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Retired pastor starts online ‘Doubter’s Parish’

Retired United Methodist pastor Martin Thielen reaches out to skeptics and struggling Christians, offering help and solidarity through his website, Doubter’s Parish. Photo courtesy of the Rev. Martin Thielen.

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Attaching Divine Mandate to other purposes.

Can’t say I disagree on your article: A White Man Makes the Case for Reparations, but it raises at least one question. When God’s people chased inhabitants out of the ‘Promised Land’ I don’t recall any discussion of reparations for the displaced people. Perhaps that is our rationale (excuse) for claiming reparations as a non-issue.

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Why don’t churches do more to change things?

“I stopped going to church because it just seems to be the same thing all the time. Same sermons, same actions, same results. I’m not sure we were actually changing anything. We helped the poor, but they always came back still needing help. Why don’t churches do more to change things?”

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The Myths We Deem to be True and Sacred

In this new year – just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse — something dark and revelatory already happened on that day. Thousands of insurrectionists stormed the Capitol; wielding clubs, and bats, and – in one instance – a Bible.

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Narcissistic Prayer versus the Lord’s Prayer

Can prayers be narcissistic? A great many prayers are in the first person, like the laments in the Psalms. “God help me, rescue me, forgive me, heal me” are typical petitions in the first person. But praying for oneself can become narcissism when concern for oneself supersedes loving our neighbors. 

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Catching People for Christ?

Jesus told the first apostles, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Does that mean we’re supposed to “catch people” for Jesus and convert them to Christianity?

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Experiencing Other Ways to Worship

With the restrictions of gathering because of COVID-19 what are your thoughts on other ways to worship?  Can you experience the same benefits by attending an online service or in an outdoor service where everyone is spread out safely?

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Honest About God: A Review of “With or Without God” by Gretta Vosper

  With or Without God: Why the Way We Live Is More Important Than What We Believe by Gretta Vosper is a book designed to reconstruct the Christian church, to free it from doctrine and superstitious belief. …

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A Colossal Failure of American Religion

The American church has enjoyed many successes. Unfortunately, it’s also been guilty of numerous failures.

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What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?

New Edition with Study Guide: A Guide to What Matters Most

Pastor and author Martin Thielen has compiled a list of ten things people need to believe, and ten things they don’t, in order to be a Christian.

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After the Insurrection Failed

America is horrified and embarrassed but not many of us are shocked. The failed insurrection that took place on Wednesday, January 6th, was planned, orchestrated, inspired, and incited by our president who recently lost re-election and who has been desperate to hold onto power even if he had to destroy democracy to do so.

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Pondering Godliness During a Pandemic

The year of our Lord 2020 provided a perfect storm of agitation and opportunity. We wrestled our way through a contentious political season where we witnessed pillars of moral society abandoned or subverted to advance partisan agendas.

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A look at “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel

A friend of mine recommended the book, “The Case for Christ,” by Lee Strobel. Have you read the book and if so, is it a good read?

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The Red Herring Of ‘Black On Black’ Crime – Continued

As an active UCC member, I was looking forward to reading Dr. Dorhauer’s response. I came away disappointed, however. Though I agree that certainly there are sociological reasons for it (as alluded to at the end), I believe black-on-black crime is a legitimate problem.

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The Lost Christianity of Jesus

How the Early Church Chose Paul over Jesus

How can something be lost if it never existed? Jesus was not the person many Christians make him out to be. He was never a Christian so how can we speak of the Christianity of Jesus? The historic Jesus must be understood as a first century Jew.

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Can a Christian survive in a UU church?

Do I stay where I am or do I join a less Christian church? Either way I will feel like an outsider.

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Why do churches continue to use the Holy Eucharist?

I work in an Episcopal church with Holy Eucharist at the majority of services. The liturgy includes phrases such as “this is holy food” and “come to the feast” when there actually might be five or ten calories in a congregant’s tiny wafer and nip of wine. Following the service, there is usually a coffee hour with sweet snacks and cheese, hundreds of calories per person!

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On Losing and Keeping Faith

I became a Christian believer as a teenager in a conservative evangelical church. Since then I have lost much of my youthful faith. For example, I have lost faith in a literal Bible. It’s beyond me how people in the twenty-first century can still believe everything in the Bible should be taken literally.

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