Concise Scrooge

Progressive thinkers cannot avail ourselves of the false security fundamentalist believers bring to church Sundays and to the Bible daily. We can, however, compensate for our dismissal of literalism with an answerably intense commitment to metaphor. And metaphor proves especially powerful in narratives. Narrative masters like Dickens can move our hearts as they bring our fellow creatures vividly and credibly alive. But they can do more: they can provoke our intellects and excite our imaginations. We love a story, instinctively, but we go a step farther and subject the tale to closer scrutiny and more probing critical analysis. (That, incidentally, is why I find Luke’s story of the road to Emmaus one of the most affecting New Testament narratives. It’s an account of a real-life journey, peopled with thoughtful and feeling human beings, who move from grief to joyful insight.)

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Playing Favorites

The Problem with Blessings and Curses

“Have a blest day?” What in this world does that mean? Better luck or good karma, instead of bad? In the ancient world, denoting someone as “blest” was a way of expressing a deity’s special favor towards that person. If that sounds quaint, there are still plenty of people today who believe they can curry favor or improve the odds of achieving more blessings than curses; while politicians routinely conclude their speeches by invoking the Almighty to bless the good ‘ol USA. There’s just one problem. It doesn’t work.

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Live the Love

Today we have large numbers of people who say they are spiritual but not religious. They are not interested in a ‘feel good religion that promises heaven.’ They want to be involved in making the world a better place and are tired of a religion that often comes across as bigoted and judgmental rather than accepting others in love and advocating justice for all.

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Adios, “Dios”

Saying Goodbye to “God” in Sacred Text

What good is “God?” We know well how much violence is committed in the name of “God.” If we were to delete both our traditional Western word and notion of “god” from both our speech and thinking, what are the implications for such things we ourselves know and experience to be true in our own human experience? I’m talking about conceiving of such things as love, compassion, mercy, grace, reconciliation, forgiveness, even absolution, redemption, and salvation. Part one in this series considers a scripture text considered sacred, but noticeably absent is the presence of any deity.

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Resurrection as Change: Deleting “God” – Part III

The idea of “God” has been problematic for as long as the notion existed. As a result, “God” has admittedly been for me a direction; but neither a destination, nor even a companion along the way any longer. As the poet suggests, if the notion of “god” is directional movement from a former past to the present now, then perhaps it is the time to leave the “G” word behind. What does that mean?

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Resurrection as Change, Part II

The Emmaus Experience of Transformation

The Emmaus legend is about both the inevitability of change and the possibility of transformation. … In all the swift and varied changes of this world, the elusive goal of converting hearts and minds remains optional.

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the Easter uprising

Jesus rises up whenever the conspiracy of love rises up, whenever compassionate and courageous acts of the kingdom of God are present, whenever the reign of love is made manifest in this life. Following Jesus is a response to his call to establish justice and peace in the world.

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What Happens to D&D When God Is Promoted and Jesus Is Demoted?

Watch what happens to most of the D&D when the theistic god of yesterday is promoted to encompass the entire universe. One can no longer think about a small Master Puppeteer but more in terms of a force that some call Creation or Ground of All Being. This force has no gender, sexuality, children, color, or religion. It’s simply there, everywhere, creating.

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The Law Hangs in the Balance of Love

Part 4 of the series, What Makes a Christian?

Sometimes our greatest breach with Scripture is not when we outright contradict it–it’s what we choose to prioritize, diminish or outright ignore. There is a time for everything under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We need to put first things first and second things second.

Much of Christianity focuses on salvation plans and doctrinal ideas.

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The Two Gospels

I recently heard a Christmas Eve sermon titled “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” recited entirely in rhymed couplets and delivered without a manuscript. Running for nearly eleven minutes, it was quite a remarkable feat.

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The Elephant in the Living Room

Part 1 of the series, What Makes a Christian?

In John 13:34-35, Jesus states that our very public witness of our Christian identity itself depends on whether or not we love one another. Otherwise, people will not recognize that we are indeed Christians. Jesus tells us to follow his example. Jesus not only gives the commandment to love, but also states that His life has modeled this love.

