Freedom Fest 2019

Rabbi Brian reminds us that the point of Easter and Passover is that we are forgiven, liberated, free. We forget that, cause we know the story too well. Imagine if you didn’t. And, imagine what you need freedom from?

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Easter Week: A New Narrative

The profundity of Christianity is that nothing in it has but one meaning.

So it is with Easter Week.

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An interventionist God? and Jesus’ Resurrection

A Q&A With Joran Slane Oppelt

I believe in God but not an interventionist God. There is too much suffering in this world both amongst believers and non-believers.

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Five Weeks and a Holy Week

Are you envious because of my generosity? The question seemed to jump off the page. Far too often, I have felt envious because someone got something I felt I was entitled to – and I realized that I, like the laborers in the vineyard, begrudge God’s generosity. And, of course, envy and entitlement are major impediments when it comes to living a truly grateful life.

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Each Maundy Thursday we must peer beyond Passover lambs and scapegoats if we are to catch a glimpse of the LOVE that we call God

Every Sunday I stand at the altar and preside over a mystery. A mystery that has its roots in the events we remember this Holy Thursday. On Maundy Thursday, we gather together to contemplate MYSTERY. We know what will happen tomorrow as Good Friday plunges us into darkness. So is it any wonder that we cannot fully comprehend this MYSTERY.

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Honest to Jesus

The Christian tradition is now in the midst of Holy Week, the high holy days of our religion, concluding the season of Lent, the six-week period of repentance, prayer, fasting, and reflection in preparation for Easter.  The language and tone of Lent address the ego, known in traditional language as our ‘sinful nature.’  According to traditional Christian theology, Jesus died to ‘save’ us from our inherently depraved nature inherited from Adam & Eve, because we can’t do it for ourselves.  For the sake of biblical and religious literacy, we need to acknowledge a disclaimer.

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For Mainline Christian Clergy

This simple combination of “the Bible is the word of God” and “Jesus died for your sins” is what the public thinks lie at the core of Christian faith. I remember being told at Union Theological Seminary in 1963 that what we were learning would take 50 years to trickle down to the church membership.

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What I believe is not what I say I believe; what I believe is what I do.

Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality

What do I believe?
It is simple really
I believe there is something much much bigger than I
I call that something God, or the Sacred One, although I am not sure that an anthropomorphic image of God is helpful.

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At the Feet of the Master

But now that we’re halfway through the season of Lent, I think it’s the right time to talk about what is possibly the most important spiritual practice of all, the practice that makes all the others possible: the spiritual practice of letting something go. All the spiritual teachings in the world are not going to help us–even a personal invitation from the spiritual master himself is not going to help us–if we keep ourselves too busy to show up for him. Thanks for coming over, Martha says to Jesus this morning. But you know, I really don’t have time for this stuff!

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Why We Don’t Say ‘Illegals’

In much the same way, undocumented immigrants should not be called “illegals” nor should asylum seekers be said to be “sneaking in.” These terms paint a misleading picture—no doubt to discredit and reduce sympathy for these people. However, spreading a misleading testimony about others is a violation of one of the 10 Commandments.

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Making Sense of the Easter Stories in the 21st century

You may have sung this morning’s hymns and heard the gospel reading and wondered “Is this make-believe?” Perhaps you’ve never entered this church before, let alone attended on an Easter morning. You’re home for the weekend with your family or boyfriend or girlfriend or you’re here alone. Are you’re sitting here struggling over some of the details of the resurrection story that leave you perplexed, cynical or simply scratching your head. These are claims made by the apostle Paul and others who struggle to convey an experience of possibilities that cannot be fully expressed in words.

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Holy Week Reflection And Questions

The wise and teaching Jesus proclaimed an egalitarian ethic of loving and serving others, even our enemies, as ourselves. The compassionate and practicing Jesus worked and advocated for equality, justice, and mercy for the despised, poor, sinful, and oppressed. The judicious and brave Jesus decried the hypocrisy and illuminated the spiritual perils of the wealthy, powerful, haughty, judgemental, and privileged. The betrayed and arrested Jesus commanded the nonviolent laying down of swords and the restoration of severed ears to hear. The tortured and dying Jesus exhibited forgiveness to those who persecuted him. The resurrected and empowered Jesus encouraged and gave the gift of peace to all who would follow his example and go forth to revolutionize relationships with all humanity and creation.

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Just Wave the White Flag of Surrender and Go Into the Party: a Sermon for the Lost – Luke 15 – Lent 4C

I am indebted to Amy-Jill Levine’s book “Short Stories by Jesus” and Bernard Brandon Scott’s book “Hear Then the Parable” for challenging me to look beyond the Christian bias of interpreting Jesus’ parables through the lens of the repentance and forgiveness and attempting to hear this story in ways more in keeping with Judaism.

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What to Call Me?

“Are you a Christian?” is a question I hear often because I label myself as an a-theist. That means I don’t believe in an anthropomorphic god living in a mansion above a flat earth. My answer to whether I’m a Christian is more complex than a simple yes or no.

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Outside the Lines: How Embracing Queerness Will Transform Your Faith

Mihee Kim-Kort is a wife, a mom, and a Presbyterian minister. And she’s queer. As she became aware of her queer sexuality, Mihee wondered what that meant for her spirituality. But instead of pushing her away from God, it brought her closer to Jesus and taught her how to love better.

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A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community

No one likes to eat alone; to approach a table filled with people, only to be told that despite the open chairs there isn’t room for you. The rejection stings. It leaves a mark. Yet this is exactly what the church has been saying to far too many people for far too long: “You’re not welcome here. Find someplace else to sit.” How can we extend unconditional welcome and acceptance in a world increasingly marked by bigotry, fear, and exclusion?

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Rehearsing Scripture: Discovering God’s Word in Community

We can study it carefully. We can listen to sermons on it and read what the experts say about it. But in the end, says Anna Carter Florence, Scripture needs to be rehearsed and encountered—and we can do that best in community with others.

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Mel White Quote

If there is any one message the Bible delivers, it is the message that God loves outcasts and that Jesus was born into the world an outcast to rescue and renew outcasts from religion gone bad. He was born poor and died poor, yet the legacy of love he left us, the legacy of inclusion and acceptance and understanding, will endure forever.

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