Walking Thoughts (Page 3)

I am all in favor of spirituality and of spiritual experience more generally. I discuss such matters in personal terms in a chapter of my book Nature Reborn. But not a free-floating spirituality, where anything that “works” is treasured. The specter of Gnosticism has always been lurking at the door of the Church, as the counter-festimonies of Irenaeus, Augustine, and Francis of Assisi show. In our own world, one does not have to maintain that Gnosticism is the American religion, a la Harold Bloom, to see signs of the Gnostic spirit everywhere: precisely in the free floating quest for spirituality that is so popular in American church circles where the experience of the individual has become the treasure-trove of so many of the faithful. Witness the interest in Jung, still, to this day. Witness the influence of New Age trends practically everywhere. Witness even the radical individualism of some formsRead More →

I was asked to preach at University Lutheran Church, Cambridge, MA, October 12, 2008. This assignment turned out to be more important for me than I had anticipated. In retrospect, I now realize that, however much I sought to exegete the biblical texts with which I was working, I was also reliving a theological journey of my own. This was the church I had attended as an undergraduate and served once, for three years, as its Assistant Pastor, 1966-1969, just after I had finished my doctoral studies at Harvard Divinity School. Serendipitously, the lectionary texts appointed for the day bespoke themes that have long captivated me. I invited that university congregation to be claimed by those themes, too. I herewith extend that invitation to a still larger audience. Are You Living In the Valley of the Shadows? Come to the Mountain – Then Come Down to the Feast A sermonRead More →