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Struggling to be

How are people dealing with the recognition of multiple crises in the world?

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Imagining a future for the Bible in tomorrow

Jack Spong has attempted to rescue the Bible from fundamentalism and Marcus Borg has encouraged us to read the Bible again for the first time. However, the Bible remains a problematic text for religious progressives, including Christians and people from other faith traditions. This presentation will acknowledge the constraints on the capacity of the Bible to function in the post-Christian global era, but also imagine some ways in which the Bible may make a constructive contribution to progressive religious communities in the future.

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Why am I here? Our struggle for meaning, in the world and church

The values of church in confronting a world in collapse.

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The Evolutionary Evangelist

Coming into right relationship with reality is the great challenge of our time because it encompasses all of humanity’s challenges. Traditionally, maps of reality—that is, maps of how things are and which things matter—were embedded in a people’s cosmology, or creation myth—their sacred story. This big picture perspective provided answers to life’s great questions and guidance regarding what was real and what was important.

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The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life (Introduction)

Henry David Thoreau, tucked away in his Walden cabin, famously said that most of us lead lives of quiet desperation. That was in 1845. Today, things are not so quiet. Anxiety and depression are regular rites of passage from which millions never graduate. Civility meanwhile has long been dropped from our national discourse. It’s a sad indictment of a country where so many pride themselves in a Christian heritage. We have the highest levels of church attendance in the world. Almost eighty percent of us say that we believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, where is our joy? Where is our vitality? Where is our peace of mind?

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Town Recalls Former Pastor

The Rev. Gary Wilburn, friend, leader and pastor died at around 2 p.m. Monday, June 28, after a battle with Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was 67. Bev Wilburn, the late pastor’s wife, said the family will hold three services ; one at the Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, Calif., where he worked for 10 years; one in Baja California, Mexico, where he lived for the past two years, and one at his former church in New Canaan.

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Gino and the Way We’ve Always Done It

On Sunday morning at most churches, the quality of the music is more like Central High’s “Oklahoma” than the Met’s “Bohème,” and about as inspiring as the pasta was at Gino.

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Who Are the “Lost”?

At the recent Southern Baptist Convention which met in Orlando, a theme reiterated throughout the meeting was the “lostness” of the world. Consider the following quotes, taken from an article in the Western Recorder by Editor Todd Deaton titled: SBC takes ‘fresh look’ at nation’s lostness:

Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Seminary, declared: “We need to be looking forward with an aggressive agenda to penetrate lostness around the world and in North America.”

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Does the Bible Really Call Homosexuality an “Abomination”?

This word, used for centuries to justify an anti-gay posture, has been badly translated and even more poorly understood.

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Art and Religion: Seeing What Others Do Not

There are different levels of reality, as it were, different ways of looking at the same phenomenon, and these are frequently neither incompatible with one another nor competing to provide answers the same sorts of questions.

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Questions for the Rabbi and the Pastor

A son returning from college talks with his father about his course on Religion…

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The Challenge Progressive Thinking Is Making to the Church

We come to this moment in time, called by a very long list of voices, and it has been many, many years, decades, even centuries, that those voices have been calling us. Over the course of the next years, we must find again that inspiration that was the spark for what has been an incredible journey toward wholeness but one that has, ironically, continued to fragment and judge, to deny rights and oppress.

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Stepping Out with the Sacred: Progressive Engaging the Divine, Part 1

In progressive religious thinking, old images of God have been retired and new metaphors for the Divine within the universe, whether Energy, Presence, Spirit, Sacred, Ground of Being, Life, have become more authentic for a scientific world. Yet, in a multi-faith world, we cannot speak of the Sacred infusing the universe without recognizing It as that sought and described in all religions. How do we engage this Divine within the world, or the Divine engage us, if at all, in a multi-faith world? How do human beings step out with the Sacred in everyday life across countries, cultures, and religious persuasions?

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Excerpts from Are We Living the Progressive Faith or Are We Just Dreaming?

I have hope that something very special is happening in our world and I would like the Christian tradition to be part of that positive, evolutionary change. But I believe there are things that progressive leaders, progressive teachers and progressive Churches, have to do immediately, if that we are going to have a chance to make it work.

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Progressive Christianity: Reconstructing Our Theological Witness

Progressive Christianity has been seriously hampered by at least two illusions.

One is that the triumph of progressive ideas is pretty much inevitable. The other is that progressive ideas are inherently persuasively. Neither is true. The progressive Christian witness will not triumph inevitably triumph or under its own power. Convictions prevail when they are part of social movements. Progressive ideas may be intrinsically credible, but they are actually believed only when they are effectively stated and lived, and embedded in alliances of people who act together with informed intentionality.

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Memorial Day: Perspective from Church History

Every Memorial Day, I remember how early Christians almost uniformly rejected any kind of military service–and how little we have learned from their witness to peacemaking.

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Stepping out with the Sacred: Progressive Engaging the Divine, Part 2

Part 2 of the Presentation given by Val Webb at the Common Dreams 2, Melbourne Australia.  In progressive religious thinking, old images of God have been retired and new metaphors for the Divine within the universe, whether Energy, Presence, Spirit, Sacred, Ground of Being, Life, have become more authentic for a scientific world. Yet, in a multi-faith world, we cannot speak of the Sacred infusing the universe without recognizing It as that sought and described in all religions. How do we engage this Divine within the world, or the Divine engage us, if at all, in a multi-faith world? How do human beings step out with the Sacred in everyday life across countries, cultures, and religious persuasions?

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Fred’s Full Presentation from the Common Dreams 2 Conference – Are We Living the Progressive Faith, or Are We Just Dreaming?

