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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Grace and Salvation

For Christians grace is God’s gift of pardon. According to William Barclay the Greek word for grace was originally a military term. When an emperor came to the throne or celebrated a birthday, he would give his troops a donatirim (donation), which was a free gift that they had not earned; it was given out of the goodness of the emperor’s heart. This idea was picked up by the Christian scripture writers when they wrote about the grace of God. Grace is something that is unearned and undeserved – unmerited pardon.

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King David

From the ‘Sing Young, Sing Joyfully’ collection

King David was a man of fire
Who sang and danced for God.
The raptures of his heart’s desire
Were sacred gifts from God.

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Unarmed and Dangerous

A Gospel of Non-violence in a Violent World

We wrestle with the stark reality of the culture of gun violence in which we find ourselves, and a gospel message for the progressive Christian that is inherently non-violent. Advocates for one side of a heated debate insist the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun; which is only true if the good guy is faster on the draw and a better aim. To assert the good guy always wins is, of course, a lie. There are plenty of examples of murder and mayhem in that compendium of stories we call the Bible. In some stories the good guy wins. In others, they lose; particularly those who choose the way of non-violent resistance unequivocally taught and demonstrated in the words and deeds of the Galilean sage and healer. It’s not a matter of a showdown to see who wins with a more forceful argument. Far from naïve, impractical and unrealistic, a non-violent response may be the only thing to break the perpetual cycle of violence. But how?

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Taking the Bible Seriously but Not Literally

We can usefully consider the problem posed by the Bible for theologians and church leaders under three categories: the world behind the text, the world within the text, and the world in front of the text. 

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WSCF Universal Day of Prayer

First celebrated in 1898, the Universal Day of Prayer for Students is observed on the third Sunday of February; in 2010 it is celebrated on February 21st. The UDPS is one of the oldest ecumenical days of prayer.  In line with WSCF’s theme for 2010 the UDPS theme is ‘Climate Justice’.  Former WSCF Chairperson Rev. Ejike Okoro of Nigeria has prepared the 2010 UDPS liturgy and accompanying Bible study on behalf of the Africa region.

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