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How to Read the Bible

2) The Hebrew scriptures, or the Old Testament, represent a religious tradition that is independent of the later Christian faith. The Hebrew scriptures aren’t about Jesus, although the Christian scriptures include many references to the Hebrew scriptures. To honor the fundamental differences between the two sets of scriptures doubles the spiritual significance of the entire Bible.

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Pentecost: Celebrating the Gifts of the Spirit

found at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Begin your meal by holding hands and saying to the person on your right: “You are the temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells within you.”

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The Forest v. The Faithful: A Born-Again Environmentalist Tells All

Brenda Peterson is a nature writer, born into a family that believed that we are living in the end times. We talk to her about her Southern Baptist background, what fundamentalists and environmentalists have in common, and about her new memoir, I Want to Be Left Behind.

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“Our Mother…”

Before it became common to avoid its gender specificity, I long ago changed the “Our Father” to “God, Mother and Father of us all…” in my daily recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. “Father” as a metaphor did not contain all of God’s attributes, in my experience. And, I must confess, the metaphor of “Mother” contained the divine attributes I found most positive.

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Gay Marriage and the First Amendment

There is much discussion in the public arena about homosexuality, access to birth control and access to abortion. I have not heard one person say anything about First Amendment Rights in connection with homosexuality or access to birth control.

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When Same-Sex Marriage Was a Christian Rite

Prof. John Boswell, the late Chairman of Yale University’s history department, discovered that in addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the “Office of Same-Sex Union” (10th and 11th century), and the “Order for Uniting Two Men” (11th and 12th century).

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Coming Out As a Heretic

Not religious, not spiritual, not atheist—what’s left?

Embracing heresy is a way of asserting my place—however tenuous—in this ancient tradition, while acknowledging that most of what I think and do will not pass creedal litmus tests. In a religion of more than two billion adherents, this is hardly a surprise.

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Asking Jesus Forbidden Questions: Thoughts in the Middle of a Recent Night

…while they no longer accept such teachings as the virgin birth, nor the miracle stories, some still consider Jesus to have been divine, and most, if not all, consider him a model of the most perfectly spiritually developed human on the planet, the perfect example of the love of God on earth.

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Beltane – May Day: Celtic Spirituality Celebrates the Bright Half of the Year

May Day or the festival of Beltane celebrates the start of the bright half of the year. One of the four main festivals of Celtic spirituality, it’s a time to make merry.

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The Capacity and Compunction for Compassion

Beyond any question of ethical and legal right or wrong, reason or rationale, human goodness or human evil, guilt and judgment, worthiness or worthlessness — when all is said and done — does there remain yet a response that is not only possible, but necessary, to acknowledge the dignity and worth of every human being? Do we have both the capacity and compunction to include in the mix some expression of compassion in such tragic stories of brokenness and estrangement, violence and vengeance.

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Automation

The word spirituality fills me with anxiety. As the member of our department of religious studies who teaches contemporary religion, (New Age, popular culture, Asian religion in America, that sort of thing…) I should be a spirituality expert, ready to use the word as a clever retort for my cynical family members, as a piece of sage advice for my sincere, confused graduating majors, or as a contextualizing quote for the religion writer from our local paper.

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How to live as a Christian without having to believe the unbelievable

Rev. Jim Burklo is the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. An ordained United Church of Christ pastor, he is the author of books on progressive Christianity: OPEN CHRISTIANITY: Home by Another Road and BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians. His latest book, HITCH-HIKING TO ALASKA: The Way of Soulful Service, will be published late in 2012. You can read his weekly blog, “Musings”, at www.tcpc.blogs.com/musings , and his personal website is www.jimburklo.com .

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