“One Question with Pastor Adam” is a Raven Foundation production.
Tune in to the live broadcast with your comments or questions on the Pastor Adam Facebook Page on Thursdays at 11a Pacific Time. Episodes will become available wherever you listen to podcasts the following Monday.
Have a question you’d like to see answered on the podcast? Submit it via email.
Is it ok to ask questions and have doubts? Pastor Adam Ericksen thinks so!
In this episode, get to know Pastor Adam and what to expect from this podcast! Have a question you’d like to see answered on the podcast? Submit it via email.
In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
This statement has often been used by Christians as a weapon against other people. But is that what Jesus meant?
In this episode of One Question with Pastor Adam we explore this important and often misused statement by Jesus.
What is God’s plan? Does God have a specific plan for your life? What if you missed that plan? If you are like me, these kinds of questions bring up some anxiety inside of you. Completing “God’s plan” for you life can often feel like a spiritual burden, but what if we have misunderstood the phrase, “God’s plan.” God says through the prophet Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you…” But we often neglect the rest of the sentence. Check out this episode of One Question for more on God’s plan.
Pastor Adam shares the joy he shared in officiating a same sex marriage and welcomes recent comments on homosexuality by Pope Francis.
In this episode of One Question Pastor Adam goes over some questions submitted by listeners including, why stay Christian when Christ is often left out of Christianity? What did Jesus mean by calling people “raca”? And should we believe in the resurrection?
In this show Pastor Adam talks with Dr. Eric Smith, author of “Paul the Progressive?” Was Paul progressive? Or was he the women hating, homophobic, anti-sex, leader of early Christianity that changed Jesus’ message?
A resident of Denver, Dr. Smith teaches at the Iliff School of Theology, where he is Assistant Professor of Early Christianity and Contemporary Christian Practices. His courses include introductions to the New Testament, the Hebrew Bible, and the first 600 years of Christianity, plus courses on biblical exegesis, ancient Christian practices, and various periods of the history of Christianity.
What is Christian Nationalism? Is it “Christian”? Does it have anything to do with Christ? And, if it’s not Christian, what can we do about it?
Pastor Adam discusses this important topic in this episode of One Question!
It’s the first show of 2023!
Did you make resolutions this year? (I did not!) Have you kept your resolutions?
Either way, I want to talk about joy today.
Because religion is often joyless.
But Jesus says he came that our joy might be complete.
But what is joy?
We explore joy in this episode of One Question!
Pastor Adam and Dr. Dana Robert Hicks discuss Dana’s book, “The Knot: How to Secure Healthy, Modern Relationships While Not Being Tied to Marriage’s Past.” After years in ministry, Dana wrote a book addressing the baggage marriage carries, the Disney happily ever after myth, and the trope of soulmates, while offering a hopeful view for healthy, modern relationships.
Keep up with Dana’s work at his blog, through Facebook, on Twitter, and Goodreads.
Purchase The Knot on Amazon.
Classical theology emphasizes God’s omnipotence, or Power. As Jonathan Foster says in his book, “Theology of Consent” this makes God the “All-Powerful God of Power.” But is the idea that God is all-powerful helpful? Is it even true?
Jonathan Foster is an author and podcaster who recently received his doctoral degree from NorthWind Seminary.
Can a person be gay or transgender and Christian?
Of course! We will talk with Declan and Suzanne about their work with the “Where True Love Is” movement, which provides a Bible based defense of the validity of LGBTQIA+ Christian faith.
Check out the “Where True Love Is” website and social media pages and their many books, including “Where True Love Is: An affirming devotional for LGBTQIA+ Christians and their Allies.”
We have a crisis in masculinity.
Many think the answer is to double down on a manhood that emphasizes burying your emotions to “stay strong.” But what if that is destroying men and their relationships?
What if there is a healthier way of being a man that includes vulnerability? What if that’s where men can find their true strength and healthier relationships?
Pastor Adam and Romal Tune discuss Romal’s latest book, “I Wish My Dad.”
Many think the Bible is a hopelessly violent book.
No doubt the Bible has violence within it, but what if the Bible’s violence is there so that it can subvert and transform violence?
After all, the only way to solve a problem is if we can name it. The problem that the Bible names is human violence. And over its pages, it reveals God’s complete nonviolence.
Listen as Pastor Adam and Tony Bartlett discuss Tony’s latest book Signs of Change: The Bible’s Evolution of Divine Nonviolence.
The Bible is a big confusing book, with all kinds of stories and teachings.
Are we supposed to take everything literally? Or are we supposed to take everything metaphorically? And is it heretical to even ask such questions?
