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Who Will Lead Us? Maybe Our Lay People

One characteristic that seems to get overlooked most in the data on what is working and not working in churches is the need to create an environment for open dialogue about theological and Christological conversation. I am not certain why, but I continue to see this vacuum in too many churches that I visit. I suspect the reason may be that clergy do not want to create any unnecessary conflict or nor do they want to risk the loss of any church members. But it seems strange to me that the latest thinking about the historical Jesus or about the sometimes twisted roots of the Christian church can be found on the front page of Time or Newsweek magazines and other national publications but these things are seldom being discussed in our churches. It is a more than ironic that even though scholars are producing more books and articles challenging us to rethink what it means to be a Christian today, one of the last places you will hear these topics being discussed is in our churches.

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When Less Affiliation is Good News

What is the least religious state in America? Oregon. The most religious? Mississippi. Oregon, not Mississippi, reflects the emerging trend of the western world; cynicism about institutional religion and little desire to affiliate with any particular religion or denomination.

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Teaching Progressive Christianity Using the 8 Points, A Guide

I understand Progressive Christianity is for individuals who find Jesus intriguing but suspicious of institutional church. Like minimalist interior decorating that remove tchotchkes within a space, the Progressive Christian movement strips out the tchotchkes of church and tradition. The tchotchkes of ideas and practices out of date or uphold orthodoxy and exclusion. I offer to my congregation of about 120 people a 4 week plunge into the American Eight Points material honed by Fred Plumer and others.  I manage to engage those who would never sign up for Bible study in a church! This article explains the outline I use, bearing in mind several factors.

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I Learned About God There

After a couple of weeks of this thrashing, I finally calmed down enough to begin to ask myself what could I learn from this young man. What was missing in our approach to Christian teaching? What were we really teaching our children? What did this young man want that he did not find at our progressive church? What was the pedagogical model we had created, or more importantly what model did we need to create?

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Calm and Compassionate Children

Using her expertise and experience as an educator, yoga and meditation practitioner, and 30 years of working with children, Dermond brought so many new and profound tools to the table that I at once felt compelled to adopt within my own life. While giving practical steps on how to integrate her theories into daily life, with each section Dermond gently reminds readers of the most direct and meaningful way to build on inherent qualities that children have like openheartedness and trust- by starting with ourselves. It may sound simple, but how many of us who work or live with children really feel calm and compassionate most of the time? And how can we possibly expect our children to behave in or feel such a way that we rarely do?

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The Emerging Church

This book presents the biological principle of emergence and applies it to culture shifting in congregations. The universe knows how to do life from the inside-out. By moving away from cultures of command and control to a more natural organic model, congregations discover the key to their power and the secret to sustained vitality.

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Into the Future

We do not need to be the leader or number one. We just need to do what we apparently have been called to do and to do it better-that means finding more effective ways of sharing the progressive Christian message. You are going to see many changes over the next few months, so keep your eyes and ears open. We have spent the last six months developing a viable strategic plan and we are in the process of implementing it. You will see changes in the site and in the expansion of resources that we will be offering to churches, small groups and individuals.

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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 Great Awakening on the Right and Left

Washington Post, On Faith Tuesday, February 12, 2008 The Great Awakening speaks of two great hungers in our world today-the hunger for spirituality and the hunger for social justice. I believe that the connection between the two is one the world, and especially a new generation, is waiting for. The Great Awakening makes that vital connection and shows how spiritual renewal will likely be a necessary part of social change, and how perhaps only genuine spiritual revival can spark social and political transformation.

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Build and Sustain Faith Communities by Feeding the Hungry

This presentation was given by Fred Plumer at the Common Dreams Conference in Sydney, Australia last month. It clearly lays out 8 steps and goals for churches and spiritual communities that want to build and sustain their communities by feeding the hunger that people feel for spirituality, purpose, a mission, and clear path.

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Uncovering Your Church’s Hidden Spirit

More people are coming to church saying they want to know God. They are on a spiritual search. And church leaders are wondering, "How can we respond
to these searchers?"

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