The Trouble with Faith

Faith is a problematic word, so problematic that at times I think we should abandon its use. It’s a weasel word, with so many and varied meanings that what it means often is difficult to know. Given the importance of faith in religious discourse, the varied meanings have significant implications and ramifications.

Drawn image of Jesus

A Secular Jesus

My first experiment with the historical Jesus in church occurred in Hamilton, Ontario. I was appointed to lead a community set up to explore new forms of Christianity. I wanted to see if it was possible to take the historical Jesus to church. The answer turned out to be yes, but the church won’t like [...]

Swindler or Sincere Teacher? The Apostle Paul in a Wider Field

Surely we’ve all had that awkward experience of being cornered by someone with an urgent cure or insight that simply must be imparted for our benefit—no, for our very existence, our ultimate well-being! You might be entertained to learn that this was a rampant problem in the Roman Empire, too. Yes, it’s true: scamming, swindling, [...]

Daniel Boyarin and the Christian Invention of Judaism

How did Judaism and Christianity become separate religions? There are three problems with this question: the words religion, Christianity, and Judaism! These words have evolved in meaning over time, and it simply isn’t possible to separate them out so neatly. Nevertheless, renowned Jewish historian Daniel Boyarin helped to puzzle out the conundrum at the Fall [...]

The Missing Bible

The history of Christianity is often the history of doctrinal dispute, arguments about what the Church should or should not believe. This history is often framed as if the Church fell into division after existing an original “pure” form, yet historically no such a pure form can be found to have existed. Like most social [...]