Articles by The Rev. Dr. Chuck Queen
Saturday February 11, 2017
Seeking justice meant standing with and advocating for the most vulnerable in society. That included at least three primary groups in ancient Israel: widows, orphans, and aliens (foreigners, immigrants, undocumented persons).
Thursday January 05, 2017
Before I tell you why I am a universalist, I must first clarify the kind of universalist I am. I don’t believe that one who has been a hateful jerk just automatically walks into a kin-dom of love upon death. There is nothing to suggest that simply passing through death would transform a hater into a lover. How would someone with prejudice, greed, a thirst for vengeance, etc. be able to exist in a realm of self-giving love?
Saturday September 10, 2016
I am a would-be disciple of Jesus. I say 'would-be' because there are some aspects of Jesus’ life and teachings that are beyond me, that I don’t even pretend to aim toward. Consider Jesus’ teachings on money and possessions in Luke’s Gospel.
Tuesday August 25, 2015
The spiritual wisdom to be found in the Gospel of Thomas just may be the kind of spiritual wisdom contemporary Christians most need.
Wednesday June 17, 2015
Dallas Willard’s book, The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God prompted me to rethink my views about salvation, the kingdom of God (which was the central theme in Jesus’ preaching and teaching), discipleship and the spiritual life, the meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross, and the reality of heaven.
Sunday March 29, 2015
In her new book, Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life, Benedictine Joan Chittister, while letting go of the shockingly hyperbolic features of Jesus’ method of teaching, beautifully employs the medium of paradox to share spiritual truth from the storehouse of perennial wisdom.
Chuck Queen: De-terrorizing the Texts of Terror: What The Bible’s “Punishing God” is Really All About
Tuesday March 17, 2015
There are any number of texts in the Bible that depict God as a punishing God, and God’s punishments, according to these texts, can be quite severe. I have noticed that some evangelicals who emphasize God’s love tend to ignore these texts, while others seem to take delight in a punitive God. Some progressives are not sure what to do with these texts either.
Thursday February 12, 2015
One’s sense of God is not God. These senses, feelings, experiences of God vary with the ebb and flow of life, but God is always Love, God is always present, and we are always in union with God, regardless to what degree we experience or sense this union.
Sunday January 11, 2015
Our biases (and we all have them) influence how we appropriate Scripture for good or ill. So why not apply Scripture with a bias toward love? This is what Jesus seemed to do in his use of Scripture.
Friday December 05, 2014
The season of Advent invites us to reflect on and celebrate the coming of the light – the historical incarnation of the Divine in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
Sunday November 30, 2014
The distinction I like to make at this point in my spiritual journey is that the distinction to be made here is between being and becoming. I’m convinced that we are all children of God all the time, and that there is nothing we can do, or believe, or fail to do or believe, that can change this fundamental truth about every single one of us.
Thursday November 27, 2014
Brother David Steindl-Rast has contended in his writings that gratitude is foundational to a healthy spiritual life. If that is true, and I believe it is, then how might we expand our capacity for gratitude? Perhaps some reflections drawn from the story of Moses’ encounter with God in Exodus 33:12-23 can lead us along a path to gratitude.
Tuesday November 18, 2014
There are some Christians who give the Bible godlike homage. It might as well have come floating down from heaven on the wings of angels. Should we ascribe to the Bible divine status?
Friday November 14, 2014
It is hard to imagine that the Jesus who shares table fellowship with tax collectors and sinners, who speaks of God as Abba, who teaches and embodies unlimited forgiveness, who teaches his followers to pray for their enemies, who brings healing and wholeness to the diseased and demonized, and who condemns condemnation would so mercilessly dismiss, condemn and punish the unrighteous.
Sunday October 26, 2014
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the handful of texts which condemn some deviant form of same-sex behavior (like pederasty, master-slave sex, temple prostitution, or sexual excess) actually condemn ALL same-sex behavior. Would these texts then negate Jesus’ call to love our neighbor as ourselves?
Wednesday October 15, 2014
What should a modern day, Jesus inspired sexual ethic look like for Christians who aspire to follow Jesus? Jesus, of course, does not address this subject directly in the Gospels. But he does speak to it indirectly.
Tuesday September 30, 2014
Reviving the Congregation: Pastoral Leadership in a Changing Context, by Michael W. Foss, is the kind of book that should be read by every seminary student on a pastoral ministry track or lay leader/minister in a local congregation in need of some ministry training. It’s as much about maintaining and nurturing congregational vitality, health, and vision as it is about 'reviving.'
Saturday September 20, 2014
A focus on correct information and right answers fosters pride and exclusiveness, claiming God’s blessing for one’s own group or community. Whereas an emphasis on good questions tends to nurture a larger sense of belonging that inevitably ignites and fans a greater humility, inclusivity, and compassion.
Wednesday September 17, 2014
When I think about ISIS and what our response as a nation should be to their reign of terror my soul is in anguish. Why the anguish? Does ISIS not completely devalue human life and are they not committed to the utter destruction and mass enslavement of all people who refuse to surrender allegiance to them? Does this not warrant the use of military action to stop them?
Sunday August 24, 2014
According to the Gospels, again and again Jesus violates holiness laws and overturns legal codes in order to minister to and care for human need. In fact, it gets him in all kinds of trouble with the religious authorities.
