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The Plantsman

A parable of how a vision can be distorted, so that a process of liberation, healing and inclusiveness becomes an an institution preoccupied with conformity.

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I Want to be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth

A Memoir

In Brenda Peterson’s unusual memoir, fundamentalism meets deep ecology. The author’s childhood in the high Sierra with her forest ranger father led her to embrace the entire natural world, while her Southern Baptist relatives prepared eagerly and busily to leave this world. Peterson survived fierce sword drill competitions demanding total recall of the Scriptures and awkward dinner table questions (Will Rapture take the cat, too?) only to find that environmentalists with prophecies of doom can also be Endtimers. Peterson paints such a hilarious, loving portrait of each world that the reader, too, may want to be Left Behind. Her clever take on the “Left Behind” phenomenon in the book’s title isn’t just a gentle refutation of an escapist religious prophecy. It’s an appeal for something more inclusive than the idea that true believers will one day be swept up midair and whisked off to an eternal paradise, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves.

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Western Christianity Must Change or Remain Irrelevant

I believe that the current state of traditional western Christianity may be comparable to the state of first century Judaism (as it is depicted in the Gospels). And now, as then, critique, deconstruction, and renovation are needed. Jesus’ continuity and discontinuity within his faith tradition, his deconstruction for the purpose of reconstruction, are paradigmatic for emerging, progressive Christianity.

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Converting Christians to the Way of Jesus

Renewing the institutional church that has settled for some lesser version of Christianity shaped by our Western/American sense of comfort and security, governed by rewards and punishments, fixated on getting beliefs correct, and oriented around feel-good, self-glorifying, God wants you to be happy and prosperous teaching, is a very difficult and slow process.

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Peter Kennedy’s First Year in Exile

This interview with rebel Catholic priest, Peter Kennedy, took place almost exactly 12 months after his departure from St Mary’s Parish in South Brisbane. Since leaving, he and his followers have formed a congregation outside the Catholic Church that they call St Mary’s-in-Exile.

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To Have and to Have Not

Luke’s Jesus seems to be saying, pay attention to how you are listening to the message. Are you receptive (fertile); rocky (rejecting); thorny (resisting); or dry (uninterested)? Because . . . but here the non-sequitur called “to have and have not” throws us off the track. The Jesus Seminar scholars suggest that “Luke presumably wants the reader to know that those who grasp at the initial stages of faith will be given more to understand as they mature” (The Five Gospels p. 307).

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The Study of Life, Part 5. My Search for the Meaning of Life as I Walked in Darwin’s Footsteps

In the preparation required to write my new book on eternal life, I soon discovered that this subject raised all of the contemporary theological issues that threaten to destroy Christianity as we have known it. It was clear that I would have to turn the traditional religious approach around. I had to read the modern critics for whom the religious concepts of the past make no sense. I also had to come to a new understanding of what life itself means. Life after death cannot possibly be contemplated until one understands the wondrous and even mysterious dimensions of life before death.

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What is Evolutionary Christianity

Evolutionary Christianity values big history — the 14-billion-year epic of physical, biological, and cultural evolution — as divine revelation and as our common creation story. Here are four core tenets of Evolutionary Christianity

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Interview of Brian McLaren On His New Book

Interview of Brian McLaren on Patheos.com  Challenging the traditional assumptions around core Christian beliefs and advocating a dynamic discipleship that is more about the questions than the answers, this evangelical pastor-turned-author is preaching a compelling message for the future of Christianity that is building bridges across religious divides within the Church and beyond.

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Jesus: Magician or Liberator?

For 21st Century Christianity, the question is, which interpretation makes the most sense? Magic and miracle, or liberation from injustice? Scholars and commentators are often accused of reading 21st Century world views back into 1st Century writings.

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If Darwin Prayed- Poems

Poems from an upcoming book by Bruce Sanguin. Author of Emerging Church and Darwin, Divinity, and The Dance of the Cosmos.

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Awakening to the Sacred Dimension of Creation

We are facing a planetary crisis that is unparalleled in human history. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that we are at a tipping point. Species extinction is accelerating, global warming is melting the polar icecaps at a …

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Evolution: The Next Step

As a Christian who is centred on the spiritual aspect rather than on literal doctrinal interpretations, I see no conflict between evolution and my faith. In fact a realisation about how humanity is evolving shows me an inspiring path ahead. I personally see the evolutionary process as an expression of God. (In saying this I am not assuming anything about the nature of God which I personally have come to understand in a mystical sense.) But before considering the moral and spiritual implications let us consider briefly how this evolutionary process has developed. There seems to be a large consensus on four distinctive steps.

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Evolution Favoring Religion?

A recent post by Mark Vernon of Religion Dispatches traces some findings of David Sloan Wilson who is a biologist researching and suggesting that the so-called “selfish gene” proposed by evolutionary biologists of the past is a fallacy. Instead, Wilson’s research has lead him to posit the idea that we haven’t, as humans, evolved toward the ends and purposes only of the self but rather more toward the aims and benefit of the groups in which individuals live.

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Evolutionary Christianity

We are facing a planetary crisis that is unparalleled in human history. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that we are at a tipping point. Species extinction is accelerating, global warming is melting the polar icecaps at a rate that exceeds all scientific predictions, and our air, water, and soil is rapidly becoming a toxic soup that is ending up in our own bodies. We have only a few years to reorient ourselves and avert a disaster from which there may be no return.

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