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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
sadly in a world dominated by might, money, and power, some people look upon compassion, mercy, gentleness of spirit, inclusiveness and unconditional love as weakness. In a world blighted by terrorism, war and indescribable brutality demonstrated day by day, for example in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan; in a world where many have become indifferent, self righteous and just downright selfish; in a world where Bible passages are taken out of context to uphold racism, sexism, homophobia and unhealthy nationalism: these are the places in which compassion, mercy, gentleness of spirit, inclusiveness and unconditional love should work and speak.read more
As Christian people we all too often pay lip service to the fact that the political and religious context in which Jesus lived, thought and died, was one of economic, political and military domination by the Roman Empire. We also often fail to realise that this was also both the context in which the Christian scriptures were written and the life and death of Jesus was interpreted. Failure to understand these Jewish contexts leads Christians and the Church to misinterpret the underlying message and meaning of the life and death of Jesus the Jew of Nazareth. Whether we like it or not, I am convinced that Jesus had a political agenda as well as an agenda of compassion.read more
As we prepare for Easter, this Season of Lent offers us an opportunity to reflect again upon how we experience Yahweh God and how we live our lives of servant hood – not as doormats to be trampled under foot but as true servants of Yahweh God who proclaim by our lives that Jesus is our Way, our Truth and our Life.
Lent offers us the opportunity NOT to give up but to give more of ourselves in the service of others and in the causes of justice and peace. May this Season of Lent have real meaning for each one of us.read more
Remembering that God is within us and a part of everything that ever was and ever will be is one of the most important things we can do.read more
To succeed at any undertaking requires the ability to calmly focus our energy. Without concentration even our best efforts are weakened — even our efforts to love, meditate, or simply pray.read more
In this book Lorraine Parkinson sets out compelling reasons why the gospels may be found to have been ‘made on earth’. She builds a strong argument that each gospel was written to make a distinct case for Jesus as the Christ. She presents detailed evidence that the Christ of the gospels is the creation of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, plus later editors. The sub-text of this book contends that by including teachings of Jesus alongside claims for him as Christ, gospel writers bequeathed to Christianity two contradictory gospels – the gospel of Jesus and the gospel about Jesus.read more
To be anxious and fearful of our own needs means we are forgetting who we really are. Spending all of our time and energy acquiring possessions means we are looking outward for satisfaction and neglecting the only source of true happiness — our eternal identity as spirit.read more
Willpower is our willingness combined with our power, applied with concentration and determination. Applying our willpower to achieve goals is really a discovery of the divine power and guidance that lies within all creation. We discover that willingness opens the gate to infinite possibilities.read more
The more we choose to see beauty and goodness, the more we will live in happiness and joy.
High-mindedness is looking at life’s experiences from the high ground, where beauty and joy can be seen beyond ugliness and hardship that can cloud our vision. It is a conscious choice to keep company with positive thoughts and to be happy. High-mindedness is not pretending ugliness does not exist; it is really a celebration of divine goodness everywhere.
One way we can build an awareness of our inner wisdom, as well as create a spiritual life, is through prayer. God, the Divine Presence, the Spirit of Life and Love — whatever names we use for this Mystery permeating and holding all things in existence — comes to visibility in the human reality we are … Prayer is the means to deepen awareness that we are intimately connected and bonded with our planet, our universe and all that is in this Presence. It is the means to accept our responsibility for making the Presence of God visible and effective in the human species. Prayer is a way to express our commitment to give the best possible expression we can to this sacred presence. Prayer has to both encourage and challenge us: we pray to be better than we are. Prayer is not about words expressed to an elsewhere God. Prayer is about reflection on life and the interconnectedness of everyone and all things within God’s Presence. Prayer is an affirmation of this presence and of our dignity.read more