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What Do We Mean When We Say, “I am Christian?”

Over the last fifteen years I listened to a growing number of troubled clergy who are in conflicted and or dying churches. (I believe there is a connection.) Sometimes the battles are over “LBGT” issues and other times it may be about politics. But far more often, the conflict is rooted in theology, Christology and ideology. Frankly, with rare exceptions, clergy cannot freely teach what they learned in seminary or more importantly, what they have come to believe about their own understanding of the Christian religion, the Bible or their faith. The resultant message is often mixed or muddled and almost always without passion.

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Anne Rice Quits Christianity

Ironically, author Anne Rice may have been more of a Christian yesterday than she ever was, when she announced, on Facebook, that she was quitting Christianity and renouncing any claim to the title “Christian.”

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Are the New Atheists Wrong to Suggest Religious Moderates Justify the Extremes?

Should I abandon my tradition because liberal and moderate religion serves to justify the extremes? Is my participation in this religious institution providing legitimacy and credibility for fundamentalism, violence, oppression and bigotry done in the name of religion? I’m studying to be a minister in this tradition. It’s called Unitarian Universalism. Am I guilty by association? Should I jump ship? What do you think?

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Hear the Rumble of Christian Hypocrisy

Hear the rumble of Christian hypocrisy. The evangelist who says the Haiti earthquake is retribution for sin is at least true to his religion.

We know what caused the catastrophe in Haiti. It was the bumping and grinding of the Caribbean Plate rubbing up against the North American Plate:

a force of nature, sin-free and indifferent to sin, unpremeditated, unmotivated, supremely unconcerned with human affairs or human misery.

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Coming Back to Earth: From gods, to God, to Gaia

In Coming Back to Earth, Geering concludes that the most credible scenario for Christianity s future depends on accepting the Gaia concept as a powerful modern myth that will sustain individual humans spiritually, and our planetary home ecologically.

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Imagining a future for the Bible in tomorrow

Jack Spong has attempted to rescue the Bible from fundamentalism and Marcus Borg has encouraged us to read the Bible again for the first time. However, the Bible remains a problematic text for religious progressives, including Christians and people from other faith traditions. This presentation will acknowledge the constraints on the capacity of the Bible to function in the post-Christian global era, but also imagine some ways in which the Bible may make a constructive contribution to progressive religious communities in the future.

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Town Recalls Former Pastor

The Rev. Gary Wilburn, friend, leader and pastor died at around 2 p.m. Monday, June 28, after a battle with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 67. Bev Wilburn, the late pastor’s wife, said the family will hold three services ; one at the Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, Calif., where he worked for 10 years; one in Baja California, Mexico, where he lived for the past two years, and one at his former church in New Canaan.

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Who Are the “Lost”?

At the recent Southern Baptist Convention which met in Orlando, a theme reiterated throughout the meeting was the “lostness” of the world. Consider the following quotes, taken from an article in the Western Recorder by Editor Todd Deaton titled: SBC takes ‘fresh look’ at nation’s lostness:

Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary, declared: “We need to be looking forward with an aggressive agenda to penetrate lostness around the world and in North America.”

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Art and Religion: Seeing What Others Do Not

There are different levels of reality, as it were, different ways of looking at the same phenomenon, and these are frequently neither incompatible with one another nor competing to provide answers the same sorts of questions.

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The Challenge Progressive Thinking Is Making to the Church

We come to this moment in time, called by a very long list of voices, and it has been many, many years, decades, even centuries, that those voices have been calling us. Over the course of the next years, we must find again that inspiration that was the spark for what has been an incredible journey toward wholeness but one that has, ironically, continued to fragment and judge, to deny rights and oppress.

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Excerpts from Are We Living the Progressive Faith or Are We Just Dreaming?

I have hope that something very special is happening in our world and I would like the Christian tradition to be part of that positive, evolutionary change. But I believe there are things that progressive leaders, progressive teachers and progressive Churches, have to do immediately, if that we are going to have a chance to make it work.

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Stepping Out with the Sacred: Progressive Engaging the Divine, Part 1

In progressive religious thinking, old images of God have been retired and new metaphors for the Divine within the universe, whether Energy, Presence, Spirit, Sacred, Ground of Being, Life, have become more authentic for a scientific world. Yet, in a multi-faith world, we cannot speak of the Sacred infusing the universe without recognizing It as that sought and described in all religions. How do we engage this Divine within the world, or the Divine engage us, if at all, in a multi-faith world? How do human beings step out with the Sacred in everyday life across countries, cultures, and religious persuasions?

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Progressive Christianity: Reconstructing Our Theological Witness

Progressive Christianity has been seriously hampered by at least two illusions.

One is that the triumph of progressive ideas is pretty much inevitable. The other is that progressive ideas are inherently persuasively. Neither is true. The progressive Christian witness will not triumph inevitably triumph or under its own power. Convictions prevail when they are part of social movements. Progressive ideas may be intrinsically credible, but they are actually believed only when they are effectively stated and lived, and embedded in alliances of people who act together with informed intentionality.

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Stepping out with the Sacred: Progressive Engaging the Divine, Part 2

Part 2 of the Presentation given by Val Webb at the Common Dreams 2, Melbourne Australia.  In progressive religious thinking, old images of God have been retired and new metaphors for the Divine within the universe, whether Energy, Presence, Spirit, Sacred, Ground of Being, Life, have become more authentic for a scientific world. Yet, in a multi-faith world, we cannot speak of the Sacred infusing the universe without recognizing It as that sought and described in all religions. How do we engage this Divine within the world, or the Divine engage us, if at all, in a multi-faith world? How do human beings step out with the Sacred in everyday life across countries, cultures, and religious persuasions?

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Fred’s Full Presentation from the Common Dreams 2 Conference – Are We Living the Progressive Faith, or Are We Just Dreaming?

I have hope that something very special is happening in our world and I would like the Christian tradition to be part of that positive, evolutionary change. But I believe there are things that progressive leaders, progressive teachers and progressive Churches, have to do immediately, if that we are going to have a chance to make it work.

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The Sun In My Belly

By Sister Susan, Illustrated by Sister Rain
The Sun In My Belly, introduces young readers to the Buddhist idea of interbeing that everything is connected. It is also the story of a valuable friendship and the joys of forgiveness.

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The Plantsman

A parable of how a vision can be distorted, so that a process of liberation, healing and inclusiveness becomes an an institution preoccupied with conformity.

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