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God Talk

Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity and the privilege to meet with two different groups made up of people who are all in their own way searching for new ways to tell the Christian story.

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The Christmas Myth is the Story of the Human Family

From Living Waters: if one is to pass beyond the childish and the external to the core of what Christmas is all about, it’s an essential step. What one has to realize first of all is that the story of the birth of Jesus is a myth. No, not a fairy tale, not a legend, not a piece of fiction to be seen through and dropped at puberty or before, but a spiritual myth-in other words, a truth so vast and so important to our human condition that it can only be told in the most profound language of all, the language of symbolism, allegory and metaphor.

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What Gift Will You Give?

I trust it will come as news to very few that the canonical gospels offer us two Christmas stories, and to those who have actually read the accounts it is clear that the two bear little resemblance to one another.  To be sure, the names of the infant, his mother, his nominal father, and the place of birth are the same; but nearly all the other details stand in striking and irreconcilable conflict.  Does this mean that Matthew’s narrative or Luke’s—or both—are simply to be rejected as wildly unreliable? Not if we adopt the strategy of understanding the two tales not as failed attempts at history, but as brilliantly conceived and wonderfully effective parables.

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Religion is Not about Belief: Karen Armstrong’s The Case for God

Until well into the modern period, Armstrong contends, Jews and Christians both insisted that it was neither possible nor desirable to read the Bible literally, that it gives us no single, orthodox message and demands constant reinterpretation. Myths were symbolic, often therapeutic, teaching stories and were never understood literally or historically. But that all changed with the advent of modernity.

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My Politico-Religious Journey

The Christianity I knew had nothing to do with todays moral judging from the religious right.

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On Using Religious Language in Public, Right and Left

That is why I’ve gone on at such length on the subject. It occurs to me that using religious language as a gloss to indicate moral seriousness doesn’t take faith seriously. For that matter, it doesn’t take seriously the idea that there are competing worldviews at work in our political discourse, let alone offer a meaningful alternative.

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Why I am a Progressive Christian (Part 2)

In my last column, I told briefly my story of being a progressive Christian by first describing why I am a Christian and why I continue to choose to be a Christian. The thing that has been my saving grace, that which has kept me from abandoning my faith, is that I have chosen to identify myself as a progressive Christian.

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A Progressive Christian Faces Death

Without an omnipotent God, and without a clear vision of an afterlife, what do I, as a progressive Christian, have for support when death draws near? The answer is simple: I find support in the same realities that have sustained me through life.

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A People’s History of Christianity- The Other Side of the Story

This is the book that progressives and liberals have been waiting for – a deeply researched history of Christianity that sheds new light on the under-reported personalities and movements of the faith. In the same spirit as Howard Zinn’s groundbreaking work The People’s History of the United States, Diana Butler Bass reveals the under-reported movements, personalities, and spiritual practices that continue to inform and ignite contemporary Christian worship, activism, and social justice reforms in the name of Jesus. The book will offer up a much-needed “other side of the story” for progressive Christians, drawing from examples of alternative practices in every period of Christian history

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The Phoenix Affirmations Full Version

Phoenix Affirmations full version from CrossWalk America

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The Pagan Christ: Recovering the Lost Light

A provocative argument for a mystical, rather than historical, understanding of Jesus, leading to a radical rebirth of Christianity in our time.

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Claiming the Chaos

A sermon for the Baptism of the Lord Sunday, or for any day dealing with themes of the human place within creation and nurturing our relationship with it.  It rather directly challenges literalist understandings of Scripture, especially the creation myths.

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Living the Questions 2.0

To order with a 10% discount, first visit this page for the TCPC code.  LtQ2 is the completely revised and expanded version of Living the Questions, the popular DVD & internet-based small group exploration of progressive Christianity featuring premier religion voices of our day.

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I Learned About God There

After a couple of weeks of this thrashing, I finally calmed down enough to begin to ask myself what could I learn from this young man. What was missing in our approach to Christian teaching? What were we really teaching our children? What did this young man want that he did not find at our progressive church? What was the pedagogical model we had created, or more importantly what model did we need to create?

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Myth-Busting the Christian Right

The Christian right’s pundits present this set of abstract concepts – moral “values” sanctity of life, and Christianity – as their core values. Over and over again they have successfully framed complex issues as oppositions between these core values and their opponent’s position. This has worked partly because, instead of engaging in an analysis of these concepts, they equate them with a set of public policies that are assumed to meet the conditions that define them. Thus it would appear that if you do not support their policies, you cannot support moral values, the sanctity of life, or Christianity. A closer examination of the fallacious reasoning underpinning each of the Christian right’s core myths will follow.

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Why Have A Wayshower?

Earth humans enter this glorious stage of transition into the New Aquarian (Golden) Age having had a vast variety of religious and spiritual experiences.

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We Are Interconnected Within the Divine Plan

If Jesus Is A Wayshower, What Does He Show Us?

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Source Code: The Paradoxical Teachings of the Historical Jesus

 This work employs the critical-historical research of Crossan, Funk and other leading historical Jesus scholars in order to demonstrate that a language of paradoxical reversals informs the very texture of Jesus’ experience of the Kingdom of God of God. By showing how the same paradoxical structure can be identified within the deep structure of the most memorable parables and aphorisms of Jesus that have been handed down to us in the synoptic gospels, I argue that a language of paradox can re-activate the earliest memory of the historical Jesus prior to his indoctrination in the Christian tradition proper. And in offering an over-arching criteria for what is historically authentic about the many words that have been attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, I argue that it is possible to uncover a “source code” for the original teachings of Christ, and thereby provide a fruitful way in which to distinguish the Founder of Christianity – Jesus of Nazareth, from what was Founded – the Christian Church.    This work employs the critical-historical research of Crossan, Funk and other leading historical Jesus scholars in order to demonstrate that a language of paradoxical reversals informs the very texture of Jesus’ experience of the Kingdom of God of God. By showing how the same paradoxical structure can be identified within the deep structure of the most memorable parables and aphorisms of Jesus that have been handed down to us in the synoptic gospels, I argue that a language of paradox can re-activate the earliest memory of the historical Jesus prior to his indoctrination in the Christian tradition proper. And in offering an over-arching criteria for what is historically authentic about the many words that have been attributed to Jesus of Nazareth, I argue that it is possible to uncover a “source code” for the original teachings of Christ, and thereby provide a fruitful way in which to distinguish the Founder of Christianity – Jesus of Nazareth, from what was Founded – the Christian Church.       

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