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The Mystic Bible

Every once in awhile, we come across resources that are not easily available to our global readership and we feel l it necessary to support and offer them. This kind of creative work we support helps people all along the spectrum understand our intent and theology. The Mystic Bible is perfectly balanced on the progressive spectrum, meaningful for people who are deeply connected to the stories of the Bible, mystical and poetic, and yet innovative and theologically progressive.

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Ubuntu: A Person Is A Person Through Other Persons

Luke 17:5-10 – The Parable of the Mustard Seed

We all too often assume that it takes huge acts to embody faithfulness, grand gestures to change the world, more often than not it’s just the simple everyday acts of human kindness that change reality. Built one upon another these simple acts of faithfulness can change who we are as a people. We already have enough mustard on our plates to make the whole world rich. Our actions have consequences. Our faithfulness, our willingness to head off down the path of Love, of kindness, can move mountains. Our interrelatedness, our humanity, means that our way of being in the world makes a difference.

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The Guests Watched Jesus Closely: Sermon

Pentecost 15C – Luke 14:1, 7-14

I dare say that most of you are anything but invisible. No matter how much you’d like to remain anonymous about your Christianity; no matter how far you’ve tried to distance yourselves from those Christians, people know who you are and they’re watching you. No matter how gently or softly we Canadians are in our approach to the world, we are not invisible. The world continues to watch us. The world continues to look to us to see how we engage the issues.

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The Bent Over Woman

Luke 13:10-17

We worship a God who created us to stand up full and free and have the courage to look God in the eye and to ask God to share our burdens. We worship a God that wants us to stand tall and look one another in the eyes; set one another free, call one another to account and rejoice in God’s steadfast abundant grace. So do not let your burdens weigh you down. Do not let rules and regulations and law turn you into self-righteous hypocrites. Rise up! Rise up, look around and in the faces of your sisters and brothers see the face of Christ and let them see the face of Christ that is in you.

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Imagining Donald J. Trump as the Good Samaritan – reflecting on the bruised and battered church…Luke 10:25-37

It is my prayer that in her current vulnerability the church might finally realize Christ’s vision and begin a dialogue with the world God loves as we begin to articulate together our experiences of the Spirit of God active in our midst. This is an exciting time to be in the church. The church is battered and bruised and in need of healing. We don’t know if the church will survive. But we are a resurrection people and we know that out of our vulnerability new life will spring forth. So we need not fear, because through you and me, and all of those who are willing to recognize our neighbours, whoever they may be, healing will happen. Healing or death. Neither are to be feared. For even in death there is hope. For we are a resurrection people and Christ will live and breathe and have being in, with, through, and beyond us, now and forever.

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Demons or Baggage: Stop and Listen – A Sermon for Pentecost 5C: Luke 8:26-39

Bobby wasn’t like any other 10-year-old boy. Bobby had the face of an angel but the temperament of a devil. Bobby was a beautiful child. His blond hair and blue eyes together with his alabaster skin, pointed toward his Scandinavian heritage. At first sight, Bobby appeared to be the kind of child that any congregation would be proud to count as a member. But, Bobby’s physical appearance was deceiving and Bobby’s presence in church was not welcome. Bobby didn’t go down to Sunday school classes with the other children. The Sunday school teachers had tried to include Bobby, but after several parents threatened to withdraw their children, they asked Bobby’s parents not to send Bobby anymore. So Bobby stayed in the sanctuary with the adults. Most of the adult members tried to tolerate Bobby’s presence but for some, Bobby’s presence was simply unnerving. Bobby is autistic. Sitting and behaving in church was impossible for him. As long as we were singing hymns, Bobby was happy. He would catch the rhythms of the music and rock back and forth and sing. He never sang the same words as the rest of the congregation. But it was clear from his movements and the sounds that emanated from his lips that Bobby was singing. The trouble was that Bobby never stopped singing when we did. When his parents would attempt to put an end to Bobby’s song, he would flail about and sometime throw himself on the floor.

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The Good Samaritan Tax Lawyer

Taxes are the way that people of faith care for the most vulnerable of our fellow citizens, by funding our government’s social safety-net services. Charity through faith communities and other groups is a vital supplement, but no replacement, for the role we give our government in meeting critical human needs. For instance, Bread for the World, an evangelical Christian charity, estimates that the dollar value of all charitable food donations in the US adds up to only 6% of what the federal government spends on feeding hungry Americans through programs like EBT/Food Stamps and federally-subsidized school lunches.

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