The Kingdom of God: A Domination Free Order

In The Gospel According to Mark, the earliest of the four Gospels, the first words Jesus spoke when he began his mission and ministry in Galilee were, “The time has come: the Kingdom of God is upon you; repent and believe the Gospel.” (Mk. 1:14 NEB) The consensus of biblical scholarship is that the Kingdom of God is the central focus of the message and ministry of Jesus.

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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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What is the Core of Progressive Christianity?

On our website we display a star with eight points. Most of us use the eight-pointed star logo, but we have not agreed on what meaning the rays of this star might hold. The eight-point de? nition of progressive Christianity, symbolized by the star, provides starting points for conversation. The eight points do not answer the question of what is essential among all who claim to be progressive Christians.

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Ecumenism: A Personal Interpretation

One may well ask what “ecumenism” means in relation to TCPC? Christians of different denominations are attracted to TCPC — does this make it ecumenical? Should ecumenism make a difference? I submit that the ecumenical vision should be central to progressive Christianity.

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Thanks, Albert Mohler

On behalf of progressive Christians everywhere, I express thanks to Albert Mohler. He has given The Center for Progressive Christianity exposure that we could not have purchased for any amount of money.

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Parasitic Cosmeticians – A reflection on building bridges

“To all conservative Christians, liberals, however well meaning, appear as parasitic cosmeticians; cosmeticians, because they constantly aim to remove from Christianity that which outsiders, like some inside, find intellectually unsightly and unacceptable; parasitic, because they attach themselves to the historic faith and feed off it even as they whittle it down, diminishing, distorting, and displacing major features of it to fit in with what their skeptical conversation partners tout as factual truth.” — from J. I. Packer’s review of The Lion and the Lamb: Evangelicals and Catholics in America by William M. Shea (Christianity Today, March/April 2005)

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Thank God We Have A Godless Constitution

In their book, The Godless Constitution, Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore, note modern day conservatives are rewriting American history to portray our nation beginning as a Christian nation but through liberal courts and judges our nation has become secularized. Nothing could be farther than the truth.

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Confessions of a Conservative

In our declarations about the Jesus whom we
follow, Progressive Christians should insist that we conserve the best of what we know and
what we have always known: God loves everybody. For Jim Adams, that is a conservative position.

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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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Bailey White: Theologian

One of the first ideas that the advisory committee produced came out of the realization that some of the best theology written today appears in novels and short stories, cartoons and comic strips, poems and popular songs. One of our dreams is to assemble a group of artists, writers, poets, and composers who reflect on religious themes. One such person is Bailey White, who appears regularly on National Public Radio. I know her work best through reprints in “The Funny Times,” but my favorite of her stories I found in a volume called Mama Makes Up Her Mind and Other Dangers of Southern Living (Vintage Books).

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A Grandmother’s Legacy: Wading in the Waters, Day by Day

Most of us have stories to tell about our everyday ministries as they
are played out beyond the walls of church buildings. Remembering our
baptism is an ongoing adventure that involves wading in the waters of
Christian living.

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Sexual Diversity (Workshop) Jesus as “Gate” — What we Lose by Exclusivity

When asked “What has the Church done to help you in your sexual development?” it seems the best that most could answer, both gay and straight, is “nothing.”

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In Defense of

In my upbringing, I learned that the first Christian statement of faith was probably “Jesus is Lord.” The context in which St. Paul used the affirmation sounds as if he were quoting something that his readers would immediately recognize: “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (I Corinthians 12:3). To call Jesus “Lord” is to say that I have a relationship with Jesus. I am declaring my loyalty and acknowledging his authority in my life. That is very different from saying that “Jesus is God”, a statement that does not appear in the Bible.

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Risking Art, Risking Faith

Reflections on the TCPC 1999 Forum and the intersection of religion and creativity.

