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We Cannot Avoid God’s Questions

Since it’s almost entirely poetry and “true myth,” and since we live in one of the most literal-minded cultures of all time, it’s not sur­prising that the Bible largely remains a closed book. Those who make the loudest claims for its veracity often see its meaning less clearly than many they judge to be total outsiders. If you treat bibli­cal myths as history, you end up with either distortion or absurdity. Even worse. As Voltaire once said: “Those who believe absurdities end up committing atrocities”

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Jesus and His Friends of Little Faith

Je­sus says to them: “You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive?” He appears to be irritated because the disciples fail to understand that he is speaking in metaphors and not referring to the fact that they forgot bring any bread to eat on another boat trip. People of little faith need constant reminding that they are not to take religious teaching literally but to look for the symbolic meaning, but they can learn.

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Don’t Go There

if we dig deep enough, most of us seem to have a “don’t go there” spot in our beliefs and traditions – that place where we lose a little of our otherwise rational thinking. And I suspect that it is often our inability to get past those “don’t go there(s)” that holds back our personal growth and change.

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Claiming the Chaos

A sermon for the Baptism of the Lord Sunday, or for any day dealing with themes of the human place within creation and nurturing our relationship with it.  It rather directly challenges literalist understandings of Scripture, especially the creation myths.

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The Birth of the Third Jesus

Whatever you believe about the first and second Jesus, don't let it distract you from your essential humanity and life purpose. Something magical is taking place in your life. Your inner star is guiding you to a new consciousness. It might look rough like an old farm shed, and it might not be very grand, but it is a miracle none the less. Wise ones will gather around. They might not bow down and worship you as the Messiah, but they will nurture the birth of this new consciousness that you are part of them and they are part of you.

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The God I Don’t Believe In: Charting a New Course for Christianity

Dr. Wilburn leads us on a spiritual journey from the comfort of conventional Christianity into a new world of religious openness and inclusivity, where those of all faiths and none, and those of all sexual orientation and political persuasion are welcome as equals in God's Family. Gone are the days of exclusive privilege or expensive indulgences. Dr. Wilburn writes about Jesus' message in the language of Progressive Christianity in contrast to intolerant theological dogma; yet he does not lose Jesus' teachings in a swamp of situational ethics.

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Faith Talk

Summary~"It is by talking about our faith and how our faith impacts our lives that is the way that people come to their understanding of their own faith. It is by sharing our faith with others that others come to their faith. Traditionally evangelism has been that one person shares their faith with another so that they believe the same. There is demand and threat there. This practice has done much damage in our world and has turned so many people off from their faith. How can we talk about our faith in a way that communicates the hope that we have without being oppressive, without being offensive to the faith that someone else has?"

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The Gospel According to Jesus

Jesus proclaimed an astonishing Gospel! But, isn't it strange that his harshest criticisms were directed at those within the religious community? He said, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut up the kingdom of heaven from men, for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in" (Matt. 23:13).

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Living the Questions 2.0

To order with a 10% discount, first visit this page for the TCPC code.  LtQ2 is the completely revised and expanded version of Living the Questions, the popular DVD & internet-based small group exploration of progressive Christianity featuring premier religion voices of our day.

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Looking Around for God

Autry, writer and poet, business executive, and son and grandson of Mississippi Baptist ministers, thinks that the true message of the old spiritual is not just that God has an eye on the sparrow. It’s that God is demonstrating that if these details are worth God's attention, they are certainly worth ours. It may be that we will more readily find God in the details of this world, and of our own lives, than anywhere else. Looking Around for God, Autry’s tenth book, is in many ways his most personal, as he considers his unique life of faith and belief in a God often clouded by church convention. In assembling these personal essays, stories and poems, Autry shares how God has been revealed in many different circumstances of his life, and he offers a few ideas for how the Christian church might better serve in making God’s love and presence manifest in the world.

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Speaking of My Religion

It is no secret that progressive, liberal, even moderate Christians are living in precarious times. Most of us are part of denominations that are losing members faster then we can count… Old-line, liberal churches are in a lot of hurt. We have been categorized, stratified, stigmatized and marginalized. We are in a tough market and no matter how many times we reorganize our denominational offices or how much money we spend on advertising, we will continue to have a tough time unless we are willing to make some significant changes in the way we do church and the way we talk about our faith

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Topics: Theology & Religious Education. Resource Types: Articles.

Missed Opportunities

I must admit that it seems strange, in a time when religion, beliefs, faith and spirituality are such a common subject on a regular basis in our mainline media, so many people feel uncomfortable going to church to have open discussions about these subjects. It certainly appears from our data that there is such an obvious hunger that most churches do not seem to be feeding.

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Who Will Lead Us? Maybe Our Lay People

One characteristic that seems to get overlooked most in the data on what is working and not working in churches is the need to create an environment for open dialogue about theological and Christological conversation. I am not certain why, but I continue to see this vacuum in too many churches that I visit. I suspect the reason may be that clergy do not want to create any unnecessary conflict or nor do they want to risk the loss of any church members. But it seems strange to me that the latest thinking about the historical Jesus or about the sometimes twisted roots of the Christian church can be found on the front page of Time or Newsweek magazines and other national publications but these things are seldom being discussed in our churches. It is a more than ironic that even though scholars are producing more books and articles challenging us to rethink what it means to be a Christian today, one of the last places you will hear these topics being discussed is in our churches.

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When Less Affiliation is Good News

What is the least religious state in America? Oregon. The most religious? Mississippi. Oregon, not Mississippi, reflects the emerging trend of the western world; cynicism about institutional religion and little desire to affiliate with any particular religion or denomination.

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Teaching Progressive Christianity Using the 8 Points, A Guide

I understand Progressive Christianity is for individuals who find Jesus intriguing but suspicious of institutional church. Like minimalist interior decorating that remove tchotchkes within a space, the Progressive Christian movement strips out the tchotchkes of church and tradition. The tchotchkes of ideas and practices out of date or uphold orthodoxy and exclusion. I offer to my congregation of about 120 people a 4 week plunge into the American Eight Points material honed by Fred Plumer and others.  I manage to engage those who would never sign up for Bible study in a church! This article explains the outline I use, bearing in mind several factors.

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Faith Statement from a 9th Grader

Confirmation Class, First Presbyterian Church, New Canaan, CT. God is in the form of everything and everyone. Everyone has God inside himself or herself. Therefore we are all equal and our enemies are just as divine as us. I feel God’s presence when I am doing good for others or when I make a connection with someone.

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Progressive Christianity Values Life and Liberty

Briefly this morning I want to explore a progressive Christian notion of God, the Bible, and the after life.  I often speak about God within, between and beyond. I want to re-visit that idea for a few moments. Within you, resides the Inexpressible that is beyond words, concept, and thought. An exquisite bliss resides within you. Within you is the Inexpressible, Indescribable, Ineffable peace that passes all understanding.Most of us only have glimpses of this peace, but at moments of meaning or clarity or self growth or compassion, or a sense of higher purpose, you realize God within.

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Changing the World, One Child At A Time

This undertaking has been a journey of faith for me. So many positive things have already happened because of it, that it has occurred to me that the curriculum project may be one of the most important things TCPC has ever taken on. It may be one of the most important things I will have done in my life. What an incredible opportunity it will be to find a way to teach children how to lead more joyful and compassionate lives. What an amazing prospect to teach children about Jesus as the loving enlightened teacher, about the path that he has given us that might help them experience “heaven on earth” And what awesome thing it is to ponder the possibility that we will no longer have to “unteach” our children what we once taught them before.

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