Fishing for Young People Will NOT Save the Church!

A sermon for Epiphany 3B – Mark1:14-20

What I am suggesting is that if we be authentic to who we are; if we play to our many strengths we will continue to be the kind of congregation which is attractive to all ages. Healthy communities are attractive. Communities who know who they are and who they serve are healthy communities. Healthy communities are able to play to their strengths. We don’t need to become what we are not in order to survive. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need to challenge ourselves to be more than we are. It does mean that we need to remain open to the challenges of the world in which we live.

But from time to time, we need to hold up a mirror and celebrate who we are together. Holy Cross is fearfully and wonderfully made. We have so much potential. So many strengths. Yes, there is so much more that we can be.

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Gathering

Have you come here this morning looking for hope and good news?
Yes! We have been searching for ways to draw new meanings from our old stories.

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#TimesUp

This is the second in a four part series on the #MeToo movement.

This is the second in a four part series on the #MeToo movement. This one, “#Time’s Up” addresses the hope for dramatic change in the nature of male and female coupling and the dangers inherent in allowing the revolution to lose its ethical moorings.

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A Prayer to NoOneUpThere

I first discovered the Reverend David Keighley and his poem “Leaving Home” years ago in a newsletter published by Bishop John Shelby Spong. I read “Leaving Home” every Friday as part of my early morning quiet time, when I do prayers (Progressive Christian style), relevant readings, and prep for the day. I always look forward to my weekly time reviewing “Leaving Home.” It helps me realize that I am not in this alone as I try to paddle upstream and show people an alternative to the church’s fourth-century approach to living in the twenty-first century.

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Sermon: Us, Evolution, and the Universe

Everyone in this room shares 99% of their DNA with everyone else. And 98.8% with chimps. And 50% with bananas. How can that be? Well, most of our DNA contains instruction on cell reproduction, a process that all living things share. But it’s that 1% that differentiates us- blue eyes and brown, a big nose, a little nose, 5’6” and 6’5”. And 4% of that one per cent is from our Neanderthal cousins. Homo Sapiens who stayed in Africa never met Neanderthal and so have none of that DNA. The rest of us do.

Given these facts, certain questions arise. The first question is: who are we?? What are we??

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Gospel Americana, the music at Thad’s

Thad’s Band plucks the heartstrings with tunes that evoke real-life spiritual experience. The lyrics, peppered with oblique biblical references, invite the listener to explore their many possible meanings. Thad’s Band vibrates the essence of progressive Christianity, lyrically liberating the faith from the confines of dead dogma. Like the kin-dom of heaven that’s coming but already here, Thad’s Band is the present future of music for progressive worship.

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Robin Meyers Interview: Do you call yourself a Christian?

ProgressiveChristianity.org’s Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you call yourself a Christian?,

Robin Meyers is Senior Minister of the Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

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The Power Hidden in a Choice

The two-faced Roman god, Janus, was often portrayed as a door with one face looking toward where you have been and the other looking towards where you are going. New Year’s Day ushers us into the month of January, named for Janus, symbolically suggesting that we are leaving an old year and entering a new one. Which seems like a good idea, especially this year, as long as we don’t drag our anger, resentment, and hurt from 2017 into 2018.

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If I Lose My Faith

In Alabama’s special election this week, more than 70% of white voters, most of whom are church going Christians, voted for a known racist, homophobe, xenophobe, Islamophobe, who was very credibly charged with multiple counts of pedophilia. There is a serious disconnect between the message of the gospels and public ethic on display here, a gap we must insist upon closing.

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Every Christmas is a Thin Place – Christmas Eve Sermon

Christmas, every Christmas is a Thin Place. According to the Irish, a Thin Place is a place where the boundaries between heaven and earth fall away. Every Christmas is a Thin Place where the boundaries between our everyday existence and the reality that we are all part of something so much bigger than ourselves, well these boundaries fade away at Christmas. Thin Places are those precious moments in time when the sacred can be seen in the everyday stuff of life. Christmas with its powerful parables, myths, metaphors, and symbols acts as a giant welcoming Thin Place were the boundaries and veils fall away and we are able to recognize the sacred in ourselves, in one another, and in the world around us. I could go on and on about the power of Thin Places to open us to the reality of the LOVE that we call God. But rather than try to explain how the Christmas stories, parables, myths, metaphors, and symbols create thin places, let me tell you a story designed to create a thin place where together we can see the veil between the scared and the everyday fade away.

