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It Must Be True (Easter)

Easter has always held a special place in my life and spiritual journey as it holds promise for rebirth, change, growth, and yes, resurection. It is a challenge for many to let go of the belief of a physically resurcted Jesus, but once we recognize the beauty of a spiritual resurection, we can unravel the incredible miracle of having the potential, each day, to re-birth our spirit, to lift it up out of the darkness of despair, fear, and lonliness and merge it with the luminous light of the universal spirit.

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Easter is the Celebration of the Justice and Compassion of God

Most Christians are familiar with the stories in the Gospels and many verses in the Epistles declaring that the Lord is risen. Many people believe the stories of the resurrection of Jesus are historically true. Others have difficulty believing they are true in that sense but understand them as metaphors pointing to the truth. Either way, whether you believe or understand, the issue is what do these stories mean? We can begin our search for the meaning of the stories by knowing that New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan has stressed: "Never, ever separate the life from the death and resurrection of Jesus. Ever. Not the life from the death, not the death from the resurrection."

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Christian Laauve (Love)

It is not too difficult to imagine that this existential awareness is related to the Realm of God that Jesus described to his followers with so many positive metaphors. It not only discovering the interconnectedness of all life that is so exciting but it is seeing and hearing from a whole new perspective that can fundamentally change our understanding of reality.

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A Covenant of Love

The Bible is filled with messages of love, so it is not hard to highlight scripture that calls us to love.

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What comes after Christianity?

If all religions are transient, then some day the religions of 21st century, including Christianity, will no longer be living religions. What might the religions of global citizens of future generations look like? Will such global citizens recognize that already there is a global resource of wisdom and spirituality to which religious and humanist traditions have contributed and which tomorrow’s global citizens can draw upon, critically, as well as adding judiciously to it?

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Jesus Did Not Die for Us, Jesus Lived and Died for Us

In the April 1995 issue of Theology Today, theologian Murray Joseph Haar lamented what he regarded as a "rampant" sickness within the American church. He wrote, "The symptoms of this illness sound like this: 'Jesus died for my sins, His pain my gain, He died to set us free, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away my sins, I have decided to accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior." With words like these, many Christians proclaim and define their faith in the efficacy of Jesus' death on their behalf. I contend that these words of faith indicate precisely the nature of the sickness at the heart of American Christianity." He calls the sickness, a "rampant, individualistic, self-serving redemptionsm." (1)The sickness continues today. The common understanding and frequent statement of many Christians is that "Jesus died for us." Standing alone, that is a distortion of the Christian faith, for it separates the life of Jesus from his death. A dramatic depiction of this separation is seen in Mel Gibson's film The Passion of The Christ. In the film the passion of Christ was almost entirely limited to his death. There was no understanding that his death was the consequence and fulfillment of the passion of his life.

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God, Darwin, and the Church

In his review of Philip Kitcher's Living with Darwin (TPC May/June 2007), Robert Cornwall suggested that his readers pick up the challenge to "reconcile a dynamic supernaturalism with evolutionary science". I think that Cornwall has identified the most important test facing the churches in the developed nations of the world. While evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity is thriving in Africa and parts of Asia, in Europe over 90% of the people have little to do with religious organizations. Are the churches in the United States bound to follow the path taken by the older industrialized nations? Or can we welcome people to whom evolutionary science makes more sense than a divine creator or an intelligent designer? Most progressive churches do welcome people who are convinced that Charles Darwin got it right, but the acceptance they receive is a bit like what gay and lesbian people get from the military. As long as no one addresses the subject directly, everybody can get along. The Christians who are satisfied with this approach are able to accept Darwin when they are in a conversation about science and to accept God as the creator when they are in church. They would rather not think too much about the apparent contradiction. If pressed, they usually take what a trained theologian would call a deist position. God set the whole universe in motion, including the capacity of life forms to evolve into new species. Never mind the implication that God's design allowed for viruses and earthquakes that kill millions of people. When pressed to confront the logical contradictions in accepting both Darwin and God, such people tend to respond vaguely with talk about mystery. Mystery is the last refuge of determined believers when faced with gaps in their logic.

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A Gigantic Global Drum Circle

There is a vitality, an enlivening energy that occurs when your vision manifests in action. Because you are the only one of you that has ever existed and ever will exist, this action is unique and essential to the evolution of Life. If you stay awake to this vital energy, and keep the channels of awareness open, you have realized the greatest success that a person can achieve. Don't get me wrong. It's rarely neat and tidy. It's not always satisfying. In fact there is usually a divine dissatisfaction about following your bliss. It is this blessed unrest that raises your life above the steady hum of the daily grind and makes your life work exceptional.

