Spiritually Literate New Year’s Resolutions

1. I will live in the present moment. I will not obsess about the past or worry about the future.

2. I will cultivate the art of making connections. I will pay attention to how my life is intimately related to all life on the planet.

read more

Is That Story True?

As Maggie listens to a story about a little girl who grew up on the prairies, about a ruler who cut a knot in two, about a shepherd who went looking for a lost sheep, about a king who made a foolish wish, and finally, about a giant who lived in a beautiful garden, she discovers that some stories are true because they actually happened. Other stories are true because they tell us something true about a real person, place, or event, even if what they describe did not happen. And some stories are true even if they are completely made up because they tell us something true about our own experiences.

read more

“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.”

read more

Questioning your Beliefs – Goats vs Sheep

The sheep were always docile—-not unlike my more conservative classmates who seemed intent on doing what was expected of them and following the rules. Compliant and openly accepting of church theology and doctrines, they seemed focused on being perfect Christian’s. Like the sheep from my homesteading days, compliance and obedience seemed to be important values for them. And being right often seemed more important to them than love and compassion.

read more

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.

read more

Monthly eBulletin- The Gift of Presence, Finding the Light Within

The miracle of life is the true Christmas miracle… indeed each breath is a miracle, each moment when we are able to gaze at the stars and see their brilliance is a miracle. And love…that’s the best miracle of all. This Christmas we wish you moments of love, laughter and light.

read more

Light in the Midst of Darkness

When I am struggling, maybe with grief, or trying to sort out something difficult in my life, I often go to a special spot and quietly wait for the new sun to appear. It always makes a significant difference in my being when I do this. My load feels lighter. My fears often dissolve. My grief can be transformed into hope. Over the years I have thought of all kinds of metaphors that may explain this phenomenon. I am reminded that it is a new dawn, or a new day. No matter how painful or dark my situation seems to be, as that sun comes over the horizon everything in my life begins to look and feel different. The new sun symbolizes a new beginning for me. I feel I have gained a new perspective. My internal darkness has dissolved into new light and I am comforted.

read more

Looking for a Christmas Miracle

When you see something so clearly, you inevitably wonder why it took so long to find the solution. It’s the same with so many things in life. Once you see reality clearly, you can’t believe it took you so long to see it. Suddenly everything becomes clear. When you fall in love, find your passion, realize an injustice, see nature’s beauty, it’s like scales fall off your eyes and everything becomes clear.

read more

The Greatest Birth Story Ever?

Luke 1:26-38, a sermon for Advent 4B

Imagine what it must have been like for the early followers of the man Jesus of Nazareth; a peasant, rabbi, radical, and disturber of the peace, executed as a political threat to the Pax Romana. Jesus of Nazareth went to his death insisting that peace through victory was no peace at all. Jesus of Nazareth proclaimed the radical notion that peace, true peace can only be established and maintained through justice.Peace, true peace, is the result of everyone having enough. Distributive justice which ensures that the poor and the powerless, the marginalized and the despised have all they need to live in peace.It was such a radically dangerous notion that the powers that be could not let it live.

read more

Keeping Christmas Well: a Christmas Resurrection Story

a sermon for Advent 4B

I used to think that A Christmas Carol was the story of Scrooge’s metamorphosis. The scene in the movie were Scrooge realizes that it is Christmas morning and that life doesn’t have to be the way it has always been and he does that wonderful dance and sings: “I don’t know anything! I never did know anything all on a Christmas morning!” I always thought of that wonderful dance as the culmination of Scrooge’s metamorphosis, like a butterfly bursting forth from a cocoon. But now I see it for what it really is. It is a dance of resurrection. For Scrooge was dead. Dead and gazing at his own tombstone, when suddenly, and suddenly for me always indicates the work of the Spirit, suddenly, Scrooge realizes that what he is seeing are only the shadows of things that might be. Suddenly, Scrooge knows “that men’s deeds foreshadow certain ends. But if the deeds be departed from surely the ends will change!” Scrooge is born again and is able to declare with confidence, “I’m not the man I was.” And so, the resurrected Scrooge becomes all that God intended him to be.

read more

Angels, Virgin Mothers, and the Power of Myth – Sermon Video

For Luke (1:26-38), the Divine enters the world of the poor, of political refugees, where there is manure on the ground and where people give birth in the back seat of a car with no working heater….because these things cannot be ignored or accepted as a permanent state of affairs.

read more

A Christmas Letter to my Community of Readers

I want to express my gratitude to you for being part of this effort. The idea that we could put online a serious adult Bible study and contemporary issue subscription service that would attempt to breach the gap between the Christian academy and the Christian pew and to help us all learn how to think theologically in a new way, was once nothing more than a dream. Each of you has helped to turn that dream into a reality.

read more