MARY’s STORY:  Let It Be 

The way you tell the Christmas story, it all sounds so simple. So simple. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I really like it. It’s just that for so long now people have been telling my story and the way they tell it, it all sounds so simple and easy, so neat and tidy, that I hardly recognize myself in the story. It’s not your fault.  It all started a long time ago. Luke and that other fellow Matthew, they started it all.  They wrote my story down and wouldn’t you know it they cleaned it all up. But who can blame them.  Nobody likes messy birth stories. And as birth stories go, my baby’s birth was a really messy one.

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Pregnant with Possibility:  Was Mary a Virgin or Was Mary Raped?

Mary, this enigmatic woman has remained in the shadows for centuries. All too often the epithet “virgin” has been applied to the young woman who fell pregnant so long ago. As her Advent appearance approaches, I this re-post this sermon which I preached a couple of years ago in which I asked some questions about Mary. At the time I was reading Jane Schalberg’s “The Illegitimacy of Jesus”, John Shelby Spong’s “Born of a Woman” and “Jesus for the Non Religious” along with John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg’s “The First Christmas” and this sermon is laced with their scholarship.

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Radically New Way To Think About God And Prayer In The 21st Century

Whenever we enter into a conversation about God and prayer, it’s helpful to remind ourselves that despite what some religion’s would have us believe, the Creator or Initiating Consciousness that created of our universe, the Ground of Being we refer to as God, is in fact, Ultimate Mystery. Thus, the concepts in this article are my thoughts and ideas, not absolute truth.

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Shattered Angel

As Christmas draws near, we turn to stories to express the inexpressible. Like the Gospel writers we are at a loss to explain the activity of our God in the world and so we too resort to story telling. Families gather and the reliable old stories are told. And each year new stories are added to our treasure troves as we seek to express the inexpressible and touch the hem of our God who is love. And what better way to touch and be touched by God than to tell stories of God’s love in the world. We all have treasure troves of stories of Christ taking on flesh and dwelling among us. My story took place when I was a young woman determined that my first Christmas living out in the world would be the type of Christmas that dreams are made of.

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Ritual – It’s in our DNA

Only recently I have come to realize that these were familiar and comfortable rituals, even if the words no longer had the same meaning for many of the attendees. These were rituals most of these folks in attendance had been repeating for decades. They were probably not paying attention to words or their meanings. But they were participating in something that brought them together with their church family or their denominational home. They were experiencing oneness, a connection of body and soul with the people who surrounded them. That is what rituals are supposed to do.

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Celebrating God’s Light: A Progressive Christian Solstice

This past year, at my congregation on Cape Cod, we began to celebrate the seasons of the year as part of our affirmation of this good Earth. Our congregation’s proximity to the ocean sensitizes us to the …

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Life Celebrations: New Language

Most Christians, however, have a different take on the monistic approach, and believe that a divine presence inheres in all that is. God is. And God is everywhere, although hidden except to the eyes of faith. As progressive Christians, this is where we must take our stand. The sacred and the secular co-inhere. The one is in the other. With this as our basis, the questions now become: what language do we use? to whom are we speaking? do we speak directly of God? Let’s assume that we are at a ceremony of some sort, perhaps a wedding, a Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas day gathering, a funeral. Let us also suppose that the crowd is mixed: some Christians, some Jews, some secularists. Is there a language that not only will not alienate anyone but will also communicate to them the depth of the moment? I believe there is.

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World Religion in America: The Second Generation

American-born Muslim young people, growing up post 9/11, are more marked as just-plain-Muslims than they are as Ismaili or Sunni or Shia or Ahmadjyya or Sufi Muslims. Or Turkish or Syrian or Jordanian or Saudi Muslims. They’ve been thrust into a wide realm of choice by historical circumstance. There’s no one way to do their faith, and for some this opens the door to creative expressions of their religion.

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God beyond, God between, God within – a Trinity

Introduction In my faith journey, I have struggled with the concept of the Trinity. Like many other followers of Jesus I suspect, I have lived for many years with questions, even misgivings, about this doctrine. The orthodox …

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Our New Cathedral

What is the economic value, say, of Wells Cathedral? Or Notre Dame Cathedral? Or National Cathedral? They not only help us understand our humble place in the cosmos, but the grandness and abundance of that universe.

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Does the Bible teach “The Secret”?

A few years back a book called The Secret took the world by storm, and it is still prominently displayed on the shelves of most bookstores today. The message of the book was to invoke the laws of attraction and intention to attain the life and circumstances that we desired. And because of the books popularity I was compelled to grab a copy to see what all the hype was about. As I was reading it I wondered how a book could really promise those kinds of results, and why so many people were swearing by its results. And then it hit me that the best selling book in the history of the world really isn’t all that different. And this got me to wondering if Jesus and King David may have been teaching us this same “secret” thousands of years prior?

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Defining Progressive Christianity

An Open-Ended “Creed” for a Progressive Christian

I have often said so-called “progressive Christianity” is a notion forever in search of its own elusive definition; and that’s as good a way of explaining it as we may be able to find. We live in a post-modern world that considers the age of Enlightenment to be a post-facto reality. As such, “progressive” thinking in an age of Reason has pushed the boundaries of nearly every facet of life, except one: those ‘traditional’ or ‘orthodox’ beliefs, based on certain creeds, doctrines and dogma that still dominate what it presumably means to be “Christian.” It hardly needs to be said that it is also why so many one-time believers have outgrown their one-time faith. Calling them merely “lapsed” is misleading. So much has elapsed in the world we have all come to know and take for granted, that the once-dominant Church — — despite all its denominational varieties — has fast become a post-modern relic. Yet any critical examination of how Christian scriptures developed and how the history of the tradition evolved will quickly demonstrate how it has always been in a constant state of flux. Or, if you like, “progression.” It was only when it stopped and got stuck that we traded in the tent for a temple, and snuffed the life out of a movement that is progressive by its very nature. What then would constitute an honest statement of belief for at least this “progressive Christian?”

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