Ryan Bell’s Year Without God

Jim Burklo’s Musings

Progressive ChristianityWe sat in the sunken courtyard of the United University Church at USC in Los Angeles yesterday, basking in the sun under a bough of carmine bougainvillea, noshing on a delicious lunch of kichari dosed with almond dressing served outdoors by our Good Karma Cafe.

“Since giving up God, I enjoy things for themselves, in the moment, more than ever.  Not thinking about the biblical past or about a future eschaton frees me up to enjoy this food, here and now,” said Ryan Bell.  The Reverend Ryan Bell, that is. 

Almost exactly a year ago, he lost his job as the up-and-coming pastor of the up-and-coming Hollywood Seventh-Day Adventist Church.  His support for gay marriage was just the tip of the denominational iceberg that smashed a hole in his career.   In recent years, the formerly decentralized SDA has imposed a heavy-handed, biblical-literalist dogma on its pastors.

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