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Blogs

Thoughts on Change

Posted on April 24, 2022

Due to an overwhelming week, I have not had time to write a blog as I normally would for the Quest News. I thought in place I would offer a few notes on current events in my life and what I am thinkin...Read More

The Serious Comedy of Palm Sunday

Posted on April 17, 2022

I have always been skeptical about whether what we call “Palm Sunday” (the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on a donkey) was a historical event. The problem is that the story is recorded in t...Read More

In Defense of Being Awake

In Defense of Being Awake

Posted on April 10, 2022

According to Religion News Service (religionnews.com), since 2006 the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has lost over two million followers. And the trend continues downward. There are many sociologi...Read More

Embracing the Mythic

Embracing the Mythic

Posted on March 13, 2022

Before I developed friendships with Westar classical and biblical scholars, I was mostly a philosopher interested in the problem of history. As a philosopher, I learned about a distinction between res...Read More

Russia, Ukraine and Us

Russia, Ukraine and Us

Posted on February 27, 2022

On Monday of this past week the Kenyan Ambassador to the United Nations, Martin Kimani, reminded the Security Council of his country's history with empire. The borders of his country, like the borders...Read More

Is Jesus Becoming Post-Imperial?

Is Jesus Becoming Post-Imperial?

Posted on February 13, 2022

Many things happened to the historical Jesus between the time of his life around 30 CE and the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. These “things” were both philosophical and political in nature. ...Read More

Convoys and Constitutions

Convoys and Constitutions

Posted on January 30, 2022

A truck convoy, self-titled the freedom convoy, rolled across Canada and into Ottawa this weekend. It is hard to tell who the principal organizer of this event is. I have seen various representatives ...Read More

Religion and the Fourth Consciousness

Religion and the Fourth Consciousness

Posted on January 16, 2022

I do not usually write about things related to or close to mysticism, and this writing is not directly about that subject. The comments to follow, however, are unusual for me. I will be general, but I...Read More

When Fiction Speaks Truth

When Fiction Speaks Truth

Posted on December 05, 2021

A fiction is a made-up story, and truth is something that really happens. That’s the way we normally think. No one who testifies in a court of law agrees to tell the fiction, the whole fiction, ...Read More

Learning from the Middle Ages

Learning from the Middle Ages

Posted on November 28, 2021

One of my friends on Facebook posted a fake book meme directed at anti-vaxxers. The book is entitled, “Freedom: How You Can Reject Modern Medicine and Die Like a Medieval Peasant.” I stres...Read More

Science, Religion and Denial

Science, Religion and Denial

Posted on November 14, 2021

Often when I do public talks, a question will start with someone saying, “I am not a scholar, but….” I think it is important to say that it is okay not to be a scholar. And, equally...Read More

Religion: Ideology and Utopia

Religion: Ideology and Utopia

Posted on October 24, 2021

In the 1970s, sociologists distinguished between ideological and utopian forms of religion. The distinction was based on two German words used for social analysis in the late nineteenth century, Gemei...Read More

Nietzsche- The Good and the Bad

Nietzsche- The Good and the Bad

Posted on October 10, 2021

Our postmodern era very much rests on the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Many have repeated, and many have been right, that Nietzsche is the event that turned modernity into postmodernity. Nietzsc...Read More

Nietzsche and the Historical Jesus

Nietzsche and the Historical Jesus

Posted on September 26, 2021

Friedrich Nietzsche lived from 1844 to 1900, and the historical Jesus lived in the early first century. They probably did not have a lot in common. As most critically minded people know, determining w...Read More

Friedrich Nietzsche and John Shelby Spong

Friedrich Nietzsche and John Shelby Spong

Posted on September 19, 2021

John Shelby Spong died on Sunday, September 12, at home with his family. Spong was one of those people who had a great influence far and wide. He was an appealing, even remarkable, public speaker. He...Read More

This is Our House!

This is Our House!

Posted on January 10, 2021

"This is Our House"One individual inside the United States Capitol Building on Wednesday screamed in anger at ITV reporter Robert Moore, “This is our house!” I think “our house&rdquo...Read More

Christmas According to John

Posted on December 20, 2020

Christmas According to JohnWhen it comes to Christmas and the birth of Jesus, my favourite gospel is Matthew. The Gospel of Matthew has four interesting women in the genealogy of Jesus, and Matthew kn...Read More

Authentic and Conspiracy Theories

Posted on December 06, 2020

Authentic and Conspiracy Theories I don’t know very much about pseudo-science, which is the basis of conspiracy theories, but I do know how to define these words. Pseudo (pseudein) is a Greek wo...Read More

Humanism, Posthumanism, and Transhumanism: Issues for the Human Future

Posted on November 22, 2020

Some rising questions in theology involve humanism, posthumanism, and transhumanism. I will try to define each of these words and highlight how theology may think about issues of the human future. Hu...Read More

