An analysis of the films: God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2

An analysis of the films: God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2

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How a “Non-theist” Celebrates “The Holidays,” Part II

The Christmas holidays are even trickier for those who give even a token nod to a long-held doctrinal claim
of orthodox Christianity; that a theistic god somehow enters into the human story, rather than arising out of
our own consciousness and human imagination.

How then might a self-professed non-theist celebrate the nativity of a Galilean sage from days long gone
by, and call it holy? It lies in an ancient message that – more often than not – runs counter to the cultural
and political climate; but is central to the character and teachings of Jesus.

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Preaching Christmas Eve in the Wake of New Testament Scholarship

In 2008, our little congregation played host to John Dominic Crossan who has been acclaimed as world’s most famous New Testament scholar. Crossan’s visit to our congregation began with a public lecture based on his best-selling book The First Christmas in which he and Marcus Borg provide a splendid historical outline of the development of the birth narratives. I had the dubious honour of standing before his enlightened audience on Christmas Eve to preach in the great man’s wake. What follows is the Christmas Eve sermon I preached just three weeks after Dom’s illuminating visit.

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An Inappropriate Christmas

by Zach Christensen for Patheos

his past Sunday, many people began celebrating Advent, the season in which the majority of Western Christian churches commemorate the birth of Jesus. As we progress toward Christmas, there will be a many sermons preached about shepherds, wise men, innkeepers who are total jerks, and unplanned visits from angels. However, there is one passage from the birth narrative of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew that I think truly captures the meaning of Christmas.

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CalledOUT Response on Judicial Council Rulings

  In a week where United Methodist LGBTQI persons have been tokenized through the announcement of the Council of Bishops’ Special Commission on “A Way Forward,” we are not surprised, but are nonetheless harmed once again by …

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Here We Stand, For We Can Do No Other – A Sermon for Reformation Sunday

The radical nature of Jesus’ teachings which opened people up to a whole new understanding of who and what God is and empowers people to live in relationship to God in ways that enable them to live into the power of love; these teachings remained at the core of Christianity, but the Church’s need for power all too often corrupted the teachings in ways that were designed to keep the members of the church in line so that the powers that be could maintain their power. The excesses of the church became so intolerable that over the centuries many of the church’s own brightest and best challenged the powers that be by reminding the church of the teachings of Jesus and calling the church back to those teachings; none more so than, Martin Luther whose actions we celebrate by calling to mind the Reformation. 499 years ago, Luther nailed his 95 Theses, to the doors of the church at Wittenberg, which pointed out the horrendous abuses of the church and prescribed measures designed to heal the church and bring it back into right relationship with God so that the members of the church could once again become justice-seekers and peace makers and live into the Love that is the source of our being.

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United Methodist Queer Clergy Respond to Naming of Special Commission

We speak as a collective voice with the authority of those who are called and claimed by a God whose love knows no bounds; as those whose Commissioning and Ordination have been affirmed by the Church: we …

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“LGBTQI Clergy Call UM “Way Forward” Commission Backward”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Rev. Alex da Silva Souto, alex.souto@nyac-umc.com, 415-706-5397 “LGBTQI Clergy Call UM “Way Forward” Commission Backward” October 26, 2016—On Monday, the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church announced the membership of the …

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What My Universalism Is and Is Not

  If you spend more than 20 minutes with me, either in person or on social media, you will no doubt pick up on the fact that I am an unabashed Universalist. I have no qualms about …

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A Word to the Spiritual Seekers

Our question to the church is “How can we grow and evolve in our experience and understanding of the Mystery of the universe if we close our ears and minds to the creative voices that push us beyond the traditional views?”

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Celebrating 25 Years as Open & Affirming at IUCC

Irvine United Congregational Church is celebrating 25 years of welcoming people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions into the full community and life of the church. The church was a pioneer in becoming the first Orange County congregation to adopt an Open and Affirming declaration and later became a leader in the fight for marriage equality. Irvine UCC will celebrate this monumental anniversary with an event featuring former IUCC pastor the Rev. Fred Plumer.

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United Methodist Church’s Inhospitality Toward Its LGBTQs

The United Methodist Church is in the need of prayer. And, one that emphasizes full inclusion of all its parishioners.

At General Conference this month in Portland the struggle to move the church’s moral compass against its anti-LGBTQ policies was courageously demonstrated when over 100 United Methodist Church(UMC) ministers and faith leaders came out to their churches – with Rev. Jay Williams of Union United Methodist Church in Boston’s South End as one of them.

While these ministers and faith leaders undoubtedly moved the hearts of many the church’s policies remain unmoved.

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What if Time Has No Beginning and No End? – Video Sermon

Accepting that the world has a beginning and an end leads to a dismissive view of poverty, pollution, warfare, and social classes. While everyone certainly has a right to their personal beliefs about life after death, Muslims, Christians, and Jews must focus on the life that we know and to root our faith in what we can see in front of us. The early church was so confident that Jesus was coming back soon that they ignored many important matters of ethics. We cannot afford to make that mistake.

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Easter Rising

Celtic Christianity, whose model was the beloved disciple whose head rested on Jesus’ breast during the Last Supper “listening for the heartbeat of God,” offered more equality between male and female leadership and less differentiation between clergy and laity, permitted married and unmarried clergy, innovated the use of soul friends/guides, believed redemption was possible through either sacraments or nature, recognized and valued the theophanies of the natural world, and recognized that everyone was a child of God, created in God’s image.

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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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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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Made On Earth – How the gospel writers created the Christ

NEW TITLE RELEASE 21st January 2016

In this book Lorraine Parkinson sets out compelling reasons why the gospels may be found to have been ‘made on earth’. She builds a strong argument that each gospel was written to make a distinct case for Jesus as the Christ. She presents detailed evidence that the Christ of the gospels is the creation of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, plus later editors. The sub-text of this book contends that by including teachings of Jesus alongside claims for him as Christ, gospel writers bequeathed to Christianity two contradictory gospels – the gospel of Jesus and the gospel about Jesus.

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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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