Bishop John Shelby Spong ~ June 16, 1931 – September 12, 2021
Bishop Spong provided a much needed place for those of us who did not connect with traditional theology. We love you Bishop Spong. You will be missed! Funeral services will be held at St. Peter’s, Morristown, NJ and at St. Paul’s, Richmond, VA. Dates and times will be announced as soon as they are available

    • Community Christian Church, Springfield
    • Dr. Roger Ray holds masters and doctoral degrees in divinity from Vanderbilt University as well as a bachelors in philosophy from Murray State University. He was a 2004 Merriell Fellow at Harvard Divinity School. Dr. Ray is a regular opinion writer for the Springfield News-Leader. He is also the author of “Progressive Faith and Practice” and “Progressive Conversations” (available on Amazon) and various journal and magazine columns. Dr. Rays' sermons have been published in several professional journals and popular collections. He had 28 years of experience in pastoral ministry before becoming the founding pastor of Community Christian Church in August of 2008.

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Sacred Land, Holy Water – Sermon Video

Beyond the fearful and exploitative view of the earth seen in much of ancient scriptures, the human race has not only discovered an ability to dominate the earth, we have managed to beat it half to death. The modern church must embrace as a prophetic mission the defense of the environment in cooperation with scientists who are studying global climate change and the biological and botanical impacts of pollution.

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Progressive Faith and Practice: Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By

This book articulates a progressive faith that represents a true marriage of the academic work of the modern biblical critical movement and the historical Jesus work of the Jesus Seminar applied within the life of an active parish.

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The Liberation Theology – Sermon Video

Sermon for Community Christian Church of Springfield MO on December 11, 2011 by Dr. Roger Ray.

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What Answers Does Progressive Faith Offer to the Big Questions? – Sermon Video

The mortality rate is 100%. If we are not promising eternal life in heaven, what sensible and sensitive response to we have to the issue of mortality? How do we navigate the big transitions of life at times of birth, coming of age, marriage, illness and death when the certainty of traditional church answers now seem to be either useless or entirely false.
We have exchanged false certainty for honest uncertainty, choosing to live meaningfully in the present moment, freed of anxiety about the future.

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What Should We Teach our Children About Religion? – Sermon Video

Progressives are less interested in teaching the beliefs of our or any other religion. We are much more interested in teaching ethics, behavior, justice and compassion. We can demonstrate what it means to be a person of faith by telling the stories of modern prophets and saints: Gandhi, Dorothy Day, King, Mandela, Romero, Mother Teresa and others who have lived as examples of what it means to be people of faith. We must “preach the church to the church” telling the stories of those who are within our own community who have given of themselves in remarkable ways. If we want to raise a generation of leaders and heroes we must accept that we must set the example in the way that we practice our faith.

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Shall We Still Pray? – Sermon Video

Soren Kierkegaard has said that prayer does not change the One to Whom we pray but it changes the one who prays. If we accept that prayer is not asking a supernatural theistic god to grant us wishes, how then do we pray so that it changes us?

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What do We do When We Gather as a Community? – Sermon Video

We are believers in Jesus Christ who accept all people without judgment and who desire to work and worship as a community striving for social justice.

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Religions are the Languages of Faith – Sermon Video

All religions are the product of a culture’s attempt at expressing their most closely held beliefs, values and the morals they want to pass on to the coming generation. We should no more say that one religion is better than another than we would claim that one language is superior to another or that my favorite music is “right” any everyone else’s favorite music is “wrong.” There are healthy and unhealthy religious beliefs and practices but in the 21st century we need to learn from one another and challenge one another to repent of our prejudices, oppressive practices and out dated values so that we can all become the best Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. that we can be.

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Which Jesus do We Hold Most Dear?

Modern scholarship and religious practice have given us several different images of Jesus. Some insist that he never existed while others insist that he was God incarnate. This message attempts to take a scholarly approach to articulating a relevant, historically honest approach to the role of the Jesus tradition in the 21st century saying: the strata of the Jesus tradition that motivates progressives is the Jesus who stands as an alternative to the empire.

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God Says Different Things to Different People: A Midrash on St.Paul – Sermon Video

The sermon is based on a performance of the lectionary reading from Galatians and other central texts that tell the story of Paul in his own words: Galatians 1:1-17; 2Corinthians 12:1-12; and 1Cornthians 15:1-11 with short quotes from other letters as well. As this Early Christian practice was supposed to be unscripted and is mostly based on Paul’s own words, there is no written version of the sermon on the website. You are invited to watch the video recording of the performance.

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Religions are the Languages of Faith- Sermon Video

All religions are the product of a culture’s attempt at expressing their most closely held beliefs, values and the morals they want to pass on to the coming generation. We should no more say that one religion is better than another than we would claim that one language is superior to another or that my favorite music is “right” any everyone else’s favorite music is “wrong.” There are healthy and unhealthy religious beliefs and practices but in the 21st century we need to learn from one another and challenge one another to repent of our prejudices, oppressive practices and out dated values so that we can all become the best Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. that we can be.

