How does a progressive Christian exist with no Christian community?

How does a progressive Christian exist with no Christian community of support even from clergy who certainly do discuss modernized theology? It certainly is a lonely vigil. 

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The Things We Do For Jesus! – a sermon on the Baptism of Jesus

There’s a definition of what it means to be a priest that has always daunted me. A priest it has been said is “a keeper of the mysteries; a keeper of the sacred mysteries of our faith. People often confuse the idea of mystery with the idea of secret. But I can assure you that as a keeper of the mysteries of the faith it is neither my job nor any other priest’s job to keep the mysteries of our faith a secret.

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“Becoming Magi” (Epiphany Sunday Sermon Video)

“The greatest Epiphany is the discovery of the LIght within ourselves.” Watch as Rev. Salvatore Sapienza, pastor of Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ, explains the symbolic meaning of the journey of the Magi.

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After the Patriarchy Falls

In Terry Crews book on Manhood, he talks about targeting high profile sexual predators in order to end patriarchy is like trying to cut a tree down by cutting the leaves. Toxic masculinity is a part of our culture and we need to lay the axe to the trunk of that tree, rooting out the male privilege that has been the source of victimization of women for centuries. Perhaps the current backward trend in our nation is the retreat that will force us to find the activation energy necessary to bring about the fall of the patriarchy.

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America’s Original Sin

President George Washington owned about 120 slaves who worked on his plantation in Virginia but when he moved to Philadelphia to serve as president, he took a few household slaves with him. One of them, Oney Judge, escaped. She spent the rest of her life as a fugitive avoiding being captured by George Washington’s representatives who were under orders to return Oney to slavery. It turns out that George really could tell a lie, as he tried to publicly advocate for liberty and freedom while personally profiting from slave labor even when people all around him were working to bring slavery to an end. America’s original sin deserves reflection today because it still casts a shadow over our nation’s ethical thinking.

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Going Where We’ve Never Been

The turning of the calendar is meaningless in many ways. What really matters is how much of the past dominates our minds. Entering a new year can be powerful if we first set aside our resentments and pain of past disappointments and hurts. Moving into the future can be a time to discover new worlds, new friendships, new love.

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Church Confession

I am the church, and this is my confession.  My last confession was 500 years ago.  I have oppressed women and kept them out of leadership positions.  I have oppressed gay and lesbian people.  I have judged people pointlessly for having normal sexual urges and relationships, treating sex like a disease instead of lifting it up as a precious gift from God. 

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Rabbi Sharon Brous – IKAR Rosh Hashanah Sermon

BUILDING A NEW AMERICA – These are trying times, but we must not let exhaustion or cynicism dull our senses. Our history has taught us: either you work to dismantle oppressive systems, or your inaction becomes the mortar that sustains them. Together we must build America anew: fierce, fair, and full of promise, equipped to hold us in all our diversity, complexity and beauty.

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If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics

These are new prayers for a new age. They spark the spiritual imagination back to life and reorient us to a mystical unity with the universe, Spirit, and all of creation.

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Family, Friends, Food, Credit Card Debt, Guilt, and Resentment

While there never has been a “war on Christmas” there has been plenty of debate among Christian sects as to its “true meaning.” There is, of course, no mention of the holiday in scripture and the two birth narratives in the gospels tell such different stories that we can be thankful that they at least agree on the name of the baby. But if we allow ourselves to ask our modern culture that it really means, beyond the shopping, gift giving, and requisite office parties, the culture, from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” to Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and Hollywood’s classics, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and “A Miracle on 42ndSt.,” it would seem that the true meaning of Christmas is a change in an individual’s heart from being cold, distant, and unloving into something more loving, joyful, and generous. That’s a conversion narrative that isn’t especially religious and, with Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, I will say, “God bless it!”

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Progressive Christianity and the Church?- BRUNCHtalks 9

Together, learning to be LOVE in the world! As we explore the connections between Progressive Christianity and the Church, Brian McLaren’s question: “What if Churches became schools of LOVE?” provides insights into the church’s task to become communities where we can learn to become the most LOVING version of ourselves. This is the last of our BRUNCHtalks for this summer. We have explored what it means to be Progressive in approach: Christ-like in action. 

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Sermons for Christmas Eve

Click on these links for some of the sermons I have preached on Christmas Eve

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The Story of Jesus’ Birth is a Subversive Parable

This sermon, is a distillation of the work of Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan in their excellent book “The First Christmas”

I am indebted to Peter Rollins for his approach to the Christmas story.

Some have said that the birth of Jesus is the most amazing birth story ever told. Jesus birth narrative heralded the arrival of a child who was praised as the Son of God, the Saviour of the World who was said to be the personification of peace on earth; God incarnate; fully divine and fully human. Not everyone agrees that this is the most amazing birth story ever told. Indeed, the story of Jesus birth can’t even claim to be unique. Some claim that Jesus’ birth story is just one of a long line of birth stories. Jesus’ birth story, some claim, is only considered to be unique because it’s our story; our story that we tell over and over at the expense of other birth stories from other communities that are just as great.

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Escaping the Fowler’s Snare

The Psalms are replete with urgent pleadings to be saved from enemies and critics. This ancient repetition of anxiety and panic inspired this modern reflection about anxiety disorders and panic attacks in our society which so often lead to addictive use of prescription medications. PTSD is real but many anxiety disorders are rooted in exaggerated fear of a mean society that is too quick to judge and to gossip. We don’t have to rent space in our skulls to the insincere.

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Prepare the Way For Our God! Become the Prophet Crying FOR the Wilderness!

A sermon preached on the Second Sunday of Advent when John the Baptist Cries

Reading over sermons I have preached about John the Baptist crying in the wilderness, I came across this “cry for the wilderness” that I preached six years ago. Sadly, the wilderness has an even greater need today for prophets who are willing to cry out on its behalf! I offer my plaintiff cry here to inspire my colleagues as they prepare to prepare the way on this coming Sunday.

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Christmas for the spiritual but not religious

Christmas has become about more than Jesus. It’s about the lifting of the human spirit. It’s about kindness and compassion and the glory of being alive!

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Evensong Sermon

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

This is one of my favorite passages in the Christian Scriptures. Imagine someone coming to you, with soft-voiced compassion and saying, “I will give you rest for your soul.” Wouldn’t you want to learn more? Yes, yes, please… and how can you do that?

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Applications are invited for the position of Minister of the Word St Michael’s Uniting Church

Melbourne, Australia

An opportunity exists to lead and guide a receptive congregation, in a prestigious city church to its next phase of spiritual growth and development. The congregation of St Michael’s is looking for a minister who embraces contemporary, …

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