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Easter Reflections

Easter Reflections for Christians, and for people who are not Christian as well, by Cara Hochalter. May speak to people who are “spiritual but not religious” who, like all of us, seek the fresh winds of the spirit and new births in love.

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Living Resurrection

I must admit that resurrection, then and now, remains a mystery – it can’t be defined in terms of literal flesh and bones or explained away as metaphor; nor is it helpful to speak of the pre-resurrection and post-resurrection Jesus.  Jesus is a whole person reality, resurrection as rebirth and healing power characterized his teaching, healing, and hospitality

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What Happens to Us When We Die

Heaven is a symbolic expression of two complementary yearnings: the longing for perfection in this world, and union with the divine.  We are drawn by the promise of perfection. On an interior level this is felt as the promise of perfect love, happiness, and the ideal relationship. The idea of hell is essentially a symbolic yearning for a moral order in which the good are rewarded and the bad are punished.

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Reflections on Wendell Berry’s Reflections on the Afterlife

If we could grasp Berry’s vision, then our biblical images of judgment would not be terrifying, tormenting images to be feared, but purifying images to be welcomed, invested with new meaning.

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Counter the Culture: Palm Sunday 2011

Romans 12 and Matthew 10 are put to critical scrutiny to leave aside conventional notions of piety and sacrifice in favor of truly subversive ideas concerning grace and distributive justice.

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An Interview with Brian McLaren

An Interview with Brian McLaren. What is the overarching storyline of the Bible? What does it mean to say the Bible has authority? Is God violent? Who is Jesus and why is he important? What is the gospel? What is the function of the Church? Can we find a way to address human sexuality without fighting about it? Can our view of the future actually shape it? How should followers of Jesus relate to people of other faiths? What should we do next?

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The New Orthodoxy

I’d like to make something clear upfront, here. I’m not completely orthodox. I have some beliefs that don’t mix well with older forms of Christian thought, even if they’re often times congruent with some of the oldest forms (for instance, I’m a universalist). I’m not saying this, however, in order to earn your accolades; I’m saying it because, generally, if I want much of today’s American church–at least Mainline and Emergent–to take me seriously, I feel I have to make such a profession of heresy. Heresy has become the new orthodoxy.

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Through Frozen Nights, We Wait A Blue Christmas Service

This service was created by Gretta Vosper from the Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity
The service can be led by one person but is richer with a diversity of voices. In some places, options for Reader 1 and Reader 2 are marked to suggest a particular flow.  Leaders are urged to work out who is responsible for what and use the options provided only as guidelines.
The space is prepared for the service with an easily accessible table, cloaked in dark cloth, with baskets of tea lights set upon smaller tables or stands at each end. The table may be decorated with a sprinkling of silvery or translucent glitter or cut out stars. Silver-covered boxes of various heights might offer different places for people to set tea lights and offer visual interest

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Stepping Out With the Sacred: Human Attempts to Engage the Divine

This is a masterful and engaging account of how humans through centuries and cultures have engaged and experienced the divine. Webb includes her own experiences, both personal and observed from travel in fifty countries, as well as centuries of theology, literature and travel writing. She meanders along winding trails, talk over the fence and drink wine with a stranger, literally and figuratively. To engage the larger-than-description Sacred, we need all the stories we can find, even if only to remind us the distance still to go and the limitless (sometimes unsuccessful) journey. As a teacher of world religions and art, and an artist, this will not be a string of anecdotes, but a woven together, reader-friendly, vividly painted, theologically reflective whole.

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Christmas is Over: What’s Next? – First Sunday After Christmas

Now that Christmas is over, it is time to look within and seek creative and innovative ideas about how to use the precious gifts we have to make a real difference in the part of the country we inhabit.

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A Magical Christmas

I share these familiar family stories because I wonder as we approach this Christmas “holy day,” if we have lost our ability as a society to look for, to wait for, to anticipate those magical moments in life. Have we become so materialistic, so rational, so cynical that we no longer see the magical, majestic, the mystical, the mystery?

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The Christmas Myth is the Story of the Human Family

A vast segment of humanity has been telling itself this same story of a baby born in a manger in Bethlehem for many centuries now; peace and goodwill towards all the clan of Homo sapiens. But nothing has changed. Bethlehem itself has become synonymous with violence. Just now, as the Christmas fervor is being driven towards its annual climax, once-Christian nations are waging war against other countries.  What is the deeper story that has somehow been twisted wholly out of shape and so layered over with trite or fraudulent wrappings that the real gift is rarely ever envisioned let alone observed and gratefully received? Is there, was there ever some precious thing of matchless beauty, power and grace at the very heart of Christmas- something with flaming potency to transform our lives, our world?

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