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Baptism DVD

This is one of the most basic, beautiful, and liberating meanings of baptism. God’s story entwining with our stories – of struggle, of hope, and above all, of love.

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Acts and Christian Beginnings: The Acts Seminar Report

Acts was long thought to be a first-century document, and its author Luke to be a disciple of Paul—thus an eyewitness or acquaintance of eyewitnesses to nascent Christianity. Acts was considered history, pure and simple. But the Acts Seminar, a decade-long collaborative project by scholars affiliated with the Westar Institute, concluded that it dates from the second century. That conclusion directly challenges the view of Acts as history and raises a host of new questions, addressed in this final report.

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Progressive Books Study Guide #4

Click Here to Download this Study Guide.   Books / Material Covered in this Study Guide: Soul Stories by Gary Zukav Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography by John Dominic Crossan The Silence of Jesus by James Breech The …

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Progressive Books Study Guide #3

Click Here to Download this Study Guide.   Books / Material Covered in this Study Guide: How to Know God by Deepak Chopra Friendship with God by Neale Walsch Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism by John Shelby …

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An Interview with Elaine Pagels

Westar

In this one-on-one interview, bestselling author and MacArthur Prize recipient Elaine Pagels tells a wide-ranging story. She explains how Billy Graham’s preaching sparked her interest in religion, and talks of her early encounters with Gnostic texts and with Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Through the interconnections between the personal and professional, Pagels addresses the problem of how we are to define Christianity meaningfully in ancient and modern times.

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Study Guide for the book Zealot, by Reza Aslan

The material we are exploring is controversial; the subject matter is often tied to deeply held beliefs. The intention of this study guide is not to change your mind but to challenge your beliefs. That is, our initial objective is not to believe what the author proposes but to be open to consider the validity of his proposition. In so doing, we empower our beliefs through the dynamics of our evolution of consciousness — the purpose of this discussion group.

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The First New Testament: Marcion’s Scriptural Canon

The earliest version of the New Testament, now in English for the first time!

History preserves the name of the person responsible for the first New Testament, the circumstances surrounding his work, and even the date he decided to build a textual foundation for his fledgling Christian community. So why do so few people know about him? Jason BeDuhn introduces Marcion, reconstructs his text, and explores his impact on the study of Luke-Acts, the two-source theory, and the Q hypothesis.

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The Holy Nativity of a Human Jesus

On the First Sunday of the Advent season this year – for those Christian faith communities that observe a liturgical calendar — the traditional four weeks of waiting on the tiptoe of expectation only lasted until 1:37 PM that afternoon for our family; when my own daughter gave birth to her first-born child.

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God in the Belly

Full of God, full to birthing,
Mary howls: head back, hair tossed,
Hands skyward with joy
That wrongs are about to be righted,
Salvation’s about to be sighted.

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Topics: Fiction and Poetry. 8 Points: Point 6: Peace and Justice. Seasons & Special Events: Christmas. Ages: Adult, Teen, and Young Adult. Texts: Luke. Prayers: Invocation. Resource Types: Meditations and Spiritual Journey Reflections.

Advent Prayer

We crouch with Mary on the straw of our messy lives
letting go of everything but this moment.

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You Who Delight Me – Poems of love & Words of spirit and faith

“you who delight me” is in two parts:
poems of love—secular and spirited writing about people, places and events; and
words of spirit and faith—inclusive language, contemporary liturgies for individual contemplation and progressive faith communities.

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Admissions and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Jesus’ Followers

The four gospels divide Jesus’ followers into three groups. The Greek word “ochloi” refers to the crowds who gathered when Jesus preached; “Mathetes” refers to the followers who stuck around for more teaching; and “Apostolos” refers to the disciples, those chosen by Jesus as his inner circle.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Mary and Joseph

What does the New Testament tell us about Mary? Mark, the earliest gospel, did not include a birth narrative, so his mentions of Mary are vague and not very flattering. He says Jesus’ family (the family isn’t specified; does he mean Mary and Joseph or Mary and Jesus’ brothers?) attempted to restrain him because people were claiming he was out of his mind (Mark 3:21). If Mary was present, it seems strange that other gospel verses say she was visited by an angel who told her that she would conceive a special child or to whom Luke says shepherds came in wonder to visit her newborn child or to whom Matthew says wise men journeyed to bring gifts to welcome her wondrous child’s birth.

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Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that calls into question everything we thought we knew about Jesus of Nazareth. Two thousand years ago, an itinerant Jewish preacher and miracle worker walked across the Galilee, gathering followers to establish what he called the “Kingdom of God.” The revolutionary movement he launched was so threatening to the established order that he was captured, tortured, and executed as a state criminal.

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The Isaiah Plan

If you’re an overweight fundamentalist Christian, the Daniel Plan is for you.  Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback megachurch, fit this plus-sized demographic until he came up with a new twist on his religion.  Basing his weight-loss …

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Thanks for Nothing

A Commentary for Thanksgiving in an Age of Anxiety

American retailers have essentially pre-announced that the annual Thanksgiving observance — when we presumably pause to gratefully remember everything we have — has been cancelled so bargain shoppers can get an even earlier jump-start on their holiday shopping for all the things we don’t have yet.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world a typhoon of record proportion hit landfall only a few weeks ago; nearly wiping an island nation off the face of the earth, and leaving those who survived with virtually nothing. Then last week an unseasonable swarm of twisters flattened whole towns across the Midwest. By comparison, it all makes the plight of those first pilgrims facing the harsh realities of their first Thanksgiving in a brave new world look like a walk in the park.

And, all the while, the airwaves and media have been filled with docu-dramas and documentaries commemorating the half-century mark of those events that shattered an age of relative innocence for those of us old enough to remember it; ushering in an age of extraordinary upheaval and anxiety, starting with what social critics and historians alike attribute to the assassination of JFK. Juxtaposed and taken together, these events represent a seeming un-reality that hasn’t really abated much in the last fifty years. We live in an age of anxiety.

Jesus masterfully taught in the philosophical tradition known as Jewish cynicism, with such parabolic tales and quaint-sounding imagery as the “lilies of the field.” And he did so at a time and age that – while seemingly ancient to our modern way of thinking – may not have been all that different from our own anxious age. Consider then our fretful, misbegotten ways, and the wild lilies of the fields.

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