Time to Talk about Trinity, Monotheism and Panentheism

Jesus Seminar scholars (Marcus Borg, Karen Armstrong, John Spong) talk about the panentheism beyond traditional monotheistic faith. We can love and cherish the concepts of trinity, atonement, substitutionary faith without taking them literally. God is too big for any one religion.

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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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Life to the Full

In being baptised by John, Jesus recognised that a new phase of his life was beginning. John was also publicly acknowledging that a new abundant phase of life for the world was also beginning

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Jesus called on people to change. Not just a little, but dramatically. The ‘kingdom of God’ is the term Jesus used to express his vision of a profound transformation of human beings and human institutions—social, political, economic and religious—to fully express the character and nature of God—a God of love. To accomplish this vision, Jesus worked toward the creation of a new kind of community dedicated to values of compassion, generosity, peace, and justice. He was creating a movement for change, a people engaged in a vast conspiracy of love.

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The Need to Transform

I find it fascinating that an institution which at its very core is about transformation, does all it can to resist change. Ironically from its earliest manifestations, the Christian path has always been about transformation. The Jesus story is first and foremost about changing our perspective, our purpose and ultimately our lives. What else but transformation could the story of a poor peasant who becomes a respected rabbi, a teacher of a new way of living, mean? How else can we interpret the intent of Jesus’ actual teachings like breaking down social barriers, forgiving our enemies and loving abundantly without qualifications than with steps to an inner and social transformation? What could being spiritually born again mean other than transformation? What does the symbol of resurrection mean other than transformation?

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The Bible as Personal Transformation Guide

The Bible is, in my mind, the best witness the Western World had to the evolution of human consciousness. That is a story in itself – I’m working on the book. However, what is true on the grand scale of one tradition’s journey toward wholeness is also true as a map for our personal growth. We can see the ages and stages of our own lives against the background of the biblical story. I will touch on some main points.

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Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary

The focus of this book is to tell the story of Jesus that is “persuasive, compelling, inviting – and challenging” so that we can see his relevance today as the person in whom we see God’s character and passion.

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Marcus J. Borg Quotes

Rather, the way of Jesus is the way of death and resurrection — the path of transition and transformation from an old way of being to a new way of being. To use the language of incarnation that is so central to John, Jesus incarnates the way. Incarnation means embodiment. Jesus is what the way embodied in a human life looks like.”

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French shootings

Hopeless to help in this violence, this crisis,
here in the focus of bloodshed and fear,
common humanity binds us together,
love at the centre, not hatred’s veneer.

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An Excerpt from The Hidden Power of the Gospels: Four Questions, Four Paths, One Journey by Alexander J. Shaia with Michelle Gaugy

by Alexander J. Shaia with Michelle Gaugy

“The nine Beatitudes reflect diverse parts of a harmonious unity which I endlessly reflect and touch each other as we go through our lives. At the very heart of Jesus’s teachings, their practice opens us to compassion. If we are able to place these on our hearts, walk with them on our feet, hold them in our hands, and seal them in our thoughts, we will have more insight along our journey. They will become our walking staff and guide for the arduous times we will face.

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“The Work of Christmas” by Howard Thurman

Mystic, poet, philosopher, and theologian Howard Thurman’s reminds of the true meaning of Christmas in his poem, “The Work of Christmas.”

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Taking the “Christ” Out of Christmas

The challenge for a progressive Christian who has moved beyond such notions as virgin births and gods disguised in human form come to save us from ourselves is to remember that it is as much a historical development, as it is a theological one. That is, the attribution of a “Christ” title accorded a very human Jesus constitutes the imaginations — if not machinations — of an early Church; consisting of very human, second-generation followers of a 1st century Galilean peasant sage and itinerant preacher. And who all but drowned out the authentic voice of the one who was once born and dwelt among humankind.

Such an assertion is simply based on the fact the historical Jesus never self-identified as the “anointed one,” the Christ.

As such, if one were to remove the Christ-title from the various birth narratives of those secondary traditions of this religious movement, what would remain of the “Christmas story” that has become as prevalently assumed, as it has been unexamined? If we took the Christ out of Christmas, what might remain of the voice of one who was born and dwelt among us?

You can read more here.

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