The Power of Signs, Symbols and Ritual

A Rationale for Religious Ritual When the Rationality of Words Fail Us

When there is an absence of conscious symbolic ritual, what happens with such a lack of awareness about the power that signs and symbols play in our lives, and the depth or richness of value and meaning they provide? How can we otherwise express what is ultimately inexpressible?

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Making The World A Better Place

Restoration of a Vision from the Christian Faith Tradition

What might constitute an adequate improvement to the world order? This commentary constitutes an exploration of this pesky, perennial question about “a better world” from the vantage point of one faith tradition, and in contemporary context. Its intention is not to offer novelty or any new revelatory insight, but rather to remember and restore a perspective that lies at the heart of a biblical gospel tradition; based on the teachings of a pre-Easter human Jesus.

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Nevertheless, She Persisted

In a late night session on February 7, 2017, during Jeff Session’s confirmation hearing for U.S. Attorney General, just weeks after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the United States Senate voted to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren after she read comments made decades earlier by Edward Kennedy and Coretta Scott King that criticized the civil rights record of Senator Sessions. Warren was censured because Senate Rule XIX prohibits ascribing “to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.” To silence her, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led a party-line vote that forced Senator Warren to take her seat and refrain from speaking. McConnell later said “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

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As a progressive Christian, how do you deal with infidelity

s a progressive Christian, how do you deal with infidelity when your partner cheats on you but later confesses it?

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Reading Between The Lines, Adult Curriculum (Electronic and Hard Copy)

Reading Between The Lines is a lectionary based life-centered biblical resource designed for small group youth and adult education in church and home, for individual study or as an aid to preachers. One of the texts from the Revised Common Lectionary is chosen each Sunday. The exploration begins with encountering the story found in the biblical text. The focus then shifts to how this story is happening in the world around us. Finally the questions turn toward how the story is an event in the lives of the people in the group. The journey through the text seeks life-giving questions that wait to be lived.

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The Rich Fool and the Bigger Barn Economy

  And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’ Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of …

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The Transitory Nature of Beliefs, Part I

Nowadays we talk about what’s real and unreal as real (news) or fake (news). But it’s all based on establishing some set of principles or criteria that one can assert is believable, or not.  But when the ground shifts beneath what one once considered solid conviction, what’s left? Are there any underlying fact, principles or life experiences upon which one can still say, “This I believe. Always have, and always will?” Note: this commentary includes a review of Jack Spong’s latest book, “Unbelievable: Why ancient Creeds Nor the Reformation can Produce a Living faith Today.”

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Playing Favorites

The Problem with Blessings and Curses

“Have a blest day?” What in this world does that mean? Better luck or good karma, instead of bad? In the ancient world, denoting someone as “blest” was a way of expressing a deity’s special favor towards that person. If that sounds quaint, there are still plenty of people today who believe they can curry favor or improve the odds of achieving more blessings than curses; while politicians routinely conclude their speeches by invoking the Almighty to bless the good ‘ol USA. There’s just one problem. It doesn’t work.

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Jesus Between Birth and 30

Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman - by Ed Taylor

Between Birth and 30

Unfortunately, the Gospels do not provide us with much information about Jesus’ early life.

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What Will I Give Back? How to Discover What Your Soul Still Longs to Do

Conscious Aging organizations encourage elders to contribute their time, energy, wisdom, and experience in “giving back” to the world. So when I retired, I was surprised by how much resistance I felt to getting involved.

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Poems of Mourning and Healing Memory

The book begins with the author’s father—and the author himself— dealing with the death of wife and mother. It continues with the author’s powerful encounter with his dying father, then proceeds with poems mourning his father’s death and its aftermath.

The second half of the book contains poems which remember and honor significant people and experiences in the author’s life. As a pastoral psychotherapist, the author finds the Bible and spirituality to be major healing resources, along with memories of some key people he writes about who have helped him grow and heal in his life. What happens in writing is a mysterious and awesome thing, and the very process of remembering and writing these poems has helped the author mourn and find some healing.

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Love in a Time of Climate Change: Honoring Creation, Establishing Justice

challenges readers to develop a faithful response to climate change, which disproportionately harms the poor, threatens future generations, and damages God’s creation.

This book uses scripture, tradition, reason, and experience to explore the themes of creation and justice in the context of the earth’s changing climate. By creatively employing these four sources of authority, readers discover a unique way to assess the physical realities of climate change, discern its physical and spiritual implications, reflect on planetary warming theologically and discern a faithful response.

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Adios, “Dios”

Saying Goodbye to “God” in Sacred Text

What good is “God?” We know well how much violence is committed in the name of “God.” If we were to delete both our traditional Western word and notion of “god” from both our speech and thinking, what are the implications for such things we ourselves know and experience to be true in our own human experience? I’m talking about conceiving of such things as love, compassion, mercy, grace, reconciliation, forgiveness, even absolution, redemption, and salvation. Part one in this series considers a scripture text considered sacred, but noticeably absent is the presence of any deity.

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The picture, speaking of itself

The picture, speaking of itself,
not shaping something else we know;
imagines mystery makes it glow
beyond all earthly sight can show.

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Resurrection as Change: Deleting “God” – Part III

The idea of “God” has been problematic for as long as the notion existed. As a result, “God” has admittedly been for me a direction; but neither a destination, nor even a companion along the way any longer. As the poet suggests, if the notion of “god” is directional movement from a former past to the present now, then perhaps it is the time to leave the “G” word behind. What does that mean?

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Social Activist, Religious Activist

While young people today are movers and shakers, reformers and influencers, seeking voice and empowerment through protest and organization, our activism is largely restricted to political and social spheres. We will boycott products from a company that exploits labor, hold signs and march in the streets for the rights of immigrants, but we generally do not seek to reform the religious institutions of which we are a part.

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Resurrection as Change, Part II

The Emmaus Experience of Transformation

The Emmaus legend is about both the inevitability of change and the possibility of transformation. … In all the swift and varied changes of this world, the elusive goal of converting hearts and minds remains optional.

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the Easter uprising

Jesus rises up whenever the conspiracy of love rises up, whenever compassionate and courageous acts of the kingdom of God are present, whenever the reign of love is made manifest in this life. Following Jesus is a response to his call to establish justice and peace in the world.

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