The Political Jesus

The Political Jesus

Posted on October 25, 2020

The Political JesusI confess I am reluctant to mix politics with religion because the result can be divisive. Nevertheless, I promised thoughts on the topic of the political Jesus. It is important fi...Read More

Church History and False Dilemmas

Posted on October 18, 2020

Church History and False DilemmasAs the United States' election draws near, it is hard not to speak about politics. I will refrain from doing so, at least directly, but perhaps next week I will ventur...Read More

Ancient Thinking Compared to Modern

Posted on September 27, 2020

Ancient Thinking Compared to Modern One of the key insights of modern history, from about the eighteenth century onward, is that ancient people had a different worldview compared to the modern worldvi...Read More

Saving Araius-A heretic for our Times

Saving Araius-A heretic for our Times

Posted on September 13, 2020

Saving Arius: A Heretic for Our TimesArius was a presbyter, a leader of a church, somewhere in Libya. He was born sometime before the year 280 and died sometime after the year 333. Not much is known a...Read More

Learnings of a White Theologian from Black Theology

Learnings of a White Theologian from Black Theology

Posted on June 21, 2020

The seminal book that introduced black theology to me was James H. Cone’s A Black Theology of Liberation (New York: Orbis Books, 1986). When I first learned of Cone (1938–2018), I was eith...Read More

Theology and Fascism

Theology and Fascism

Posted on June 07, 2020

Theology and Fascism In a recent blog I wrote for Westar, I referred to White nationalism as a form of theological fascism. I find it hard to use the word “fascism” because it invokes Naz...Read More

Tradition: Our Whence or Our Whither

Posted on May 24, 2020

On Tradition: Our Whence and Our WhitherWhen studying questions in history and philosophy, tradition is a term that often comes into play. The very word “tradition” carries a certain weigh...Read More

Five Top Things Early Christians Teach Us

Posted on April 12, 2020

Quest Thoughts: Top Five Things Early Christians Teach UsThere are two caveats to acknowledge before listing the top five things early Christians teach us. The first is that early Christians did not ...Read More

Christian Fundamentalism: Trouble with the Bible and Beyond

Posted on March 22, 2020

Christian Fundamentalism: Trouble with the Bible and Beyond The political and social trend in North America over the last decade or more has been toward libertarianism. I’m sure that’s no...Read More

Christian Fundamentalism: Trouble with the Bible and Beyond

Christian Fundamentalism: Trouble with the Bible and Beyond

Posted on March 08, 2020

I’m sure that anyone who has been in or around Christian fundamentalism knows the question very well. “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal saviour?” Once I was a...Read More

Christian Fundamentalism: Dependence on Rationality o

Christian Fundamentalism: Dependence on Rationality o

Posted on February 23, 2020

Christian Fundamentalism: Dependance on RationalityWhen I indicated, in the last e-News, that I would issue a series of three blogs on Christian fundamentalism, there was wide interest. When I stated ...Read More

Christian Fundamentalism: Trust and Fear

Christian Fundamentalism: Trust and Fear

Posted on February 09, 2020

Christian Fundamentalism: Trust and FearOver the next three issues of the Quest E-News, my aim is to share my impressions and worries about fundamentalism. I will address the questions of 1) trust and...Read More

After the Jargon

After the Jargon

Posted on January 26, 2020

After the JargonWhen I started graduate studies at McGill University years ago, I recall how much academic jargon my peers and professors commonly used. I knew pretty quickly that if I did not pick up...Read More

Cult as Community or Isolation

Cult as Community or Isolation

Posted on January 12, 2020

Cult as Community or IsolationWhen I was a chaplain at McGill University, over two decades ago, I had an encounter with a cult. Several students had gotten involved in this religious group that claime...Read More

Redeeming Paganism in Christianity

Redeeming Paganism in Christianity

Posted on December 22, 2019

Quest Thoughts: Redeeming Paganism in ChristianityWhen Christianity rose as a Roman imperial religion, pagan began to take on the derogatory meaning of individuals who were backward, ignorant, and imm...Read More

Church and Gospel Christmas

Church and Gospel Christmas

Posted on December 15, 2019

Quest Thoughts: Church and Gospel Christmas In the Christian tradition, this time of year is Advent. Blue and purple are colours often associated with Advent, with blue becoming more popular today. Bl...Read More

Which God Do I Hear?

