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Winter Solstice: 21 Alchemical Reflections from Carl Jung to Pema Chödrön

In the northern hemisphere, this solstice occurs during what is typically the coldest season of the year. Throughout history winter has been regarded as the season of hibernation, stillness, melancholy, famine, dormancy, darkness and cold. The symbolism of the winter solstice to-date represents the coming of lighter days and potentially elevated optimism, energy and hope.

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Light in the Midst of Darkness

When I am struggling, maybe with grief, or trying to sort out something difficult in my life, I often go to a special spot and quietly wait for the new sun to appear. It always makes a significant difference in my being when I do this. My load feels lighter. My fears often dissolve. My grief can be transformed into hope. Over the years I have thought of all kinds of metaphors that may explain this phenomenon. I am reminded that it is a new dawn, or a new day. No matter how painful or dark my situation seems to be, as that sun comes over the horizon everything in my life begins to look and feel different. The new sun symbolizes a new beginning for me. I feel I have gained a new perspective. My internal darkness has dissolved into new light and I am comforted.

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Looking for a Christmas Miracle

When you see something so clearly, you inevitably wonder why it took so long to find the solution. It’s the same with so many things in life. Once you see reality clearly, you can’t believe it took you so long to see it. Suddenly everything becomes clear. When you fall in love, find your passion, realize an injustice, see nature’s beauty, it’s like scales fall off your eyes and everything becomes clear.

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The Christmas Truce of 1914

As December cold enveloped the Western Front, a very remarkable Christmas story developed – an unofficial truce was observed by an estimated 100,000 British and German troops on the first Christmas Eve of the war.

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A Christmas Letter to my Community of Readers

I want to express my gratitude to you for being part of this effort. The idea that we could put online a serious adult Bible study and contemporary issue subscription service that would attempt to breach the gap between the Christian academy and the Christian pew and to help us all learn how to think theologically in a new way, was once nothing more than a dream. Each of you has helped to turn that dream into a reality.

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Living Nativity

Several years ago Lesley attended a small church in the suburbs. Every year toward the end of Advent the members of this church would create a living nativity. About a week before Christmas when most people were …

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When Jesus Stopped Believing in Santa

The day after the first Shabbat in Advent, Mary and Joseph took Jesus, who was eight years old, To the Great Mall of Bethlehem. There, in the middle of the huge indoor shopping complex, Was a stately …

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Rock of Ages 2.0 – poetic injustice

God’s about to turn the world upside-down, knock the wealthy oppressors off their pedestals, lift up those who’ve been oppressed, and usher-in a new reign of social justice and reconciliation!

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Preaching Christmas Eve in the Wake of New Testament Scholarship

So, if your struggling over some of the details of the nativity story, if the experts have left you perplexed, cynical or worried, do not be afraid, for I bring you tidings of great joy. The story is true, every last word of it is true. For just like Dom so wisely revealed to us, the story of the nativity is a parable and like all parable’s it represents a truth that cannot be fully expressed in words. Like all good parables the truth is not to be found in the details, but rather in the Spirit of God that breathes life into the parable. It’s a parable about so many things, but most of all it is a parable about peace on earth giving glory to God.

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Keep Watch: John the Baptist, Like Christ Has Many Disguises!

Christ came to me in Karen. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Christ comes to us in the most unlikely of places wearing the most unlikely of faces.

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Church Without God

Musings

What will be the unifying principle behind this community? Is love and mutual support enough to hang it together? Will some distinctive message or activity or ritual be necessary to give the group an identity and a reason to continue gathering? The experiment is just getting started. The evidence and the conclusions are not in. Meanwhile, Bart’s experiment has the attention of secular humanists nationwide. He’s not a theist any more, but he’s not a normal atheist, either.

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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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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – The Christian Church

The church as we know it came about when one group of believers was opposed by a dissenting group. Then it became necessary for each group to define their concepts of Christianity and to label all others heretics.

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Three truths about stewardship

This has been difficult terrain for many years now. Giving throughout mainline Protestantism has been in free-fall for at least thirty years, and is proving to be challenging even in evangelical traditions that supposedly teach the tithe.

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Five tips for a God-centered December

I might be “preaching to the choir,” but these five December tips are worth remembering.

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“Keep awake! Watch for we know not when Christ comes.

Advent is about waiting and watching: waiting and watching for the coming of Christ. We wait for just the right time to celebrate the birth of Christ in our midst and we watch for Christ’s promised return. But how do we wait and where do we watch?

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MARY’s STORY:  Let It Be 

The way you tell the Christmas story, it all sounds so simple. So simple. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I really like it. It’s just that for so long now people have been telling my story and the way they tell it, it all sounds so simple and easy, so neat and tidy, that I hardly recognize myself in the story. It’s not your fault.  It all started a long time ago. Luke and that other fellow Matthew, they started it all.  They wrote my story down and wouldn’t you know it they cleaned it all up. But who can blame them.  Nobody likes messy birth stories. And as birth stories go, my baby’s birth was a really messy one.

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Pregnant with Possibility:  Was Mary a Virgin or Was Mary Raped?

Mary, this enigmatic woman has remained in the shadows for centuries. All too often the epithet “virgin” has been applied to the young woman who fell pregnant so long ago. As her Advent appearance approaches, I this re-post this sermon which I preached a couple of years ago in which I asked some questions about Mary. At the time I was reading Jane Schalberg’s “The Illegitimacy of Jesus”, John Shelby Spong’s “Born of a Woman” and “Jesus for the Non Religious” along with John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg’s “The First Christmas” and this sermon is laced with their scholarship.

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