You may be surpised that people of faith have been asking these types of questions about the Bible for thousands of years.
Pastor Adam discusses some of the surprising history behind biblical interpretation in this episode of One Question!
In this episode of One Question, Pastor Adam talks with Seba, the Southern Fried Witch, about her path to becoming a witch and what being a witch means to her.
Adam explains he has witches in his congregation and he is happily learning about witches. Being a witch is dangerous in the United States, especially in the Bible Belt, so Seba joined the Facebook Live conversation but did not show her face.
Seba explained that one of the definitions of a witch is a person who affects change. Growing up in Alabama witchcraft was all around her, but it was never discussed. She believes she was born a witch. While many witches train to be a certain way, Seba was called to be a witch.
Witches are profoundly connected to nature and the earth. God is in nature and that is their church. To start becoming a witch, Seba recommends growing something.
Many of us are wondering if we should stay Christian or break from the shackles of this religion.
What are the reasons for leaving? What are the reasons for staying? And no matter what we choose, how best do we live with the decision we make?
Pastor Adam and Brian McLaren talk about Brian’s latest book “Do I Stay Christian?”
Some Christians refer to Matthew 19 to say that Jesus affirmed Genesis 1 – that God made humans “male and female.” They do this criticize our transgender siblings. But in the same chapter, Jesus says that some people are “born eunuchs for the kingdom of God.” A eunuch was someone who didn’t fit the “male and female” binary, but was seen as a third gender. Jesus didn’t quote Genesis to say that God only makes humans into male or female because he knew that God’s creation is far more diverse. Check out this episode of One Question with Pastor Adam for more!
This is a special episode from the archives featuring a conversation between Adam Ericksen and Christian Picciolini, a former American extremist, who is the founder of the Free Radicals Project, a global network working to prevent extremism and help people disengage from hate movements.
This special episode from the archives honors National Mental Health Awareness Month. In this episode, Adam Ericksen shares a conversation with Gary Marschke from 2020. They talk about the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and how we can promote mental health in our communities.
After another mass shooting that killed 19 chldren, two children and wounded many others, we are left asking, what can we do?
Pastor Adam talked with his friend Micheal Garcia, a retired police officer, gun owner, and NRA member, about myths and solutions to our gun problem.
Gun Solution Myths
We have a gun problem in the United States. We have more mass shootings, more murders, and more suicides than any other country. What do we do about that? Is there hope? What does the Christian tradition say about this kind of violence? This is explored in this episode of One Question!
Last week a draft document was leaked about an upcoming Supreme Court decision about Roe v Wade. There are many rumors about the legal reasoning behind Roe. Many of us who aren’t trained in law find the document confusing and troubling. Pastor Adam brought his friend Alison Gary on the show to help us sort through the weeds of the leaked document, what it might mean for reproductive rights, and how this decision might affect other rights held up by the Supreme Court.
This “One Question with Pastor Adam” features a special guest: John Morehead, Director of the Evangelical Chapter for Religious Diplomacy. Adam and John chat about multi-faith engagement, evangelicalism, and satanism.
Special guest Gena St. David, author of The Brain and the Spirit: Unlocking the Transformative Potential of the Story of Christ, joins Pastor Adam and to tackle the question “Can we trust God?” Gena brings her practical experience as a therapist understanding the human experience through neuroscience to explain the rewiring of the brain that occurs when trust is granted. This led her to ask how does the Christ story spark trust within in. Adam pointed out that religion often presents God as not trustworthy. Gena explains that in scripture this begins in the Garden of Eden with the suggestion by the serpent that God can’t be trusted. In the entire story of Christ’s life, he forgave without anyone having to suffer.
Gena explains our culture has used punishment to teach something in religion, parenting, and society. While a little bit of stress is required to rewire the brain to learn, if the brain is moved into threat mode, no productive learning can occur.
You’ve probably heard that you must be “born again” to enter heaven.
The phrase “born again” is often used by religious folks to create another “us and them” mentality. Who is in and who is out.
When religion is used to divide the world into who is included and who is excluded, we have missed the point. For Jesus, everyone is included.
So, what does it mean to be “born again”? Can this phrase be deconstructed and reconstructed into a healthy spirituality?
Pastor Adam Ericksen is joined by author and blogger Matthew DiStefano for a lively and instructive discussion of Matthew’s latest books, Don’t Be A D*ck And Other Sound Advice and The Genesis of Violence. Adam and Matthew are united in a Christian conspiracy to make the world a better place by starting everything with empathy and compassion followed by awareness, contemplation, and practice.
