A Religious Utopia Turned Nightmare

“Their emigration to Jonestown in Guyana, South American represents another leg of the African Diaspora, but this time black bodies are stolen and killed not by the hands of white slave hunters, but rather by a religious …

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Human Sexuality

Surely, the time has come for local churches and national denominations to take a much more liberal and compassionate view and celebrate all healthy sexual relationships that have been developed between married or unmarried adult couples who are committed to living within loving monogamous relationships? Churches now need to go beyond the pretence of the turning of a blind eye to any long term supportive, loving unmarried co-habiting relationships and openly acknowledge that these are healthy relationships to be celebrated rather than to be condemned.

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The Basics: Mission Development

The healthy church has a fundamental orientation: outward.

Leaders don’t ask, “What do our members want?” Instead, they ask, “What does the world around us need?”

Leaders understand that a missional mindset is the heart of all church development. New constituents, for example, are rarely attracted by better and better worship. They want to know what a congregation stands for and what it is doing in the world for others.

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First Impressions Interview with John Shelby Spong On “Biblical Literalism as a Gentile Heresy”

A close reading of Matthew’s gospel reveals that a literal understanding of Jesus’s story obscures its deep Jewish roots. John Shelby Spong joins Art Remillard to discuss his new book, Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy. Spong was the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000, and he is the author of several books to include Why Christianity Must Change or Die and his autobiography Here I Stand.

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Voting: A Call to Action for Congregations

Voting is liturgical. It’s a ritual expression of love for others when we vote for candidates and for ballot propositions that help to assure the welfare of our vulnerable fellow citizens. Our votes are forms of tithes or offerings that deserve blessing or dedication in worship. By lifting up voting in worship, we take it to heart and commit ourselves to participate. With voter turnout in a steep decline in recent years, congregations are needed more than ever to make a difference. The time to plan election-related events in our churches is now!

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The Basics: Stewardship Development

  [We continue a look at the basics of church wellness. This week: Stewardship Development.] Stewardship Development is perhaps the most complicated and overlooked ministry of the church. Two reasons for this: it’s easier and safer to …

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Forward to the Basics: Spiritual Development

The path to spiritual development isn’t all that complicated. It’s the motivation to walk that path which tends to stymie people.

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Seeking Transformational Leaders – Boston University Doctor of Ministry

Boston University School of Theology’s Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership seeks leaders who are called to transform their communities, their churches, their ministries, and their world.   Boston University School of Theology has designed its Doctor …

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Response to Article on the Anglicans’ Penalties for Our Episcopal Church

“It is reassuring to read that the Episcopal Church does not intend to compromise its support for gay marriage (“Episcopal Church Stands firm on Gay Marriage,” January 17). At least the American branch of Anglicanism recognizes that …

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The Basics: Communications Strategy

Most church communications speak to the wrong audience.

They speak to insiders. Newsletters, whether online or printed, function as bulletin boards announcing events to members. Blogs help the pastor sell programs and convey inside-the-walls news to members. Lay councils use communications to pass along financial news and fund-raising appeals to members.

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Entering the Kingdom: What The Historical Jesus Teaches Us about The Kingdom of God

eBooklet

Scholars agree that the core of Jesus’ message was “the kingdom.” But what is the kingdom? And what is its relevance for us today? In this booklet, Robert Perry draws out the radical message of the kingdom, its diagnosis of the human condition and its prescription for the cure. Through commentary and practical exercises, we learn that Jesus’ message carries just as much liberating power for our lives today as it did when it first was spoken.

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Leadership Development Part 2

To move forward, congregations need to address these challenges and recruit, train and support leaders who can function effectively in a context marked by volatility, unpredictability, complexity and ambiguity. This will mean working in partnership with the clergy, and not in opposition to them, and accepting their need for training and accountability.

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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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“Pope-’splaining” Catholic Church’s Homophobia

It’s not enough for Francis to say he embraces our community. He must also do it.

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Leadership Development part 1: Starting with the Negatives

Like any organization, churches tend to depend on effective leadership. Without effective leaders, churches are unable to make necessary decisions, to deal with changing situations, to hire effective staff, to allocate resources, to deal with conflict, and to prevent bullies from hurting constituents.

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The Basics: Membership Development

  [In “Forward to the Basics,” we are taking a fresh look at best practices in the critical areas of church life. This week: Membership Development.] Any church can grow. Any church can have a lively community. …

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Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy

Now Available in paperback!

In this profound work, bestselling author and the former Episcopal Bishop of Newark John Shelby Spong offers a radical new way to look at the gospels today. Pulling back the layers of misunderstanding created over the centuries by Gentile ignorance of things Jewish, he reveals how a literal reading of the Bible is so far removed from the original intent of the Jewish authors of the gospels that it has become an act of heresy.

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“Forward to the Basics”

Forget going “back to the basics.” Time never goes backward. Instead, let’s go “forward to the basics.”

Specifically, let’s spend the next few weeks grounding ourselves in the basic “best practices” that, if implemented, will help your congregation to become healthy, to grow in mission, ministry and membership, and to do God’s desired work of transforming lives.

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