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Ted Michael Morgan

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About Ted Michael Morgan

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  • Birthday 03/14/1943

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  • Location
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Interests
    I retired in early September 2005 after working for a quarter century as a misdemeanor probation officer who focused on offenders with alcohol and other drug problems. I enjoyed my work. <br /><br />When I am in good health, I enjoy travel. Visiting art museums gives me immense pleasure.I still love looking at art. In my youth, I enjoyed white water canoeing. I would like to do it again before I die. I enjoyed hiking. The Tetons still call as do the streets of Manhattan. Theology as well as the link between spirituality and sexuality intrigues me. I collect books. I have too many of them with no place to put them. Reading gave me immense pleasure. Sometimes it still does. <br /><br />My frustration is my lack of linguistic and intellectual skills to do serious biblical and theological study. Reading secondary literature in these areas does delight me. I was am mediocre student who took his major in religion in 1967. <br /><br />My background is in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Presbyterian, and United Church of Christ. I am a liberal Protestant. However, Karl Barth, Paul Lehmann (though his student Milner Ball) deeply impress me. I spent several years reading process philosophy and theology. However, I currently am thinking about theology from other points-of-view. <br /><br />I was a member of an experimental Presbyterian congregation in Athens, Georgia during 1970-71. That was the Congregation for Service (United Presbyterian Church. <br /><br />I admire the work of theologians Gordon Kaufman and Paula Cooey. I appreciate the work of Kathryn Tanner. In addition, I learn from the polemical and scholarly work of Richard Horsley. <br /><br />I am in love with a fine woman who is a fundamentalist Christian! She lives in New Jersey. <br /><br />True confession: All the images of me on this profile are very, very old. I don't like any of my current images! I did not like the younger images when I was younger, but now I accept them.
  1. I live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am a member of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I have been a member there since March or April 1993. I have a background with the Presbyterians USA and the United Church of Christ, though my major link has generally been with the Disciples. I would love meeting people in this area who are interested in progressive Christianity.
  2. The Complete Gospels: Annotate Scholar's Version, edited by Robert J. Miller is an excellent resource from people in the Jesus Seminar.
  3. Comments on English Versions of the Bible and Study Bibles Study Bibles seem popular At least, publishers introduce, revise, and re-introduce many editions of them and members of study groups or Sunday school classes to which I belong often have study Bibles with various translations and with commentaries from diverse points-of-view. Barnes and Noble and other book stores display them in large numbers. Some editions seem to me whimsical. Others include commentary by distinguished biblical scholars. I have worn out several copies of succeeding editions of what is now The Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha Revised Standard Version, my old favorite study Bible that I first used in 1964 in classes at university. My parents gave me that first copy for Christmas, 1963. Today, I own and refer to several study Bibles, though they are sufficiently expensive that I recommend readers by only one or two study Bibles. I do believe that study Bibles help me read and better understand scripture, even though I realize that they have limited application simply because the commentators largely have to gloss the texts, even in these large books. Nevertheless, I think that to a degree the annotations and introductions can help readers grasp important aspects of biblical texts. The Bibles are still small enough to take to services, groups, and classes. Sometimes a simple reference can deeply enrich reading a text in a group or class. Many of the study Bibles I know use critical-historical methods to explore scriptures. Some others combine these with a canonical outlook that takes into account the way churches have historically understood the Bible. Further, other study Bibles interpret scripture from an evangelical viewpoint. I personally enjoy and frequently use Catholic study Bibles that uses a combination of critical-historical study methods with some general attention to Catholic doctrine and to what my mother names the plan of salvation. Members of the Disciple of Christ edited two of the best study Bibles. As I indicated, all study Bible necessarily have limitations. One criticism as indicated involves limitations of historical-critical readings of scripture. I do not know one that satisfactorily explores my theological concerns though there are study Bibles that use the teachings of the Reformed tradition as a basis for notes. A couple of study Bibles I use are devotional study Bibles. One The Spiritual Formation Bible (NRSV), published by the conservative Christian 1. publisher Zondervan and edited by staff from The Upper Room publishers, uses traditional ways of reading scripture as part of spiritual formation. Another, The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible (NRSV), edited by Richard Foster does much the same thing but from a slightly different outlook with attention to a broad range of matters that concern Christians. A group of editors and commentators from a broad range of Christian points-of-view produced this helpful devotional Bible. The texts for most of my study Bibles are the Revised Standard Version, its later revision the New Revised Standard Version, the New English Bible, and its later revision the Revised English Bible. These are translations from committees of scholar representatives from major Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic and Orthodox denominations. I very much enjoy reading the Hebrew Bible in the Revised