The Work of Christmas: The Twelve Days of Christmas with Howard Thurman

This book is a celebration of the twelve days of Christmas, offering us a chance to dwell on the meaning of the season in dialog with the wisdom of one of America’s greatest mystics and activists, Howard Thurman.

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #8

We continue the presentation we began in the last column, here offering:

Thesis #8 – The entire array of individual and collective defense mechanisms are regularly employed to maintain individual and social/cultural equanimity in reaction to actual threats of injury, death, and annihilation, and also in reaction to imaginative or symbolic threats of injury, death, and annihilation. Such defense mechanisms probably originated in, but certainly were strategically contoured in their contemporary form by the need for anxiety control in the face of mortality awareness. In short, our highly developed intelligence caused the anxiety problem in the first place, and also comes forth with at least the provisional solution to the anxiety problem.

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Progressive Mysticism?

A number of years ago, I did a consultation for a progressive congregation in which the relationship between contemplation and social action was a source of friendly debate. On one side, several congregational leaders asserted that the task of the church is to change the world.  The way of Jesus compels us to be activists, they contended, challenging anything that threatens human and nonhuman well-being. We must provide meals for the soup kitchen and volunteer in the local schools, but we must also challenge our leaders to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). 

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The Mystic in You

Discovering a God-filled World

What is a mystic? Bruce Epperly defines mystics as people who see holiness in everyday life. We can be mystics without leaving our families, disengaging from daily responsibilities, becoming a priest, or joining a monastic order. Epperly shows how we can experience the living God in the midst of daily life and never again take everyday events for granted.

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In Christ or Follow Jesus?

In Christ or Follow Jesus?  If I am a follower of Jesus, can I be in Christ too?

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The Words of Jesus We Ignore

Imagine a person praying at bedtime. He is confused. Unsure of what to do in life. What are his next steps, he wonders? He prays fervently to God for direction.

Amazingly enough, God answers!

Love God
Love one another

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Courageous Faith: How to Rise and Resist in a Time of Fear

by Emily C Heath

For Christians, resistance is written right into our baptismal vows. Following Christ means resisting oppression and evil wherever we might find it. Doing that work requires us to first rise up, face our fears, and cultivate courage that can sustain us for the journey. Weaving together wisdom from sources as diverse as Reformed theology, recovery communities, social justice visionaries, and Twentieth Century history, Heath creates a way forward for those who wish to live lives of faithful, sustained, courageous resistance.

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Grief and belief.

When anti-Semitic violence occurs, Brian and I are surrounded by lots of love and support. Many non-Jewish friends are horrified and they tell us they have our backs as an interfaith/intercultural family. On Saturday afternoon, a neighbor with tears in his eyes handed me a piece of paper with a scratched out message on kitchen notepaper: “My heart is breaking for you.” Our wonderful, loving contractor from years ago sent me a text late last night: “I love you guys. I have your back.” Many clergy friends and newly made Baptist-identified friends called Brian when they heard. We heard over and over: We love you. We do not stand for this. We are so sorry.

People feel so helpless in the face of tragedy. People want to have an impact; they want to help change what is so wrong. The love we have received is beautiful.

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Aunt Helen, Nelson Mandela, and Donald Trump

How differently Aunt Helen, Nelson Mandela, and Donald Trump have applied the powers of positive thinking! Maybe we need a corrective text entitled, The Power of Magnanimous Thinking.

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Why are we pursuing Christianity when Jesus himself did not?

Some while ago Dr. Spong replied to a message from me in which I stated that possibly there could be some thought devoted to the idea that, “God” is both within a person and everywhere. This makes sense to me and I have been living this understanding successfully.

The concept of a “Deity” or of “Deities” is well-known, documented and practiced as well as awareness of knowing truth within us. There is room for tolerance. Why are we pursuing Christianity when Jesus himself did not?

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Damage. Damaged. Love.

This article is lengthly. But, worth it. Take four minutes right now to read it.

It is in three parts. ​​​​​​​The first two parts begin with scientific studies. The third part is more of a sermon.

1. It’s real: what you can’t see can still harm you
2. Taking it: you don’t have as much will power as you thought
3. stand with the oppressed

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Christian Values and Male Entitlement

As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all …

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How to Build the Church of Your Dreams

Planning a church is a challenging task. While many church planters have been blamed for treating churches like businesses, there is no doubt that financial concerns can prohibit builders from creating the church they would like to. How can you build the church of your dreams? How can you best serve your congregation?

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Overcoming the Threat to Our Future

This is a book about the social, political, philosophical, religious, and economic presuppositions we have believed to be inherent truths that we are now discovering were built on geo-ecological flaws.

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Please tell me that I am wrong

The news headlines paint a consistent picture, and it’s frightening. From only the last few days: A mob at a Trump/Cruz rally chants “Lock him up, lock him up”, referring to Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat running for a senate seat from TX. A man on an airplane grabs a women’s body, “because President Trump said it was ok”. A Republican congressman says that George Soros is paying members of the Central American caravan heading north, and someone plants a bomb at Soros’ house. Other bombs are sent to CNN, Holder, Biden, Hillary, Obama, and more being discovered even as I write. Meanwhile the billionaires are buying land in New Zealand, preparing for the demise of the very system that created their wealth, blindly believing that the south Pacific will be exempt from the apocalypse.

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Why won’t intelligent clergy step up to the pulpit and tell the truth?

Why won’t intelligent clergy step up to the pulpit and tell the truth at least about the many Biblical things that can be explained with mechanisms known in the last 2000 years? (e.g Darwinism, radio carbon dating, our world is not earth centred, and earth is round not flat!)

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Leading a Retreat on the Bible

If you were going to lead a retreat on the Bible (focusing on its origins and purpose), what questions would you find valuable to address?

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Resurrection: Fact or Fantasy?

Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Or is this a fairy tale?

This issue, along with who God is, could keep the twenty-first-century reformation from moving forward.

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