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The Salvation of Religion: From Beliefs to Knowledge

Much has been written and countless discussions have ensued in recent years about the seemingly inevitable decline of Christianity and rise of secularism in America in the 21st century, which is along the lines of what happened in Europe in the mid 20th century.

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Uncertainty is Trust’s Shadow

Catholics and other Christians misunderstand and misrepresent Jesus, as will be explained, if they believe he “happens to be God” and to be literally human and divine. They should renounce such ideas, because only in a mythological story can Christ be presented as divine. Such myths are not factual or historical, but were written to express convictions about the commitment of a transcendent God. ?

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What Have We Done?

I do not think that very many people believe that we have a very healthy attitude towards human sexuality in the Western World today, especially in the USA.

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From History To Mystery, The Life And Teachings Of The Historical Jesus

This book explores the quest for the Historical Jesus and seeks to discover the original meanings of his teachings, in particular his kingdom of God teachings. You will learn about the last 200 years of Jesus research, including the Jesus Seminar. The author discusses Gnosticism, The Gospel of Thomas, The Secret Gospel of Mark, The Gospel of Mary Magdalene along with the four canonical gospels; Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The author spends much of her time investigating the Parables of Jesus. In the parables, Jesus preaches about “the kingdom of God.” This concept is taught by Jesus on two levels. One for the masses and one for his inner circle. The uncovering the “secret teachings” of the parables is very illuminating and inspirational. Whether you are a seminary student, pastor, educator, or layperson; this is a must read on the subject of the historical teachings of Jesus! The book was written by a respected scholar in Historical Christianity, Dr. Lisa Morris.

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Christianity isn’t News

How Christianity not being news is actually a large portion of its very strength.The truth is… Christianity isn’t news. I don’t mean in modern terms either; I mean in ancient terms. Christianity isn’t news, and it never really was. When Christianity came along, it was literally nothing new. The amount of parallels between Christianity and various other religions around the world (the oldest of course dating back to Ancient Egypt or even earlier) is astonishing.;Nothing in the Bible was original. Almost every last item attributed exclusively to Jesus, for example, including the things he said or did (or anything that happened to him), can be readily traced back to another source far more ancient than Christianity or the birth of Christ.

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Charter for Compassion

A call to bring the world together…We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

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What About Sin?

Obviously how we think about sin changes how we think about repentance, forgiveness and reconciliation.  If we understand sin to be primarily personal… the burden is on us individually to change our behavior. Change in personal behavior is always good when we identify behaviors and thoughts that we know we need to change.  But personal change does not adequately deal with destruction and hurt and evil that can come from the corporate, communal sin. For example: we might know that we have to change our attitudes toward homeless persons…and be more generous in our personal charity.  And it is good to do so.  But that still does not change the structural economic and political situations that will continue to result in more and more homeless people.  Or we might become aware that we personally need to be more open minded to those who are different from us.  So personal transformation is good.  But that does not change the systems of racism, sexism or homophobia. That infuses much of our cultural landscape.

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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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