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21st Century Cosmology and the Gospel of John: Part VI – Fire and Water

With chapter 7 the anti-Semitism that has haunted Christianity for centuries seems to become unavoidable.

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On Being Spiritual, Not Religious

The Holy Ordinary

The kinds of stories the Galilean spirit/sage spins become sacred stories, but not because they have been canonized by any religious authority. Rather, they are extra-ordinarily spiritual tales because they are stories about the sacredness of the ordinary life as revealed to us by the one who taught with a different kind of inner authority. It’s what makes ordinary life so undeniably, unavoidably, deeply, and essentially spiritual. And It is also why ordinary people are as reluctant to relinquish their claim to be “spiritual,” in the most profound sense of the word; just as adamantly as they disavow being “religious,” in the worst sense of that word.

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Shared Sacrifice, Shared Reward

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics,” said Plutarch, the 1st century Roman historian. Our country may not be on its deathbed, but surely we are now experiencing the pain of a serious sickness in our democracy.

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Jesus and the 99 Percent

What has become clear among these liberal and progressive clergy is that although we do not know fully what the movement is or where it will wind up, we know that we are called to be there.

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Luke 1:39-56: Magnificat for a Broken World

Mary’s song promises that God brings about wondrous reversals in the world: showing favor to the uncredentialed and ignored (“the lowly”); rendering ineffectual the machinations of the arrogant (“scattering the proud in the thoughts of their hearts”); bringing down those who exploit positions of power; lifting up the poor. 

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Epiphany: More than changing light bulbs

“Sin” is not about sex, or petty transgression. “Sin” is about the seduction of power-over others; of the gratification of having what others cannot have.

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Topics: Bibles and Bible Study, Early Christianity, Jesus Studies, and Progressive Christianity 101. 8 Points: Eight points. Seasons & Special Events: Epiphany. Ages: Adult. Texts: Amos, Deuteronomy, Luke, Mark, Matthew, Philippians, Psalms, and Romans. Resource Types: Articles.

The Coming of Jesus – An Answer to Prayer?

A look at how Christians today still want the kind of physical power Messiah that the Jews hoped for and who will change the world for us, when the actual need is for a spiritual change within ourselves and for us to respond to a vision and a challenge.

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A Voice in the Wilderness

The underlying assumption in this study of Luke (and eventually Acts and the authentic letters of Paul) is that Luke wrote his gospel and his account of the Acts of the Apostles as a subversive counter to Roman oppression, and the Roman imperial theology that proclaimed Cesar (whether Augustus or Tiberias) as the son of God.  The voice of John the Baptist screamed from the edges of civilization about “repentance” until Herod Antipas had had enough.

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Toward a New Cosmology: Advent 2011

In a parody of the story of Caesar’s birth, Jesus of Nazareth was heralded by angels, and born of a virgin.  We can still hope for direct action against oppressive Empire and for distributive justice-compassion; against a greed world and for a share world; against zero-sum gaming of every system devised by humanity, and for a radical abandonment of self-interest.

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Occupy Thanksgiving

On Adequacy, Abundance and Excess

In the disequilibrium that defines this moment in time, how do we all reconstitute a life-affirming balance between those needs and wants with which we all struggle?

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Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity

* How did monotheistic Jews of the early church come to see Jesus as a part of the unique identity of Israel’s God? Offering an alternative to “functional” and “ontic” Christology, Bauckham convincingly argues that the divine identity—who God truly is—can be witnessed in Jesus’ humiliation, suffering, death, and resurrection.

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The Parable of the Wedding Banquet

If we are honest, this parable of the wedding guests is perplexing and almost beyond understanding. It weaves here and there, turning expectations upside down and just when you think “I’ve got it!” – no you haven’t because it twists again.

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What Kind of Christian? – Part II

Part II

What is the relationship between the Jesus of history and the title accorded him as the “Christ?”  No matter what kind of Christian you may be, if Jesus is regarded to be fullest manifestation of God in the faith tradition we all call Christianity, just which Jesus are we talking about? And, how might we get from possibly being a disciple of this Jewish rabbi and spirit-sage, to “taking up a cross” of some kind for this “Christ?”  In a word, who’s got which Jesus?  This is Part II of a two-part commentary.

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It’s the Least We Can Do: End of Year A Commentary

What is seldom noticed by traditional Christians is that consignment to hell is not the payback for “sin”; it is the consequence of not believing that Jesus was the one Anointed by God to return the world to God’s covenantal rule.  If you don’t believe Jesus was the one – according to Matthew – you won’t follow Jesus’ teachings, and when the transformation comes, you will be found in the company of the goats.

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End Times – Apocalypse 101: Proper 18-19, Year A

The process the early followers of Jesus went through that resulted in the Church of Jesus Christ is fairly long, fairly obscure, and full of pitfalls for those who seek to recreate it.

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What Kind of Christian? – Part I

Part I

Shortly before his deadly rampage in Norway in July, Anders Behring Breivik posted a rambling Christian jihadist manifesto on his Facebook page.  Within days, a self-professed Christian fundamentalist who blogs online claimed the mass murderer was no Christian because he  “supports Darwinism and human logic, demonstrating a rationalist worldview rather than a Christian one.” Uh-oh. While I would also identify myself as some kind of “Christian,” I couldn’t resemble either of these two characters less. So what kinds of beliefs and behaviors do I accept and refute to describe my own “Christian” identity?  What kind of a “Christian” am I? … 

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The Trouble with Resurrection – From Paul to the Fourth Gospel

The term “resurrection” has come to stand for what Christianity is all about. But a close look reveals that it should not be understood monolithically, but rather as a pluralistic and diverse phenomenon.

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