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    • Kurt Struckmeyer
    • Kurt Struckmeyer grew up in St. Louis, Missouri in the aftermath of global war. He was baptized in a Lutheran church at the age of five. His youth was shaped by the decades of the conformist fifties and the contentious sixties. As he entered puberty, he discovered a radical and passionate Jesus in the gospels who was very unlike the heavenly Christ he had been introduced to by the church. In high school, Kurt read The Cost of Discipleship by German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Based on the teachings of Jesus and the writing of Bonhoeffer, he registered as a conscientious objector to the war in Viet Nam. The two martyrs—Jesus and Bonhoeffer—had launched the trajectory of his life.

      Kurt has always had a strong creative drive, and although a high school English teacher encouraged him to write and his pastor encouraged him to enter the seminary, he instead went to art school, studying painting and sculpture. After graduating from the Washington University School of Fine Art in 1969, Kurt pursued a varied career at the General Motors Design Center in Warren, Michigan. For over 35 years, he worked as an automotive sculptor, a technology and process planner, an organizational development facilitator, and a manager of strategic communication, serving under every vice president of the Design Center except its founder Harley Earl.

      Kurt retired from General Motors in 2005 and now lives in Farmington Hills, Michigan. In 2008, he was asked to write a history of automotive design at General Motors titled “Driving Style: GM Design’s First Century.” Today, he spends much of his time in study and writing.

      Throughout his career as an artist, planner, and writer, Kurt’s true avocation and calling has been theology, biblical studies, and historical Jesus research, focused on the vision of peace and social justice that Jesus called the “kingdom of God.” Over the years, Kurt has written a number of classroom studies about the mission and message of Jesus, nonviolence, and community building. In 2004, under the umbrella of the Mustard Seed School of Theology, he launched the website and blog “Following Jesus: a life of faith in a postmodern world” (https://followingjesus.org).

      Decades of study and writing led to the creation of a lengthy manuscript that Wipf & Stock is publishing as three separate books beginning in 2016. “A Conspiracy of Love” presents the contours of a postmodern faith based on following the way of Jesus in contemporary society. “An Unorthodox Faith” calls for a postmodern reformation based on a simple theology and ethic of God as love. And “People of the Way” will outline a future for the church through small activist communities that are dedicated to selfless service and passionate advocacy.

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An Invitation to Follow Jesus

Love God   With all your heart   With all your understanding   With all your strength   With all your soul Love your neighbor as yourself Love your enemies Pray for those who mistreat you Bless …

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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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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 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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An Unorthodox Faith: A New Reformation in a Postmodern World

“An Unorthodox Faith” proposes an alternative to traditional Christian creeds and theology with a simpler humanist theology of love and compassion. It explores the implications for faith and ethics based on the proposition that “God is love”—not a loving supernatural being, but, more radically, frail human love itself. The book deconstructs traditional images of God as cosmic creator and occasional interventionist, the apocalyptic image of Christ, the image of the Holy Spirit as a supernatural being, medieval images of heaven and hell, ancient doctrines of sin and atonement, and contemporary beliefs in resurrection and eternal life. When all of these concepts are removed from traditional Christianity, what remains is a deeply spiritual humanism of service and social action—a way of living that reflects the words and deeds of the historical Jesus.

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The Two Gospels

I recently heard a Christmas Eve sermon titled “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” recited entirely in rhymed couplets and delivered without a manuscript. Running for nearly eleven minutes, it was quite a remarkable feat.

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A Conspiracy of Love: Following Jesus in a Postmodern World

Today, the churches of the Global North are in decline and younger generations no longer seek meaning there. Traditional “church Christianity” is gradually giving way to some new way of faithful living. From a Nazi prison cell, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer imagined a future “religionless Christianity” consisting of contemplative prayer and righteous action in the secular world.

A Conspiracy of Love presents the contours of such a faith based on the “way” of Jesus. It calls us to become troublemakers, revolutionaries, seekers of change, and agents of transformation engaged in conspiracies of love to establish justice and peace in a postmodern world. It offers many different people–those who remain in the church,those who have left, and those who have never ventured near–with a life of faith that is meaningful, intelligent, and passionate.

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The Words of the Eucharist

I was . . . suddenly so uncomfortable with the words I have always known to say during communion

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Fear Not

Our love for one another allows us to face our fears together. Trust God and love one another.

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Follow Jesus: a Hymn

I heard a contemporary hymn on Sunday morning during the Eucharist and fell in love with the melody. It was the “Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)” by Chris Rice. It reminded me of Randy Newman’s music—a soft …

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The Church and LGBT Justice

A majority of American voters say they support a Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry, but the issue remains far from settled among socially conservative religious communities that have repeatedly proclaimed biblical support for human injustice.

