Brian D. McLaren

We should consider the possibility that many, and perhaps even all of Jesus’ hell-fire or end-of-the-universe statements refer not to postmortem [after death] judgment but to the very historic consequences of rejecting his kingdom message of reconciliation and peacemaking. The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 67-70 seems to many people to fulfill much of what we have traditionally understood as hell.

I was relaxing in my parents’ swimming pool with my brother, Peter. I asked him how the engineering business was going, and he reciprocated: ‘How’s the ministry world going?’ ‘Okay,’ I said, ‘except that a couple of weeks ago I realized that I don’t know why Jesus had to die.’ Then Peter, without skipping a beat, without even a moment’s hesitation, said, ‘Well, neither did Jesus.’

I tried to read The Dubliners, when I went to Dublin a couple of years ago. I think I only go thurogh the first story. Gnomon is such an interesting word. So many different uses for a word nooone has heard of, or uses these days. I googled some pictures of sundials to check that it was the tall shadow casting bit (it is) and then discovered that Saint Sulpice in Paris has a rather fascinating large gnomon- which I shall endeavour to see on my next visit to that fair city. Thanks for such a great word, which I shall try to remember.

In the tradition of Julian of Norwich and St. Teresa of Avila and all the other mystics, we can learn to render ourselves vulnerable to the “favors of God” – those indescribable experiences that mock our dualisms and so saturate our imagination with abundance that they transcend our ability to convey joy and wonder. In the tradition of St. John of the Cross, we can learn to survive and derive benefits from the soul’s dark night.

Seventh-Gay Adventists isn’t just a helpful movie, important for the way it can help congregations of any denomination deal graciously and truthfully with the issue of homosexuality. It’s also a beautifully-filmed and artfully-conceived movie. It does what the best art does – it ‘humanizes the other.’ You should see it, and when you do, you’ll encourage others to see it as well.

About the book of Job: If it were today, God might be asking “How does DNA carry traits? How are instincts passed on in animals? How does consciousness arise in the human body and brain, and what is consciousness? What is dark matter? How did the big bang happen? Why does the speed of light appear to be absolute? Is cold fusion possible? How do you program a TV remote control?

Because we are rooted in a generous Christian heritage, we are eager to collaborate with people of other faiths, and those seeking the common good. Our networks of dialogue and action thus extend beyond Christian communities to persons of all faiths, as well as to communities that are not themselves faith-based. We welcome allies and allegiances wherever we find common cause.

A lot of arguments happen among religious and non religious people about the question of who’s going to hell and who’s going to heaven and uh, a lot of times Christians get into this argument by saying ‘we have the only way to heaven.’ And uh, people often ask me what do I think is the way to heaven. I have a problem when they ask me this question because it assumes that the primary purpose of Jesus’ coming and the primary message of Jesus was a message about how to get to heaven.

Tony [Campolo] and I might disagree on the details, but I think we are both trying to find an alternative to both traditional Universalism and the narrow, exclusivist understanding of hell [that unless you explicitly accept and follow Jesus, you are excluded from eternal life with God and destined for hell].

It used to be that Christian institutions and systems of dogma sustained the spiritual life of Christians. Increasingly, spirituality itself is what sustains everything else. Alan Jones is a pioneer in reimagining a Christian faith that emerges from authentic spirituality. His work stimulates and encourages me deeply