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Many Voices, One God: Remodeling Christianity for a Pluralistic World

In the four years that I have been back in the US and teaching, I find one of the hopeful signs of Christianity is being able to be a relevant and meaningful religion. One of the hopeful signs is TCPC. I am not saying this to say how wonderful you people are. Those of us who are following the development of religious tradition see that the capacity of a religious tradition to reorient itself to the world in which we have come to live is one the important signs of the possibility of survival.

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With God on Our Side Reflections on the Religious Right

As has been mentioned, I have written a book: With God on Our Side, available at a book table near you. This serves as the companion volume to the PBS series of the same name. If they run out here, you can call up http://wmartin.com/withgod on the Internet and you should be able to find all the books you’ll ever want.

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Spirituality and Contemporary Culture II

I’m going to talk this afternoon about the relationship between culture and spirituality. Anybody with a brain in their heads knows that to talk about culture, in this day and age, is one thing, but to talk about spirituality is even worse. To try to do both of them in one standing is not the smartest thing anybody can do. But I’m going to do it anyway, because I remember with Boethius that every age that is dying is simply another age coming to life, and with the Chinese poet, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

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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. I will be exploring and developing this theme of re-visioning Christianity.

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Religion and Politics

Lawrence Falkowski is President of Christianity for the Third Millennium and Rector at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, West Orange, NJ. The following is a transcript of a presentation made at the 1996 National Forum of The Center for Progressive Christianity.

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Reflections of an Elder

Let me start by talking about the reflections of an elder. In 1994, I went to a program called “New Warrior”. It is one of the men’s programs. It has an absolutely hideous name, but it is one of the best programs I have ever been to. I would consider it the equivalent value of about five years of good AA. If you want to know, “Is New Warrior something like the Promise Keepers?” No! It is not like the Promise Keepers; it is diametrically opposed to anything Promise Keepers is about. The New Warrior is for the older folks, persons fifty years and older. They have a special elders training for men. I went to the elders program about this time last year, so I am now an official “New Warrior Elder”. I am going to say some things about being an elder.

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Re-Visioning Christianity: The Christian Life

My topic, as you know from the program, is, “Re-Visioning the Christian Life”, and my question is, very simply, “Within the re-visioning that I am suggesting, what does the Christian life look like?” For that older conventional way of seeing Christianity that I sketched in my talk yesterday, believing was central to the Christian life. Indeed during the period of modernity, being a Christian meant, to a large extent, believing in Christianity, and Christian faith meant, to a large extent, believing. How does the Christian life look within this framework of seeing Christianity again?

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Prophecy in the Progressive Church

Prophecy in the progressive church does not mean being doctrinaire. It does mean speaking out as a child of God. It probably means that we have just forgotten to ask the questions. The prophets asked the questions. Biblical ones did. And we often forget that asking questions can be the real way to God. Let’s think along that line for awhile.

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Personal Life Inspired by the Spirit: Redefining Virtue

I should say at the beginning that when I was asked to do this, I asked Jim Adams what the subject matter of my remarks should be, given the title of this session, and he couldn’t tell me. We all have our own ideas on this subject he said and he didn’t want to constrain me. So I can only say that these are my own ideas about “rethinking religion and redefining virtue in the modern world.” I don’t claim more for them than that, but I hope they will be stimulating enough to generate some good discussion. My background is I think very different from most people here, although I have run into a number of academics, so I don’t feel totally alone.

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Our Age of Enormity

I wish I had a better word, a better superlative than enormity, but I can’t think of one. What I want to say is, we live in a time of enormity. And the church is operating on a little, pea-shooter basis in contrast to what is going on in our world. What I am going to take a look at is how that unfolds and what might we do so that the church’s vision is as enormous as the times in which we live.

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Many Voices, One God: Unity or Harmony?

The place I want to begin is on an evening in 1993, a November evening in Chicago, where I had been invited to the Muslim Community Center on the 4300 block of North Elston, to meet with local Islamic leaders to talk about the emerging interreligious movement in metropolitan Chicago. This came four months after the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, which was held in Chicago for eight days at the Palmer House Hilton. Eight thousand people from around the world, representing one hundred twenty-five different religious traditions, movements, denominations, and sects had gathered there. Growing out of that, the local religious communities of Chicago had said that they needed to continue to talk and work together. I had begun visiting these communities, and I was going to meet for the first time with the local Islamic leadership to talk about their participation.

