Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Christian Ideas – Part 1

The Celestine Prophecy

It’s amazing to me how theologically progressive modern novelists are and yet they are being read by millions, who don’t appear to be disturbed by unorthodox ideas about Christianity that are in these novels.

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A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew and an Atheist , All Talking about Religious Freedom and…

BY David Rupert for Patheos

is week I attended a discussion by Dr. Daniel Mark, The Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, at Colorado Christian University. The topic  of his talk sounded quite ominous: “The end of religious freedom: Challenges from the right, the left, and around the globe.”

But the end result was a call to action for those who have a faith – and for those who do not.

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On loving angry, older white-guys. (Why and how love might help.)

  Donald J. Love A few points before the article: • If you think you are better off hating your enemies than loving them, this article is not for you. If that’s the case, here are other …

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Pure thoughts do not eliminate your racism, sexism, and other isms…

A few months ago I was contacted by the husband of a white woman who told me she and a friend was working on a project called “White Nonsense Roundup.” He wanted me to give them coverage. We did a Skype interview and I posted the article. It got over 41K likes and 215K views. Hell, their page is now five times as large as mine. I guess politics is too boring for most. These were two Progressive white women intent on making a difference and that they are doing.

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Feast and Fast for Lent

  From my book: BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS Also found in my blog: Jim Burklo’s Book of Common Prayer So let us feast on simple pleasures, and fast from all that gets our bodies and souls out of …

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The Spirituality of Nonviolence

There are two truths about practicing nonviolence that even many proponents of nonviolence often do not understand: 1) that while we may hope for world solutions by using the methods of nonviolence, the basis for being nonviolent has to be spiritually derived if such solutions are to be achieved; 2) the beauty of nonviolence lies not in its success rate in changing one’s enemies or achieving world solutions, but rather in granting purpose, meaning, and integrity to the lives of those who practice it.

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Kicking the Darkness Until it Bleeds Daylight

This is the sermon I delivered in the wake of the Sandy Hook mass murder just over five years ago. I offer it again today after the same horror has been visited upon us again.

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Collective Christian Memory

  “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” it is said, and a background in literature has taught me that in earlier periods writers often borrowed from one another without compunction or complaint. But I was shaken, …

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Honoring Mildred Loving this Valentine’s Day

For Black History Month on Valentine’s Day 2018, I’m showing my love for Mildred Loving (1942-2008). She’s often overlooked in the pantheon of African American trailblazers celebrated in February. However, in ruminating on this political era where African American civil rights are under constant assault, and the erosion of LGBTQ rights are contested under the guise of religious liberty, I give Mildred Loving a double shoutout for the catalyst she was in both interracial and same-sex marriages in this country. It’s her shoulders I, and so many others, stand on when it comes to marriage equality.

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Is God a person?

In my theology, “Yes, and…”

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Love is All You Need (Domestic Abuse Unplugged)

Though adherents of virtually all religions will claim that love is central to their belief system, the unfortunate fact is that religious indoctrination usually comes with a healthy dose of patriarchy, misogyny, as well as homophobia and nationalism. This lays the foundation for a culture that often encourages, defends, protects, and lies about domestic violence. Our words shape our thinking. Our thinking shapes our culture. Our culture tolerates a horrifying rate of domestic violence that is begging for us to change.

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God Versus the Idea of God

Divinity Is What We Think, Faith Is What We Experience

Some sixteen hundred years ago St. Augustine, the bishop of Hippo said, “To think of God is to attempt to conceive something than which nothing more excellent or sublime exists, or could exist.” But to think of God assumes that the notion, or the idea of (a) god, is already present. What is the idea of God? What is the origin of the idea? Is it God? If so, how did we get it from God—is it innate or discovered in experience? Or, did we simply invent it? (“I wonder?”) Questions, questions, questions.

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The Political Role of Forgiveness: Amnesty, Mulligans, and Enabling

Eleven million is a significant number. In a week when we remember six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, let us not forget there were eleven million victims altogether because five million non-Jewish victims were also exterminated by the Nazis. This should also be a week for remembering another eleven million terrorized people – the undocumented immigrants living under an American-style terror.

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O. M. G.

Sermon preached on April 3, 2016 at The First Church of Amherst

I wonder how many OMGs have travelled around the globe in the last minute, the last day, or even the last year. More than we can count. I wonder what millennials and the rest of us are thinking about when we/they text this message! Is it a shorthand form of prayer?

