  tells about homelessness in the form of fiction. So take Renee’s challenge seriously. Educate yourself!