Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character give him power.” I think one look back at 2016 would confirm that. Power, it would seem, as much as we may want it, sometimes turns us into people we never thought we would be.
History tells us this is true.
Part-autobiography, part-Christian spirituality, Nomad offers penetrating insight into the minds of the new generations of progressive evangelical followers of Jesus in the global Church. Themes include: community, war, redemption, wonder, grace, sexuality and the Eucharist. Nomad was originally commissioned and written for Destiny Image but the publisher cancelled the contract because Brandan refused to say that he did ‘not condone, encourage or accept the homosexual lifestyle’. DLT is proud to offer Brandan’s book for all readers wishing to hear and understand his powerfully-written, graceful, whole-life spirituality.read more
It’s almost Christmas– one of the holiest days of the year for Christians, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who was called the Christ.
But did Jesus even exist? Was he a real historical person?
It seems around Christmas or Easter there’s always some agnostic or atheist friends who make the claim that Jesus never existed as a historical person, or at least, that there’s “no evidence” he existed.
We have tried to remain within the theological-only realm as we co-create what being a progressive Christian means in today’s world. However, as you can see from even our older versions of The 8 Points, three of the main points of progressive Christianity have been about the importance of social justice, inclusion and environmental stewardship. Clearly those values are broad umbrellas and with our recent political arena being what it is we are finding that the issues at hand are directly affecting the rights of human beings everywhere and threatening both social justice/equality and inclusion as well as the protection and restoration of our Earth.read more
It was more than two thousand years ago that the historic figure we call Jesus lived. It was a life of relatively short duration, only thirty-three years. At most only three of those years were devoted to a public career. Yet, that life appears to have been a source of wonder and power to those who knew him. Tales of miraculous power surrounded him. Words of insight and wisdom were believed to have flowed from his lips. Love and freedom seemed to be qualities that marked his existence. Men and women found themselves called into being by him. Those laden with guilt discovered, somehow, the joy of forgiveness in him. The alone, the insecure, the warped and twisted found him to be a source of peace. He possessed the courage to be who he was. He is described in terms that portray him as an incredibly free man.read more
The Christmas holidays are even trickier for those who give even a token nod to a long-held doctrinal claim
of orthodox Christianity; that a theistic god somehow enters into the human story, rather than arising out of
our own consciousness and human imagination.
How then might a self-professed non-theist celebrate the nativity of a Galilean sage from days long gone
by, and call it holy? It lies in an ancient message that – more often than not – runs counter to the cultural
and political climate; but is central to the character and teachings of Jesus.
In 2008, our little congregation played host to John Dominic Crossan who has been acclaimed as world’s most famous New Testament scholar. Crossan’s visit to our congregation began with a public lecture based on his best-selling book The First Christmas in which he and Marcus Borg provide a splendid historical outline of the development of the birth narratives. I had the dubious honour of standing before his enlightened audience on Christmas Eve to preach in the great man’s wake. What follows is the Christmas Eve sermon I preached just three weeks after Dom’s illuminating visit.read more
Most young children are born with a sense of wonder and anticipate discovery around every corner. A shiny penny or a snowflake holds a world of delight. But perhaps because our culture tends to overstimulate and excite our children, boredom begins to seep in as children get older. It’s not uncommon to hear complaints of, “I’ve seen that” or “I know that already” from children who are already closing the doors to their sense of discovery.read more
The best way to enjoy the planet is to get out and do something — not sit and talk about it.
This lesson offers an encouraging reminder for an attitude of enjoyment and appreciation when we experience the natural world in all its forms. To enjoy means to have an inner experience of joy — to be “in joy” as our bodies and minds are engaged in activity.read more
Progressive Christians believe that resisting oppression or cruelty in society has always been both an obligation and an opportunity for those who follow Jesus. It is an obligation because it is a way to test our commitment to the path. It is an opportunity because putting oneself at risk on behalf of another, as a result of one’s compassion, can be one of the most direct paths to an experience of the realm of God or that absolute sense of connectedness.read more
This point, recognizing that we open ourselves to a constant flow of grace as we search for understanding, is inextricably linked to the eighth point in Progressive Christian beliefs: that we are committed to a lifelong path of learning. For as soon as we think we have arrived at the end point of understanding, we close ourselves to that flow of grace. Wisdom teachers of all paths describe gradual awakening or a progressive realization of understanding, marked by moments of clear inner revelation; but if we keep searching, there are ever-new octaves of clarity.read more
The Jesus of the scriptures was a man of action. He was someone who healed, demonstrated compassion, took a stand against injustices, loved unconditionally, and told his disciples to go and do likewise. As followers of Jesus, Progressive Christians are dedicated to treating
their fellow human beings with kindness, caring, and compassion.
No matter what our family looks like outwardly, or whether our family is one of blood or one of choice, family is where we have some of the deepest connections of our hearts. Family is our first and lifelong teacher.read more
This group of lessons introduces children to the beliefs and rituals of five major world religions.
The core value of this curriculum is that children have experiences that open their hearts and give them moments of joy and feelings of unity with nature and with others. These moments can occur through the arts and through the physical body. Therefore, most of the activities involve one or both. The intellect analyzes and distinguishes differences—valuable skills for scientific research and progress. The heart receives and feels unity. One of the goals of these lessons is that children understand that people of different religions have much in common.read more
In “A Joyful Path, Year Two” we focus on some of the main tenets of Progressive Christianity and Spirituality, giving our children the foundation they need to walk the path of Jesus in today’s world. It has stories and affirmations written to help children clarify their own personal beliefs while staying open to the wisdom of other traditions.read more
A Not So Obvious Message
For instance, most everyone I know contends that the mustard seed parable (Matthew 13:31-32) is about faith. I think that’s an easy route to take. When you read the parable, on the surface it’s about something tiny growing into a large tree or bush, and it seems to make sense why someone may think it’s about faith. For me the power in Jesus’ teachings is that he posited the NOT SO OBVIOUS, in order to short-circuit and dismantle our conventional ways of thinking and being.read more
In John 13:34-35, Jesus states that our very public witness of our Christian identity itself depends on whether or not we love one another. Otherwise, people will not recognize that we are indeed Christians. Jesus tells us to follow his example. Jesus not only gives the commandment to love, but also states that His life has modeled this love.read more