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Jesus Was Different

I have come to realize how different Jesus was and that his life before his baptism was the foundation for what became Christianity. Although his mission began suddenly when he was about 30, his previous experience must have provided the motivation for what he said and did.

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Other People

At some deep, deep level, we know that another human being, given the right circumstance, has the power to break through the facade we have created and touch the real me. That is an event we long for.

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Traditions, Dead or Alive: Ruminations & Remembrances

When asked in later years how I received my calling to ordained ministry, I used to joke that the burning bush for me was an incinerated draft card.  But with a last name like ‘Bennison,’ (an old English word for ‘blessing,’ or ‘benediction)’ and the first name John (from the Greek”Ἰωάννης” or Hebrew “Yôḥānān” meaning ‘graced by God)’ what else was I to do with my life?

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Freeing Jesus From the Gospel Narrative

My faith journey has bypassed many traditional teachings and doctrines in recent years. While doing so has led to joy and freedom, it also involved pain in that one is leaving what was once thought to be true and satisfying. While some of my recent studies have enlightened me for my most recent understanding, I don’t recall reading any author expressing the same analysis, although I am sure others have.

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The Next Challenge for ProgressiveChristianity.org

I see a great opportunity for ProgressiveChristianity.org to move in a new direction. I must admit to making this recommendation in fear and trembling because I know nothing about the internal operation of an organization I dearly love.

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Six Lessons I’ve Learned about Doubt

In recent decades, tens of millions of Americans have left their churches and other places of worship, and that trend shows no sign of abating. Instead, it’s almost certain to accelerate. Although motivations for departing organized religion are numerous, doubts about God, institutional religion, and traditional beliefs lead the pack.

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The Date of Mark’s Gospel

Mark wrote his gospel in Rome in about 52 AD. Such an early date is very much a minority view these days, but the more I investigated the matter the more convinced I became. The date is important because if Mark wrote only about twenty years after Jesus’ crucifixion it supports the essential truthfulness of his account.

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Pastor Donnie McClurkin’s struggle with sexuality mirrors the black church’s

The most significant factor that keeps the Black Church on the down-low are closeted, homophobic ministers. Pastor Donnie McClurkin- a three-time Gospel Grammy winner and the former poster boy for African American ex-gay ministries -is one example.  In a recent episode of TV One’s “Uncensored,” McClurkin talked about his sexual past. 

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Who is Jesus today?

Distinguishing the Pre-Easter from the Post-Easter Jesus

The pre-Easter Jesus is the historical Jesus, the Jesus before his crucifixion and the experience of Easter Sunday.  He is the Jesus of history, the Jesus who grew up in the peasant village of Nazareth and who, around the age of thirty, launched a public ministry that changed the world.  However, trying to unpack who this Jesus was as an historical person is a daunting task. 

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BE KIND > be right

“You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.” ― Dale Carnegie, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

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A Character with True Character: Compassion as a Step We can All Take Toward Inclusivity

Deep-rooted, systemic racism and other forms of exclusivity, potential reparations, and related issues are complex and will take strong yet peaceful activism, advocacy, and commitment to satisfactorily address.

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Who Made the Monster?

Thoughts & Dreams on the Nightmare in Atlanta

Is Mr. Long, the monster who brought suffering and sorrow to Atlanta, simply the product of a racist, misogynistic socio-political environment; the victim of mental illness, the prisoner of a defective personal genome he has no control over?

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In the Face of COVID Mutation, it is Time to Honor Chance

Randomness produces the beauty of the snowflake, the security of encryption, the method of evolution, and now, the deadly COVID variants. Randomness is both neutral and powerful. It shapes our universe, our lives, and our deaths.

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The Ending of Luke’s Gospel

I have been thinking about the ending of Luke’s gospel. Luke’s ending (24:1-53) is based on Mark’s ending (16:1-20) and is a modified and magnified version of it. When this is realized one can work out how Luke’s ending developed into its final form. Also one needs to understand that during this period of development a pro-Peter group had become powerful in Rome.

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Emotions 101

Emotions are feelings. They happen naturally. Emotions are our response to being alive. As we are human–alive and awake–we have interactions with the world, and we experience emotions. Expressing emotions in a healthy manner is the birthright of every human being.

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Faith and Free Will

While you can choose to believe in anything, I think faith requires a little more structure. Something more rigid. Something with tradition and maybe even ritual. Something with, God forbid, rules. For a while the faith we choose, or make up, is dependent on the limits of our knowledge, culture and experience, so that faith, definitively chosen, or made up, limits our expression of free will as it imposes on us rules not to be violated.

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Donkey Wisdom for Palm Sunday

Jesus may have been humble. But in the last couple of months, I’ve learned a thing or two about donkeys. And I can say this: Jesus wasn’t humble because he rode into town on a donkey. A donkey is as noble an animal as any horse.

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Taps and Buckets

Sugar Maples remind us to tap into our core in transitional seasons when life itself sometimes hangs in the balance, tossed to-and-fro between the fluctuating extremes of faith and doubt, sickness and health, or fear and courage. Crises tend to dim and blind our exterior self as we awaken to and free fall toward our inner self, and with it the few things that matter.

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