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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Like Looking at the Sun

Part 2 in Series: What Makes A Christian?

It is amazing how often we fail a most basic mark of the faith.

It is a downright scandal how rarely it is preached.

It’s questionable how directly our religious and moral practices stem from it.

Yet if we believe the direct words of Jesus Himself–you know, God–the very ability of others to recognize our Christian identity is dependent on how we follow this.

We gather in churches. We have elaborate worship and praise. And yet we barely give lip service to the first and foremost of the commandments. When we do, it is often to give exceptions–No, Jesus didn’t really mean that. . .

I’m talking about the Greatest Commandment–love God and love neighbor. Abundantly.

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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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The Lament over Jerusalem

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.

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Progressive Christianity Lent Course 2016 Alternative Insights into the Lent Gospel Readings

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.

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Round Dance of the Cross: A Maundy Thursday Service

Written by Rev. Irene Laudeman

This service is appropriate for a small congregation of 20-60 people. The service is conducted in two settings:

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Made On Earth – How the gospel writers created the Christ

NEW TITLE RELEASE 21st January 2016

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.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 12: Stillness

Taking time to be in stillness is important for physical and mental well-being, and it is absolutely vital if we want an inner experience of spirit. It is not easy to quiet the storms of excitement and learn to be comfortable with stillness. Providing opportunities to practice is a priceless gift we can give children.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 27: Forgiving and Healing

There is abundant love within each of us, but even when we try to act as messengers of love in the world, we often mess up the message. Like the old game of telephone, where a message is passed along and completely mixed up by the time it reaches the end of the line, we mix up divine love with our own desires, confusions, and misunderstandings and end up hurting one another. Then we must forgive.
Getting children to say the words, “I forgive you,” is not enough. True forgiveness is inward and will actually remove the hurts we have from our hearts, like pulling weeds in a beautiful garden. Forgiving is not simply a gift we give someone who has wronged us, either; it is a step in our own spiritual growth that will enable our hearts to blossom as intended.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 32: Inclusion

When we exclude others, we refuse to relate to realities different than our own, and we keep our experience defined in a way that is comfortable and familiar. If we want children to be inclusive, we have to help them redefine their experiences in a broader way. For instance, if older children exclude a younger child from a ball game because she can’t catch the ball, we can guide them to give her a special job that makes her feel part of the game. Finding a way to include her will expand their limited thinking. Scolding them for excluding her will most likely make them resentful, which leads to closing the heart.
Accepting and coping with outward differences is an important step toward opening the heart to others. But to really include others in our reality, we must understand that despite apparent differences, there is only one self, one spirit, and one true reality, underlying all that is. The more children experience their own spiritual nature, the more they will recognize the one spirit in all.

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The Words of the Eucharist

This post is a response to a recent article on Tony Robert’s blog by guest blogger Lenora Rand, titled “New Communion Words”.

Rand reflects on her experience distributing communion at the Wild Goose Festival, an annual gathering that focuses on justice, spirituality, music and the arts. The festival is “rooted in the Christian tradition” and is popular among progressive Christians and many involved with the emerging church movement. The name Wild Goose comes from a Celtic metaphor for the Holy Spirit.

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Jesus Is the Memory of Our Future – A Sermon for Creation 4B

… as I attempt to respond to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s question: “Who is Christ actually for us today?” I first encountered the phrase “Jesus Is the Memory of Our Future” on a t-shirt from Holden Village.

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Encountering the Divinity Within Us – Mark 9:33-37

Then Jesus brought a little child into their midst and putting his arm around the child, said to the Twelve, “Whoever welcomes a child such as this for my sake welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the One who sent me.” Readings included Exodus 40:34-38, Mark 9:33-37

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‘My Name is Legion’: Sources and Forces of White Supremacy in the U.S.

In the wake of the murders of nine African Americans at Emanuel AME church in Charleston on June 17 by a self-proclaimed white supremacist, there was a burst of media interest in the scale and scope of white supremacist groups and networks within the U.S. What stands out in this recent media coverage, and in scholarship bearing upon both contemporary and historical trajectories of white supremacist movements, has been the tendency to view white supremacy—the idea that white people are inherently superior to people of color—as a relatively marginal or “extremist” dimension of American socio-religious culture.

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Shedding Light on the Gospels Study Guide (based on Bishop Spong’s “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism”)

This  Study Guide, Shedding Light on the Gospels is based on Bishop Spong’s “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism.” The Study Guide is organized by Discussion Sessions and includes extensive quotations extracted from Bishop Spong’s book. In addition to Bishop Spong’s book, we will be reading the three gospels: Mark, Matthew and Luke (in that order).

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Follow Jesus: a Hymn

I heard a contemporary hymn on Sunday morning during the Eucharist and fell in love with the melody. It was the “Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus)” by Chris Rice. It reminded me of Randy Newman’s music—a soft …

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