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Mary and James Under the Cross, A Drama for Good Friday

A Play by RB Sperling with E. Lindsay and C. Toaspern. Drama Setting: After the crucifixion of Jesus, witnessed by Mary, his mother, and James, his brother, Mary approaches the empty cross; James discovers her there. Devastated by the death of her son, Mary seeks solace in the last place she saw him. James, fearful of encountering the centurions who crucified his brother, seeks temporary protection in his mother's arms. Together they try to understand what the future may hold for them.

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The Times They Are A-Changin

Two weeks ago I experienced a change I could not have imagined any time in the past. I attended the Earl Lectures at Pacific School of Religion. I have been doing this for over twenty-five years. The lectures were established in 1901 to bring prominent religious leaders to Berkeley's university community. These lectures have featured such internationally known figures as Theodore Roosevelt, Elie Wiesel, Howard Thurman, Maya Angelou, Paul Tillich, Walter Brueggemann, and Alice Walker.

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The Spirit of Life: Comments from the PSR Distinguished Alumnae

My ongoing, daily struggle is to be both utterly feral–undomesticatable by the forces in the world that would domesticate all of us, defang us, render us harmless to the powers and principalities-being utterly feral in that way, and also being utterly surrendered. You can't have one without the other. Being undomesticatable depends on moment-to-moment surrender to the Spirit of life and of love. The paradox is that we cannot simultaneously surrender fully AND be in opposition to any living being. Surrender demands love as breathing demands inhalation. At the same time, we DO have to be in opposition to every form of domination, oppression, exploitation, and violence-all of the forces that try to press down life.

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Dr. Carl Gustav Jung, The Psychiatrist of Christianity

The voice I miss in contemporary theological discourse is that of Dr. Carl Gustav Jung.Carl Jung has been called the psychiatrist of Christianity. It is as if he put Christianity on the couch and worked through to an authentic Christian reality that lays a foundation for a whole new understanding of religions in general and Christianity in particular. In the process he became one of the major influences in changing the way the western world thinks. In fact, for me, the two greatest minds of the western world in the twentieth century were Dr. Albert Einstein, who introduced a new understanding of the outer world (the universe) and Dr. Carl Jung, who created a pathway or map into the inner world of the collective unconscious or objective psyche.

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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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Are We Progressing?

About ten years ago, I attended a two day conference that garnered a lot of anticipation and excitement about the topics, which were: a new way of communicating our religious beliefs and the discussion of postmodern theology. Near the end of the conference, I was ready for it to be over. It had been a good conference. The keynote speakers were well respected and leaders in their fields.

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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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