I have hope that something very special is happening in our world and I would like the Christian tradition to be part of that positive, evolutionary change. But I believe there are things that progressive leaders, progressive teachers and progressive Churches, have to do immediately, if that we are going to have a chance to make it work.

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The Sun In My Belly

By Sister Susan, Illustrated by Sister Rain
The Sun In My Belly, introduces young readers to the Buddhist idea of interbeing that everything is connected. It is also the story of a valuable friendship and the joys of forgiveness.

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Thank God for Evolution

How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World

“The science vs. religion debate is over! A path forward emerges! Michael Dowd masterfully unites rationality and spirituality in a world view that celebrates the mysteries of existence and inspires each human being to achieve a higher purpose in life. A powerful book! A must read for all, including scientists.” – Craig Mello, 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine

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The Plantsman

A parable of how a vision can be distorted, so that a process of liberation, healing and inclusiveness becomes an an institution preoccupied with conformity.

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God in a Bottle

How our attempts to define God and present him within terms of our own understanding are bottling up the power of God.

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I Want to be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth

A Memoir

In Brenda Peterson’s unusual memoir, fundamentalism meets deep ecology. The author’s childhood in the high Sierra with her forest ranger father led her to embrace the entire natural world, while her Southern Baptist relatives prepared eagerly and busily to leave this world. Peterson survived fierce sword drill competitions demanding total recall of the Scriptures and awkward dinner table questions (Will Rapture take the cat, too?) only to find that environmentalists with prophecies of doom can also be Endtimers. Peterson paints such a hilarious, loving portrait of each world that the reader, too, may want to be Left Behind. Her clever take on the “Left Behind” phenomenon in the book’s title isn’t just a gentle refutation of an escapist religious prophecy. It’s an appeal for something more inclusive than the idea that true believers will one day be swept up midair and whisked off to an eternal paradise, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves.

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Western Christianity Must Change or Remain Irrelevant

I believe that the current state of traditional western Christianity may be comparable to the state of first century Judaism (as it is depicted in the Gospels). And now, as then, critique, deconstruction, and renovation are needed. Jesus’ continuity and discontinuity within his faith tradition, his deconstruction for the purpose of reconstruction, are paradigmatic for emerging, progressive Christianity.

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Converting Christians to the Way of Jesus

Renewing the institutional church that has settled for some lesser version of Christianity shaped by our Western/American sense of comfort and security, governed by rewards and punishments, fixated on getting beliefs correct, and oriented around feel-good, self-glorifying, God wants you to be happy and prosperous teaching, is a very difficult and slow process.

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Peter Kennedy’s First Year in Exile

This interview with rebel Catholic priest, Peter Kennedy, took place almost exactly 12 months after his departure from St Mary’s Parish in South Brisbane. Since leaving, he and his followers have formed a congregation outside the Catholic Church that they call St Mary’s-in-Exile.

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To Have and to Have Not

Luke’s Jesus seems to be saying, pay attention to how you are listening to the message. Are you receptive (fertile); rocky (rejecting); thorny (resisting); or dry (uninterested)? Because . . . but here the non-sequitur called “to have and have not” throws us off the track. The Jesus Seminar scholars suggest that “Luke presumably wants the reader to know that those who grasp at the initial stages of faith will be given more to understand as they mature” (The Five Gospels p. 307).

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The Study of Life, Part 5. My Search for the Meaning of Life as I Walked in Darwin’s Footsteps

In the preparation required to write my new book on eternal life, I soon discovered that this subject raised all of the contemporary theological issues that threaten to destroy Christianity as we have known it. It was clear that I would have to turn the traditional religious approach around. I had to read the modern critics for whom the religious concepts of the past make no sense. I also had to come to a new understanding of what life itself means. Life after death cannot possibly be contemplated until one understands the wondrous and even mysterious dimensions of life before death.

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A Sample Lesson on Humility from the A Joyful Path, Children’s Curriculum

♥ Humility does not mean self-abasement, it means recognizing an Infinite power greater than our little self.

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What is Evolutionary Christianity

Evolutionary Christianity values big history — the 14-billion-year epic of physical, biological, and cultural evolution — as divine revelation and as our common creation story. Here are four core tenets of Evolutionary Christianity

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Interview of Brian McLaren On His New Book

Interview of Brian McLaren on Patheos.com  Challenging the traditional assumptions around core Christian beliefs and advocating a dynamic discipleship that is more about the questions than the answers, this evangelical pastor-turned-author is preaching a compelling message for the future of Christianity that is building bridges across religious divides within the Church and beyond.

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The Great Story

The four tenets of The Great Story.  By Michael Dowd, Author of Thank God for Evolution.

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Jesus: Magician or Liberator?

For 21st Century Christianity, the question is, which interpretation makes the most sense? Magic and miracle, or liberation from injustice? Scholars and commentators are often accused of reading 21st Century world views back into 1st Century writings.

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If Darwin Prayed- Poems

Poems from an upcoming book by Bruce Sanguin. Author of Emerging Church and Darwin, Divinity, and The Dance of the Cosmos.

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Awakening to the Sacred Dimension of Creation

We are facing a planetary crisis that is unparalleled in human history. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that we are at a tipping point. Species extinction is accelerating, global warming is melting the polar icecaps at a …

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Evolution: The Next Step

As a Christian who is centred on the spiritual aspect rather than on literal doctrinal interpretations, I see no conflict between evolution and my faith. In fact a realisation about how humanity is evolving shows me an inspiring path ahead. I personally see the evolutionary process as an expression of God. (In saying this I am not assuming anything about the nature of God which I personally have come to understand in a mystical sense.) But before considering the moral and spiritual implications let us consider briefly how this evolutionary process has developed. There seems to be a large consensus on four distinctive steps.

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