Leading a Retreat on the Bible

If you were going to lead a retreat on the Bible (focusing on its origins and purpose), what questions would you find valuable to address?

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Why Was Jesus Upset with Thomas’ Lack of Faith?

From modern eyes, it is hard to think Thomas was any different than any other disciples who had already witnessed the resurrected Jesus. Thomas alone had not seen with his own eyes what the others claimed to have seen. And here it is so easy to get pulled into thinking that seeing with one’s eyes is the real issue.

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This Rabbi On That Rabbi

A modern Portland, Oregon rabbi explains Jesus’s messages

An outside-the-box, modern rabbi from Portland, Oregon explains the Jewish messages of Jesus. Rabbi Brian’s style is approachable, warm, honest and quirky. He quotes Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy to help explain the intent of the phrase “I am the way the truth and the life. No one gets to the Father except through me.”

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The Lost Gospel of the Woman at the Well

This is the lost Gospel of Marah, the woman at the well to whom Jesus spoke while travelling through Samaria, as described in the Gospel of John, chapter four. It was recently discovered wedged behind a stone of a well in Samaria. This is the Contemporary American Version translation.

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Following Jesus is for Losers

This Sunday Rev. Meyers preaches from the Gospel according to Mark, chapter chapter 8 verses 27 thru 38, a passage known as “Peter’s Declaration about Jesus.” Recorded Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018 from the pulpit of Mayflower Congregational UCC Church in Oklahoma City.

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The Christian Life Is Impossible. Therefore…..

Every so often, I read the Sermon on the Mount, to get back to the basics of my faith.

I read it last week, and had a revelation: the Christian life is impossible.

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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 the Christ? – BRUNCHtalks 8

Jesus is not some sort of cosmic bargain with a demanding, jealous, elsewhere god, sacrificing himself so that we can live happily ever after! Jesus of Nazareth was fully human. The Christ is the experiece of Jesus his followers encountered after his death. The Cosmic Christ is neither human nor divine, but rather a gateway into the MYSTERY’s presence among us. Our BRUNCHtalks continue to explore what it means to be Progressive in approach: Christ-like in action.

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What the Church Needs is Some Good Sex

It is a tough time to be a Catholic Christian. The current scandals of sexual abuse, by priests around the world, follow a nearly 20-year run of similar episodes. But the lack of transparency in the Catholic Church is no news. Two decades ago, I discussed the problem with my dear friends from Rome. They were shocked that Americans were so shocked. “What is the big deal? Why the fuss?” they asked, waving their hands above their heads. “We Italians have always known better than to leave our children alone with priests!” I found their response both hilarious and appalling. But can we expect any real change of behavior in the Catholic Church as long as it remains a male-dominated monarchy?

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Textual Criticism: It’s Not Just for Ancient, Sacred Scripture Anymore

The congressional hearings about to begin over a Supreme Court nominee will largely hinge on the political philosophies of different elected officials; who will view the judicial record of the candidate through the lens of their separate interpretations of constitutional law, and how it should be applied. How is the task of interpretation and application different, or the same, when it comes to “sacred” scripture and constitutional law?

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John the Anti-Semite?

For years, I refused to read any of John’s writings. I thought the Gospel of John was a bunch of mumbo jumbo and the Book of Revelation was full of craziness. Thanks to the Reverend Ken Wyant’s Bible study at Irvine United Congregational Church, I changed my opinion about the Gospel of John—but I still want to ban Revelation.

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Jesus’ “Bad” Table Manners

The traditional beginning of the Communion story is “On the night that Jesus was betrayed…” But we did more than betray him that night; we denied him multiple times and abandoned him to the “powers that be.” We expressed shock that any of us would desert him, let alone betray him, and we each said, “Is it I, Lord?” Was our fear of authority figures and the awareness of Jesus’ and our vulnerability already palpable at the meal? Regardless, both believers and betrayers were welcome at his table.

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Spiritual AND Religious

A sermon for Pentecost 12B – John 6:35,41-51

Bread, Bread, Bread, the gospel according to John: “I am the bread of life. I am the bread that came down from heaven. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, and if you eat it you’ll never die. I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. If any eat this bread they will live forever.” Bread, Bread, Bread, for five weeks in a row, preachers all over the world are doing our darnedest to serve up Jesus as the bread of life, bread for the world, bread that comes down from heaven, bread that provides eternal life. Bread, Bread, Bread. I who am not supposed to be letting bread pass my lips; I have been called upon to create sermons that will satisfy the lectionary’s insistence that we gorge ourselves on words and images which offer up Jesus as bread for the world.

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The Galilean Sandals

FREE! Children's eBook

It starts with a fifth grade field trip, and a pair of magic sandals. Arthur and Rosa can somehow “become” Ben and Rachel who lived around the time of Jesus. As they figure out how their sandal traveling experiences are interconnected, they hear Jesus’ message through the eyes and ears of his followers.

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PATHWAYS Theological Education

An Online Institute for Progressive Christian Theology

PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc., is a Progressive Christian learning community seeking to empower transformative leadership for justice and peace within and beyond the church by engaging heart and mind to consider what it means to know, love and serve God in today’s changing world. 

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Suppose it was like this…

Jesus was a man born in the usual way. Mary and Joseph were his parents, and he had some brothers and sisters. His home town, Nazareth, was a small hamlet occupied mostly by poor peasants who eked out a living on small plots of land that were increasingly appropriated by the wealthy. Four miles away, the city of Sepphoris was a bustling scene of government projects that provided day labor for the peasantry, and often Joseph took Jesus with him to the city as they sought to support the family.

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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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Jesus’ Encounter with a Literalist

Scripture Lesson: John 3.1-21

Nicodemus may not have been the first or last literalist that Jesus encountered, but he is one whom most of us would least imagine to be one. He was “a leader of the Jews,” which meant he was well-educated and versed in the scriptures. He would have been very familiar with the nuance of words, and the various meanings that religious words might have. So it seems odd that he would not have known what Jesus was talking about when Jesus spoke with multivalent words.

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