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The Politics of Jesus

Part 1: the politics of the domination system The word ‘politics’ comes from the Greek word politikos, meaning “of, for, or relating to the polis.” Polis literally means ‘city’ in Greek. It can also mean ‘citizenship’ and …

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Some Thoughts on Loving Kindness

Can kindness save the world? That is the question I posed as I reflected on the theme of ‘transforming the world through loving kindness.’ Are we really talking about changing the world through small acts of kindness, perhaps from one stranger to another? If so, are we discussing a movement like London’s ‘Kindness Offensive,’ known for orchestrating large-scale ‘random acts of kindness?’ Although kindness is an important virtue, and the world is all the better for it, can friendly, gentle, caring, considerate, and helpful people change the entrenched systems of domination, poverty, and violence that we face in our neighborhoods, nation, and the global community? Kindness may give pleasure to others and make us feel better in return, but I suspect that transforming the world will require more than simple acts of kindness that lift someone’s spirits.

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Transformation

Jesus called on people to change. Not just a little, but dramatically. The ‘kingdom of God’ is the term Jesus used to express his vision of a profound transformation of human beings and human institutions—social, political, economic and religious—to fully express the character and nature of God—a God of love. To accomplish this vision, Jesus worked toward the creation of a new kind of community dedicated to values of compassion, generosity, peace, and justice. He was creating a movement for change, a people engaged in a vast conspiracy of love.

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Advent: The Waiting is Over

The season of Advent is upon us. For most people it is simply a flurry of activities to prepare for the Christmas and New Year holidays: a time of decoration, a time of shopping, a time of baking, a time of lights and candles. For some, it is simply the most stressful time of the year. But historically, advent has been a time of inward preparation in anticipation of the birth of Jesus. It recalls the themes of a late-term pregnancy: waiting and suspense, hope and expectation. Advent literally means ‘arrival.’

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Committal Service for the Dead

We come in sorrow, confronting the fact that life ends. Yet we also know that there is a power stronger than death—the transformative power of love. Love has joined us together…

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Be careful what you pray for

When we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” do we mean to say “Come, you malnourished stranger?”

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Creed of Love

I believe in the hidden God of love,
the spirit of love and compassion
found at the breadth and depth of every human life.

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Praying to Love

For many Christians, a supernatural theistic God is a daily reality in their lives, but for many others, this kind of God is simply not there. They long to feel God’s presence and God’s love, but instead they experience emptiness and isolation. They worship God in church, but find that God is not present in the sanctuary. They pray fervently to God in private moments, but realize that their prayers often go unanswered. In the end, there is only silence.2 The biblical character of Job cried out to God in despair, “I cry to you God, but you do not answer. I stand before you, and you don’t even bother to look.”3

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Call Me Back

I am told that God answers prayer.
Always.
But then a few caveats are added,
meant to temper my expectation
for a quick and positive response.

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Prayer for Discipleship

God of love,
source of mercy and compassion,
weave your dream for the world
into the fabric of our lives.

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The kingdom is at hand

A young man roams the city
With anger in his eyes.
His rage glows like an ember,
His soul is cold as ice.

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O God of Peace

O God of peace, be with us now.
Stand here beside us; bring hope this day.
Transform this world of greed and strife,
From domination to your new way.

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Doxology for Humanity

Praise life that makes us change and grow
Praise love that makes compassion flow
Praise peace that ends all strife and fear
Praise hands that work for justice here

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A Child Is Born

A darkened room
A trembling womb
Her sharp breaths cut the air

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The creators

Their relationship remains unclear.
They may be unlikely brothers,
or perhaps like Oscar and Felix,
they are simply an odd couple
sharing the same highrise apartment.

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The arms of love

I went to the funeral home last night
to see a friend whose life was entwined with mine.
Someone once told me
that if you want to know the truth about a person’s life
go to their funeral.

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For Life and Love, Let All Rejoice

A Wedding Hymn

Like potter’s clay on spinning wheel,
Grasped by strong hands that push and pull,
Our lives take shape in height and breadth,
In form and grace most wonderful.

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Joined with Love

A Wedding Hymn

In community we gather,
Off’ring blessings on this day.
Friends and fam’ly joined together,
Raising voices now to pray.

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A Parable

The kingdom of God is like the leader of a mainline religious institution who needed to hire new clergy to minister to his congregations.

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Beyond Ritual – a Life of Prayer and Action

Bonhoeffer believed that in the future a religionless Christianity—stripped of its religious garments—would be limited to two things: prayer and action.3 He believed that through these two acts Christians would learn to see the world from a new perspective, with the eyes of those at the bottom of society—the people that Matthew called “the least of these.” For Bonhoeffer, prayer—especially intercessory prayer—becomes important because it creates a powerful sense of empathy and solidarity with the people one brings before God. This, in turn, motivates one to engage in “righteous” action—the seeking of justice in human society.

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Be careful what you pray for

When we pray come, Lord Jesus Do we mean to say come, you malnourished stranger come, you unwanted migrant come, you ragged child come, you crying crack baby come, you dirty panhandler come, you dying alcoholic come, …

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Praying to God

I sometimes wonder if God ever tires of our prayers. Weekends must be the worst. Friday prayers at the mosques, Saturday appeals in the synagogues, Sunday petitions from the churches. An endless round of requests. Do this, …

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the lord watch over your going out

Do you ever find it odd
that worshipers are greeted
as they leave the sanctuary?

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All are welcome

The sign outside the church
said “all are welcome.”
Perhaps they meant to say
all who look like us are welcome,

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