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Source Code: The Paradoxical Teachings of the Historical Jesus

 This work employs the critical-historical research of Crossan, Funk and other leading historical Jesus scholars in order to demonstrate that a language of paradoxical reversals informs the very texture of Jesus’ experience of the Kingdom of God of God. By showing how the same paradoxical structure can be identified within the deep structure of the most memorable parables and aphorisms of Jesus that have been handed down to us in the synoptic gospels, I argue that a language of paradox can re-activate the earliest memory of the historical Jesus prior to his indoctrination in the Christian tradition proper. And in offering an over-arching criteria for what is historically authentic about the many words that have been attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, I argue that it is possible to uncover a “source code” for the original teachings of Christ, and thereby provide a fruitful way in which to distinguish the Founder of Christianity – Jesus of Nazareth, from what was Founded – the Christian Church.    This work employs the critical-historical research of Crossan, Funk and other leading historical Jesus scholars in order to demonstrate that a language of paradoxical reversals informs the very texture of Jesus’ experience of the Kingdom of God of God. By showing how the same paradoxical structure can be identified within the deep structure of the most memorable parables and aphorisms of Jesus that have been handed down to us in the synoptic gospels, I argue that a language of paradox can re-activate the earliest memory of the historical Jesus prior to his indoctrination in the Christian tradition proper. And in offering an over-arching criteria for what is historically authentic about the many words that have been attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, I argue that it is possible to uncover a “source code” for the original teachings of Christ, and thereby provide a fruitful way in which to distinguish the Founder of Christianity – Jesus of Nazareth, from what was Founded – the Christian Church.       

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The Structure of the Real

 This article is a brief summary of my recently completed doctoral thesis, a work that reveals a radical new insight into the mind of Jesus of Nazareth.  By turning to the parables of Jesus that have been recorded in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), it is clearly demonstrated that the same linguistic structure – a stable pattern of “paradoxical reversals” (X is Y, as Y is X) informs all of Jesus’ most memorable teachings on the Kingdom of God. In other words, the same “stable pattern” of paradoxical reversals underpins all of the parables of Jesus that have been recorded in the synoptic gospels. And by offering a simple formula for what is historically authentic about the many words that have been attributed to the historical Jesus, it is now possible to uncover a “source code” for the original teachings of the one who is called the Christ and re-activate the “dangerous memory” of Jesus of Nazareth prior to his inscription in the Christian tradition proper.    

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Who Was The Historical Mary Magdalene?

This article suggests that the historical Mary Magdalene was a priestess of theGoddess Ishtar related by blood in some way to a wealthy Roman family. The present work looks for clues in Luke 8:2-3 and John 12:1-8 and invites your comments.By John Mitrosky (contact:gm.jm@sympatico.ca)

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Resource Types: Articles.

A Charisma for the Historical Jesus

This article seeks to claim that the Historical Jesus was indeed a exorcist-magician-physician-healer. What does this mean for faith today?By John Mitroskycomments are welcome at: gm.jm@sympatico.ca

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Topics: Jesus Studies. Resource Types: Articles.

Nurturing a Progressive Christian Spirituality

You cannot love and serve with a compassionate heart without eventually seeing those whom you are serving as your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, or eventually as yourself, even when it is “the least of these” who you serve. But if we do our serving because we feel that it something we are supposed to do “because the Bible says we should” or “because that is what Jesus did according to scripture,” or because it is our “duty,” we only separate ourselves more from the others. On the other hand, if we see our compassionate service as an opportunity to experience the “Realm of God” or “Sacred Unity” then our compassionate actions or practices become golden opportunities.

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Topics: Spiritual Exploration & Practice. Resource Types: Articles.

What is Progressive Christianity Anyway?

This article was first published in the January/Febbruary 2007 magazine The Progressive Christian. It is posted here with permission. It covers the topic of the growing momentum of something called progressive Christianity but also points out that it is a movement with many interpretations and definitions. It is still in the rather exciting period of self-discovery.

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Resource Types: Articles.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Over the last five decades as I have searched for a meaningful spiritual path that might bring purpose, fulfillment and peace to my life, I have often reflected on that experience with mirth and awe. It must have been a funny scene fit for a Woody Allen movie. But the truth is, I know that my piano teacher was right. He touched upon a truth that goes beyond piano lessons. We will never discover what it means to become something meaningful unless we practice and practice-until it goes from our thinking to our being…

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8 Points: Point 5: Non-Dogmatic Searchers. Resource Types: Articles.