English Bible and I find the Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible (REB) with Apocrypha particularly helpful. The 23 articles in this edition are outstanding in their clarity and range for such short articles. The first two translations are generally one-to-one word equivalent translations. The second two are thought -to-thought equivalent translations. There are formal or technical names for kinds of translations. Formal equivalent is roughly a word for word translation. Dynamic equivalent is roughly thought for thought. There are also paraphrase translations. These divisions are not absolute. Translations tend to use all these forms because of difficulties transposing meaning from texts in biblical languages to other languages. Interestingly, early Christians, including the Apostle Paul, used Aramaic and Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible. A Google web search reveals articles about translation and about versions of the Bible. There are also interesting blogs. No translation is perfect and no Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek text is perfect or even original. All translations are in some sense interpretations. There are critics of all translations, including my favorite versions. Many critics offer alternative translations. Apparently, the best selling modern translation is the New International Version, translated by a committee of conservative Christian scholars, including some Mennonite scholars. This translation is largely a word for word equivalent translation, though some commentators find it a freer translation than the Revised Standard Version and even the New Revised Standard Version. Many critics and many members of groups and classes in which I take part highly regard the New 2. International Version. I know the NIV New Testament well. During the eighties, I used it as my devotional New Testament. I do not know the Old Testament text. Zondervan, publisher of the NIV offers a wide range of study Bibles that use the NIV text. For myself, I find the NIV New Testament has a bias toward millennialism; however, The New Interpreter’s Bible uses it a one of its two texts and the Norton Critical Edition of the Writings of St. Paul also uses the NIV version. Another excellent conservative translation is the English Standard Version, which the translators model on the Revised Standard Version with certain corrections and revisions they deem important. These often have to do with translating the Old Testament from the Greek Bible that the writers of the New Testament used rather than the received Hebrew text. Some commentators find some of its rendering unnecessarily stilted. The publisher of this translation will introduce a study edition in October 2008. You can sample sections of it online. Most study Bibles that I know do not use other translations I enjoy reading. An exception is The Jewish Study Bible, edited by Adele Berlin and March Zvi Brettler, and published by Oxford University Press. This study Bible uses the text of the Jewish Publication Society’s Tanakh translation. A positive aspect of this commentary is that it is Jewish and does not interpret the text in terms of the New Testament. Sometimes that is helpful even to Christians because it opens new readings to us and it helps us better and more fairly grasp Judaism for itself. By the way, I enjoy reading the New Living Translation as well as both the Contemporary English Version, and Today’s English Version from the American Bible Society. My brother David gave me my now well worn copy of the CEV several years ago. Elsewhere I have written my take on various study Bibles. I no longer have a single favorite. One reason that I use the Revised Standard Version, The New Revised Standard, the New English Bible, and the Revised English Version is that they include the Deuterocanonical (second canon) books. After all, they were part of the ancient Greek Bible in use at the time of Jesus and included in the scriptures of the early church. Most Christian churches included these books in their canons of scripture and even many Protestants have found reading them worthwhile. They do not change doctrines but they do nurture spiritual formation. Some modern translations do not include them. I do recommend, if you can afford to buy it, a one volume Bible commentary. The scope of these volumes let the commentaries explore topics, 3. frequently addressed only in abbreviated ways in study Bibles, with sufficient depth and range for lay readers. For over forty years, I profitably used an edition of Peake’s Bible Commentary as my single one volume commentary. There are several excellent one-volume Bible commentaries. I use the most recent of them--The Oxford Bible Commentary, The order in this commentary follows Protestant Bibles, but it includes articles on books included in Catholic and Orthodox Bibles. I use this commentary rather than The Jerome Bible Commentary simply because it is more recent and up-to-date. These one-volume commentaries are expensive but often not much more expensive than a study Bible and usually much less expensive than even one commentaries on an individual book of the Bible. The Baton Rouge Public Library offers all of these translations, study Bibles, and commentaries as well as major commentary series such as the Anchor Bible Commentaries. In addition, I own a copy of The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, edited by several distinguished scholars and published by Cambridge University Press. The text of this work is lucid, the format easy to use, and the commentary scholarly and up-to-date. The bibliographies are evocative and valuable guides to further reading and study. Study Bibles help me in my studies in small groups, classes, and in private study as well as even in my private devotions. Take a look at some of them the next time you are in the bookstore or library. There are many excellent choices.
  4. I have read On Being a Christian. I read the book over 30 years ago. In Oregon during the mid-seventies, I even recall a young priest who used it in his catechism classes for adults. I think that Pope John Paul I admired the book. It is still in print. Kung’s books are lucid, witty, and wise. I don't consider them profoundly progressive. In some ways, he sounds old-fashioned.