The Bible was written in a patriarchal culture. It often emphasizes men and denigrates women – at least that’s what we’ve been taught. But what if the women of the Bible subvert the patriarchy of its day and of ours? What if the Bible is actually more anti-men and pro-women? In this One Question, Pastor Adam leads an examination of some of the women in the Bible!
Why don’t progressive Christians talk much about sin and repentance? In this episode of One Question with Pastor Adam, we discuss the importance of these words and how they can actually help progressive Christians better understand the world and help us create a deeper sense of spirituality.
Postcards From Babylon is a long-form documentary featuring author and pastor, Brian Zahnd, as he investigates possibly the most important question for the church in North America today:
How does the church stay faithful to the beautiful way of Jesus while situated in one of the most divisive political climates in our nation’s history?
The film explores how Christians seeking proximity to power has led to a hyperpartisan Nationalistic posture that is demonstrably hindering the witness of Christ.
As exiled citizens of a superpower nation, Christians’ deepest allegiance must be to the peaceful Kingdom of God, and from that posture they must always speak truth to power…no matter the cost.
Pastor Adam Ericksen interviews Rocky Roggio, Director of “1946: the Mistranslation that Shifted a Culture.”
A journey which unveils the mystery of how theology, history, culture, and politics led to a Biblical mistranslation, the man who tried to stop it, and the impassioned academic crusade of the LGBTQIA+ Christian community-driven to discover the truth.
1946 reveals the ground-breaking research of Kathy Baldock, a Christian Conservative LGBTQIA+ activist and Ed Oxford, an LGBTQIA+ theologian, in their quest to, discover what factors ignited the anti-gay movement within American conservative Christians. The filmmaker, Sharon “Rocky” Roggio, started this pursuit in an effort to find common ground, within scripture, for her and her conservative father, Pastor Sal Roggio. What has been discovered along the way stands the chance to profoundly change the language of inclusion and to better the lives of both conservative Christians and the LGBTQIA+ people they love. The removal of the LGBTQIA+ person from the sin category is akin to this century’s abolition of racial discrimination and the passing of women’s suffrage. There are two sides of history to stand on.
C.S. Lewis said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen discusses King David, Solomon, and Political Responsibility.
The Bible offers two very different stories of King David, considered to be Israel’s greatest king. David’s sex with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband brings a sword of conflict and division into the kingdom.
Pastor Adam Ericksen addresses Israel’s oppression of Palestinians.
The Palestine-Israel conflict overwhelms us due to its long and complicated history. The recent rise of both anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim in the United States and elsewhere must stop. When the nation of Israel fails to follows Leviticus 19:34, they should be critiqued explains Pastor Adam.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question “How was the Bible formed?”
The Jewish Bible has 24 books. Catholics have 73 books in their Bible. Protestants have 66 books. Ethiopian Orthodox Bibles have 81 books. The Bible of the Greek Orthodox Church has 79 books. Christians don’t agree as to what belongs in the canon of the Bible.
Pastor Adam Ericksen interviews former police officer Micheal Garcia about policing in the US.
After retiring from 8 years in law enforcement, Micheal shares his personal perspective and experiences of the academy, training, and service with the Los Angeles Police Force. He explains there are three types of officers: individuals who want to serve their community; people looking for a good salary and retirement; victims of bullying eager to exert power. Micheal advocates for better screening and training of officers.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen chats with featured guest Gareth Higgins about his new book, How Not To Be Afraid.
Gareth explains whether your fear is about violence, shame, illness, money, meaning, or the collapse of certainty, you are not alone. The power of the fear we feel depends on the story we tell about fear. Fight, flee, or freeze: are these are only options?
Pastor Adam Ericksen and Matthew Distefano discuss the rapture – and why you shouldn’t believe in it.
Author and blogger Matthew Distefano joins Adam to discuss the modern Christian heresy of the rapture. No one believed in the rapture until 1830. The concept of the rapture began when a young girl revealed her dream about Jesus which connected to Matthew 24 and was interpreted and promoted by John Nelson Darby.
Pastor Adam Ericksen discusses the controversy around Lil Nas X’s latest release where he boldly declares “If that’s your heaven I will pick hell”. Adam believes the artist is holding up a mirror to Christians and Christianity by showing how Satan has infected Christianity. This statement from Lil Nas X points to the bullying and abuse he experienced in his Christian community growing up as a gay black man.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen addresses “toxic Christian sexuality,” with rising racism against Asians and why the Vatican missed the mark by refusing to bless same sex marriages. These two issues are united by a toxic religious strand emphasizing Christian supremacy.
Women and non-binary people are experiencing increased attacks. This racism against our black, brown, and Asian siblings is baked into the cake of the United States.
The theology of the Catholic Church conflicts with this refusal to bless same sex marriages and may bring about a split in the Church.
