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Nevertheless, She Persisted

In a late night session on February 7, 2017, during Jeff Session’s confirmation hearing for U.S. Attorney General, just weeks after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the United States Senate voted to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren after she read comments made decades earlier by Edward Kennedy and Coretta Scott King that criticized the civil rights record of Senator Sessions. Warren was censured because Senate Rule XIX prohibits ascribing “to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.” To silence her, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led a party-line vote that forced Senator Warren to take her seat and refrain from speaking. McConnell later said “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

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Jesus and Fig Trees

Did you ever read something in the Bible and wonder what you just read? So, you read it again. It still makes no sense. You try again. Nothing.

Here’s an example from Matthew 21:18–19. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem and was hungry. He saw a fig tree, but he went to it, he found no fruit, only leaves. Jesus said to the tree, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the tree “withered at once.” Huh?

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The Rich Fool and the Bigger Barn Economy

  And [Jesus] said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’ Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of …

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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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FaithandReason® presents The Challenge of Paul, featuring John Dominic Crossan

Paul is one of Christianity’s most impactful, yet most debated and misunderstood figures. In “The Challenge of Paul,” John Dominic Crossan gives us the benefit of his lifelong search for the Paul of history to create a new understanding that sheds new light on Paul and why he is more relevant than ever today.

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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

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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