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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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The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light

A provocative argument for a mystical, rather than historical, understanding of Jesus, leading to a radical rebirth of Christianity in our time.

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What Else Could I Have Done? A Maundy Thursday or Good Friday Reading

This is the Passion story. The story of Jesus' betrayal and his death. Come and walk with the people that were with him during that time.

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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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Mary and James Under the Cross, A Drama for Good Friday

A Play by RB Sperling with E. Lindsay and C. Toaspern. Drama Setting: After the crucifixion of Jesus, witnessed by Mary, his mother, and James, his brother, Mary approaches the empty cross; James discovers her there. Devastated by the death of her son, Mary seeks solace in the last place she saw him. James, fearful of encountering the centurions who crucified his brother, seeks temporary protection in his mother's arms. Together they try to understand what the future may hold for them.

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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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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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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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Hope for the Elimination of Terrorism

Terrorism is a religious disease.  Jesus, however, refused to take up the sword. He turned their weak violence into powerful non-violence. "No more of this!" he said. And he touched the Roman soldier's ear and healed him. In that symbolic act, Jesus turned the "military industrial complex" upside down. "My kingdom," he told them, "is not like this one. Choose this day whose kingdom you will serve."

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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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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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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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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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Prayer Given by the Right Reverend V. Gene Robinson at the Opening Inaugural Event

As many of you know, the Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the openly Gay Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire , gave the opening prayer at yesterday's Lincoln Memorial event. It was the first event in the inaugural festivities this year. HBO, which had paid for exclusive rights to the event chose not to broadcast Bishop Robinson's prayer. So if you watched there you wouldn't have caught it or even known that it occurred. NPR didn't air it either. There's no record of it in images placed on the sites of Getty Images, New York Times and the Washington Post. It's a complete erasure of his ever having delivered the prayer.  Such is the continuing policy of silence and erasure we have to live with from people who should know better. We are used to this. If you know your Gay history this has happened again and again. In fact this little list-serve is really about recovering the truth in our history and celebrating it. So we're going to celebrate it by providing here the full text of Bishop Robinson's prayer.

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Claiming the Chaos

A sermon for the Baptism of the Lord Sunday, or for any day dealing with themes of the human place within creation and nurturing our relationship with it.  It rather directly challenges literalist understandings of Scripture, especially the creation myths.

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