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What Can Progressive Christians Say About “Sin” and “Original Sin”?

Some of our detractors have suggested that in our attempt to include all people, we have abandoned the concept of sin. Not so. In both the Hebrew and Greek languages, the word translated “sin” is based on a metaphor taken from hunting. Both the Hebrew chatah’ and the Greek hamartia originally meant that the hunter missed what he was shooting at. The arrow fell short of the target.

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A Letter to a Friend… how to find a church.

I think you know where I stand on the church front. I have been a strong advocate of such things for a long time. Since you bring the topic up, let me sketch out what I see as the dimensions of the issue for someone who hasn’t experienced a persuasive altar call or revelatory “Road to Damascus” experience.

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

Why TCPC Advocates Equal Rights for Gay and Lesbian People

If you look through the eight points that define what we mean by “progressive”, you will see that omitting a concern for these people would leave us with a glaring inconsistency.

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Resource Types: Articles.

What’s In a Name?

More than one person took me to task for using the adjective “reactionary” to describe the point of view I found in the newsletter United Voice.

Although I thought that the description was accurate, I though I had best check up on myself by consulting with The Oxford English Dictionary. This is what I found: “reactionary, a. and n. [f. reaction (chiefly in sense 4). adj. 1. Of, pertaining to, or characterized by, reaction. 2. Inclined or favourable to reaction. Also, in Marxist use, unfavourably contrasted with revolutionary.” Under sense 4 of reaction, I found “A movement towards the reversal of an existing tendency or state of things, esp. in politics; a return, or desire to return, to a previous condition of affairs; a revulsion of feeling.”

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Resource Types: Articles.

What

All too often I have heard people attacking gays and lesbians, saying that they are an abomination to God. I wonder if such people have ever bothered to check their Bibles for the meaning of the word. I did, and this is what I found.

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Resource Types: Articles.

Tit for Tat

Even though 87 percent of Americans consider themselves Christians, few dogmas are as pervasive or have as much influence in our culture as the aphorism, “If you do this, you’ll get that,” where that may either be a reward or a punishment—a carrot or a stick. Popularized by psychologist B. F. Skinner, behavior modification can be traced back historically to the law of retaliation — “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” — which is a perversion of an ancient Hebrew commandment prohibiting unrestrained vengeance.

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Survey Results: TCPC

In October, the TCPC board asked me to work with it on ways in which to more effectively build awareness and usage of the various TCPC resources — books, discussion guides, annual Forums, newsletter, and the website. The board was also interested in starting a discussion about what additional tools and resources TCPC should consider developing as it moves ahead into this new year.

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Resource Types: Articles.

What Every Progressive Christian Should Know About the Tobacco Industry

The tobacco industry likes to portray itself as just another American business, but the facts point to precisely the opposite conclusion. Evidence uncovered in the recent tobacco litigation demonstrates that the tobacco companies deliberately deceived the public into believing that their products were safe and non-addictive while conspiring to keep the industry’s knowledge to the contrary secret, manipulated the nicotine delivery of their products to better addict consumers, and targeted children in their advertising campaigns.

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Resource Types: Articles.

The United Religions Initiative

I was invited to research and write what turned out to be a chapter entitled, “Anglican Attitudes and Behaviors Concerning War,” in an Anglican Ethics text book edited by Paul Elmen, The Anglican Moral Choice. The gist of it is that Anglicans are second to none in being for peace in peacetime, and for war in wartime. This illustrates the unfortunate tendency of religions to sanctify violence.

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Reimagining Ecumenism for the 21st Century

One of the questions we may rightly ask at the beginning of a new century is what is ahead for ecumenism and the ecumenical movement.

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Resource Types: Articles and Interfaith.

No One is Disposable: The Fight Against Slavery in the New Global Economy

According to the Exodus story, the Egyptians had begun to fear that the Israelite people living in Egypt had grown more numerous and powerful than the Egyptians themselves. To prevent these Israelites from joining Egypt’s enemies, fighting against the Egyptians, and escaping from the land, the Egyptians

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Resource Types: Articles.

The Future Shape of Black Religion

Speaking to conference participants from the pulpit at Mt. Enon Baptist Church, Dr. Peter Paris explained that the political role of the African American Church was established from the beginning, that the African American Church has been the only institution consistently serving Blacks in this country, and that the African American church has historically laid the foundation of and continues to reflect the changes in social structure in African American communities.

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Resource Types: Articles.

We Are All to Some Degree Hamlet-Shaped, Whether We Know It or Not

He is “the fullest representation of human possibility. . Whether we are male or female, old or young he “speaks most urgently for us and to us. . . He can be transcendent or ironic. . . When we are wholly human and know ourselves, we be come most like. . .”

Like whom? Jesus? Wrong! Like Hamlet

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Resource Types: Articles.

Responding to our Critics

People objecting to positions taken by The Center for Progressive Christianity play an important role in helping us to define more clearly who and what we are. One such person and I had an E-mail exchange that began with a message from him that arrived under the subject heading, “Are you Christian?” I have arranged our correspondence in the form of a dialogue:

Objector: Are you Christian?

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Resource Types: Articles.

The Jubilation of a Living Wage

This year – which has been proclaimed a Jubilee Year by the Roman Catholic, Episcopal and other churches – affords Christians a special opportunity to make a focus on issues of economic justice a part of their spiritual lives and ministry.

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Resource Types: Articles.

Rage Against the Machine

  When 50,000 teamsters, environmentalists, animal-rights activists, consumer advocates, peaceniks, libertarians, and protectionists marched downtown in Seattle disrupting the secretive World Trade Organization, most Americans were clueless as to what it all meant. On the night after …

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Resource Types: Articles.

Progressive Faith vs. the Illusion of Control

The truth of the matter is that the Christian movement, or what we now call the church, was always progressive. Jesus and his followers were change agents and that frankly, is what got them all into trouble.

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Resource Types: Articles.
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