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The Marion Diaries

Reflections by Michael Hollingshead

I could feel the warm afternoon wind blowing a few moments before; right through the window where I was standing, stacking some bowls.

A moment later it blew again, only this time it was cool and refreshing, and even smelled sweet like hyssop, or juniper, or jasmine.

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Topics: Fiction and Poetry, Jesus Studies, Preaching/Teaching, and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Advent and Christmas. Texts: Luke, Psalms, and Titus. Resource Types: Readings and Sermons.

Ritual – It’s in our DNA

Only recently I have come to realize that these were familiar and comfortable rituals, even if the words no longer had the same meaning for many of the attendees. These were rituals most of these folks in attendance had been repeating for decades. They were probably not paying attention to words or their meanings. But they were participating in something that brought them together with their church family or their denominational home. They were experiencing oneness, a connection of body and soul with the people who surrounded them. That is what rituals are supposed to do.

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Life Celebrations: New Language

Most Christians, however, have a different take on the monistic approach, and believe that a divine presence inheres in all that is. God is. And God is everywhere, although hidden except to the eyes of faith. As progressive Christians, this is where we must take our stand. The sacred and the secular co-inhere. The one is in the other. With this as our basis, the questions now become: what language do we use? to whom are we speaking? do we speak directly of God? Let’s assume that we are at a ceremony of some sort, perhaps a wedding, a Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas day gathering, a funeral. Let us also suppose that the crowd is mixed: some Christians, some Jews, some secularists. Is there a language that not only will not alienate anyone but will also communicate to them the depth of the moment? I believe there is.

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Reimagining God: The Faith Journey of a Modern Heretic

Drawing from theology, science and his own faith journey-from his call to ministry, through his much-publicized heresy trial, to decades of public speaking, teaching and writing, Geering retraces key developments in the Western understanding of God. He imagines a new spirituality, one that blends a relationship to the natural world with a celebration of the rich inheritance of human culture.

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What is in the Crystal Ball?

Traditional churches have resisted the substantive change necessary to remain relevant in the modern world. There is a huge chasm between the higher biblical criticism and liberation theology of most seminaries and what is actually proclaimed from the pulpits of American churches. This is true, in large part because ministers are afraid of losing their jobs and parishioners want to hold onto the magical thinking that has helped them to cope with the vicissitudes of life.

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Being a Progressive Christian

Is Not for Dummies, Nor for Know-It-Alls

Chuck Queen explores the following themes from a distinctly progressive Christian viewpoint: Scripture, faith, Christianity, salvation, discipleship, and the Beatitudes. Each chapter consists of seven reflections; each reflection is followed by questions that probe deeper into the topic and facilitate group discussion.

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Bringing Words to Life

As public speakers, you can reverse this history and bring life back to language. You can breathe vitality into words and send them forth to change the world. With the spoken word you can reach into the souls of other people and stir them to new visions and actions.

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Teach Us to Pray, with Pastor Dawn- Class #1

Published on Sep 29, 2014
When you no longer believe that God is a cosmic puppeteer, why pray? An exploration of progressive Christian ideas about prayer. In the stories handed down to us from our ancestors, we hear the disciples of Jesus ask, “Lord teach us to pray!” For generations Christians have continued to seek ways to communicate with the ONE we call God. Progressive Christians seek new ways of understanding God and notions of God as a cosmic puppeteer who lives in the sky are being replaced with images which point toward the Reality which lies at the heart of all that is. As we begin to see God as the ONE who lives and breathes in, with, through, and beyond us, our understanding of prayer is evolving. This Keynote presentation includes youtube videos of John Shebly Spong – Honest Prayer Parts I and II, and Fred Plumer on Prayer and Progressive Christianity.

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Monthly eBulletin – Teaching and Preaching in Sacred Community

This month we continue our discussion on Sacred Community as we discuss how, what, and why are we teaching when we preach? And, is there a difference between teaching and preaching? This was a fun and challenging topic. We hope you enjoy!

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A Little Self-Involved? Try Looking Outward!

The Gospel writer tells us that Nicodemus addressed Jesus with respect: “Rabbi” he said, “Teacher.” Then Nicodemus discloses his own heart, when he says, “We know you are a teacher come from God, for no one can perform the signs and wonders that you do, unless by the power of God.” Nicodemus heaps upon Jesus the kind of praise that many the Pharisee would have coveted for himself. Could Nicodemus have come under cover of darkness because he too wanted to be just like Jesus; a wonderful teacher capable of great things? Jesus, just like many the wise teacher before him and since him, delivers the blow that teachers all too often must deliver to their ardent admirers, Jesus pushes Nicodemus beyond his child-like ardor, to a vision of a life that is totally transformed. “The truth of the matter is, unless one is born from above, one cannot see the kindom of God.”

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