Monthly eBulletin – Personal and World Transformation through Loving Kindness

Loving kindness is the cultivation of benevolence toward all living beings, love without clinging, and a strong wish for the happiness of others. It is the kind of love that often bubbles up freely in the heart of a mother for her child. It is a love that is independent of expecting or needing anything in return.

read more

Too Often Christianity’s Cross-Eyed Perspective Distorts the Good News that God is LOVE: a sermon for the Second Sunday of Lent – Mark 8:27-38

When someone shares in our suffering, somehow the knowledge that we are not alone, that there is someone out there who knows the pain that we are going through, the knowledge that we are cared for by someone who truly knows our pain comforts us and gives us the strength we need to endure our suffering.

To be alone in our suffering is the most terrible thing that we can imagine. The Good News that God is LOVE means that LOVE will not let us suffer alone because LOVE is determined to suffer with us. Working in, with, and through those who have experienced our pain LOVE is able to enfold us and say, “I know, my child, I know.”

read more

Worship Materials: Lent

From the Festive Worship collection

THEME The Connecting Solitude
THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION
The spiritual desert is not a foe to be conquered but an emptiness to be affirmed: for when we are full, we perceive nothing, but when we are empty we can receive everything.

read more

More on God

There is one “Musings” reader whose perspective matters particularly to me. Her name is Roberta Maran, and she happens to be my wife. She read my post last week and when I asked her what she thought, she told me she was disappointed.

read more

Progressive Christian Lent Course 2015

How do you account for / explain the different versions of the same event? To what extent does it matter in your understanding and experience of Jesus that the details that describe such a fundamental event in his life are not an agreed Gospel record across Mark, Matthew and Luke? Why did John ignore all the details of the baptism of Jesus?

read more

We need a cross to sign the truth

From the Boundless Life collection

We need a cross to sign the truth
That pain is part of life,
For joys and sorrows intertwine
And growth evolves through strife.

read more

Weep Not for Me

From the Boundless Life collection

“Weep not, weep not for me*
Daughters of Israel’s womb;
Weep for yourselves”, said Christ
“Not for my cross or tomb”.

read more

In the darkness of my spirit

From the Boundless Life collection

In the darkness of my spirit
When my blindness masks my sight
I will dance! dance! dance!
I will sing! sing! sing!
Of the coming of the light.

read more

The Soul of the Psalms: from ashes to alleluias

Structured for Lent, but practical for any time of the year, this new resource examines the lament psalms for their connections to contemporary experiences. The introduction acquaints the reader with Dr. Walter Brueggemann’s analysis of the psalms into the categories of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation. A contemporary psalm/poem for each entry discerns the emotional tenor of the psalms and makes it relevant for the challenges of contemporary life and relationships.

read more

Ryan Bell’s Year Without God

I thought I’d pretty well covered the territory in a “musing” I wrote a few years ago called “The Varieties of God”, a listing of the many alternatives along the spectrum between traditional theism and atheism. But Ryan Bell has added a new one: provisional atheism. Godlessness for the time being. He’s gone public with this status, and I intend to follow his “Year Without God” blog to see how it goes for him.

read more

Scapegoats and Lightning Rods (Matthew 27:27-44)

The image of a scapegoat recalls a ritual performed by ancient Israel on their holiest day of the year—Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. A goat was chosen by means of casting lots. Actually there were two goats chosen, one was killed as a sin offering to make atonement for the holy place, the other was allowed to live to make atonement for the sins of the people.

read more

Good Friday Words

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The quintessential cry of despair, when all hope is lost.

read more

Good Friday?

That Friday, oh so long ago,
Why do we call it ‘Good’?
It tells a wretched tale of woe,
Of thorns and cross of wood.

read more

Crucifixion

A poem by Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966)

“Weep not for Me, Mother, 

in the grave I have life.”

read more

Ride On

Ride on: ride on in majesty;
The palms affirm with certainty
Their claim – you are Messiah King.
The crowds join in and loudly sing.

read more

Hosanna in the Highest

The shocking thing about the story of Jesus is that it turns common wisdom on its head.

read more

Spiritual Stretching

Progressive Christians like to stretch our minds. That means we can stay in our heads way too much. That’s preferable to not going there at all. As they say, many people are lost in thought because it’s such unfamiliar territory.

read more

Redeeming the Bones: A Ritual of Participation

The dry bones raised by Ezekiel are a metaphor for those who died in the service of God’s justice: those who died working to restore God’s distributive justice-compassion to God’s Earth, and who themselves never saw the transformation. The army of dry bones is an army exiled from justice. Fairness demands that if Jesus was resurrected into an Earth transformed into God’s realm of justice-compassion, then all the other martyrs who died too soon should also be raised with him. “But in fact,” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:20, “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” It is the Christ – the transformed and transfigured post-Easter Jesus – who has started that general resurrection, which restores justice-compassion to a transformed Earth. The transformation has begun with Jesus, and continues with you and me – IF we sign on to the program.

read more