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Marcus Borg: “Why Jesus Matters”

“Jesus matters for Christians because he was for us the decisive disclosure of God.” | “The notion of Jesus’ death as a substitute for our sins was not found in the first 1000 years of Christianity.” Just two quotes from an extraordinary “Lent Event” Forum with Jesus scholar Marcus Borg.

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Mindfulness: a short course

(This is adapted from emails I sent to students, faculty, and staff in the course on mindfulness I’m teaching at the USC Keck School of Medicine, through our Mindful.USC.edu initiative:) Mindfulness: A short course Mindfulness is “paying …

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Worship Materials: Holy Saturday

From the Festive Worship collection

There is no Easter without making one’s peace with the dead and with the forces of destruction that lurk within the human psyche.

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Worship Materials: Good Friday

From the Festive Worship collection

When love and hatred engage in mortal conflict it is love which suffers most; but love has the final victory.

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Worship Materials: Palm Sunday

From the Festive Worship collection

The events of Holy Week reveal the complexity of human nature – of how loyalty and treachery, callousness and tenderness can live side by side in people’s hearts.

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Waking to the Light

“… remain here, and stay awake with me.” Jesus, Matthew 26: 38 One night of our dog’s life lasted for just a few minutes. Our yellow Labrador, Kai, was playing in our front yard on a sunny …

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Good Friday Words

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

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