Pastor Adam introduces his new ebook: “Unlearn the Bible: How The Same Stories that Have Been Used to Harm Can Be Interpreted in a Constructive, Hopeful, Loving Way that Helps Us Become Our Most Awesome Selves.” Click this link to get your free copy!
The book is three chapters reviewing three Bible stories in 24 pages. One of the important things to know about the Bible is its relevance in world history. The Bible has been and can be used to justify almost anything. To be a Christian is to believe in Jesus, not the Bible as the word of God. The Bible is important because it points us to Christ.
Pastor Adam interviews Brian D. McLaren about his new book, “Faith After Doubt.”
Brian explains Jesus invited people to doubt everything they have been taught many times in his teachings. He encouraged people to “repent”, to think again.
If we keep doing what we always have done, we, as a civilization, will drive ourselves off a cliff.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen focuses on abortion, its history and its impact.
The history of Evangelicals when it comes to the issue of abortion is interesting. In the 1970s, the Southern Baptist Coalition affirmed Roe vs. Wade. Why? Because there is no law in the Bible forbidding abortion and because they did not want the federal government telling them what to do.
During this time of desegregation, the Southern Evangelicals started created white-only Christian schools resulting in the Supreme Court stripping them of their tax exempt status. This caused the group to lose political power, so they became focused on the issue of abortion to regain power and prominence.
During the past 50 years, conservatives have controlled the Supreme Court, but the pro-life groups have not attempted to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Is this designed for one party to maintain the support of one issue voters?
Pastor Adam tackles passages of scripture that are often weaponized against LGTBQIA+ people: the infamous six Clobber Texts.
A bonus text used against the LGBTQ is the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8. The officials quote what the law says, but ask Jesus what they should do. Jesus responds by saying the person without sin should cast the first stone. This stops the crowd from stoning the adulterous woman and the crowd disperses. Left alone with the woman, Jesus asks if anyone is left to condemn you. When the woman says no, Jesus says to go and sin no more. The sin Jesus is referring to is the sin of self-condemnation.
Jesus stops people from using the law to harm others in this story and on other occasions.
In this episode, Pastor Adam shares 6 steps to truly forgive someone who never apologizes yet expects you to wipe the slate clean.
When Jesus instructs us to forgive someone 70 x 7, it can mean to give space to. Forgiveness does not mean your action doesn’t matter, it might mean I wish you well but I can’t be in your life right now. It does not necessarily mean reconciliation.
Jesus tells us sometimes you just need to shake the dust off your feet and move on.
Pastor Adam answers the question, “What Do You Do When Your Church Goes Viral?” in a discussion with Reverend Dr. Chris Davies. This conversation was hosted by the United Church of Christ for the “Thursdays for the Soul” webinar series.
Often Christianity is separate from the radical message of Jesus. Adam’s church trusted him as he purchased a sign, placed affirming messages there, and posed with these Christian messages. Adam stands by the messages on the signs physically and spiritually.
The name Son of God is rooted in Judaism in the Psalms of David. In ancient Israel, when the King was crowned, he became the son of God. Throughout the in the ancient world, political leaders were considered to be sons of god. These leaders showed the people the qualities of their god.
At the baptism of Jesus, a voice declares, “You are my son. With you I am well pleased.” This begins the radical transformation of our understanding of God.
Please note: Jesus was is not created through a physical relationship between God and Mary.
This episode features Part 2 of Pastor Adam’s interview with Leo Wolters Tejera where Leo answers questions about transgender and gender identity.
Leo is the founder and facilitator of Conversations. A disenfranchised, post evangelical, queer, non-binary, artist and human, Leo felt called to be a pastor from the age of five. He and his wife now work through their salon to support people in transition in a variety of ways.
This episode features Part 1 of Pastor Adam’s two part interview with Leo Wolters Tejera where Leo deconstructs our binary notions of gender.
Leo is the founder and facilitator of Conversations. A disenfranchised, post evangelical, queer, non-binary, artist and human, Leo felt called to be a pastor from the age of five. He and his wife now work through their salon to support people in transition in a variety of ways.
He shared his story of coming out and his extensive search for a place to fulfill his call to ministry. When he created a video about the transgender experience, the video went viral, engendering much support and opposition launching his pastoral ministry.
Pastor Adam discusses Christmas and incarnation. Ancient theologians called the incarnation the hypostatic union which means the fullness of God and the fullness of humanity dwelt together in this one person, Jesus. The incarnation invites all of us to become one with God. The early Christians emphasized the person of Jesus as the expression of God.
