Pastor Fritz Foltz

Pastor Foltz is Pastor Emeritus of Saint James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, PA and author of the the Frontline Study content.

Lesson 10: The Stranger

Lesson 10: The Stranger

Every time I think I am leading a discussion on Barbara Brown Taylor’s Holy Envy, I end up talking about the tribalism in our present society. For instance, last Monday night, our symposium began noting the things we admire in Judaism. Early on, people spoke of their respect for the family, the people, the race. […]

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Lesson 9: Holy Communion During the Pandemic

Lesson 9: Holy Communion During the Pandemic

While reading Holy Envy, I kept asking myself why I liked the book so much. It is obviously well written, easily read, but hardly profound theology. Instead, it is just as she promised, a simple report on how the experience of her college religion classes corresponded with her own over several years. In the end, […]

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Lesson 8: Religious Truth

Lesson 8: Religious Truth

Taylor obviously supports John Hick’s call for a Copernican revolution in theology that would place God at the center and Christianity among the great religions orbiting around God. She significantly restates this with Absolute Truth at the center and “people of good faith with meaningful perceptions of that truth” orbiting. This provoked a member of […]

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Lesson 7: Christianity

Lesson 7: Christianity

One of the most unsettling conversations in my lifetime took place around 20 years ago with a professor at our local Lutheran seminary. He reported his job was much more difficult, because his first-year students never had a college freshman Bible course. In the old days, those preparing for the ministry usually attended a church-related […]

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Lesson 6: Islam

Lesson 6: Islam

My Monday night symposium responded to Taylor’s Holy Envy by asking about the function of religion in a culture. It’s a complex question. On the one hand, religion supplies meaning and purpose for a society. In this role, it expresses the standards by which its people and institutions evaluate themselves. On the other hand, it […]

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Lesson 5: Judaism

Lesson 5: Judaism

I am amazed how focusing my mind on some issue brings together different parts of my life. While thinking about Buddhism, I realized that many of my friends blended their Christianity with Buddhist thoughts and practices. Then when I turned to Judaism, I remembered the large number of my friends’ children who had married Jews. […]

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Lesson 4: Buddhism

Lesson 4: Buddhism

I am not sure whether any of my friends would call themselves Christian Buddhists; but in the “if it works for you” world in which we live, some certainly could be regarded as such. They talk of complementing their Christianity with Buddhist practices and understandings, describing these as improving what they perceive to be shortcomings. […]

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Lesson 3: Hinduism

Lesson 3: Hinduism

I do not regard this as a series on world religions so much as some insights for Christians living among other religious traditions. Taylor describes this as allowing holy envy for some things in other world religions to transform her love for her own. In that spirit, I want to focus on Taylor’s use of […]

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Lesson 2: Holy Envy

Lesson 2: Holy Envy

Barbara Brown Taylor addresses the pluralism in our society by writing about her experiences teaching World Religions 101 classes. She traces leaving parish ministry after feeling empty, entering the classroom to find meaning, and finally returning to her faith refreshed and strengthened. Taylor assumes religions are different ways to view reality, speaking of them as […]

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Lesson 1: Make Faith Great Again

Lesson 1: Make Faith Great Again

If you asked me to list the two major dangers presently facing the Church in the United States, the first that would jump into my mind would be the lack of young people worshiping.  The second would be Evangelicals and conservative Catholics championing Donald Trump. Certainly, you could also mention incompetent, self-serving, and immoral leadership, […]

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