Christmas Celebrations 2014 with songs

I invite you into the way I celebrate Christmas. It may be different to the way you celebrate and think about Christmas, but I ask you to join me as I bring you into what I think can be a joyful way of celebration in the 21st Century. One of the biblical scholars has helped me crystallise what I find difficult about the traditional presentations of Christmas. Greg Jenks, in his book ‘Jesus then and Jesus now’ has asked the question, “Has the Jesus tradition become a giant fairy-tale for children, and little more than an annual exercise of ‘let’s pretend’ for grown-ups?” (Page 123) That is the question which plagues me every Christmas.

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Rock of Ages 2.0 – poetic injustice

God’s about to turn the world upside-down, knock the wealthy oppressors off their pedestals, lift up those who’ve been oppressed, and usher-in a new reign of social justice and reconciliation!

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We are always part of the other

From the Boundless Life collection

We are always part of the other
And the other is part of our-self
For nothing is as simple as it seems.

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Purify- Hope Medford- Music Video

“A Sensual Hip-notic journey of World beats infused with Maternal Soul…” ‘Purify’ is a powerful fresh sound of strong dance beats mixed with emotional layers and tapestries of percussion. The sound imbies influences from reggae to R n’ B – to tribal and street roots infused with an undeniable feminine essence.

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Tiptoe, softly, gently

From the Boundless Life collection

Tiptoe, softly, gently
To the Christmas stall;
Space where hope is singing
Peace on earth for all.

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God is present in each baby

From the Boundless Life collection

God is present in each baby
And throughout all time and space,
In the chaos and the order,
In each tender touch and face.

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I’m a Gay Christian (sort of)

Well here’s the thing, I am part of a growing group of Christians who are very much the opposite of everything I just stated. I am part of a movement of Christians who are applying modern education and logic to reframe what it means to call ourselves “Christians.”

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Preaching Christmas Eve in the Wake of New Testament Scholarship

So, if your struggling over some of the details of the nativity story, if the experts have left you perplexed, cynical or worried, do not be afraid, for I bring you tidings of great joy. The story is true, every last word of it is true. For just like Dom so wisely revealed to us, the story of the nativity is a parable and like all parable’s it represents a truth that cannot be fully expressed in words. Like all good parables the truth is not to be found in the details, but rather in the Spirit of God that breathes life into the parable. It’s a parable about so many things, but most of all it is a parable about peace on earth giving glory to God.

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Amid the many thoughts

From the Boundless Life collection

Amid the many thoughts
Of what we each might be
What images can help us live
With hope and dignity?

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Talking Circles

Talking Circles can be extremely healing as they invite us to slow down, speak our deepest truth, and really listen to each other. The creation of a sacred container in which all voices are honored lets participants feel safe to express their truths freely.

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Keep Watch: John the Baptist, Like Christ Has Many Disguises!

Christ came to me in Karen. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Christ comes to us in the most unlikely of places wearing the most unlikely of faces.

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Church Without God

Musings

What will be the unifying principle behind this community? Is love and mutual support enough to hang it together? Will some distinctive message or activity or ritual be necessary to give the group an identity and a reason to continue gathering? The experiment is just getting started. The evidence and the conclusions are not in. Meanwhile, Bart’s experiment has the attention of secular humanists nationwide. He’s not a theist any more, but he’s not a normal atheist, either.

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The Waiting is Over

The season of Advent is upon us. For most people it is simply a flurry of activities to prepare for the Christmas and New Year holidays: a time of decoration, a time of shopping, a time of baking, a time of lights and candles. For some, it is simply the most stressful time of the year. But historically, advent has been a time of inward preparation in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. It recalls the themes of a late-term pregnancy: waiting and suspense, hope and expectation. Advent literally means ‘arrival.’

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Beloved Sacred Arts and Music Festival

Beloved is a 4 day camping sacred music and art festival on the Oregon Coast. The intention is to present sacred music to eradicate the illusion of separation from each other, from the earth and from The Beloved.

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Optimist- Zoe Keating- Music Video by Brian Thomson

This video was shot at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah. Their annual Festival of Colors was a great opportunity to test the slow-mo capabilities of my Cannon 7D. After hearing Zoe Keating perform this song in Portland, OR I was inspired to edit this footage to her beautiful music.

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Purify – Music CD

A Sensual Hip-notic journey of World beats infused with Maternal Soul…” ‘Purify’ is a powerful fresh sound of strong dance beats mixed with emotional layers and tapestries of percussion. The sound imbies influences from reggae to R n’ B – to tribal and street roots infused with an undeniable feminine essence.

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Manly P. Hall on Love

Love is not just a single thing. It is not something that is born full-blown from the unknown and the invisible.

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Celebrate at Christmas Time

From the Boundless Life collection

Celebrate at Christmas time
Light that only dark can birth,
Light in every baby’s eyes,
Gift of darkened realms of Earth.

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The darkness and the light

From the Boundless Life collection

The darkness and the light shall be one,
The sorrow and the joy linked in wonder,
Life shall dance,
The song be sung
And the golden fire burn brightly
In the hearts of the children of the Earth.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – The Christian Church

The church as we know it came about when one group of believers was opposed by a dissenting group. Then it became necessary for each group to define their concepts of Christianity and to label all others heretics.