In this episode, Pastor Adam discusses holy wisdom and the divine feminine. The divine feminine is powerfully described in the article “Desperately Seeking Sofia” by Catholic Sister Joyce Rupp. The divine feminine is an ancient concept expressed throughout the Scripture under the name Wisdom or Sofia. God is beyond our gender categories and includes all our gender categories. The early Christian Church celebrated the divine feminine as the first part of God’s creation.
Pastor Adam discusses how to manage grief and loss during the upcoming holidays. While loss during the holidays is painful, it seems especially difficult due to the many deaths caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Adam shares the story of when he was a chaplain and a woman grieving the loss of her husband related a story of carrying her frightened child through a haunted house and trying to return to the entrance. A worker explains to her the only way out is through. She says the same applies to grief.
Adam reflects on the loss of his mother 20 years ago and how he wishes he could go back to be with her again. He recommends a book to aid people on the grief journey, All Our Losses, All Our Griefs.
Pastor Adam answers the question, “Are prayers for God to overturn the election valid?” Some people have been praying for certain election results. Some of these prayers speak of violence and invoke the God of the sword to strike, strike, strike. Adam’s listeners ask if these are authentic prayers.
Some of the people speak in tongues. Scripture states when people speak in tongues, there needs to be a translator.
Jesus’ advice on how to pray is to pray in secret. Pray in secret so you are not influenced by others. Public prayers may be influenced the people around us.
In this episode, Pastor Adam answers the question, “How could my family member vote like that?” Many people are disappointed by how close the election results are when they expected a repudiation of the current administration and the values it espoused.
Adam believes it is valuable to question how have I failed to get the message across that we care about the people who voted for the other party.
Pastor Adam explains why “The Bible is Antifascist”. 1 Samuel 8:4-9 warns the Hebrews against their desire for a king by telling them what actions the kings will take to maintain his power and lifestyle that will strip away their children property, and rights, like a fascist.
Samuel explained the job of political leaders should be to help the marginalized, including the foreigners in your midst.
Pastor Adam discusses the Pope’s decision to support same sex civil unions and why churches should embrace our LGBTQIA siblings with Amira Stanley, Minister of Justice and Witness at Clackamas United Church of Christ.
The Pope’s support for civil unions is not about remaining relevant, but because inclusion is the natural outcome of Christian theology.
Pastor Adam answers the question if it is okay to believe in science and miracles since contemporary science denies the existence of miracles.
Adam explains often prayers for miracles are not fulfilled, like his prayers to have his mother cured of cancer, and looks at how to deal with that disappointment.
He chooses two miracles to examine – the miracle of feeding the 5,000 and the Resurrection. People have suggested the crowd had food with them which Jesus’ generosity had them share with one another. The miracle of the story is that you and I have a part to play in the miracles, Jesus invites his disciples to join in the miracle.
In this episode, Matthew Distefano joins Pastor Adam to answer the question what is the unforgivable sin. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus states blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the unforgivable sin.
God is always merciful and forgiving. The Risen Jesus breathes out forgiveness. Maybe it’s our own intractability that is unforgivable. How can you expect God to forgive you if you refuse to forgive others?
In this episode, Pastor Adam answers the question how should people of faith respond to the presidential debate. White supremacy was an issue raised in the debate since one of the candidates refused denounce this philosophy. The FBI has declared white supremacy the greatest danger to our nation. White supremacy has infected every area of our nation.
Adam shared his positive experiences with members of antifa. Antifa is modeling how to work in a unjust world and bring more justice to the world.
In the finale of the first season, Pastor Adam discusses recurring questions about hell. He debunks the idea Christianity is a hell avoidance project. He expresses compassion and understanding for the people who have and are going through hell. Hell is seen to be a place forsaken by God.
Jesus has been there, too, when on the cross he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He joins us in those godforsaken places, letting us know we are not alone. Jesus joins us for transformation of ourselves and our society so together we can create heaven on earth.
In this episode, Pastor Adam answers the question, “What is mysticism?” While he admires the mystics, he does not have personal experiences of mysticism. He refers to the Scriptures where a mystical experience is described about the conversion of Saul. Adam reminds listeners the anti-woman verses ascribed to Paul were not in his original epistles.
In Acts 9, a man named Saul has a conversion experience and becomes Paul. The very religious Saul saw the world as “us” and “them” and viewed the early Christians, followers of “The Way”, as heretics. Thrown from his horse and blinded, Saul is led to Ananais who heals him. In that moment Saul becomes Paul and sees the unity within all things and all people.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the complex question, “Does the New Testament nullify the Old?” The question pits the New Testament against the Old Testament. Adam quotes Matthew Chapter 5 where Jesus says he has not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. When Jesus is asked what is the most important commandment, a common question in Judaism, Jesus cites the commandments to love God and your neighbor. These commandments form the heart of Leviticus.