Sunday August 17, 2014
The Shawshank Redemption is at the top of my all-time great movies list. It is punctuated with great lines and saturated with rich spiritual symbolism. The warden, Samuel Norton, is an icon of toxic Christianity.
Friday August 01, 2014
According to a recent survey by the Associated Press, 77% of people who claim to be born again or evangelical say they have little or no confidence that the universe began 13.8 years ago with a big bang. And 76% of evangelicals doubt that life on Earth, including human beings, evolved through a process of natural selection. Evangelical university and seminary professors know better!
Sunday July 27, 2014
Part 6: Progressive Reflections on Traditional Christian Themes Engaging in social justice can be challenging, difficult, and risky work. It is easy to understand why many present-day Christians have relinquished this responsibility and redefined the gospel so that it is not about social justice at all.
Sunday July 20, 2014
Part 5: Progressive Reflections on Traditional Christian Themes. Joel Osteen has been deemed by many as America’s pastor. I scanned Joel Osteen’s book, Your Best Life Now, in search of any serious reflection or discussion on the life, teaching, and death of Jesus and his call to discipleship as presented in the Gospels. It’s not there.
Sunday July 13, 2014
Part 4: Progressive Reflections on Traditional Christian Themes. Wendell Berry’s novel, A World Lost, is a story about a family coping with the death of one of their own. In the final chapter, Berry reflects on the manner of man he was. This meditation gives way to a reflection on death as a pathway into the light of a more advanced spiritual realm.
Sunday July 06, 2014
Part 3: Progressive Reflections on Traditional Christian Themes. At the national gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2010, a theme reiterated throughout the meeting was the 'lostness' of the world.
Chuck Queen: Faithfulness Is More Important Than Veneration (Back to the Future with the Jewish Jesus)
Sunday June 29, 2014
Part 2: Progressive Reflections on Traditional Christian Themes. I believe that the living God who Christians know through the sacred story of Jesus is far more interested in our faithfulness to the way of Jesus than our worship of Jesus or veneration of his deity. Having the faith of Jesus is more important than what we believe about Jesus.
Sunday June 22, 2014
Part 1, Progressive Reflections on Traditional Christian Themes: Personally, I think if we are going to just pass out Bibles randomly, we should at least attach a warning label: 'This could be hazardous to your health.'
Sunday June 15, 2014
Many of us who promote an emerging paradigm and participate in the progressive Christian movement were once connected to traditional understandings and practices. The following conversation I had recently with my mother reveals how different these two versions of Christian faith are.
Wednesday April 02, 2014
Rarely do I find myself in agreement with op-ed writer Kathleen Parker, particularly her political analysis, but her piece on the response of biblical literalists to the movie 'Noah' was quite good.
Saturday March 22, 2014
Sarah Pulliam Baily of the Religion News Service recently reported that six Christian leaders, including Focus on the Family President Jim Daly, have created a new coalition called 'Imago Dei,' Latin for 'image of God,' to encourage people to treat one another with respect.
Saturday April 13, 2013
Doubts are necessary stops on the journey of faith. They provide places where we can assess our beliefs, presuppositions, perceptions, and images of the Divine to determine if they are leading us into authentic God experience.
Friday April 05, 2013
The first question to ask of any Bible text is: What does this text say about God? How is God imaged in the text? How does the text portray God? Father Richard Rohr says: If the God depicted and imaged in the text is operating at a level lesser than the best person you know, then you know that the text is not presenting an authentic revelation of God.
Saturday March 16, 2013
In his letter to the church at Philippi, it is fairly obvious that Paul is concerned about some influences that were steering the church away from the teaching he had imparted and the example he had modeled. It seems that there were two different kinds of pressures being exerted upon the church. One influence pressed for legalistic obedience to rules, while the other invited a casting off of all restraints. These two influences are still around and they tempt us in very subtle ways.
Friday January 18, 2013
I think that if Jesus had not been listening to God and open to the leading of the Divine Spirit, he may have been pressured to conform to John’s expectations. According to Luke 3, John seems to have had some definite expectations of Jesus.
Friday November 30, 2012
The story of the landowner and the workers in the vineyard in Matthew 20:1–16 generally leaves those who read it for the first time scratching their heads. It has a kind of shocking, subversive impact because the actions of the landowner are so not like the way things actually work in our world.
Saturday October 20, 2012
Our discipleship to Jesus should make us advocates of social justice issues, policies, principles, etc. that favor the common good without regard to political party.
Saturday October 13, 2012
Conversion is no “one time-that settles it” experience. It is a process. It is also a spiral, not a straight line. It’s both forward and backward. There are starts and stops. One conversion experience is not sufficient. We need many conversion experiences.
Sunday September 02, 2012
When we open our lives to the Spirit and the Spirit finds a home where the Spirit can express herself freely, we discover the joy, beauty, power, and meaning of community.
Sunday August 26, 2012
Sometimes our lack of tolerance, understanding, and patience prevents life and character from adequately forming, thus doing great damage. I can think of relationships in my past that have been damaged and ruined because of my impatient interventions.
Friday August 17, 2012
Rarely is our attachment just to our money or possessions. Our greed is inseparably bound up with all that money gives us: pleasure, power, position, prestige, and prominence in the community.
Monday August 13, 2012
Separation of church and state does not mean a separation of our faith from the political process. If the fallacy of some Christians, on one end of the spectrum, is to form an unholy alliance with the state, the fallacy of other Christians, on the other end of the spectrum, is to completely retreat and withdraw from all political engagement.