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Do Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples have a future?- Sermon Video

The dogged refusal of traditional religions to give up Bronze Age magical thinking and doctrines will continue to make religion increasingly irrelevant in the 21st century. If the church has a future it will be because we are willing to undergo a radical transformation, being more passionate about what is true than what we have read in ancient documents. We need to be connected to one another in order to be effective in changing the world and we need meaningful connection to others to correct our own excesses. We can become better people through working together for justice, peace and mercy.

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Tinkering with Genetics

GMOs can be toxic, and they can cause food allergies. There has been relatively little testing done on humans and yet these products are reaching our store shelves and in the USA, foods containing GMO ingredients are not labeled as they are in Europe and even in China. In our country, where democracy is demonstrably for sale, giant food corporations have so much influence on our government that we continue to subsidize the foods that make us fat, diabetic and give us heart disease but we do not subsidize the production of the foods that would make us more healthy. We have given research grants to create these “frankenfoods” and then protected manufacturers from legal liability for the problems they create.

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Bending the Arc of Time Towards Justice- Sermon Video

CCC Springfield

Published on Jun 30, 2013 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg described the Supreme Court’s 5-4 majority decision to remove vital Voting Rights Act provisions as moving against Martin Luther King Jr’s famous claim that the arc of time is …

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Wisdom and (or is it ‘vs’?) Religion- sermon video

Community Christian Church

The ancient Jews revered wisdom but in our times it often seems religion actually reveres ignorance. This is a crucial aspect of progressive Christianity- we are willing to start a church that rejected all forms of magic or superstition in favor for a fact based spirituality.

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Gitmo and the Tower of Babel: Tales of Power Run Amok- sermon video

Community Christian Church of Springfield

Our prison in Guantanamo Bay, Gitmo, is an example of power run amok. Like the Biblical narrative about the Tower of Babel, our faith tradition is rich in anti-empire imagery assuring the faith community that God holds the hubris of empire in contempt. Nations are never really that good as estimating their relative importance in the world. Like the Hebrews when our nation began, we had a fresh memory of what it was like to be bullied by an empire. We sought to create a nation whose moral force was much larger than our military force.

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Behold the Profit that Hides the Sins of the World- sermon video

Community Christian Church of Springfield

The media does not question the deaths of the poor when profit is the motive behind their deaths but cannot tell us enough about Mosques in Boston and Islam in Russia. But who owned the plant in West, Texas? Where did the owners go to church? How were they so radicalized in their lust for money that they would place an entire town at risk? And why do we accept the deaths of the poor in indifference and silence?

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When the Rules are Wrong- sermon video

Community Christian Church of Springfield

The miracles in the New Testament are called “signs.” They are metaphors for the Kingdom. In John 5, Jesus heals a man who has been looking at his source of healing, a pool that this sermon titles “the hospital” but the rules are such that he cannot get in to be healed. Jesus breaks through that injustice to bring healing to the one who needs it the most, without an insurance card, without proof of employment or citizenship. And that is what the faith community is called to do: to break the rules that bar the sick from health care, that favors banks over homeowners and corporate profits over the interests of those who need air and water that has not been polluted.

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We Need More Love and Less Prejudice- sermon video

Community Christian Church of Springfield

It is not an easy message for people to take in. Think about who in modern
history has tried to get people to live together in peace, to end violence and
prejudice and discrimination… President Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Medger Evers,
MalcolmX, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Oscar Romero….all
tried to heal the division of the north and the south, Hindus and Muslims,
Blacks and Whites, the rich and the poor, the powerful and the weak.

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Birth and Death, Marriage and Divorce, Life and Disease, Vitality and Old Age, Ebullie- sermon video

Community Christian Church of Springfield

The death by suicide of Pastor Rick Warren’s youngest son is not an indication of any spiritual failure. Cancer, depression, mental illness and natural disasters strike among people of faith at the same rate as everyone else. The mortality rate is 100%. We pray, as Kierkegaard said, not to change the One to whom we pray but to change the one who prays. Our spirituality gives us community, encouragement, strength and hope to face the challenges of living in a capricious universe.

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In mad world, practice basic acts of kindness

Every time there is another senseless massacre committed by a mad man armed with military-styled weapons, there is an article in me that fights to come out. I want to scream at the people who donate to …

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The Evil We Do To Fit In – sermon video

The beheading of John the Baptist

“Take sides, because neutrality always serves the oppressor and never the oppressed. Your silence will always be interpreted as consent. There is no honor in remaining neutral in matters of ethical importance. Always taking the middle ground doesn’t make you smart, it doesn’t make you fair, it doesn’t make you balanced, and it certainly doesn’t make you innocent.”

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From the Left

Published in the Springfield NewsLeader

In 1968, at the age of 12, I jumped on the banana seat of my three-speed stingray bicycle and peddled to the town square of my Kentucky hometown to witness history in the making. I leaned against …

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Talking About Trinity, Monotheism and Panenthism – sermon video

The god-of-the-gaps, that creation of superstition and magic, that combination of pre-science simplicity, is not what draws us here.
We’re not trying to get in touch with the god who helps us to find a parking place at the mall or make it rain on our vegetable garden. And yet, people are terribly afraid to give up on the institutional religious packaging that first introduced us to the god-of-the-gaps.

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