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Build and Sustain Faith Communities by Feeding the Hungry

This presentation was given by Fred Plumer at the Common Dreams Conference in Sydney, Australia last month. It clearly lays out 8 steps and goals for churches and spiritual communities that want to build and sustain their communities by feeding the hunger that people feel for spirituality, purpose, a mission, and clear path.

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God and Progressive Christianity

Progressive Christians are achieving great clarity about the historical development of the Bible and about viewing biblical passages in a metaphorical rather than a literal way. Using the word "God," however, continues to be an area of unclarity and outright confusion.

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Limits of Biblical Authority

A story about Jesus gleaning grain on the Sabbath provides us some important insights into whether the Bible’s authority is absolute or limited.

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What is Missing in Islam is Modern Theological Insights

All the ancient scriptures, including the Koran, need to be understood as historically-conditioned and culturally-conditioned. Without such an understanding the human rights abuses that their scriptures condone will still be seen as having divine approval. Modern believers need to recognise that religions are transient and that tomorrow’s landscape almost certainly will be very different.

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Josh’s Confessions

The dangers for Jews and Christians of believing in being divinely chosen.

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Reflections on The Da Vinci Code

An Anglican priest reflects on some fascinating and important questions raised in Dan Brown’s book  The Da Vinci Code.

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Honest to Jesus: Giving the Historical Jesus a Say in Our Future

Introduction: Historical Jesus Studies as a "School of Honesty" In 1906 Albert Schweitzer commented:"The critical study of the life of Jesus has been for theology a school of honesty."(The Quest for the Historical Jesus) That is a …

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Sacrificial Lamb or Enemy of the State?

Text – Matthew 21:1-11   Six months ago, on the morning of September 11, 2001, aerial assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon killed thousands of innocent men and women and left even more innocent children, …

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The United Religions Initiative

I was invited to research and write what turned out to be a chapter entitled, “Anglican Attitudes and Behaviors Concerning War,” in an Anglican Ethics text book edited by Paul Elmen, The Anglican Moral Choice. The gist of it is that Anglicans are second to none in being for peace in peacetime, and for war in wartime. This illustrates the unfortunate tendency of religions to sanctify violence.

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An Armchair Guide to Exploring the Interface Between Science and Religion

How should science and theology be related to each other? How does our
scientific knowledge fit or not fit with what we think we know about
God and the sacred? Author Graham Kelder surveys recent publications dealng with science and spirituality.

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The Virgin Mary is No Wonder Woman

Who was Charles Moulton? His name is not a household word but his creation is. Moulton is the man who in 1941 launched the career of a comic strip character who was know as Wonder Woman. Moulton was a psychologist. He was also the inventor of the lie detector. In an autobiographical note in the Wonder Women Archives Vol. 2, he describes himself as “an early feminist,” who believed that “a woman’s rightful place was as a world leader, not servant or helpmate.”

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Astonishing Assumptions Underlie Belief in Atoning Sacrifice

The author of Tried for Heresy: A 21st Century Journey of Faith, discusses the "small print" underlying the interpretation of Jesus’ death as an atoning sacrifice.

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Christianity in the Chrysalis: An Evolutionary Perspective on Today’s Chaos

Robert Keck discusses deep-value
research, which suggests that, after developing the human ego and mind
for 10,000 years, humanity’s new evolutionary direction is toward spiritual maturity.

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Spirituality and Contemporary Culture

Transcript of a speech by Dr. Marcus Borg at the National Forum of ProgressiveChristianity.org

My central claim, both today and tomorrow, is that being a Christian is primarily about a relationship with God lived within the Christian tradition as a sacrament – a claim to which I will return at the end of this talk.

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For God’s Sake: Reasonable Religion

Why we have creeds, doctrine. Do they help or hinder? Are there new ways to express old truths?

In P.D. James’ novel. ‘Death in Holy Orders’ there is a bluff business man, Sir Alred, who unexpectedly asks Inspector Dalgliesh about the Nicene Creed. We know just the sort of Christian Sir Alred is: a few paragraphs earlier he has said that he ‘shows his face in church from time to time’. Dalgliesh, a vicar’s son, searches his memory and tells him the Creed was formulated by the Council of Nicea in 325 AD, and that the Emperor Constantine had called the Council ‘to settle the belief of the Church and to deal with the Arian heresy’.

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The Road that Leads through the Bible

I am honored to have been asked to lead the Bible study at this gathering, although it is not without some trepidation I accepted. I am well aware there are many here who could do this equally well or better than I. l: also know there are some who would say that asking Romney to lead a Bible study is a bit risky, since he often interprets it to suit himself or will rewrite it if necessary. Actually, I don’t know anyone, fundamentalist or liberal, who doesn’t do that. We all have our own interpretations. We also have our favorite passages, and if we are honest we will admit that even though the Bible is the most important book of our faith, much of it is dull and irrelevant to this century.

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