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Author John Pierce

Generally, most of us want to be nice – and are deemed nice. We care about people and respect their differences; we seek to be around nice people ourselves. Persons who don’t behave nicely in our society create enough ugliness – with no need for us to add any more. So, setting our response default […] Read More

Jesus’ life and teachings didn’t matter very much. At least that’s the idea one gets from those U.S. Christians who see his only earthly purpose in coming to die as a penalty for human sinfulness – and then rocketing off to heaven to fix up some cushy mansions for our afterlife while awaiting our arrival. […] Read More

During my formative years, sin was pretty easy to identify if not avoid. Sin was playing poker, drinking beer, missing a church service (without going to another on vacation and bringing a bulletin for proof), holding baseball practice on Wednesday night, lusting over Raquel Welch and a few other “don’ts” and a “do” or two. […] Read More

Fundamentalism involves attitudes and resulting behaviors as well as beliefs. That most-helpful insight was clarified for me years ago when reading the thorough and thoughtful theological treatment of the subject by Fisher Humphreys and the late Philip Wise in “Fundamentalism” (Smyth & Helwys, 2004). This important distinction should keep astute persons from labeling all theologically […] Read More

Many persons of a variety of religious backgrounds – including this Baptist editor – are alarmed by Georgia Baptist editor Gerald Harris’ insinuation that America’s guarantee of religious freedom should be limited for Muslims. Atlanta Journal-Constitution political columnist Jim Galloway today pointed to Harris’ June 6 editorial in The Christian Index, a historic and now […] Read More

A college introductory course in sociology of religion was very mind opening for me. It helped me to see how belief systems and institutional religious practices are shaped by cultural contexts. Factors other than the movement of God’s Spirit are at work from worship times and settings to theological conclusions and religious expressions. None of […] Read More

The U.S. is beset with what I’ll call “ceremonial Christianity.” Before identifying and addressing that concern, a little background as to how I reached that term and concept might be helpful. Separation of church and state has gotten a bad rap in recent years. It is this ingenious American concept that allows faith to freely […] Read More

It is not unusual to hear certain politicians, commentators and preachers – and followers who parrot their words in Facebook posts and political arguments – express strong support for the nation of Israel. In recent years, however, these calls for unwavering loyalty to the Israeli government, regardless of their policies or actions, have grown in […] Read More

My recollections of the civil rights movement of the ’60s are rather limited. I was sheltered from much of the reality and shaped by a social context that placed blame solely on “troublemakers” like Martin Luther King Jr. Living in a community where African Americans were scarce and isolated led to little contact outside my […] Read More

Marcus Mumford, front man for the popular musical act, Mumford and Sons, has caused a stir among evangelical Christians. When asked by Rolling Stone magazine if he considers himself to be a Christian, Mumford said: “I don’t really like that word. It comes with so much baggage.” He added: “So, no, I wouldn’t call myself […] Read More