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Jesus and the Sacrificial System

The religious culture in which Jesus lived was the sacrificial culture centred on the temple in Jerusalem. It provided the background to his thinking and that of most other Jews including Paul, and the idea of sacrifice continued to influence the thinking of the first Christians.

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Original Blessing

I was blessed at birth
And have struggled to reclaim the blessing
In my innocence, I was loved unconditionally
Simply for being me,

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Willing to Be Wrong: Rachel Held Evans

It ends with this sentence:  “Even on the days when I’m not sure I can believe it wholeheartedly, this is the story I’m willing to be wrong about.” And that humility suffuses the whole book. 

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Pebbles and Gemstones

We are a little bit obsessed in our culture around ideas of worth and value. We spend so much of our time running after something, what we might call the “gems,” or running away from other things, the “pebbles,” in the hopes of having a sense of belonging, feeling worthy and valuable.

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The Quintessential Good Samaritan

The Authorized Biography of John Joseph Kelly, Champion of Social Justice

The parable good Samaritan helped his “neighbor.”
Jesus meant help everyone, especially those less fortunate than you.

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The Toxic Evangelical Variant

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the evangelical church saved me in every way a person can be saved. They introduced me to Jesus. They became the family my childhood family could not be. They loved and affirmed me. They educated me. They gave me a vocation. And they gave me exceptional opportunities of service. Although I left the evangelical church years ago for a more progressive expression of faith, I’ve always appreciated the gifts they gave me.

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How should people honor Martin Luther King

How should people honor Martin Luther King on this year’s observance of his holiday on January 17th? It depends.

As of this writing there is no clear assurance of the passage of two Voting Right Acts both stalled in that profoundly and structurally undemocratic institution, the U.S. Senate.

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Dialogue with Roger Lipsey, Dag Hammarskjold Biographer

A Zoom dialogue with Dr. Roger Lipsey, Hammarskjold biographer ‘Hammarskjold: A Life’ published by University of Michigan, 2013. His ‘Politics and Conscience: Dag Hammarskjold on the Art of Ethical Leadership’ was published in early 2020 by Shambhala.

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Religion as Encounter v. Religion as Belief

I would like to build on Carl Krieg’s recent essay in the resource section of the PC.org website entitled “The One You Feed.” His article reminded me of my past life as a political scientist studying public opinion and voting behavior.

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The Big Lie

It’s a scary thought, but true. To quote the Nazi, Joseph Goebbels, “If you tell a big lie often enough and keep repeating it, people will come to believe it.” A full 60% of Republicans today believe that Biden is not the President of the United States.

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January 6 and Beloved Community

The attack on  the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was a low point in the ongoing struggle against dark forces in the American character. It was also another moment when leaders of Christian churches betrayed the message of Jesus while claiming to uphold Christian principles.

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Let 2022 Be Your Ode to JOY!

I wonder what the numerous losses our world has experienced in the past two years may have liberated us from. What joys may we discover in this liberation? In the freedom from the way things were? In the discovery of stars to guide us? In the joy we allow ourselves to take in each new birth.

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Remembering our sister-friend bell hooks

“bell hooks has always been the truth. Now perhaps more than ever, it’s paramount that we lean into her work. On this day of her passing, let us celebrate the rich published legacy she leaves behind.”

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Measuring the Evil of “the Big Lie”

In John 8, Jesus observes that when you know the truth, “the truth will make you free.”  In the Bible, truth-telling is an important matter.  Indeed, the commandment truth of the ninth commandment spells this out for us: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”.

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Humanity Sunday

For leaders of the church service

These Sundays are Seasons of Creation Sundays, so, each different aspect of creation is the focus of each Church Service.  This Humanity Sunday gives the church a golden opportunity to celebrate the mysterious wonder and the beauty of humanity.

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Hope – Remembering Christmas Eve 1941

Woven into the fabric of the disturbing news that continually bombards us are those moments of humanity, mostly unreported, that tell us who we really are.

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Will Smollett’s hoax affect public perception of hate crimes?

Smollett’s hoax exploited black trauma. Smollett testified that his assailants were white because one purportedly shouted “MAGA country,” then-President Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” and both men put a noose around his neck.

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Lo, Christmas Songs Reworded; SF Opera chorister Amy McKenzie sings

Blessed Christmas-tide even in a particularly bleak mid-winter. One carol includes a metaphorical rose blooming in darkest winter.

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