An important message from Pastor Adam: “Christ Has a Black Body. Christ Lives in America. Christ Can’t Breathe.” He shares the sermon he gave on Pentecost Sunday. In the sermon he refers to theologian James H. Cone’s book, “God of the Oppressed” which asserts Jesus was black. Adam and Cone connect Jesus’ death’s on the cross by asphyxiation to the death of many blacks in America by lynching and other forms of asphyxiation.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen talks about how the truth shall set you free…but from what? Jesus’ statement about truth is in John 8, which begins and ends with an attempted stoning, first of the woman caught in adultery and in the end of Jesus. Jesus calls the Devil the Father of Lies. Adam explains how lies unite us.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen responds to two questions from Emma – “Is it okay for women and LGBTQIA+ people to be ordained?” and “How to interpret the Bible?” The Bible never says it is the Word of God. Scripture does say, “The Word was made flesh.” The Word made flesh was Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God.
The first woman ordained to preach the resurrection was Mary. In Galatians, Paul says there is no longer male or female, we are all one. Paul trusted Phoebe to deliver the letter to the Romans and teach the members there what Paul meant. These acts support the ordination of woman and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen introduces the merciful God of the Old Testament. While many Christians believe the God of the Old Testament is violent and vengeful, Adam highlights the mercy and compassion of God in the Old Testament. Jesus quotes Hosea “For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice”. These two strands weave through the Bible – mercy and sacrifice.
Adam references the book Heavenly Torah by Abraham Joshua Heschel for illustrations of violence in the Old Testament blamed on God but directed by humans.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question “Can Christianity coexist with other religions?” The episode includes a presentation he made at the Clackamas United Church of Christ discussing complaints received about the Coexist banner displayed during a service. Adam debunks the claim Christianity is an exclusive religion, reminding all Jesus states, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
What if the Christ is so much bigger than we ever thought he was? Jesus claims he has sheep who are not of this fold. This means they could be in other religions and cultures.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question “If hell isn’t real, what did Jesus mean?” Adam explains Jesus is talking about the present time when he says “The kingdom of heaven is among you.” If this is true, then hell is among us, too.
Jesus connects the hell of fire to our relationships with others. For Jesus, heaven and hell are relational.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen addresses Penny’s question focusing on “How (not) to totally destroy your theological opponents.” Brian McLaren offers a way to address differences in belief that avoids a confrontational exchange. Arguments about who God is often gets in the way of showing God is unconditional love.
Another model for engaging people of different beliefs in activities focused on a higher purpose is Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Core. “Partnering with higher education institutions and corporations, IFYC is dedicated to making interfaith cooperation the norm and building Interfaith America in the 21st century.”
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen responds to the question, “What is the name of God?” The Bible contains many names for God because one name cannot contain God. Perhaps each one of the names of God represent a different aspects of God.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen responds to the question, “What did Jesus accomplish on the cross?” As we begin Holy Week, this question is timely. Many different atonements theories have been proposed across the decades.
As Paul explains in 2Corinthians 5:19, “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.” God comes to us in the spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen discusses what it truly means to be a Christian. The Bible is a large, confusing, and intimidating book. Scripture was written by many different people capturing what they believed what God was doing in their lives. The grace of the Bible is the inclusion of these many different views, but adds to the confusion.
Christians do not worship the Bible. The Bible should never be elevated above Jesus or God. Noted Catholic theologian Karl Rahner, SJ stated the Bible points beyond Jesus to God. The person of Jesus reveals the nonviolent, loving, and merciful nature of God. Jesus models a radically nonviolent ethic. When we as Christians use violence, we have sinned.
The early church stated the best way to interpret the violent stories in the Old Testament is as allegories and the worst way to interpret Old Testament stories is literally.
n this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “How do I respond to the Coronavirus?” by referring to the crisis that occurred in Exodus 16 when the Hebrews were starving in the desert. God responded to Moses’ request for aid by providing manna and quail to the camp each day with instructions to only eat the manna they gathered each day. This was guidance to avoid hoarding and encourage them to trust in God. Avoiding hoarding is a good example to follow as we face life with the coronavirus.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?” When we explore Jesus as the Son of God, we need to ask what does that mean. The Gospels are very different. In the Gospel of John, the divinity of Jesus is emphasized. While the Gospel of Mark focuses on the humanity of Jesus, it also calls Jesus the Son of God. In that time in history, sons of god were people with power. The sons of god were reflections of god.
