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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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Big Tent

A life-long progressive Christian attends an event entitled “Big Tent Christianity” and is surprisingly thrilled to dialogue with members of a novel, youthful take on traditional Christianity. In addition, Fred Plumer gives us his take on Brian McLaren, the central spokesperson for Emergent Christianity.

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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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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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Preservation or Evolution?

This author discusses his experience with the pursuit of critical questioning of historic religious texts.

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St. Andrews on the Terrace

For us Christianity provides a framework of values, ideas and practices that nurture our ability to create a meaningful path of life and define ourselves as persons.

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Myths Surrounding the Birth of Jesus

During the celebration of Christmas, familiar images are recalled in hymns and scripture about the birth of Jesus. In the popular mind, the appearance of herald angels, shepherds abiding in the fields, the star of Bethlehem, the virgin Mary giving birth in a stable, and the adoration of the Magi, have all been melded into one Christmas story. In reality, there are in the gospels, two distinct and at times contradictory stories of Jesus’ birth. A careful reading of the Bible itself reveals that so much about this celebrated birth is myth.

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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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Shimmers of Light: Spiritual Reflections for the Christmas Season

With scriptural wisdom, theological reflection, and pastoral insight, Chuck invites the reader to encounter Advent as a transformative experience. He utilizes film, literature, and contemporary experience to draw readers into spiritual reflection on the Christian’s sacred story, exploring the redemptive possibilities of the Christmas season.
Chuck writes in the introduction: “It is my hope that amide all the glitter, glamor, gladness, and grief of the Christmas season, you will find some shimmers of light in these spiritual reflections that will enlarge your vision of God’s kingdom, expand your love for all persons, and evoke your creative participation with God’s project to heal and transform our world.”

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