I wonder to what these mini-prayers are being addressed, especially by Millennials. I even wonder to what our prayers are being addressed.

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The Lord’s Prayer Is Not the Prayer of the Lord

The title of this blog is confusing at first, so let’s start with the fact that the Lord’s Prayer appears in only two places in the Bible. The first and more familiar version is in Matthew, written between 85 to 95 CE: “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:9-13, 21st Century King James Version.)

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Haiti: A Case Study in Social In/Justice

How does one define social justice or social injustice in a situation such as this? There seems no question that the injustice side would include the slave trade itself, the impoverishment of a free nation by greedy boycott, crippling interest rates, and the invasion of a free state by an army basically doing the will of the foreign wealthy. Beyond that, the issue is more complicated. Given the difficulties of a poor nation absorbing refugees, a problem endemic in many parts of the world, the reaction of the Bahamas seems to be a balancing act of treating others justly while also treating one’s own citizens fairly. There are no simple answers. Defining social justice is no easy matter.

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Lent and the Mystical Jesus

Lent marks the sacramental period of deep and sincere reflection on the meaning of Easter and the miracle Jesus’ death and resurrection. Its 40-day duration symbolizes Jesus’ 40-day prayer fast in the desert in preparation for the completion of his work on Earth and his ultimate spiritual transformation. For Christians, it’s a time of moderation, repentance or purification in like preparation for the powerful – and mystical – events and significance of Easter.

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Succumbing to literalist interpretations to justify prejudices

I belong to a church that has a fairly sophisticated membership. We are inclusive and pride ourselves on our openness to diversity of race, socio-economic background, ethnic background and sexual orientation. It’s a warm, comfortable atmosphere in which to worship, and people remark on the welcoming nature of our congregation. I cringe, however, every time we enter the Lenten season, especially as we get closer to Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Some of the references to the Jews clearly foster an anti-Semitic atmosphere. There are Jews in the choir and some in the congregation as well. While sophisticated people realize there is a 2000-year span of time between the Crucifixion and today, still there are people who succumb to literalist interpretations and justify their own prejudices. I am especially concerned about the impression this makes on children and for the feelings of the Jews who sit in the pews and listen to these readings. How can we address this and still read the accounts in a faithful manner?

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Introducing Daniel Liechty

I am very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute of The Progressive Christian website. I will do my best to uphold the standards already set by other columnists before me, whom I follow regularly. For this first contribution, I want to introduce myself and give you, the readers, a sense of where I am coming from.

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Dear Officer

Dear Officer is a powerful song. It compels us to think and demand fairness and justice. Perhaps, this will etch us closer to brotherhood. The brotherhood Jesus taught in his “Who is My Neighbor” lecture. Be blessed!

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Seismic Shift: From God to Goodness

“For those who want to believe in God but can’t. For those who once believed in God but now aren’t so sure.” Seismic means “having a strong or widespread impact; earthshaking.” And when the ground shakes, there may be a time of grief before there is relief; a time of loss before there is discovery; a time of darkness before there is light.

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Sixth Extinction ?

Moving Beyond A Fast Approaching Critical Fork In Our Evolutionary Road (Free eBook)

Prominent scientists throughout the world are now telling us that before the end of the present century we may be facing a sudden and dramatic reversal in planetary sustainability. They point to a succession of dangerous ecological “tipping points” from which there can be no return. In his new book David Anderson explores solutions to this dilemma and provides a way for us to address them. He shows how this can be accomplished by challenging the implicit ecological legitimacy of many of the institutions on which human society is now grounded; political, social, religious, economic. He gives the reader a life changing way to partake in this great event that calls for a radically new understanding of our relationship to Planet earth and the cosmos.

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Do Good, and Lend: International Service Ideas

Donating your time and energy to causes that benefit others is the ultimate way of practicing servitude. Working within your community to create change is just as important as contributing to well-being on a global scale. Practicing selfless servitude can provide a lifetime of rewards. The increasing importance of international outreach and global travel contributes to helping maintain health, peace, and prosperity for all people — not just in this country, but abroad and in other parts of the Americas as well. From medical and mental health professionals contributing to natural disaster relief to volunteers educating in rural areas — there are a number of ways to to practice the Christian act of giving that also allows you to travel and experience other cultures.