The Gospel writers say look to Jesus, the Son of God, to understand what God is like. Jesus subverts the patriarchal language and structure of his time.
The early Christians took the Roman propaganda and subvert it by making Jesus Lord and Son of God, not Caesar.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “Is Jesus really the Way, the Truth, and the Life?” When Jesus says this to his disciples, he begins by calming them with “Do not let your hearts be troubled” and explaining his Father’s house has many rooms.
While many people have used Jesus’ statement to be exclusive, Adam explains that the Word of God is cosmic and is manifested in many religions. Wherever there is truth there is God.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “What is the worst sin?” by quoting the words of Jesus which appear in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Jesus is traveling around healing people possessed by demons. While Jesus claims he is empowered to heal people through the power of the Holy Spirit, his opponents claim he is healing through the power of Beelzebub. This leads Jesus to declare all sins can be forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Recent popes have stated the worst of all sins is to not know the essence of sin. The essence of sin is to be caught up in the accusatory way of Satan. Jesus shows the way of forgiveness, even on the cross. The worst sin is to live unwilling to receive forgiveness which the Holy Spirit offers.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “What does God say about transgender people?” Adam explains God says, “I love you for who you are and who you are becoming.” Transgender people are awesomely made in the image of God.
Some Christians use their faith to marginalize transgender people, calling on them to repent. Adam explains this is when these Christians are sinning.
What does the Bible say? Not much. Adam debunks the biblical interpretations used to attack transgender people starting with Genesis.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen explores “Machiavellian Politics vs. The Politics of Christ.” Machiavelli‘s most famous book, The Prince, recommends political leaders commit acts of brutality, murder and deception to maintain power. One of the key methods Machiavelli recommended was to scapegoat and accuse the other.
Machiavelli did understand he was rejecting the way off Christ in choosing this path. He knew who Christ was, but rejected Christ. Current politicians use Machiavellian methods without every acknowledging they are not following the politics of Christ. In fact, they wrap themselves in the cloak of Christianity for political advantage. Adam advises against mirroring this behavior and cites examples of previous political leaders who maintained their integrity by not scapegoating and accepting responsibility for their actions.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “What happens when we die?” Many of us fear death because the future is unknown. Life in the present world can be tough and hard and wonder if that difficulty will continue after death. Adam quotes Paul in Romans 8 where he states neither death nor life nor anything will separate us from the love of God revealed in Christ Jesus. Death cannot separate us from the love of God.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “What is the criteria for being a Christian?” This question is posed by a Catholic who believes Christian Evangelicals would not consider her to be a Christian. Adam cites Pope Francis as a model for being Christian. Although criticized by people within the Church, he continuing to do what he doing. Pope Francis is not in rivalry with his critics.
People who seek to divide people by declaring who is a Christian and who is not often lack a strong sense of self. The act of comparison is usually designed to enhance one’s own position.
The main criteria for someone calling themselves Christian is to follow Jesus and not get caught up in rivalry.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “Why did God put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden?” The questioner suggested God should have put the tree in an obscure and hard to reach place, but Adam assured him that the obstacles would only increase our desire. Adam illustrates how obstacles enflame our desires with the passion for another apple, Apple products despite their high costs.
Adam advises looking at the story of the Garden of Eden in the way recommended by the theologians of the early church, as an allegory for the experience of every human. The story details how our desires work. Once our basic needs are met, we learn our desires from others. The serpent understands this and uses it to influence both Adam and Eve. God attempted to shield Adam and Eve from the knowledge of good and evil because that knowledge leads us to divide the world into good and evil and to accuse one another.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “What is religion?” Religion seems to be something that divides us from them. Many scholars believe the word religion comes from the word “ligare” which means “to bind”. While this binding connects members of a religion together, it separates them from people of other religions.
The scholar René Girard‘s book Evolution and Conversion: Dialogues on the Origins of Culture explains the binding that occurred in early civilization was a ritualized form of scapegoating which eventually became religion. While the Bible describes scapegoating, it also shows where God protects people from scapegoating like placing the mark on Cain. Hosea declares “God desires mercy, not sacrifice.”
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “What does the Bible say about violence and self-defense?” by sharing his experience at the Theology and Peace sponsored Collaborators Conference. There Adam met a pastor from Africa whose story changed Adam’s views on nonviolence and self-defense. The pastor explained the situation in his country where Christians are under physical threat of violence and asked how he needed to protect his loved ones from violence with weapons and potential violence.
While the Bible contains violence, Genesis reveals God disrupting the cycle of violence started by Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. God protects Cain by marking him so people knew to leave Cain alone. Throughout the Bible, the futility of using violence to end violence is futile. This is the myth of redemptive violence – that violence will bring peace, but the violence will return.
