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The Real War on Christmas

So let’s take a moment to remember what Christmas is really about: Christmas celebrates the story of God coming among us in the most humble of circumstances.

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Luke 1:39-56: Magnificat for a Broken World

Mary’s song promises that God brings about wondrous reversals in the world: showing favor to the uncredentialed and ignored (“the lowly”); rendering ineffectual the machinations of the arrogant (“scattering the proud in the thoughts of their hearts”); bringing down those who exploit positions of power; lifting up the poor. 

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A mystical message for Chanukah from Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi

The great broadcast of divine indwelling which beams to the human heart, his inner sanctuary, a hologram of the cosmic Temple, is a receiver. It therefore also depends on our attunement to receive the broadcast.

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The Trouble with Epiphany: Gift Giving as Genuflection, or the “Tebow” Factor

The trouble with an epiphany is that it often leads to enlightenment!  And enlightenment can alter the way one sees the world and one’s relationship to it.  As such, anyone who would bend the knee in praise and adoration might do well to consider it can also be a radically subversive act of obeisance and allegiance. 

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21st Century Cosmology and the Gospel of John: Part I – Signs and Wonders

More than being a “human being” on this earth, John’s gospel calls for a transformed life: water into wine; a temple made of distributive justice-compassion, not gold and stone.

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Faith of metaphor and mystery

Hymn lyrics – general version and wedding/union version
(Can be sung to: Regent Square (Angels from the realms of glory)—Henry Thomas Smart, Westminster Abbey (Christ is made a sure foundation)—Henry Purcell, or Cwm Rhondda (Guide me, O Thou Great Redeemer)—John Hughes)

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My Five Lessons from “On Faith”

It was five years ago this month that we launched On Faith. The idea was to inform and educate about all faiths (and no faith) and to initiate an on-going discussion about the role of religion, values and ethics in our daily lives.

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Good News, Bad News: An Amnesty Gospel for Advent

There’s two sides to every story, and there’s often some good news and bad news. Is the Gospel all good news? That depends. This Advent commentary considers the implications of rethinking and retelling the Christmas story.

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The Coming of Jesus – An Answer to Prayer?

A look at how Christians today still want the kind of physical power Messiah that the Jews hoped for and who will change the world for us, when the actual need is for a spiritual change within ourselves and for us to respond to a vision and a challenge.

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A Voice in the Wilderness

The underlying assumption in this study of Luke (and eventually Acts and the authentic letters of Paul) is that Luke wrote his gospel and his account of the Acts of the Apostles as a subversive counter to Roman oppression, and the Roman imperial theology that proclaimed Cesar (whether Augustus or Tiberias) as the son of God.  The voice of John the Baptist screamed from the edges of civilization about “repentance” until Herod Antipas had had enough.

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Love Breathing

A free ebook, “Love Breathing” is available at www.howtoLoveGod.org.
It relates methods to help people practice loving God better in their daily life.

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Toward a New Cosmology: Advent 2011

In a parody of the story of Caesar’s birth, Jesus of Nazareth was heralded by angels, and born of a virgin.  We can still hope for direct action against oppressive Empire and for distributive justice-compassion; against a greed world and for a share world; against zero-sum gaming of every system devised by humanity, and for a radical abandonment of self-interest.

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Liturgy for Christmas Eve

Four altars will be established at the cardinal directions. Room is set in a quartered circle, with four pathways and a center open space. In the center will be a Central Candle. A hooded figure enters, riding a hobby horse (a broom horse). The Hobby Horse goes to each of the four altars and invokes the directions, beginning with the North: Tune played with recorder and/or violin: Abbot Bromley’s Horn Dance. As the hobby horse arrives at each altar, the tune stops while the spirit is invoked, then starts up again until the hobby horse arrives at the next altar . . . etc.

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Spiritual But Not Religious? Come Talk to Me

As a professor of religious studies I can relate to some degree. I, too, have found myself an unwitting listener to the personal and sometimes bizarre reflections of total strangers on airplanes, who seem to believe that the word “religious” in my job title means I am someone good to talk to.

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Leaders or Obstructionist?

The question that I ask is, in this rapidly changing world, where has the church been and where will it be in the future? What we do know is that in the sixties, some clergy were in the streets, marching for civil rights but it was a small percentage. Many of them lost their churches as a result. More clergy preached about what they thought Jesus would want us to do about the Vietnam War, and their actions caused one of the largest exoduses in church history. Clergy learned that there were consequences in taking a conscientious stand. Today they are learning that lesson all over again when taking a stand for full inclusion for gays and lesbians in the life of the church. And, based on my limited survey, most of them are “tip-toeing” around the Occupiers protests. Denominations are once again being split by righteousness. 

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