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Better Than Believing: Christianity for Skeptics, Agnostics, and Atheists

The growth of a progressive Christian congregation may not lie in its ability to make believers out of skeptics or to talk conventional Christians into switching their loyalties.  Rather, the increase in membership is most likely to be the result of evangelism, that is, letting secular discover what others have found of value in the life of the church. 

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End Times – Apocalypse 101: Proper 18-19, Year A

The process the early followers of Jesus went through that resulted in the Church of Jesus Christ is fairly long, fairly obscure, and full of pitfalls for those who seek to recreate it.

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What Kind of Christian? – Part I

Part I

Shortly before his deadly rampage in Norway in July, Anders Behring Breivik posted a rambling Christian jihadist manifesto on his Facebook page.  Within days, a self-professed Christian fundamentalist who blogs online claimed the mass murderer was no Christian because he  “supports Darwinism and human logic, demonstrating a rationalist worldview rather than a Christian one.” Uh-oh. While I would also identify myself as some kind of “Christian,” I couldn’t resemble either of these two characters less. So what kinds of beliefs and behaviors do I accept and refute to describe my own “Christian” identity?  What kind of a “Christian” am I? … 

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Religious Diversity in Ancient Israel and Judah

The diversity inherent to ancient Israelite religion is often overlooked—particularly within university lecture halls and classrooms. This textbook draws together specialists in the field to explain, illustrate and analyze this religious diversity.

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Fred’s Summer Reading

I had the opportunity to do some extra reading this summer and I want to recommend three books that I found uniquely helpful and interesting.  Two of these are big picture kinds of books and the other is a more scholarly but still a relatively easy read and simply fascinating.  

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Ayn Rand and Satanism

Ayn Rand was a proponent of egotistical self interest and laissez faire capitalism…To the members of the Church of Satan, this would all sound very familiar.   

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Soul Searching, the Rupert Syndrome, and the Snowflake Factor

Soul Searching
In 1907, a physician name Duncan MacDougall from Haverhill, Massachusetts, set out to not only prove the existence of the human soul, but that it had a physical presence and substance, much like the heart and lungs, flesh, bone and blood.  With the use of a large scale he recorded the weight of terminally ill patients at the moment of death, and discerned a drop of ¾ of an ounce.  He deduced the fleeting soul not only existed, but left the body for who knows where, weighing a mere 21 grams.
The human heart has always longed to believe little ‘ol me is made up of something more than the dust of the earth, to which all mortal flesh returns.  It has been part of the stuff of religious thinking since the beginning of human thought.  For all its persuasive power to drive human beings to believe what cannot be known, and behave in the most radically extreme ways sometimes, the promise of an afterlife and immortality often remains void of much critical examination.
This commentary build on the earlier article, “Moving Heaven and Hell,” which can be found in the Center’s Library.

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The Trouble with Resurrection – From Paul to the Fourth Gospel

The term “resurrection” has come to stand for what Christianity is all about. But a close look reveals that it should not be understood monolithically, but rather as a pluralistic and diverse phenomenon.

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The Church of Earthalujah

The Christianized Jesus – the turning of a radical into a conservative shadow of his former self – explains our problem of establishing and celebrating freedom fighters today.

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St. Peter’s Fish: Proper 9, Year A

It seems that Jesus’ body was hardly cold before his revolutionary, counter-cultural teachings were watered down and made safe for a society interested in economic survival in a controlling empire; in conforming, not transforming; in collaboration not covenant.

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