Natural disasters and God’s self-restraint

Traditionally, religions offer a God who is omnipotent, all-powerful, almighty, the cosmic sovereign in control of everything.   He/she/it is also said to be all-knowing, omniscient, so he knows not only what he is doing but what everybody and everything else is going to do, and will do, from beginning to end.  This is brave belief of what God is. But is this the sort of God we observe today?

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The picture, speaking of itself

The picture, speaking of itself,
not shaping something else we know;
imagines mystery makes it glow
beyond all earthly sight can show.

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Sin of Sodom: A Case of Denial

We’ve been robbed of the power of the story of Sodom. It should be a strong companion to Matthew 25:31-46, which also gives dire warnings for those who do not serve Jesus by feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger and the other Works of Mercy. It’s a path that ends in destruction.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Isaac

We’ve all heard the expression, “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” but the information about Isaac in Genesis certainly places him in a subordinate position to his father, Abraham, and his son, Jacob.

The first mention of Isaac was when God told Sarah that she would give birth to a son and that she should name him Isaac (which means “he laughs,” a reference to Abraham laughing when God promised him a son). Abraham, who was one hundred years old when Isaac was born, followed God’s command and named his son Isaac.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – The Tower of Confusion

Genesis 10:5 claims the land was divided according to tongues, but Genesis 11:1 insists that everyone on earth spoke the same language. If we believe the biblical account of the flood, then everyone was dead except Noah, his wife, their sons and their sons’ wives. Therefore, everyone was a descendant of this one family. If that is true, of course, everyone spoke the same language. If you do not accept the flood story as literal, then there were more likely multiple languages prior to the building of the Tower of Babel.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Does the Genesis Flood Story Hold Water?

The Genesis account of the flood was written by two Israelites (the Priestly account and the non-Priestly version) who were trying to tell a story that would help their fellow Jews better understand their place in the world. If a myth about a flood covering the earth and killing everyone and everything except for one man and his family and a select number of animals accomplished that goal, then it may be worthy. But the vengeful God who decided he had made a mistake so he wanted to start over is not my idea of God. A God who would destroy the world and its inhabitants – except for one “righteous” man and his family (who may not have been righteous) and a handful of animal species – is not worthy of worship.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – God Deserves Our Best: The Story of Cain and Abel

The first sixteen verses of the fourth chapter of Genesis is the story of Cain and Abel. The rest of the chapter is genealogy.

Let’s examine the Genesis story and then see if we can ascertain why it was included in the Bible.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – God Can Use Imperfect People – Part Two

Yes, God uses imperfect people. As 1 Peter 4:10 says, we should serve with whatever gift we have received.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – God Can Use Imperfect People – Part One

I am abundantly aware that God can do remarkable things with less than perfect people. Noah supposedly had “blameless behavior,” but after the flood, he got drunk on the wine he produced and, although he may not have been aware due to his drunken stupor, may have had sexual relations with one of his sons. Later in Hebrew Scriptures, we meet other imperfect people who were used by God: Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Samson was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, David was an adulterer and murderer, Elijah was suicidal, and Abram.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – And God Created…

Genesis opens the Hebrew Bible with two conflicting and irreconcilable creation stories. Obviously neither of these creation myths reported actual events. Even so, there are people who believe that the universe was created exactly as described there simply because this is what the Bible says, so it is fact. Those people despise the Darwinian evolution theory, so they stubbornly grasp for an alternative and end up with literalism or Creationism that demands unquestioning acceptance.

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Reconciling False Divisions

A Series exploring the Shared Abrahamic roots of Three Faith Traditions, Part I: Jewish Roots

A Presbyterian politician who wants to be the leader of the free world claims to have written a great book; second only to the Bible. He has promised to “protect Christianity,” and ban all Muslims outside the United States from entering. It remains unclear if he expects all radical Jihadists to self-profess at the border; instead of — say — swearing to be as Presbyterian as he is.

Beneath the superficiality of such political idiocy, an appreciative consideration of the shared Abrahamic roots of three great faith traditions might be helpful in finding ways to reconcile the false divisions that the most strident voices of ignorance seem to propagate.

This is the first in a series of commentaries that attempt in some small way to make such a modest attempt. It begins where it all began; with Jewish roots and the mythic Hebrew character of Abraham.

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Bible Study on Climate Justice

Submitted by Luciano Kovacs

The reality of global climate change, resulting from the impact of accumulated human activities, make the renewal of the earth an urgent imperative. To renew entails rebuilding the disintegration and repairing damage. The harm done to the environment cannot be addressed rightly, adequately and in an enduring way without the implementation of climate justice policies.

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PROTECTING THE WHOLE OF CREATION: A Service that the Bishop of Rome is Called to Carry Out

How has the Church understood the concern about ecology and the topic of the environment in these last 50 years? What is the message of the Magisterium about an issue that has become more and more pressing and which, thanks to the Encyclical of Pope Francis, is now becoming an important chapter in the social teaching of the Church?

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Worship Materials: Creativity/Beauty/Imagination

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

1. New images arise out of the death of old images so do not be afraid of the wilderness or of the dying.
2. The journey inwards to the place of the inner child is a journey of unlearning – reclaiming trust in one’s creativity and spirituality.

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Worship Materials: Darkness and Light

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

THEME Two Faces of the One God –the One Life Force
THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION
1. Darkness is the womb of the light, nothingness the womb of all things.

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ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME

“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs”.

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Worship Materials: Sexuality, Sensuousness and Gender Equality

From the Celebrating Mystery collection

Our senses and our use of them are part of God’s creation.
To attempt to deny our senses is as much an insult to God as is the misuse of them.

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The Church and LGBT Justice

A majority of American voters say they support a Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry, but the issue remains far from settled among socially conservative religious communities that have repeatedly proclaimed biblical support for human injustice.

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