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Epting Credo

I believe in (trust in, not just intellectually assent to) a Power, Force, Rational Principle at the core of the Universe that is the Source of all that is. I believe it has a personal quality (i.e. “father/mother”). This Power is so much greater than anything we can imagine that, for all practical purposes, it is beyond measure and without limit (“all” powerful…at least in comparison with us).

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The Canberra Affirmation

As progressive Christians in the 21st century, we are uncomfortable with rigid statements of belief, as we recognise our understandings are shaped by life experiences within cultural and environmental contexts. Yet, there are some common understandings which continue to shape our lives, both individually and in community with others. These we seek to affirm and celebrate

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The Body Politic of God, Part I

The last book of the Bible, that bizarre and nightmarish Book of Revelation, is often found to be most popular among those religious nut jobs who are constantly interpreting the universal themes found in the battle of good and evil as signs of some certain apocalyptic end time; and differentiating the tribes of those who will be saved from those who will be lost, left behind and damned. However, given the obvious fact such end-time predictions have been re-scheduled over and over again for nearly two thousand years (so far), we might better consider those recurrent, universal themes to be found in this allegorical tale; and look with fresh eyes and see Revelation as more about this world of ours that continues to self-implode upon itself over and over again. How might we be open to being encountered in another, revelatory view of the polis in which we all inextricably dwell? This commentary begins a two-part reflection, based on Elaine Pagel’s newest book, Revelations: Visions, Prophecy & Politics in the Book of Revelation; and in light of the latest terrorist attacks, bombings and global violence among our tribal warring factions. You can find the latest commentary here.

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Dreaming of a Post-Credal Christianity

One of the problems of being a professional academic is that generally when you have to write articles they have to be heavy, well-researched pieces that connect with the on-going academic debate in one’s field. Well I don’t really want to do that here. In this short piece I want to try and dream a little, to set out some ways of how we might imagine religious faith that represent an alternative to credal forms of Christianity.

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The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic

Now Available!

The Fourth Gospel was designed first to place Jesus into the context of the Jewish scriptures, then to place him into the worship patterns of the synagogue and finally to allow him to be viewed through the lens of a popular form of first-century Jewish mysticism.

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A Joyful Path, Children’s Curriculum, Year Two, Ages 6-10, FOR IN-HOME

In A Joyful Path, Year Two, we focused on some of the main tenets of Progressive Christianity and Spirituality, giving our children the foundation they need to understand the basics of this path, to clarify their own personal beliefs and be able to discuss those with others, while at the same time showing what it means to walk the path of Jesus in today’s world.

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A Joyful Path, Children’s Curriculum, Year Two, Ages 6-10, For SMALL GROUPS

In A Joyful Path, Year Two, we focused on some of the main tenets of Progressive Christianity and Spirituality, giving our children the foundation they need to understand the basics of this path, to clarify their own personal beliefs and be able to discuss those with others, while at the same time showing what it means to walk the path of Jesus in today’s world.

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A Joyful Path, Children’s Curriculum, Year Two, Ages 6-10, For SINGLE CLASSROOM GROUPS

In A Joyful Path, Year Two, we focused on some of the main tenets of Progressive Christianity and Spirituality, giving our children the foundation they need to understand the basics of this path, to clarify their own personal beliefs and be able to discuss those with others, while at the same time showing what it means to walk the path of Jesus in today’s world.

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A Joyful Path, Children’s Curriculum, Year Two, Ages 6-10, For MULTI-CLASSROOMS

In A Joyful Path, Year Two, we focused on some of the main tenets of Progressive Christianity and Spirituality, giving our children the foundation they need to understand the basics of this path, to clarify their own personal beliefs and be able to discuss those with others, while at the same time showing what it means to walk the path of Jesus in today’s world.

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The Three Secrets of Aging

The Three Secrets of Aging suggests instead that our final stage of life offers an astounding new evolutionary process: an initiation into an entirely new stage of life, a transformation of self and consciousness, and a revelation of a new – and sacred – world right where we are.

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The Easter Way of Jesus: A Modern Day Via Dolorosa

If Jesus died for anything, he laid down his life like most social prophets and martyrs as a complete and utter refutation and relinquishment of any vestiges of earthly kingdoms. Whatever the subsequent followers of the donkey king would retrospectively make of him, he was regarded by the powers that be as nothing more than a nuisance. As more than one biblical scholar has pointed out, the real significance of Jesus’ crucifixion lay in the fact that anyone subsequently noticed and cared about the execution of a nobody. Yet it is the way of a nobody — not a somebody — that has so often altered the way of an otherwise weary world.

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Adam & Eve-olution

One of the cool things about an evolutionary understanding of the Kosmos is that we need not rely on myth alone to make sense of the world; and, at the same time, we can look back with …

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Dust and Ashes

The Gift of Mortality

Avowed atheist Susan Jacoby recently created a dust up with a recent article in the New York Times Sunday Review entitled, “The Blessings of Atheism.” She wrote in response to all the god-talk that appeared in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown massacre; with all those unanswerable questions or inadequate answers to human suffering and death so often peddled in popular religious belief.

So too, not long ago author and “non-believer,” Christopher Hitchen’s posthumously published his little book Mortality; recounting his rambling thoughts on his own imminent demise; after a terminal diagnosis left him a sufficient number of days to find himself “deported from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady.”

But what, or where to, after that? What if this really is all there is?

It seems there has always been the human hankering to imagine all kinds of fanciful notions, in our attempts to recapitulate our mortal existence into something more than it is. Many religious traditions, including centuries of “mainline” orthodox Christianity, employ great mythic stories to describe a life subsumed into something greater than we can either know, or grasp, except by “faith.” Heaven knows, some folks try to better themselves, merely in the hope of a remote possibility there something more, after our death, which is a certainty. But in the end, is it all dust and ashes? And is that OK?

This is the liturgical time of year when many in the Christian tradition undergo a seasonal pilgrimage in which the faithful are reminded at the onset we mortals are nothing more than dust. And so we will one day return to that from whence we came. Then the traditional forty days end with the perennial re-enactment of a passion play commemorating the mortal demise of the one whom Christians even these many centuries later would profess to follow.

Many do so in the hope of some kind of immortality for themselves in some indecipherable form or other; attributing to Jesus a “resurrection” that means the same thing to them as god-like immortality; while others of us may find such imaginings to be not only reasonably implausible, but of less importance than what we take to be of greater significance and meaning in this faith tradition.

Otherwise, the vainglorious hope of immortality can become so enshrouded in our mortal fears that we become – like Lazarus in his early grave – so wrapped up in death that we fail to truly acknowledge and appreciate the gift of our mortality for what it is; nothing more, nor less.

With the certain assurance then that we are but dust and ash, we can ask ourselves if the gift of our mortality is not only enough, but more than enough? And if so, as the psalmist says, how then shall we “number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom?” (Psalm 90:12)

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God Is Love

A Meditation on the Indefinable Nature of the Divine

Meditation on God is Love. How many times have we heard the word “love” being used to define that which is ultimately indefinable? I suppose it is because that’s the only word that can even bring us close to grasping the ungraspable.

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