A Joyful Path, Children’s Curriculum, Year One, Ages 6-10, For MULTI CLASSROOMS

  Progressive Christian Spiritual Curriculum Compassionate, Intelligent, Inter-Spiritual, Non-Dogmatic   Group Curriculum with Teacher’s Handbook and 3 DVDs   Are you searching for a way to connect children with an authentic spiritual experience that is inter-spiritual, creative and …

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A Joyful Path, Children’s Curriculum, Year One, Ages 6-10, For SINGLE CLASSROOM

  Progressive Christian Spiritual Curriculum Compassionate, Intelligent, Inter-Spiritual, Non-Dogmatic   Group Curriculum with Teacher’s Handbook and 2 DVDs   Are you searching for a way to connect children with an authentic spiritual experience that is inter-spiritual, creative and …

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Christmastide* Greetings

I hope you’ve been having a restful and reflective season. And, I realize that, for many of us, this has been a difficult season – whether simply feeling the weight of national and global tensions and tragedies, or the pain often borne uniquely in our immediate context.

I carried this paradox with me in my conversation with my dear friend Alexander John Shaia yesterday. It was our final Make Advent Great Again dialogue, and it’s too good not to share with you

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Fighting Destructive Chaos…with Christmas Carols?

Like many people, I am absolutely appalled by the ugly, hateful and destructive chaos emerging in this country. I have also wondered what I, a retired Oakland High School English teacher and Berkeley pastor, now living in a small town on the Oregon coast, could do to somehow change the dialogue and direction as to where the nation is going.

I hope to do so through … Christmas carols!

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“Flash Choirs” of Carolers Encouraged to Combat Destructive Chaos

Robert O’Sullivan, a retired high school English teacher and pastor, has called for “flash choirs” of Christmas carolers to assemble frequently at the White House and throughout the land, using carol verses old and new to combat destructive chaos and remind people that Christians should work for peace, justice, care of the earth, equality and love, especially as it applies to the most vulnerable.

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Family, Friends, Food, Credit Card Debt, Guilt, and Resentment

While there never has been a “war on Christmas” there has been plenty of debate among Christian sects as to its “true meaning.” There is, of course, no mention of the holiday in scripture and the two birth narratives in the gospels tell such different stories that we can be thankful that they at least agree on the name of the baby. But if we allow ourselves to ask our modern culture that it really means, beyond the shopping, gift giving, and requisite office parties, the culture, from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” to Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and Hollywood’s classics, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and “A Miracle on 42ndSt.,” it would seem that the true meaning of Christmas is a change in an individual’s heart from being cold, distant, and unloving into something more loving, joyful, and generous. That’s a conversion narrative that isn’t especially religious and, with Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, I will say, “God bless it!”

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Sermons for Christmas Eve

Click on these links for some of the sermons I have preached on Christmas Eve

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Peace on Earth to Angry People of Good Will

  At Christmas we think of peace and talk about good will, but in the 2018 season we are focused on anger in our country. At a time of general prosperity, political processes in America and Europe …

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When Jesus was born in Nazareth, nobody took notice. There were no wise men, no shepherds in the field. It wasn’t until about 30 years later that some people did take notice, his disciples, because they were drawn, and Pilate, who as crucifier-in-chief crucified all trouble-makers. When Pilate gave the order, the disciples, all 25, women and men, hid in the shadows for fear of their lives. The hiding, however, did not last long. As they comforted one another in both their loss and their fear, they felt the spirit of their lost one alive in their midst, and they knew that the cruelty of the Empire against the One who loved was not the final word. They knew, not that a body had been resuscitated, but that the ultimate power in the universe was not death, but life. And not just life, but life in love.

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The Story of Jesus’ Birth is a Subversive Parable

This sermon, is a distillation of the work of Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan in their excellent book “The First Christmas”

I am indebted to Peter Rollins for his approach to the Christmas story.

Some have said that the birth of Jesus is the most amazing birth story ever told. Jesus birth narrative heralded the arrival of a child who was praised as the Son of God, the Saviour of the World who was said to be the personification of peace on earth; God incarnate; fully divine and fully human. Not everyone agrees that this is the most amazing birth story ever told. Indeed, the story of Jesus birth can’t even claim to be unique. Some claim that Jesus’ birth story is just one of a long line of birth stories. Jesus’ birth story, some claim, is only considered to be unique because it’s our story; our story that we tell over and over at the expense of other birth stories from other communities that are just as great.

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New Verses for Christmas Carols

Hark the Herald Angels Sing, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear, Joy to the World, Lo, How a Rose is Blooming, In the Bleak Midwinter, Wake, Awake for Night is Flying (Advent hymn)

Sing with them, ye humans bold!
Sing of peace, justice unfold!
Ring the bells of liberty;
Ring them loud ‘til all are free.

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What Child is This: A Christmas at Bremmer’s Novel

When a baby is abandoned on the loading dock of the second-largest Christmas store in the world, it kicks off a heartwarming mystery that will fill you with the Christmas spirit.

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Spiritually Literate Holiday Gifts

Examples of gifts that have meanings attached to them and reflect spiritual practices from the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy.

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Christmas for the spiritual but not religious

Christmas has become about more than Jesus. It’s about the lifting of the human spirit. It’s about kindness and compassion and the glory of being alive!

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Darkness In The Light: Depression During the Holidays

Regardless of whether it is seasonal, situational or clinical, the experience is one of disconnection – from life. You identify as the Outsider, not belonging anywhere. The brain says you “should” feel differently, but you don’t. There is nothing more bleak than being alone “in the cold,” left out, hungry and lost in the dark while you look around and see others are gathered around the fire – the flames of life – sharing happiness, family, joy, peace and friendship.

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Timely New Verses for “Joy to the World”

These timely new verses seek to update the spirit and language of the carol to today’s earth, “torn with strife,” while reflecting the Old Testament insight that nature sings joyously in honor of the creator.

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The Shape of Christmas

My mind is a maze with the turns of the journey

The wise men wandered while aimed at the star

Their ears had the form of the wings of the angels

Attuned to the music they sang from afar

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St. Nicholas Is Too Old and Too Tired to Defeat the Selling Power of Santa Claus!

Today: the Feast of St. Nicholas, the ancient precursor to the modern Santa Claus, will pass without much ado. Some will try to encourage us to resurrect St. Nicholas to save us all from Santa’s powers for we have gone astray.  To those well meaning souls who would rid Christmas of its flagrant consumerism, I can only offer up a feeble, “Baa Humbug!”

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