Taking the “Christ” Out of Christmas

The challenge for a progressive Christian who has moved beyond such notions as virgin births and gods disguised in human form come to save us from ourselves is to remember that it is as much a historical development, as it is a theological one. That is, the attribution of a “Christ” title accorded a very human Jesus constitutes the imaginations — if not machinations — of an early Church; consisting of very human, second-generation followers of a 1st century Galilean peasant sage and itinerant preacher. And who all but drowned out the authentic voice of the one who was once born and dwelt among humankind.

Such an assertion is simply based on the fact the historical Jesus never self-identified as the “anointed one,” the Christ.

As such, if one were to remove the Christ-title from the various birth narratives of those secondary traditions of this religious movement, what would remain of the “Christmas story” that has become as prevalently assumed, as it has been unexamined? If we took the Christ out of Christmas, what might remain of the voice of one who was born and dwelt among us?

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What Child Is This? The Reason For The Season

What can we learn from the Christmas story? I believe that just as Jesus seemed to be aware of the Divine Spark (or Christ) presence within him, which allowed him to love almost unreservedly and break boundaries, so too we are invited to see this Divine Spark within ourselves. God is literally with us. And isn’t this what we need in today’s world, where we see atrocities and tragedies such as the ones I listed above? If each of us were to acknowledge our inner divinity, and then recognize our neighbour’s inner divinity – regardless of their religious beliefs or non-beliefs – would we then see larger stepping stones toward global peace?

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Worship Materials: Advent

From the Festive Worship Collection

Theme: Dreamtime Reality — Season of Hope
Thoughts for Reflection
To travel hopefully is the mark of a pilgrim. To believe one has arrived is the mark of the insecure.

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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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Defining Progressive Christianity

An Open-Ended “Creed” for a Progressive Christian

I have often said so-called “progressive Christianity” is a notion forever in search of its own elusive definition; and that’s as good a way of explaining it as we may be able to find. We live in a post-modern world that considers the age of Enlightenment to be a post-facto reality. As such, “progressive” thinking in an age of Reason has pushed the boundaries of nearly every facet of life, except one: those ‘traditional’ or ‘orthodox’ beliefs, based on certain creeds, doctrines and dogma that still dominate what it presumably means to be “Christian.” It hardly needs to be said that it is also why so many one-time believers have outgrown their one-time faith. Calling them merely “lapsed” is misleading. So much has elapsed in the world we have all come to know and take for granted, that the once-dominant Church — — despite all its denominational varieties — has fast become a post-modern relic. Yet any critical examination of how Christian scriptures developed and how the history of the tradition evolved will quickly demonstrate how it has always been in a constant state of flux. Or, if you like, “progression.” It was only when it stopped and got stuck that we traded in the tent for a temple, and snuffed the life out of a movement that is progressive by its very nature. What then would constitute an honest statement of belief for at least this “progressive Christian?”

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Not In My Name

An extremely small percentage of the world’s Muslim population recognizes ISIS as having any sort of authority over their lives. In other words, being Muslim does not equate with ISIS affiliation. We need to stop acting as if the two are interchangeable and start acting out of love, rather than from hate or fear. Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35). If there is no love, there is no Christianity. Period. There is just an empty label that leaves the world seeing us in ways that will make you cringe.

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The Arian Controversy

One of the most serious theological conflicts in the history of Christianity occurred more than one thousand six hundred years ago. Known as the Arian controversy, many people who call them-selves Christian have most likely never heard …

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Hell

What Does Hebrew Scripture Say about Life After Death? There isn’t much in Hebrew scriptures about life after death. According to Ecclesiastes, death is final: “The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; …

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Heaven

Hebrew Scripture’s View of Life after Death It wasn’t until after the Babylonian Exile that the Pharisees accepted the idea of heaven and the resurrection of the faithful, but the Sadducees, the Essenes, and the community of …

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John Shelby Spong: Separating the Fourth Gospel

John Shelby Spong gives an introduction and brief explication of his 5 day lecture series hosted by the Department of Religion, in the Hall of Philosophy.

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John Shelby Spong – The Mother of Jesus: A Symbol of Judaism

John Shelby Spong explains how the 4th Gospel creates a symbol from the presence of Christ’s mother. This is the fourth lecture of a five lecture series.

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John Shelby Spong – Johannian Characters: Literary Creatures

John Shelby Spong continues his 5 day lecture series. He explains the colorful characters who hold dual purpose in the fourth Gospel.

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