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Many Voices, One God: The Jewish-Christian Dialogue

I’m going to be talking about three things in my lecture this evening. First, I want to talk about Jewish views of Christianity, historically, but with primary consideration of the modern period. And then second, I want to talk about certain contemporary American Jewish problems – what I see as the problems in the American Jewish community because I want you to know about them. And I want you to help us with them. Then I’ll end with something about the state of Jewish-Christian dialog: how it should develop, what we need from you, and perhaps what we would like to tell you in return.

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Let Me See Again

Jesus cured blindness repeatedly. What happened to Bartimaeus, therefore, is not unique — except perhaps in one detail. I say “perhaps” because I can find no other reference in the Gospels to blind people who, earlier in their lives, had been able to see. One man we know about from John’s record was born blind, but only in the case of Bartimaeus is it explicit that at an earlier time he had been among the “sighted”.”My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him. “Go; your faith has made you well.”

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Jesus Christ Superstar: The Scary Side of Hip Worship

as i approached the doors to the chapel, i saw that the entire congregation had been given palm branches and had been instructed to stand in a large circle, as they sang this song from JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, and wave their branches. the pastor and pianist sang alternating lines of caiaphas the high priest and whatever other various and sundry dramatic roles there are in that scene from the broadway musical. i turned and went immediately into the bathroom in order to avoid walking into the middle of this show tune gone awry. i looked at my face in the mirror and thought, “i’m never coming back here again.” why was i mortified?

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How Precious Life Is, Oh God: A Prayer for 2003

O God
we have taken liberties with many things You have created
the air we breathe is contaminated
the water we drink is polluted
the soil that nurtures us with its products is poisoned
the food we eat is genetically modified
we even try to alter the life you have given us
we forget how precious life is to You.

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How Do You Know What to Believe? The Risks of Perpetuating a Hoax, Online or Off

Interestingly, at least to me, the answers are similar. The perpetuation of an idea, the spreading, the evangelism, is always something that puts us at risk, personally. We live in a tension of wanting to make sure our friends find out something important but not wanting to confuse them in case it is irrelevant to them or misleads them if we are later proven to be wrong. This is related to what I call “the liberal person’s burden,” the burden of never being 100% certain of your own rightness. But to live in community we must share ideas (otherwise why bother to call it a community) so we risk, we reach out, we tell. Sometimes we miss the mark, many times we hit it when we attempt with a certain humility.

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God Wants Us to be Family

We have some very important things in common. We are family, however diverse we may be. We are family. I think that it is a major opportunity for us at least to think about what it means to be family.

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Framing the Issues

In times like these where many of the faith feel that there is a crisis among us, when we feel that there is a transition, we talk about paradigm shifts. Where there is uncertainty, in times like these, I think we find born so often apocryphal narratives. They provide us instruction, insights, and at least intuitive truth. And they are usually based on forms and events of other narratives within the canon of traditions, whatever those traditions may be. As we gather here in the whirlwind of times of transitions and uncertainty, we hoping to come out of it living a vision.

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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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Corporate and Community Life: Recruitment and Inclusion

Here in our own gathering, in this place, for the past two days, there is a growing sense of good will. There is a sense of wanting to be here, to remain here, feeling good about being here, at least good enough to not want to get on the next plane flying out in the next five minutes. A sense of participation and, to that extent, a sense of buying into what’s happening, or at least participating in it. On some level there’s a community that’s begun to gather. Here we are beginning a journey together. Whether the journey will continue beyond this point, or end we don’t know, but at least we begin together. It seems to me that underlying all of that is the sense of a desire for connection, connecting, rather than orbiting as little individuals scattered through lots of space.

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