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Absolutely!

Early Christians too brought great historical stories to their new convictions: stories that had preceded Jesus. Matthew, for example presented Jesus as a revitalized Moses who completed revelations from the Torah. He showed how the new faith emerged with fresh expectations and a novel sense of liberation. But he also showed how it consistently remained within established Jewish law and practices.

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How to End Poverty? A Spiritual Question

“Bread for me is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one,” wrote Nikolai Berdyaev, a 19th-20th c. Russian philosopher and theologian. Is there a more important spiritual question than this one? Today may be a particularly good time to ask it in America.

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Joint Statement on Israel/Gaza by an Imam and a Rabbi

The current military operations in Israel and the Gaza strip should disturb all people of faith. The only moral path to a solution between Israelis and Palestinians (Israeli Jewish/Muslim/Christian and Palestinian Muslim/Christian) will be dialogue and negotiation. This is a long and arduous path, but the faith that grounds our traditions can sustain the slow evolution of history. The current conflict is an outgrowth of over a century of opposing narratives and ideological differences that no military operations can resolve.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Christian Missions

I think Christian missionaries should live among the people exhibiting their Christianity in their daily lives. If the people see something in their lives that is missing in their own lives they will ask about it, which gives the missionary permission to tell them about their faith.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Grace and Salvation

For Christians grace is God’s gift of pardon. According to William Barclay the Greek word for grace was originally a military term. When an emperor came to the throne or celebrated a birthday, he would give his troops a donatirim (donation), which was a free gift that they had not earned; it was given out of the goodness of the emperor’s heart. This idea was picked up by the Christian scripture writers when they wrote about the grace of God. Grace is something that is unearned and undeserved – unmerited pardon.

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A Visit to Thad’s

This past Sunday morning in Los Angeles was bright with strong wind blowing clear air over the mountains from the high desert. The palm trees swayed along Highway 10 west into Santa Monica. Two right turns at the Cloverfield exit took me past the garbage company and into the chain-link gate of Bergamot Station, a former warehouse complex turned into dozens of art studios. In the back corner, in a galvanized iron building, is the “Writer’s Bootcamp”, a complex with offices and meeting spaces, where I found Thad’s.

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The Sixth Sense

The “sixth sense” in popular culture is a reference to paranormal powers of perception. But I sense it’s something deeper than clairvoyance. It’s not some kind of superpower. It is our ability and propensity to have a relationship with the underlying essence of all reality. There’s a subtle way in which we can know what we cannot know, touch what we cannot touch.

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Homosexuality and the Misinterpretation of Scripture by Conservative Christians: An Analysis of Dr. Michael Brown’s Appearance on the Piers Morgan Show

On December 20, 2013, conservative biblical scholar Dr. Michael Brown appeared on the (now defunct) CNN’s Piers Morgan show to debate the homosexuality issue as it related to the comments that were made by one of the stars of the television show Duck Dynasty, who stated in an interview that homosexuality is a “sin.”

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Art Form Methodology

My first experience of the art form methodology was as a participant in the Parish Leadership Colloquy. It was a course designed for clergy by the Ecumenical Institute of Chicago. We gathered for lunch on the second day of the four day event. At the end of each meal the leadership always led us in a conversation. The focus for this conversation was a print of a famous painting by Pablo Picasso—Guernica.

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Prayer in Sacred Community

Last month, when we focused on worship and prayer, we had a lot of debate about how we do this with non-traditional concepts of God, especially in church settings. Folks talked fairly easily about private prayer, usually meditative or contemplative, non-formulaic, very personal. They pray, and they find in varying degrees that their times of prayer feed their spirits, enrich their lives, and help shape their decisions and behavior.

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My Struggle with Prayer

Somewhere in that time period one of my parishioners became terribly ill with cancer. They had already done surgery but the cancer came back. She was hospitalized several times and then they tried a new, much stronger chemotherapy that pushed her to the edge of death. It made her horribly sick. Over the years I had come to love this woman like a sister and considered her more than a dear friend. I would have done anything to help her. As I stood next to her bed in the hospital I was frustrated that I could not do more. At one point she opened her eyes, smiled and quietly whispered, “Hi Pastor Fred. Will you pray for me?”

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The Holy Wholly Other

Be still and know what’s going on inside yourself, and after a while your relationship to yourself will change. There will be the One who observes with kindness and patience, and the one that is observed – and after a while you’ll identify more with the kind and patient Observer than with the one who is observed. The compassionate Observer is God. Then you’ll know that God is not some supernatural superhero working miracles in the cosmos. You’ll know instead that God is love even for your worst enemy, who, all to often, is your own selfish self.

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