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From the Third Floor of the Gargage- The Story of TheOOZE

I used to be a pastor. More than that, I was a pastor at Mariners Church in Irvine, California-a bona fide mega church with a 25-acre property and a $7.8 million dollar budget. For years, I played by the rules and tried hard not to think too much about the lingering questions in my soul. Doubt, after all, was dangerous. Who knew where it might lead?

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The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light

A provocative argument for a mystical, rather than historical, understanding of Jesus, leading to a radical rebirth of Christianity in our time.

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What Else Could I Have Done? A Maundy Thursday or Good Friday Reading

This is the Passion story. The story of Jesus' betrayal and his death. Come and walk with the people that were with him during that time.

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The Times They Are A-Changin

Two weeks ago I experienced a change I could not have imagined any time in the past. I attended the Earl Lectures at Pacific School of Religion. I have been doing this for over twenty-five years. The lectures were established in 1901 to bring prominent religious leaders to Berkeley's university community. These lectures have featured such internationally known figures as Theodore Roosevelt, Elie Wiesel, Howard Thurman, Maya Angelou, Paul Tillich, Walter Brueggemann, and Alice Walker.

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Jesus and His Friends of Little Faith

JeĀ­sus says to them: “You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive?” He appears to be irritated because the disciples fail to understand that he is speaking in metaphors and not referring to the fact that they forgot bring any bread to eat on another boat trip. People of little faith need constant reminding that they are not to take religious teaching literally but to look for the symbolic meaning, but they can learn.

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The Birth of the Third Jesus

Whatever you believe about the first and second Jesus, don't let it distract you from your essential humanity and life purpose. Something magical is taking place in your life. Your inner star is guiding you to a new consciousness. It might look rough like an old farm shed, and it might not be very grand, but it is a miracle none the less. Wise ones will gather around. They might not bow down and worship you as the Messiah, but they will nurture the birth of this new consciousness that you are part of them and they are part of you.

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The Gospel According to Jesus

Jesus proclaimed an astonishing Gospel! But, isn't it strange that his harshest criticisms were directed at those within the religious community? He said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut up the kingdom of heaven from men, for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in" (Matt. 23:13).

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Living the Questions 2.0

To order with a 10% discount, first visit this page for the TCPC code.  LtQ2 is the completely revised and expanded version of Living the Questions, the popular DVD & internet-based small group exploration of progressive Christianity featuring premier religion voices of our day.

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A God for the Gaps?

Many of our problems derive primarily from two outdated ideas: the Bible as the literal and inerrant Word of God, and the divinity of Jesus. If we could accept that both these ideas are no longer helpful, many of the theological problems of our faith would be resolved. An improvement in our relations with other faiths would also become possible.

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The Truth about the Historical Jesus? Part 2

This short article suggests Jesus did think of himself as Isaiah’s Suffering Servant, who would be killed. Send comments to gm.jm@sympatico.ca

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Topics: Jesus Studies. Resource Types: Articles.

Easter is the Celebration of the Justice and Compassion of God

Most Christians are familiar with the stories in the Gospels and many verses in the Epistles declaring that the Lord is risen. Many people believe the stories of the resurrection of Jesus are historically true. Others have difficulty believing they are true in that sense but understand them as metaphors pointing to the truth. Either way, whether you believe or understand, the issue is what do these stories mean? We can begin our search for the meaning of the stories by knowing that New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan has stressed: "Never, ever separate the life from the death and resurrection of Jesus. Ever. Not the life from the death, not the death from the resurrection."

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Did Wealthy Women Originally Found the Community Responsible for the “Fourth Gospel”?

Let us take seriously Luke’s account (Luke 8:2-3) of who the important women followers of Jesus were!

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Topics: Gender and Sexuality and Jesus Studies. Texts: John. Resource Types: Articles.

Did the Apostle Thomas Make an Independent Stand Becoming Jesus’ only Buddha-like Missionary?

This article asks Progressive Christians to read and reflect on the Gospel of Thomas found in 1945. Undoubtedly, one of the legends having the most historical truth to back it up is that Thomas was the first to scatter. It is said he was entrusted very early on with the mission to the East. First, he went north-east into Syria. Then he proceeded to Iraq. Next, he sailed out of the Persian Gulf arriving in India in 52 A.D. Along the way, he founded places of Buddhist-like study in Jesus’ name.Please send comments to gm.jm@sympatico.ca

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Topics: Jesus Studies. Resource Types: Articles.

Giving Thanks as a Life Changing Dynamic

Jesus was not born into a privileged life. He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth and did not live under easy circumstances. But he still lived in gratitude. In fact he made giving thanks for life a foundational dynamic of his teaching. He seemed surprised by other people's inability to live happy, fulfilling lives with little or no gratitude. "Why do you worry so much about what you eat, what you wear?"

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Topics: Jesus Studies and Theology & Religious Education. Texts: Luke. Resource Types: Articles.

Jesus Did Not Die for Us, Jesus Lived and Died for Us

In the April 1995 issue of Theology Today, theologian Murray Joseph Haar lamented what he regarded as a "rampant" sickness within the American church. He wrote, "The symptoms of this illness sound like this: 'Jesus died for my sins, His pain my gain, He died to set us free, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away my sins, I have decided to accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior." With words like these, many Christians proclaim and define their faith in the efficacy of Jesus' death on their behalf. I contend that these words of faith indicate precisely the nature of the sickness at the heart of American Christianity." He calls the sickness, a "rampant, individualistic, self-serving redemptionsm." (1)The sickness continues today. The common understanding and frequent statement of many Christians is that "Jesus died for us." Standing alone, that is a distortion of the Christian faith, for it separates the life of Jesus from his death. A dramatic depiction of this separation is seen in Mel Gibson's film The Passion of The Christ. In the film the passion of Christ was almost entirely limited to his death. There was no understanding that his death was the consequence and fulfillment of the passion of his life.

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The Structure of the Real

 This article is a brief summary of my recently completed doctoral thesis, a work that reveals a radical new insight into the mind of Jesus of Nazareth.  By turning to the parables of Jesus that have been recorded in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke), it is clearly demonstrated that the same linguistic structure – a stable pattern of “paradoxical reversals” (X is Y, as Y is X) informs all of Jesus’ most memorable teachings on the Kingdom of God. In other words, the same “stable pattern” of paradoxical reversals underpins all of the parables of Jesus that have been recorded in the synoptic gospels. And by offering a simple formula for what is historically authentic about the many words that have been attributed to the historical Jesus, it is now possible to uncover a “source code” for the original teachings of the one who is called the Christ and re-activate the “dangerous memory” of Jesus of Nazareth prior to his inscription in the Christian tradition proper.    

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A Charisma for the Historical Jesus

This article seeks to claim that the Historical Jesus was indeed a exorcist-magician-physician-healer. What does this mean for faith today?By John Mitroskycomments are welcome at: gm.jm@sympatico.ca

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Topics: Jesus Studies. Resource Types: Articles.

What Can Progressive Christians Say About Resurrection?

[An excerpt from James Adams' new book, From Literal to Literary.] Each year, when Easter roles around, many people outside the church experience a kind of wistfulness. They love the festival, but they don’t think that they …

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