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‘A different kind of church’: Boulder campus ministry reflects on its 100-year evolution

By Elizabeth Hernandez

Walking into the Wesley Fellowship building on a frigid Wednesday night, the first thing that hits you is the warmth — both temperature-wise and decor.

The voices of the Mosaic Gospel Choir bounce off the wood-paneled, A-frame ceiling. Downstairs, cozy couches with vibrant pillows and floor cushions beckon visitors to kick back with a cup of coffee brewing in the corner.

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David Ketchum: Telling the Truth About the Afterlife

Due to an unexpected flight cancelation, Roger Ray was not able to get to Springfield to deliver this sermon so he asked his friend and associate pastor to deliver it in his absence. The content addresses the religious and philosophical acceptance of mortality rather than asserting the existence of a personal and individual afterlife. This message is not going to be easy for everyone to hear but it deserves to be considered by both progressive people of faith and those who hold to more traditional beliefs.

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It’s Not Necessarily So: A Senior Priest Separates Faith from Fiction and Makes Sense of Belief

The title says it all! It’s Not Necessarily So: A Senior Priest Separates Faith from Fiction and Makes Sense of Belief. A wise parish priest and educator not only tackles the problems in the institution of the Catholic Church and the dogma of the Catholic faith, but also offers solutions and spiritual insights.

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Some Virgins and a Rabbi meet Sophia: a sermon on the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids and Sophia

The parable of the ten, what??? Bridesmaids??? Really, ten bridesmaids, it sounds like the set up for some elaborate joke. Ten bridesmaids were waiting for a bridegroom, they waited so long that they fell asleep! I don’t know, you fill in the rest! I’ve never been much good at telling jokes, I’m more of a storyteller. Part of the fun of a story is the journey itself, but when you tell a joke you have to worry about punch lines. I tend to forget punch lines, or if I do remember them, I usually manage to mess them up and loose the laugh. So, there were these ten bridesmaids waiting for a bridegroom. Five of the bridesmaids were wise and five of the bridesmaids were foolish. The wise bridesmaids brought along some extra oil for their lamps, the foolish bridesmaids did not. Long before the bridegroom arrived all ten of the bridesmaids fell asleep. Yada yada yada!

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How Toxic Shame Turns Evangelization Into Abuse

Toxic shame is one of the most powerful forces in human culture.

It is commonly discussed in therapy and self-help circles. People also regularly talk about the “guilt and shame” of cultural Christianity, especially as it relates to sexuality.

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For Christ’s Sake! It’s Not About God!

– a sermon on the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25: 14-30

We all know full well that millions and millions are suffering and dying and yet to protect ourselves we bury what has been given to us, because we are afraid of being consumed by the wicked master who will surely banish us into the darkness if we do not keep safe what we have been given. We dare not risk loosing anything at all, lest we end up in the outer darkness weeping and gnashing our teeth.

So, for the most part we play it safe and we don’t take any risks and we spend our lives living in fear of that wicked master. If I had to draw a line between the wicked slave-master and some character, I wouldn’t have that line end up with God. Indeed, I’m sure that the wicked master is not God.

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A Review of John Shelby Spong’s “Unbelievable”

By Zachary Houle

Once in awhile, a book comes along that completely shatters your Christian world view… Unbelievable basically takes all you think you knew about the church and the Bible, and aims to turn everything on its head.

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The Arts of Ritual

  Recently, my daughter, Liz Burklo, invited me to speak with a group of the social work student interns she supervises. She wanted me to equip them with skills in conducting rituals that can serve the communities …

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