Posted on November 17, 2019

Quest Thoughts: Which God Do I Hear? Certain passages in the Bible can make us shake our heads asking, “What kind of God would….” Second Kings 2:23–24 is one such passage. Her...Read More

What's Old is New Again

Posted on November 10, 2019

Quest Thoughts: What is Old is New Again Certain issues, questions, and concerns never go away; they may change their form or context, but they seem to hang around forever. One such issue is the relat...Read More

Render Unto Caesar

Render Unto Caesar

Posted on October 13, 2019

Quest Thoughts: Render Unto Caesar The headline on the Twitter feed read, “'Prominent Christian activist' says that Evangelicals have a 'moral obligation' to vote for Trump." Christian activists...Read More

Why the Historical Jesus Question Matters

Why the Historical Jesus Question Matters

Posted on September 22, 2019

Quest Thoughts: Why the Historical Jesus Question Matters I have a friend in the United States who says he is an atheist and has been for years. Nevertheless, he loves the historical Jesus question an...Read More

The Bias Criticism

The Bias Criticism

Posted on September 15, 2019

Quest Thoughts: The Bias Criticism I have been writing Quest Learning Centre blogs in this newsletter format for about five years. It is probably not a surprise to know that readers criticize Quest bl...Read More

The Deaths of God

The Deaths of God

Posted on June 30, 2019

Quest Thoughts: The Deaths of God Last year at Brock University, my students and I hosted a bi-monthly discussion club on various topics in religion. Topics included women in religion, climate change,...Read More

Another Look at Heresy

Another Look at Heresy

Posted on June 09, 2019

Quest Thoughts: Another Look at Heresy If there was a standard list of ancient Christian heresies, it would probably boil down to a top three: Adoptionism, Gnosticism, and Modalism. These three are no...Read More

Intersexed Jesus

Posted on May 26, 2019

Quest Thoughts: Intersexed Jesus When we think of a typical image of Jesus, likely most of us, most of the time, think of a male, somewhat muscular, probably suffering on a cross, with a beard. It is ...Read More

What Makes a Theologian

Posted on May 12, 2019

Quest Thoughts: What Makes a Theologian? As a student, I followed theology very closely. Like in sports, I had my idols, and I would measure new theologians and their ideas against my tried and true i...Read More

Is Religion the Problem

Is Religion the Problem

Posted on April 28, 2019

The Revised Common Lectionary reading for the second Sunday of Easter (Year C) includes a reading from Acts with the line, "We must obey God rather than any human being" (Acts 5:29). The book of Acts...Read More

The Parable and Me

The Parable and Me

Posted on April 14, 2019

Quest Thoughts: The Parable and Me I am reading Bob Funk on parables, and one of the good comments he relays is that we do not interpret parables. Parables interpret us. Funk takes this comment from w...Read More

Decoloniality

Decoloniality

Posted on March 31, 2019

Quest Thoughts: Decoloniality Comments on theology and philosophy often involve strange, creative words that are not immediately known. Sometimes the word seems familiar but is used in a unique way. T...Read More

Q and the Historical Jesus

Posted on February 28, 2015

The quest for the historical Jesus begins with accepting this basic directive of Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768), “We are justified in drawing an absolute distinction between the teaching of...Read More

The Theology of Mark

Posted on February 21, 2015

The whole theology of the Gospel of Mark is evident in the outline of the Gospel. Introduction: Words and Deeds (1:1-8:21)Central Section: Identity of Jesus (8:22-10:52)Jesus and Authorities: Controv...Read More

Jesus, History, Church: Some Thoughts

Posted on December 20, 2014

The assumptions of a person who approaches the Bible historically and with best contemporary knowledge available are threefold: 1) the ancient world and the modern world are different places with diff...Read More

Christ Myth and the Voice of Jesus

Christ Myth and the Voice of Jesus

Posted on December 07, 2014

The “Christ myth” is the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth, as a historical figure from the first century, never existed. However, the proposition that Jesus never existed is really a min...Read More

Why Care About the Historical Jesus

Posted on March 29, 2014

The Historical Jesus question seems like a very academic one unrelated to practical life. But this can be a mistaken perception. The Historical Jesus question does encourage us to understand myth, que...Read More

Jesus the Poet: Politics and Poetic Imagination

Posted on February 22, 2014

It is not easy to talk about the historical Jesus and politics because it is really not clear what sort of political ideology Jesus may or may not have held. What happens is that scholars need first t...Read More

Jesus the Poet: What Did he Mean

Posted on February 01, 2014

Factual knowledge and poetic knowledge are two distinct ways human beings have to relate to the world. Another word for factual knowledge is technical knowledge, and it is the best way we have to unde...Read More

Jesus the Poet: What did he Really Say?

Posted on January 25, 2014

The descriptions of Jesus in the Christian gospels are not biographies but theologies: not facts about Jesus but what the writers believed about Jesus. To reach the historical Jesus one has to get beh...Read More

Troubling Quests

Posted on August 31, 2013

The quest for the historical Jesus is a historic moment in religion and causes the emerges of several new questions....Read More

The Prodigal Son

Posted on March 31, 2013

Why did Jesus speak in parables? Let's look at the Prodigal Son....Read More

Mytheme and Parable

Posted on January 27, 2013

Some parables of Jesus are anti-religion and make us face reality....Read More

Matthew's Birth of Jesus

Posted on December 17, 2011

Not a virgin birth story in Matthew. Something else is going on....Read More

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