Jesus says, “He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.” He invites us to practice nonviolence resistance. Walter Wink explains how turning the other cheek is an act of nonviolence resistance. Adam shares a story from Wink’s Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination demonstrating a contemporary example of nonviolent resistance.
This episode is a response to a listener’s request: “2 Timothy 4:3 is an interesting scripture. You should talk about what that one means.” This scripture is often used to intimidate people. In it Paul states, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
Paul was addressing controversies occurring in the early church which he doesn’t explain because Timothy already knew what we happening. The controversy is revealed in later epistles to be whether Gentiles need to be circumcised to become a part of the Church. Paul opposed this Jewish law and reinterpreted the law to address the circumcision to be of the heart. Paul explains that there is no Gentile or Jew, slave or free, because we are all united in Christ. Teachers who interpret Scripture as being opposed to members of the LGBTQIA+ community are not following the guiding principle Jesus lifts up and Paul lifts in Galatians, that we are all one in Jesus.
In the New Year’s edition episode of One Question with Pastor Adam, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “What is a faithful atheist?” with featured guest, Matthew Distefano.
Adam posted Matt’s quote, “Kind atheists are closer to Jesus than mean Christians” on his church‘s billboard causing compliments, consternation, and castigation. In response, Matt explains Matthew 25 31-46 focuses on how you treat people rather than your beliefs. Jesus, a faithful Jew, is more focused on how people are treated than their beliefs. Adam points out Jesus said he has sheep who are not of his fold. One of the commenters quoted Karl Rahner’s theory of Anonymous Christians.
In the Christmas Edition episode of One Question with Pastor Adam, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “Why did God become human?” The first chapter of the gospel of John states the Word became flesh. Matthew’s gospel describes the appearance of an angel to Joseph in a dream when Joseph was considering divorcing Mary as his birth story. Luke’s gospel describes the story of the nativity most of us are familiar with.
In the gospel of Matthew, the angel declares Jesus will save us from our sins, not from God’s wrath. The incarnation invites us to choose which God with us we are going to follow, Jesus, the God of love, or the Caesars, the gods of power. Each Christmas we get to choose.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “If God is good, why do bad things happen?” Adam believes bad things happen in this world and it sucks. One of the bad theology ideas Adam has unlearned is everything happens for a reason because God makes it so. Theologian R. C. Sproul states God has to be in control of everything, down to the tiniest molecule, because God is sovereign. Adam believes God set up the world and the ongoingness of creation suggests things happen, horrific things as well as good things.
Adam tells some of his experiences as a hospital chaplain where he was with people who experienced terrible tragedies. God is with us in these tragedies. He is with us in our pain and sorrow. In the Book of Job, Job protests against the reasons his friends for give his suffering. When God visits Job, he agrees there was no reason for the suffering.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “Is the Church becoming too political?” To have a religion that isn’t connected to politics, we would need to stop reading the Bible. While it is very tempting to vilify our opponents, Jesus instructs us to love our enemies.
Adam explains the Jewish people believe their story begins when God hears their outcry against their oppression in Egypt. As Moses leads the people out of Egypt, God warns them not to return to Egypt, but also to the structures of oppression they are fleeing. Often the oppressed become oppressors, which God warns against.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “What is the point of prayer?” In Matthew 6, Jesus says God knows what we need before we ask him, but that doesn’t mean he knows what we want. Jesus demonstrates how to pray by saying the Lord’s Prayer. In that prayer, what we need to thrive is stated – daily bread, forgiveness of sins, resistance of evil, and deliverance from tribulations.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “Is the Bible the word of God?” He begins by stating he does not believe the Bible is the word of God. In some churches, belief in the Bible has become more important than belief in Christ. Christians are not people of the book, they are people of the flesh.
The Bible is God breathed, but written by human beings who are trying to figure out how God is working in the world. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they get it wrong.
In this episode, Pastor Adam Ericksen answers the question, “Do you have to be religious to be saved?” Religion often divides people rather than uniting them in love as Jesus commanded. As Hitler rose to power in Nazi Germany and was embraced by many religious leaders, Dietrich Bonhoeffer said we need a religionless Christianity, a Christianity that does not divide people. To better understand Bonhoeffer’s plea, read Theologians Under Hitler by Robert Ericksen which examines the work and attitudes of three distinguished, scholarly, and influential theologians who greeted the rise of Hitler with enthusiasm and support.
Often we think heaven and hell as future occurrences, but Jesus points out the Kingdom of God is among us, which means heaven and hell are among us in the present. We need a religionless Christianity that takes Jesus seriously.