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What is in the Crystal Ball?

Traditional churches have resisted the substantive change necessary to remain relevant in the modern world. There is a huge chasm between the higher biblical criticism and liberation theology of most seminaries and what is actually proclaimed from the pulpits of American churches. This is true, in large part because ministers are afraid of losing their jobs and parishioners want to hold onto the magical thinking that has helped them to cope with the vicissitudes of life.

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Sacred Land, Holy Water – Sermon Video

Beyond the fearful and exploitative view of the earth seen in much of ancient scriptures, the human race has not only discovered an ability to dominate the earth, we have managed to beat it half to death. The modern church must embrace as a prophetic mission the defense of the environment in cooperation with scientists who are studying global climate change and the biological and botanical impacts of pollution.

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Climate Change, A Vocabulary of Reverence and the Strength of Fragility

For those like me who see Jesus, not as the divine Son of God in our midst, but as a courageous sage and social prophet, and for those of us who see God as other than an all-powerful distant deity – the language of reverence is rooted in the story of existence and the universe itself. That becomes a religious story whispering of a larger meaning of our existence or in Bumbaugh’s words each of us is “a self present in the singularity that produced the emergent universe; a self present at the birth of the stars; a self related through time to every living thing on this planet; a self that contains within it the seeds of a future we cannot imagine in our wildest flights of fantasy.” That non-traditional evolutionary sacred story invites us to stand in awe; and it calls us to create a whole new vocabulary of reverence even as we commit to cherishing and caring for the earth.

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A Little Self-Involved? Try Looking Outward!

The Gospel writer tells us that Nicodemus addressed Jesus with respect: “Rabbi” he said, “Teacher.” Then Nicodemus discloses his own heart, when he says, “We know you are a teacher come from God, for no one can perform the signs and wonders that you do, unless by the power of God.” Nicodemus heaps upon Jesus the kind of praise that many the Pharisee would have coveted for himself. Could Nicodemus have come under cover of darkness because he too wanted to be just like Jesus; a wonderful teacher capable of great things? Jesus, just like many the wise teacher before him and since him, delivers the blow that teachers all too often must deliver to their ardent admirers, Jesus pushes Nicodemus beyond his child-like ardor, to a vision of a life that is totally transformed. “The truth of the matter is, unless one is born from above, one cannot see the kindom of God.”

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Theology From Exile Volume III: The Year of Mark

The political, social, spiritual, and economic history of most of the Western world has been defined by the belief articulated in the literal application of John’s gospel to personal and social piety. If Christianity is to survive with any relevance to postmodern, twenty-first century realities, the theology of condemnation and substitutionary atonement associated with the fourth gospel has to be scrapped. Not only is the future of Christianity at stake. This theology threatens the further evolution of human consciousness, and life as humanity has known it thus far on Planet Earth.

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John Shelby Spong – The Judeo-Christian Faith Story: How Much is History?

“I am one priest and bishop in the church who is no longer willing to read [the Bible] through stained glass lenses,” Bishop John Shelby Spong said. That might as well be the man’s mantra, and this lecture exemplifies why.

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From Christian Fundamentalism To An Inclusive Spirituality

On this summer Sunday, Mark Andrew Nouwen shares about his fundamentalist Christian background, which included countless church services and immersing himself in the Christian sub-culture. He shares how, near the end of Bible College, he eventually questioned and then rejected many of the tenets of fundamentalist Christianity. He concludes by sharing a new vision of what Christianity could be today and the beliefs he holds dear.

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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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The Evolving Faith of a Liberal Christian Minister (8): What I Believe about Prayer

This current series of sermons offers me the opportunity to examine and reflect upon my own faith – and I share those reflections with you, not to tell you what you should believe, but to challenge you to examine your own religious convictions.

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Never to Part (John 14:1-12)

Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” He is not telling them to not be sad, but rather, to not be frustrated and fearful. Jesus himself struggled with this according to John’s account. Three times John says Jesus was troubled: at the death of Lazarus, when he contemplated his own death, and when he realized that his own disciples would betray and desert him in his final hour.

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Where Do We Find the Christ? (Luke 24:13-35)

This is a kind of reverse reversal story. Much of Luke’s Gospel is about Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, but these two disciples, possibly a husband and wife, are leaving Jerusalem. They are on the road to Emmaus, …

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Topics: Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 1: Teachings of Jesus and Point 8: Compassion and Selfless Love. Seasons & Special Events: Easter. Ages: Adult. Texts: Luke. Resource Types: Sermons.
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