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Bible: Word of God or Just a Storybook?

I don’t understand why, for centuries the BIBLE has been and IS the inspired word of GOD. Now, for some reason, a few (and not chosen few) think it is just a storybook. It is their fault that the United Methodist church is breaking up. The BIBLE is clear on what GOD thinks of homosexuality. If you notice, the churches that are growing are not mainline liberal churches but fundamental Bible-believing churches. I was raised a Protestant Methodist.

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Heart of Oneness: A Little Book of Connection

Our screens and newsfeeds are full of violent images; our world is full of poverty, inequality and injustice. We find it hard to live together, in our families, communities, or in the world at large. At the same time, we are surrounded by the beauty of the natural world, and daily life is full of acts of compassion, kindness, friendship and love. How do we reconcile these differences? What does the universe, with its countless examples of mutuality, have to teach us? Science, religion and our own experience teaches us that the whole of creation is a web of interconnectedness.

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TO BLOSSOM

To blossom is no easy task
As if one waits for the sun to bask

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Meditation in Mud

“Dorodango” is a Japanese word that means “mud dumpling”. It is a Japanese art form that can be created in a variety of ways. Dorodangos are made with nothing but dirt, water, and some time and effort with your hands. I find the process of making them to be meditative. It is a way of bringing myself fully into the present moment. It is like making a miniature Earth out of the Earth. There is something truly magical about making an almost perfect sphere just by slapping a ball of mud, rolling it around in one’s hands, and then polishing it till it develops a lovely sheen.

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Darwin’s Epiphany on the Meaning of Flowers

The impertinence of youth caused me once to chide my father for spending so much time on his garden “rather than on something that lasts.” “What lasts?” was his wise response, making no apology.

Possibly the better way to proclaim the Gospel is to “say it with flowers.”

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Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Black History month requires a serious reflection on the state of racism in America. Why can’t we all get along? Probably because progress has been far too slow and the media and the white majority is far too satisfied with the status quo.

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Tillich’s Challenge: The Search for New Vocabulary

Part Three

Part one of this endeavor to find a language that progressive Christians and secular humanists can share spoke of replacing the word god with the word love. Part two involved replacing the word sin with the word egotism, a human trait that is inevitable and inescapable. We each create a reality unique to us, and we believe it to be Reality with a capital R. That’s the human problem: our reality is always distorted.

Now we ask: what’s the cure?

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On abortion, gay marriage and antichrists …

I want you to clarify for me certain issues that seem to me to impact our common existence. Are you in support of gay marriages and abortions? Do you think we have the antichrist and the Dragon in our midst today?

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Playing Favorites

The Problem with Blessings and Curses

“Have a blest day?” What in this world does that mean? Better luck or good karma, instead of bad? In the ancient world, denoting someone as “blest” was a way of expressing a deity’s special favor towards that person. If that sounds quaint, there are still plenty of people today who believe they can curry favor or improve the odds of achieving more blessings than curses; while politicians routinely conclude their speeches by invoking the Almighty to bless the good ‘ol USA. There’s just one problem. It doesn’t work.

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A warning to Democratic Party, don’t let the party lose its progressive soul

Today’s show is a continuation of many shows I’ve done before. It is an urging of Democrats to not fall into the Republican-lite trap that started with Bill Clinton’s triangulation. The party has been following that tenet ever since. It should be noted that Bill Clinton was never the political juggernaut as many would have you believe. But I will leave that for the blog of the week.

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The Challenges of Jesus, Confronting Evil

A sermon for Epiphany 5B – Mark 1:29-39

  Listen to sermon: This sermon was preached 3 years ago. Alas, while the politicians have declared that ISIS has been defeated, conditions on the ground indicate that ISIS has merely gone into hiding. The Canadian military …

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The Spiritual Care Podcast

A new series free from Humankind

We’re excited to let you know about our new podcast! You’ll hear stories of spiritual caregivers (chaplains, medical professionals, social workers and others) who strive to be a peaceful, healing presence on the front lines of many social and personal concerns. Click here to learn more.

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87 organizations honored as ‘Certified Best Christian Workplaces’

Largest-ever number of Christian organizations in a six-month span affirms growing vital importance of healthy organizational culture

The Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI), a pioneer in equipping and inspiring Christian leaders to build a flourishing organizational culture, today honored 87 faith-based organizations as Certified Best Christian Workplaces.

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