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Three truths about stewardship

This has been difficult terrain for many years now. Giving throughout mainline Protestantism has been in free-fall for at least thirty years, and is proving to be challenging even in evangelical traditions that supposedly teach the tithe.

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Awakening- Video Poem

Live recording of Climbing PoeTree’s “Awakening” poem featuring Leah Song on vocals and Biko Casini on Ngoni.

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Five tips for a God-centered December

I might be “preaching to the choir,” but these five December tips are worth remembering.

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The Geometry of Time – Sermon Video

The three major western religions, Judaism, Islam and Christianity, teach that time is linear but goes on for eternity. Many eastern religions tend to view time in repeating circular patterns. Both are guilty of undermining the message of environmental scientists who are telling us that we are simply running out of time. We have no reason to be certain that we will have an infinite number of chances to try again or that God will enter history and take us all away from a dying planet. The savior we are looking for is staring back at us from the bathroom mirror.

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Are You Sure?

A poem by Madeleine L'Engle

There is also a legend that Mary was not the first young woman to whom the angel came. But she was the first one to say yes.
And how unsurprising it would be for a fourteen-year-old girl to refuse the angel. To be disbelieving. Or to say:

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The Marion Diaries

Reflections by Michael Hollingshead

I could feel the warm afternoon wind blowing a few moments before; right through the window where I was standing, stacking some bowls.

A moment later it blew again, only this time it was cool and refreshing, and even smelled sweet like hyssop, or juniper, or jasmine.

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Poem to Mother Mary

“Blessed Virgin Mary, I’m coming full circle
and I want to be your…what is it I want?
I want to be your child and friend again.
May I?”

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“Keep awake! Watch for we know not when Christ comes.

Advent is about waiting and watching: waiting and watching for the coming of Christ. We wait for just the right time to celebrate the birth of Christ in our midst and we watch for Christ’s promised return. But how do we wait and where do we watch?

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Mary, Joseph, Jesus (The Astronomers’ Carol)

From the Boundless Life collection

Mary, Joseph, Jesus,
The characters remain.
Shepherds and the angels,
Truth travellers’ contain
Shaped in ancient story’s
Sweet mystical refrain.

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When the child is at the center

From the Boundless Life collection

When the child is at the center,
When the babe is in the stall,
When the adult nurtures wonder,
When the carols warm us all,
Then the fragments come together
And the vision shines as one

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MARY’s STORY:  Let It Be 

The way you tell the Christmas story, it all sounds so simple. So simple. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I really like it. It’s just that for so long now people have been telling my story and the way they tell it, it all sounds so simple and easy, so neat and tidy, that I hardly recognize myself in the story. It’s not your fault.  It all started a long time ago. Luke and that other fellow Matthew, they started it all.  They wrote my story down and wouldn’t you know it they cleaned it all up. But who can blame them.  Nobody likes messy birth stories. And as birth stories go, my baby’s birth was a really messy one.

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Pregnant with Possibility:  Was Mary a Virgin or Was Mary Raped?

Mary, this enigmatic woman has remained in the shadows for centuries. All too often the epithet “virgin” has been applied to the young woman who fell pregnant so long ago. As her Advent appearance approaches, I this re-post this sermon which I preached a couple of years ago in which I asked some questions about Mary. At the time I was reading Jane Schalberg’s “The Illegitimacy of Jesus”, John Shelby Spong’s “Born of a Woman” and “Jesus for the Non Religious” along with John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg’s “The First Christmas” and this sermon is laced with their scholarship.

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Radically New Way To Think About God And Prayer In The 21st Century

Whenever we enter into a conversation about God and prayer, it’s helpful to remind ourselves that despite what some religion’s would have us believe, the Creator or Initiating Consciousness that created of our universe, the Ground of Being we refer to as God, is in fact, Ultimate Mystery. Thus, the concepts in this article are my thoughts and ideas, not absolute truth.

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The Real War on Christmas – Sermon Video

Matthew and Luke tell completely different (and contradictory) accounts of the birth of Jesus. Neither are meant to be taken literally. They were writing a theological message (sermon) to introduce their gospels. Where the two agree is that the Jesus they were going to describe was a messenger who would turn the world upside down, casting down the rich and powerful in favor of the weak and poor. There is our real Christmas story, a story of liberation and justice.

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Shattered Angel

As Christmas draws near, we turn to stories to express the inexpressible. Like the Gospel writers we are at a loss to explain the activity of our God in the world and so we too resort to story telling. Families gather and the reliable old stories are told. And each year new stories are added to our treasure troves as we seek to express the inexpressible and touch the hem of our God who is love. And what better way to touch and be touched by God than to tell stories of God’s love in the world. We all have treasure troves of stories of Christ taking on flesh and dwelling among us. My story took place when I was a young woman determined that my first Christmas living out in the world would be the type of Christmas that dreams are made of.

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Taste and See

From the Boundless Life collection

Taste and see how gracious the Christ is,
Taste and see the wonder of life;
Take the bread, the body of Jesus,
Break the bread, the flesh of the world;
Taste and see the wonder of life.

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