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Progressive Christian Trust Manifesto

1. We embrace the urgent task of clarifying what it means to follow a “spiritual path” or a “faith” that is Christian in some manner. With this, we know we must increase dialog and exploration between two often-warring camps divided as “conservative” and “liberal.”

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“For God’s Sake, Chill!”

William Countryman points out in his book Dirt, Greed, and Sex: Sexual Ethics in the New Testament and Their Implications for Today that people in biblical times lived with an understanding of limited resources—there was only so much to go around. Thus greed was the greatest sin, because to desire something for oneself was to take it away from somebody else.

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Five Protestant Re-formations

Students of the history and legacy of the West’s Protestant Reformation over its past millennium or thousand-year period can in contrast observe that “RiP” can have another connotation, which implies and express a less peaceful changing of attitudes and chain of events. What emerges is not a single “Reformation” but at least five “Re-formations” or modifications and amendments of attitudes, belief-systems and doctrinal confessions.

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Traditional but not religious

The first thing that strikes you when looking atFrequencies is the scope of the project and the breadth of contributions it includes. The breadth of the essays is truly amazing—people, events, places, books, a CD, ideas. The project covers a lot of ground. And just for the pleasure of reading some of these essays, I’m grateful and moved.

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Good news from the grand narrative

Bellah’s grand argument is complex but elegant: social cohesion constitutes, simultaneously, a functional mechanism for group survival and an incubator of more complex forms of social evolution; these various forms of social cohesion, in a certain evolutionary stage of social development, crystallized in institutional “religion”; religion became a generalized means of generating social capacities that increase in every new stage of cultural evolution; failing to develop such patterns (a very real possibility) means the neutralization of the evolutionary process itself; and religion, even in its most domineering forms, entails moral reflexivity and social criticism, based upon the crucial distinction between reciprocal hierarchies and brute exercise of domination.

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Rigid and Relaxed Religion

Are you religious? Your answer will depend a lot on what your questioner meant by the concept of “religion” and how you view this concept.

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My Dog Ate My Scripture

On the eve of our flight to San Francisco so that I might serve as interim pastor in 2006, my late dog Calvin (himself an author) devoured most of a huge hardbound thousand-page concordance of the Bible. He ingested so many biblical references that he was still exegeting them on the grassy lawns of Park Merced for days after our arrival!

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Mystic Christianity

(Excerpted from The Secret Teachings of All Ages, 1928)

THE true story of the life of Jesus of Nazareth has never been unfolded to the world, either in the accepted Gospels or in the Apocrypha, although a few stray hints may be found in some of …

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Religion in Human Evolution: Where did religion come from?

The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.
—Albert Einstein The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless.
—Steven Weinberg When an interviewer for the Atlantic Monthly blog asked me “What prompted …

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Water Into Wine

You are a jar of water. The Christ is turning you into wine right now. You don’t know how. I don’t know how. I daresay Jesus didn’t know how either. Stuff is going on in that jar of yours that nobody can explain.

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