Build and Sustain Faith Communities by Feeding the Hungry

This presentation was given by Fred Plumer at the Common Dreams Conference in Sydney, Australia last month. It clearly lays out 8 steps and goals for churches and spiritual communities that want to build and sustain their communities by feeding the hunger that people feel for spirituality, purpose, a mission, and clear path.

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A Grand Event

It was a grand event and my only wish is that you could have all been there to share it with me. Since, Australia was a bit far…I will do my best to maintain that level of energy and enthusiasm about Progressive Christianity that those 1500 people infused in me and continue to help this organization grow and evolve with the rising tide of these crucial times. Now really is a moment in history where I believe we are at a tipping point, can you feel it? Will you help us tip the balance toward love, compassion and openness? I believe we can.

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Topics: Progressive Christianity 101. Resource Types: Articles.

God and Progressive Christianity

Progressive Christians are achieving great clarity about the historical development of the Bible and about viewing biblical passages in a metaphorical rather than a literal way. Using the word "God," however, continues to be an area of unclarity and outright confusion.

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Resource Types: Articles.

Just Ways to Repair an Unjust War

Full disclosure: I am among those who opposed the invasion of Iraq before it happened. I opposed it for Christian reasons. Moreover, I think those reasons have a pragmatic function: they would have prevented us from embarking on a pre-emptive war that has proved to be disastrous.

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The Wake I Leave Behind

Let's look at this as a comedy of errors…or as a cosmic joke on me. The point of this story is that how we look at the events that cross our paths effects everything about the cosmology we are constantly building (and revising) as we grope along the path through life.

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Topics: Spiritual Exploration & Practice. Ages: Adult. Resource Types: Articles.

The Winter of my Awakening

During my winter sojourn in Sarasota, while attending these 2 ½ hour weekly sessions led by Meredith Jordan, I (and 65 others) embarked on an inward-turned journey to discover our true inner being, to let our outer life of busyness in the world drain away, to learn from today's living spiritual elders so that we too could assume the role of "elder" in our own sphere of influence. "Becoming an elder is quite different from becoming elderly," Jordan says. "It is a time when we focus internally on qualities of character, leadership and integrity, growing and sharing those traits. Being an elder means using every opportunity to give others something of what life has led you to understand and embody."

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Churches Have More than Just Good Music

Ten years ago George Carlin the comedian, wrote in his book, Brain Droppings, "The only thing good that came out of religion was the music."  When I ponder the
violent history of the Christian church, the religious wars that still
continue to plague our world, the divisiveness, the prejudice and the
bigotry that the church has perpetuated and continues to perpetuate in
the world today, I wonder if George Carlin is right. When I ponder the violent history of the Christian church, the religious wars that still continue to plague our world, the divisiveness, the prejudice and the bigotry that the church has perpetuated and continues to perpetuate in the world today, I wonder if George Carlin is right.

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Topics: Spiritual Exploration & Practice. Resource Types: Articles.

A Subversive Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is a universal Christian prayer. It is said in every corporate worship service worldwide and is used in the personal devotions of millions of people. Recently, I began to be aware that the prayer is so familiar I was saying it without thinking what it meant, and I wondered if other people have the same experience. The result of my thinking and wondering is this article.

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Resource Types: Articles.

A Startling Vision for the 21st Century Church

Tom Thresher makes a powerful argument for a new kind of Christianity that transcends Christianity as we know it today. A fascinating discussion that may and open your eyes to a new vision of Christianity, even startling! 

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Jesus Through the Eyes of Rumi, a Sufi Mystic

Occasionally throughout history, someone comes along and moves a religion
from being a pond religion to an ocean religion.  Someone comes onto the
scene and blows the lid off the top of religion, reforming it, transforming
it.  Jesus was one such figure.

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Topics: Interfaith Issues & Dialogue. 8 Points: Point 2: Pluralism. Resource Types: Sermons.

Limits of Biblical Authority

A story about Jesus gleaning grain on the Sabbath provides us some important insights into whether the Bible’s authority is absolute or limited.

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Resource Types: Articles.
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