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The Powers That Be

‘The Powers That Be’ is an unusually engaging, credible exploration of nonviolence as the most adequate depiction of what Jesus meant by being peacemakers and reconcilers. By nonviolence, is meant not submissiveness and passivity, but disciplined, effective struggle for justice and peace along the lines of what Gandhi, King, Day, Soelle, and others taught and modeled. Its effectiveness is hinted at by the fact that by far the majority of successful toppling of oppressive regimes in the 20th century were by nonviolent means. Walter Wink offers a new and eye-opening understanding of passages like ‘turn the other cheek, walk the second mile….’ I taught it in college course and was told that student evaluations named it the most popular text of the semester in any subject area.

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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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Being on the Left Side of History: Same-Sex Marriage and the Church

This article discusses historical and current ways both constitutional laws and the Church have denied individuals of basic rights due to their race or sexual orientation. Ferris reminds us that all are one in Christ Jesus, and therefore equal rights for all should follow.

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The Pope’s Progress

Finally, Pope Benedict XVI has opened the theological door to affirming condom use to help stem the spread of HIV in the world. For decades the Roman Catholic popes and bishops have not only discouraged condom use to prevent the transmission of HIV but have suggested that the use of condoms actually spreads HIV.

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One Small Town’s Battle for Tolerance

SIDNEY CENTER, N.Y. — The cemetery lies beneath a grove of maples on a hill overlooking the farm. On a crisp November day in 2009, it received its first guest – a 28-year old stonemason killed in …

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New Era, new god, says Paul Saffo

Saffo discusses how technology, innovations, and population growth create a pressing need for a new god.

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Projecting Power or Promoting Peace: The Prophetic Call for Justice, Kindness, Humility

In times of political and economic, cultural and ecological crisis, Jensen asks us to evaluate the risks we are willing to take to work for social justice and ecological sustainability. He discusses his personal experiences and view points of recent political events and presidential actions. Urging us to listen to our own hearts, he calls us speak our truth to defend against evils of established systems, and practice a balance of passion and humility in order to cope and promote positive change.

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Aren’t We All Christians?

Frequently, after a lecture or seminar, someone will ask me: “Why do you have to call it Progressive Christianity? Aren’t we all Christians?” These were usually people who seemed to be a little on edge, and sometimes even angry, but their questions were sincere and frankly, they are good ones.

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The Manhattan Counters

Americans United for Separation of Church and State have together drafted a point-by-point rebuttal to The Manhattan Declaration, a right-wing Christian manifesto published (with 200+ prominent signatories) last November.  Our MANHATTAN COUNTER-DECLARATION aims at providing clarity on the issues they address, and defending the values they profess to (but fail) protect by means of their document.  We want to launch our Counter-Declaration so that the religious right can get busy responding to good arguments for a change, instead of spending all of their time composing bad ones of their own.  Progressives, moderate Christians, humanists, atheists, and other religious leaders are tired of being on the defensive and are putting forward our own agenda for the future.

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The Human Faces of God

What should thoughtful Christians do with texts that propose God is pleased by human sacrifice or that God commanded Israel to commit acts of genocide?  What about texts that contain historical errors or predictions that have gone unfulfilled long beyond their expiration dates?  In The Human Faces of God Thom Stark moves beyond notions of inerrancy in order to confront such problematic texts and open up a conversation about new ways they can be used in service of the church and its moral witness today.  Readers looking for an academically informed yet accessible discussion of the Bible’s thorniest texts wil find it a thought-provoking and indispensable resource. 

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Does the Historical Jesus Matter? Testing good theology

This coming weekend will be marked by a 25th anniversary gathering and celebration for the important scholarly enterprise known as the Jesus Seminar. A good time to ask what difference it makes when the Jesus of history turns out to be considerably more interesting than the myth-encrusted Christ created by the church over the centuries. Or does it make any difference at all?

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A Different Clergy Voice

This month I write with a sad and heavy heart. Five young men have died due to suicide. The common thread between them is that they were young, Gay and experiencing harsh harassment and devastating discrimination from their peers. Current statistics inform us that 9 out of 10 Gay/Lesbian/Bi-Sexual and Transgendered Young People experience such dehumanizing and demoralizing treatment every day. We are informed, also, that they are 30% more likely to commit suicide than their peers.

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The Tea Party: It’s Worse Than You Think

A debate has raged over the last 18 months as to whether the tea party movement is racist…I propose to put this debate to rest. The tea party is racist. Its followers have deployed a brilliant strategy to deflect charges of racism by using a form of the legislative provision known as…

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Who Is Progressive Christianity For?

This article raises the question of whether Progressive Christianity is primarily for those who have been brought up or spent some time in a traditional Christian setting and now moved beyond that, or is it equally for those without a church background.  It goes on to consider how we can we connect with the unchurched and how we encourage them and empower them to take the first step for them in their faith journey.

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