Bishop John Spong on the Bible as a Source of Truth

Bishop John Spong’s provocative book is “The Sins of Scripture.” In it, Bishop Spong deplores the way the bible has been used to justify most of the world’s evils; from gender inequality, homosexuality and child abuse, to capital punishment, the environment, and birth control. In the interview, he discusses the rise of muslim fundamentalism and laments that congregations at mainstream churches are in freefall.

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Faith Trends I See in 2015

In the spirit of Janus, I ended the year looking backward at a world in disarray and forward at three faith movements I expect in 2015.

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Visioning isn’t enough

Incremental steps are where the transformed life occurs. One wholesome meal, followed by another. One time of choosing family first. One act of kindness. One act of self-restraint in the face of provocation. One assignment done carefully.

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Three truths about stewardship

This has been difficult terrain for many years now. Giving throughout mainline Protestantism has been in free-fall for at least thirty years, and is proving to be challenging even in evangelical traditions that supposedly teach the tithe.

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Five tips for a God-centered December

I might be “preaching to the choir,” but these five December tips are worth remembering.

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Monthly eBulletin- Life Celebrations in Sacred Community

With such an expansive awareness of our universe and our place in it, it is necessary to pause and honor the corners we turn, the milestones, the past and the present. But meaning is lost when the words are irrelevant, when language is outdated, and practices are dogmatic and un-evolving. As progressive Christians, we are called to walk into the mystery of change, while at the same time keeping close to our hearts the timeless teachings of our tradition. Our life celebrations and rituals must then reflect this call, this necessary aspect of our path. Sacred community is a space to explore these traditions and to create new ones.

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Our New Cathedral

What is the economic value, say, of Wells Cathedral? Or Notre Dame Cathedral? Or National Cathedral? They not only help us understand our humble place in the cosmos, but the grandness and abundance of that universe.

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What is in the Crystal Ball?

Traditional churches have resisted the substantive change necessary to remain relevant in the modern world. There is a huge chasm between the higher biblical criticism and liberation theology of most seminaries and what is actually proclaimed from the pulpits of American churches. This is true, in large part because ministers are afraid of losing their jobs and parishioners want to hold onto the magical thinking that has helped them to cope with the vicissitudes of life.

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Monthly eBulletin – Teaching and Preaching in Sacred Community

This month we continue our discussion on Sacred Community as we discuss how, what, and why are we teaching when we preach? And, is there a difference between teaching and preaching? This was a fun and challenging topic. We hope you enjoy!

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Preaching

Preaching is a unique form of expression, probably more like a spoken op ed column than anything else. You get to speak, uninterrupted, for usually ten to twenty minutes, and it is your job to bring ancient scriptures alive in all their veiled, puzzling and even sometimes obnoxious voices. In the Episcopal and many other Christian denominations, there is a lectionary or schedule of selected Bible readings in a three year cycle. Each Sunday has its suggested texts, and you are to connect these readings with your own life and that of your hearers in a way that matters. A preacher must always face the “So what?” question about her work – why do people need to hear this? And finally, a sermon is supposed to be “good news” or Gospel in Christian terms. Underneath all that, at its best, our preaching should tell the truth about the way life really is, and where we all get caught, and how and why we need saving help. The task is daunting, and I love its fierce demands.

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Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers In Exile

An important and respected voice for liberal American Christianity for the past twenty years, Bishop John Shelby Spong integrates his often controversial stands on the Bible, Jesus, theism, and morality into an intelligible creed that speaks to today’s thinking Christian. In this compelling and heartfelt book, he sounds a rousing call for a Christianity based on critical thought rather than blind faith, on love rather than judgment, and that focuses on life more than religion.

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What Kind of Music do We Use?

I believe that any truly spiritual path must understand that its main function is to provide the opportunity to experience true Unity or Oneness with all Creation. There are many ways to say the same thing, but every church, religious, or spiritual gathering is trying to help the attendee experience that Oneness. And I am convinced that one of the places we can do that is with music. The mega-churches in large part figured that out decades ago. But go into a typical church today with sixty members and listen to them try and experience Oneness or sense of Connectedness as they stumble through a difficult hymn or debate theology. Most people at some point in that experience are just hoping for the hymn to be over.

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