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Christmas is Over: What’s Next? – First Sunday After Christmas

Now that Christmas is over, it is time to look within and seek creative and innovative ideas about how to use the precious gifts we have to make a real difference in the part of the country we inhabit.

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A Magical Christmas

I share these familiar family stories because I wonder as we approach this Christmas “holy day,” if we have lost our ability as a society to look for, to wait for, to anticipate those magical moments in life. Have we become so materialistic, so rational, so cynical that we no longer see the magical, majestic, the mystical, the mystery?

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Myths Surrounding the Birth of Jesus

During the celebration of Christmas, familiar images are recalled in hymns and scripture about the birth of Jesus. In the popular mind, the appearance of herald angels, shepherds abiding in the fields, the star of Bethlehem, the virgin Mary giving birth in a stable, and the adoration of the Magi, have all been melded into one Christmas story. In reality, there are in the gospels, two distinct and at times contradictory stories of Jesus’ birth. A careful reading of the Bible itself reveals that so much about this celebrated birth is myth.

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The Christmas Myth is the Story of the Human Family

A vast segment of humanity has been telling itself this same story of a baby born in a manger in Bethlehem for many centuries now; peace and goodwill towards all the clan of Homo sapiens. But nothing has changed. Bethlehem itself has become synonymous with violence. Just now, as the Christmas fervor is being driven towards its annual climax, once-Christian nations are waging war against other countries.  What is the deeper story that has somehow been twisted wholly out of shape and so layered over with trite or fraudulent wrappings that the real gift is rarely ever envisioned let alone observed and gratefully received? Is there, was there ever some precious thing of matchless beauty, power and grace at the very heart of Christmas- something with flaming potency to transform our lives, our world?

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Shimmers of Love

The God who has come to us in Christ, “only loves, and loves—and loves.” God is continually at work in non-coercive, creative ways, revealing to us the width and depth of unconditional divine love.

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Being on the Left Side of History: Same-Sex Marriage and the Church

This article discusses historical and current ways both constitutional laws and the Church have denied individuals of basic rights due to their race or sexual orientation. Ferris reminds us that all are one in Christ Jesus, and therefore equal rights for all should follow.

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Shimmers of Peace

In the Greek world, “peace” was often employed to describe an inner state of well-being, whereas in the Hebrew tradition, the word was used primarily for interpersonal or social relations, coming very close to meaning “justice.” Both of these perspectives are found in the New Testament, and though a particular context may emphasize one or the other, neither meaning should exclude the other.

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The Pope’s Progress

Finally, Pope Benedict XVI has opened the theological door to affirming condom use to help stem the spread of HIV in the world. For decades the Roman Catholic popes and bishops have not only discouraged condom use to prevent the transmission of HIV but have suggested that the use of condoms actually spreads HIV.

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How Far Are We Willing to Go?

I had just walked out the gates of a Gay Pride festival when I saw the protestors.  In was in the late 1980’s and I had been invited to give a short address and to be honored …

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Is God’s Future Kingdom a Real Possibility?

There is no doubt that humanity has evolved in its cumulative spiritual consciousness, inspiring visions of a more compassionate, inclusive, just, and egalitarian world. And yet there are powerfully destructive and evil forces set against the fulfillment of God’s new world. Is the vision of God’s new world on earth a real possibility? Or is it just a “wish upon a star” with little real hope of actuality?

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