  5. I apologize. I misread the thread. No, Bishop Wright is not a fundamentalist. I did not write that I post clearly. Again I agologize, What I meant to say is that he theologically conservative but politically progressive.
  6. Not long ago, I wrote this: "I have ave found that fundamentalists often simply talk past progressive or liberal Christians. Over forty years ago, I concluded that the arguments voiced by the fundamentalists whom I knew were “clear, simple, mechanical, and wrong.” I let other people deal with them, but I do not engage in much dialogue with fundamentalists. Life is simply not long enough." However, this was not always the case and it is even less the case these days. I learn much from fundamentalists. Often they are more radical than progressive Christians I know are. Think about groups such as the Mennonites. Consider some recent books from Baker. Consider Bishop Tom Wright. I think that much fundamentalist thinking these days is anything but "clear, simple, mechanical, or wrong."
  7. "When people ask me if I'm a Christian, I say "I'm a follower of Christ, and I'm not sure if that's compatible with Christianity." A few years ago, I got to share lunch with Professor Scott along with several other people. I very much liked him. I think that I understand his quotation. It makes sense to me.
  8. A few years ago, I very much enjoyed reading Professor Borg’s books. I still recommend them. In the meantime, however, a couple of recent popular books by Professor Gordon Kaufmann have become my favorite books to recommend on Christian experience. These are his recent books on God (In the Beginning . . . Creativity)and Jesus. I don’t recall the title of the second book on the top of my head. Kaufmann’s work is the most consistently interesting work in theology I know. This is my list of his books on a reading list I am constructing: Kaufman, Gordon D. God, Mystery, Diversity: Christian Theology in a Pluralistic World. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996. _____. In Face of Mystery: A Constructive Theology. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: Harvard University Press, 1993. _____. In the Beginning. . .Creativity. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004. _____. Relativism, Knowledge, and Faith. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1960. A_1_Bibl_Reading_List.doc
  9. As we used to day in Georgia, you have quite a testimony. Welcome to the forum. I will respond later. I just found a holiday job with J. C. Penney! I don’t know what I am doing. However, I am glad you are here.
  10. Welcome! I always enjoy meeting another member of the Disciples of Christ. My mother had seven children. She liked her first born so much, she had to have more children. She volunteered in our schools. Two churches began in our livingroom. Again, welcome!
  11. Welcome. Good to have your point-of-view and to hear your experiences.
  12. My congregation probably passes for what is progressive in Baton Rouge. There are many good activities in the city. I simply have found it difficult to find a place where fundamentalists do not set the tone for discourse about Christian life and faith. The local Baptist book store defines the scope of education in my Disciples congregation.
  13. Try Baton Rouge! Nothing progressive here that I have found. This is what I sent my pastor a few minutes ago: As usual on Sunday morning, I am deciding whether or not to attend services. I am not taking my anti-anxiety medication just now because of my finances. I don't know whether that increases my anxiety about deciding whether to attend. Regardless, I feel the same way most Sunday mornings, when I am fully medicated. Being out of work only slightly intensifies my frustration. About five years ago, my friends blank and blank stopped attending services after Hershey torpedoed our Sunday school class. Like me, Alan likes and respects the members of our congregation; he simply realized that he sought something else than what the congregation then offered. My problem is less severe than Alan's problem. I like much that happens in the congregation. Alan felt estranged from what happened. Put more precisely, he felt estranged because of what did not happen. I think that I grasp his feeling. I can deal with the cookie dispersion. I detest it, but I understand the aim behind it. The applause irritates me, but I could live with it. I hate the projection screen, but again I accept its presence. What frustrates me is not having anyone in the congregation with whom I share a Christian vision. All the Sunday classes reek of fundamentalism. I am fully aware that even conservative Christians are not uniformly as conservative as commentators assume. Chicago has just published a book by Fr. Greeley and Michael Hout that reveals that 22 percent of conservative Christians are, like me, pro-choice--period, while many more endorse abortion under special circumstances. I imagine that there might even be a few members of the congregation other than me who have given up on the Republican Party. But I feel out-of-place. I have not made contact with people who share my vision, except perhaps for Frank and Jane Johnson (and they are much more conservative Christians than I am). I could get behind members who liked Jim Wallis or some other fundamentalist Christians, but I am lost in the fog of what we now have. At this moment, I do not know whether I am attending or not attending. I go through this every Sunday. I have for several years. At one time, I had hope for Companions in Christ when Bill Mackie started it, but it has never recovered from the loss of his leadership. I debate taking a sabbatical from the congregation. I fear that I, like my siblings and the blanks, simply will not return. However, I feel dishonest when I do attend services.
  14. Indeed, welcome, I have looked for a denomination for almost 40 years. Nothing quite fits me.
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