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Perplexed–Discussion Between Fred Plumer and TCPC Reader Rev. R

This article is a summary of an email exchange between a TCPC reader and Fred Plumer. We are not certain why last month’s eBulletin, “Recovering Christians,”; generated so much email but we were surprised. It was a nice surprise because overall it was very supportive. We always get few responses after an eBulletin goes out.
After all, it does go out to close to 12,000 subscribers every month. But for some reason last month’s eBulletin stimulated nearly ten times the email, phone calls and even a couple of “snail mail” letters than we normally receive.

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The Resurrection

Resurrection happens in the course of history. Ideas, ways of thinking, accepted understandings are born, live for a time, then fade and die.

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Topics: Spiritual Exploration & Practice. Resource Types: Articles.

A Word to the Spiritual Seekers

I believe that the Fundamentalists are fundamentally wrong in looking back and trying to keep alive a pre-scientific understanding of faith. We must embrace, and integrate into our thinking and living, the best available knowledge the world can provide.

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Why I Left Christianity

I remember feeling that what happened to Jesus was unfair as (so I thought) he just wanted people to be good and to love each other. So he had my support. This was basically my attitude until my late teens. Very simplistic, and not so far particularly damaging! What I believed in from the start and what attracted me to Christianity was a message of love. It was the desire for this that was primal and would become the driving force that took me out later.

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From the Third Floor of the Gargage- The Story of TheOOZE

I used to be a pastor. More than that, I was a pastor at Mariners Church in Irvine, California-a bona fide mega church with a 25-acre property and a $7.8 million dollar budget. For years, I played by the rules and tried hard not to think too much about the lingering questions in my soul. Doubt, after all, was dangerous. Who knew where it might lead?

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Engaging the Recovering Christians

So how do we progressive Christians share our perspective so recovering Christians can hear us and actually get excited about the progressive path of Jesus and what our churches have to offer?

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Remarks of President Barak Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast

But no matter what we choose to believe, let us remember that there is no religion whose central tenet is hate. There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know.

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The Times They Are A-Changin

Two weeks ago I experienced a change I could not have imagined any time in the past. I attended the Earl Lectures at Pacific School of Religion. I have been doing this for over twenty-five years. The lectures were established in 1901 to bring prominent religious leaders to Berkeley's university community. These lectures have featured such internationally known figures as Theodore Roosevelt, Elie Wiesel, Howard Thurman, Maya Angelou, Paul Tillich, Walter Brueggemann, and Alice Walker.

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The Spirit of Life: Comments from the PSR Distinguished Alumnae

My ongoing, daily struggle is to be both utterly feral–undomesticatable by the forces in the world that would domesticate all of us, defang us, render us harmless to the powers and principalities-being utterly feral in that way, and also being utterly surrendered. You can't have one without the other. Being undomesticatable depends on moment-to-moment surrender to the Spirit of life and of love. The paradox is that we cannot simultaneously surrender fully AND be in opposition to any living being. Surrender demands love as breathing demands inhalation. At the same time, we DO have to be in opposition to every form of domination, oppression, exploitation, and violence-all of the forces that try to press down life.

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Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, The Psychiatrist of Christianity

The voice I miss in contemporary theological discourse is that of Dr. Carl Gustav Jung.Carl Jung has been called the psychiatrist of Christianity. It is as if he put Christianity on the couch and worked through to an authentic Christian reality that lays a foundation for a whole new understanding of religions in general and Christianity in particular. In the process he became one of the major influences in changing the way the western world thinks. In fact, for me, the two greatest minds of the western world in the twentieth century were Dr. Albert Einstein, who introduced a new understanding of the outer world (the universe) and Dr. Carl Jung, who created a pathway or map into the inner world of the collective unconscious or objective psyche.

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Are We Progressing?

About ten years ago, I attended a two day conference that garnered a lot of anticipation and excitement about the topics, which were: a new way of communicating our religious beliefs and the discussion of postmodern theology. Near the end of the conference, I was ready for it to be over. It had been a good conference. The keynote speakers were well respected and leaders in their fields.

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We Cannot Avoid God’s Questions

Since it’s almost entirely poetry and “true myth,” and since we live in one of the most literal-minded cultures of all time, it’s not sur­prising that the Bible largely remains a closed book. Those who make the loudest claims for its veracity often see its meaning less clearly than many they judge to be total outsiders. If you treat bibli­cal myths as history, you end up with either distortion or absurdity. Even worse. As Voltaire once said: “Those who believe absurdities end up committing atrocities”

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Jesus and His Friends of Little Faith

Je­sus says to them: “You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive?” He appears to be irritated because the disciples fail to understand that he is speaking in metaphors and not referring to the fact that they forgot bring any bread to eat on another boat trip. People of little faith need constant reminding that they are not to take religious teaching literally but to look for the symbolic meaning, but they can learn.

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Don’t Go There

if we dig deep enough, most of us seem to have a “don’t go there” spot in our beliefs and traditions – that place where we lose a little of our otherwise rational thinking. And I suspect that it is often our inability to get past those “don’t go there(s)” that holds back our personal growth and change.

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Religion, Authenticity and the Gay Identity

This article explores and supports those who are gay by nature. The work discusses the need for all of us to be true to our values and identity and for the straight community to demonstrate the kind of compassion for all people that Jesus displayed.

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Resource Types: Articles.

An Epic Change

Have you noticed what an amazing time in history we are all living? I think we are a very lucky group of people to be witnessing and even participating in such incredible changes in our country and in the world. I am not referring here just to the fact that we elected our first non-Caucasian individual to the office of Presidency, although I do think that is a reflection of the shift. (Personally I am more excited about this man's character than I am about his mixed ethnic roots.) No, I am referring here to what I believe is a seismic change of epic proportions. I hope that I will be around long enough to be able to a have conversation with my grandchildren about this shift.

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Mercy and Truth Will Meet, What It Takes To Be a Movement That Matters

Bill Coffin said, Liberal Christianity, or what we today call progressive Christianity and what some call “seminar room Christianity” has until now had a really unhelpful taint of elitism around it. We need to change that. So let’s just agree to get the conversation started. Let’s begin to grow in faith. Find strength in one another. See the world more clearly. And in and through all this, liberate ourselves and liberate one another for the sake of social transformation. If we ourselves can become the first fruits of the change we seek, then change itself-real change-cannot be far behind.

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Speaking of My Religion

It is no secret that progressive, liberal, even moderate Christians are living in precarious times. Most of us are part of denominations that are losing members faster then we can count… Old-line, liberal churches are in a lot of hurt. We have been categorized, stratified, stigmatized and marginalized. We are in a tough market and no matter how many times we reorganize our denominational offices or how much money we spend on advertising, we will continue to have a tough time unless we are willing to make some significant changes in the way we do church and the way we talk about our faith

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Topics: Theology & Religious Education. Resource Types: Articles.
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