Seasons and Self: Discourses on Being ‘at Home’ in Nature

Seasons and Self is a courageous exploration into religious naturalism – sometimes called the ‘forgotten alternative’ – as well as contemporary critical biblical studies by one of Australia’s leading progressives, Rex A. E. Hunt. A self-professed religious naturalist, progressive liturgist, and social ecologist., he belongs squarely within a post-liberal/ ‘progressive’ orientation.

Rex A E Hunt acknowledges the principle attributed to the Brazilian theologian Rubem Alves: “I am not after conclusions… Conclusions are meant to shut… Every conclusion brings the thought process to a halt.” The present collection is an invitation to readers to become curious and excited about what they read, and to explore further – beyond the tyranny of clear and distinct ideas! The author is concerned about ‘likelihoods’ and being ‘open-ended’ rather than closing any discussion with persuasion by argument. The intent is to strike a chord rather than ‘shoehorning’ something – ideas, answers, doctrine, correct belief – into people, often challenging the parochial and limited claims of traditional religions, or so-called pious biblical argument based on a proof-text zeal.

While both science and progressive religion are to the fore in the topics and chapters of the collection of sermons, addresses and keynote presentations, there is also a strong hint of the poetic – all evoking a sense of awe and wonder at nature and the natural, rather than the supernatural. A radical theo-eco-logy! Themes addressed include evolution, earth, cosmos, food and wisdom, as well as Autumn, children, celebration and humour. All grounded in the Ordinary… in the hope that, collectively, they will stir one’s own imagination.

“Nature and naturalism are for us today the main game for any progressive spirituality,” writes the author. “We are fully linked with our surroundings in time, space, matter/energy, and causality, and where the metaphor of ‘web’ is used to describe this interrelatedness – we create the web and the web creates us…”

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What it Really Means to Hold Space for Someone

How to ‘be there’ for the people who need you most.

How to ‘be there’ for the people who need you most.

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Memorial Day Reflections

Perhaps it is time we not only remember those who have died in the wars from our own country, but from others.

For if we see the damage done, and to who it is done, viz., the poorer and middle classes of all warring nations, we will finally recognize that all these wars have been constructed by the wealthy and powerful to preserve and bolster their own interests.

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Mystical Activism: Transforming a World in Crisis

To call these “end times” is hardly hyperbolic. We are in trouble and the signs are everywhere: extreme political divisions; xenophobic violence; enormous wealth inequity; poverty and homelessness; sexism and ageism; arms buildups and unending wars; and, most frightening of all, escalating climate disruption.

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Faith, Hope, Compassion – Paul’s Answer to the Global Stress Epidemic

When Paul dictated a paean to love in his message to Corinth, he was not thinking of wedding ceremonies; rather, he was imploring the community to overcome internal conflict.

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Mona Haydar – Barbarian

Western standards of beauty currently dominate our world because we still live in the imperial model which continues to colonize and enslave. We resist white supremacy, “western” superiority and colonized ways of thinking and being by LOVING ourselves, generously, beautifully and joyfully in spite of any active or subliminal efforts to make us feel unworthy of love and life.

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If you’re sad about Rachel Held Evans (and other un-answered prayers).

If you haven’t heard, or if you need confirming that it wasn’t all a terrible dream, Rachel Held Evans—beloved author, truth-teller, and icon for a generous Christianity—passed away yesterday morning, after a brief and unexpected storm of health complications. She was only 37—two years younger than me.

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Reflections on the Fire of Notre Dame

Two of my favorite places in Paris are the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Montmartre and the Cathedral of Notre Dame. One can’t help be raptured by their architectural beauty, enduring tradition and the inspired art that adorns these honored places. But the fire in the Notre Dame Cathedral reminds us of the temporality of these sacred structures and artifacts. Or as the Buddhists would say, “nothing is permanent,” a reality that forces us to look more deeply into what a symbol represents and calls us to ponder.

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An Unfinished Mystic

Lonely Mystic: A New Portrait of Henri J. M. Nouwen is the most intimate glimpse of Henri yet, if that’s even possible, given his intimate self-portrayals in almost every one of his own books. It may make those who want to see Henri canonized squirm a little, though not because of any illicit affairs or theological heresies or tasteless behavior. He was the consummate “best little boy in the world” that every gay boy and man wants to be, but his calling to a celibate vocation kept him lonely and needy and sometimes, broken.

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For My Highest Good

It is my deepest desire to return light and sound to our cosmos for the benefit of all humanity. I know that in my heart of hearts, this intention of singing and speaking clearly my desire to uplift humanity at this particular time on the earth plane is what I came here for and I hope it is for my Highest Good for all concerned. 

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Rob Bell Quote

“Love is what God is, love is why Jesus came, and love is why he continues to come, year after year to person after person… May you experience this vast, expansive, infinity indestructible love that has been  yours all along. May you discover that this love is as wide as the sky and as small as the cracks in your heart no one else knows about, and may you know, deep in your bones, that love wins.”

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Overcoming the real challenges humanity faces.

If you don’t take the last consequential step out of these ill-fated institutions, as well-meaning as they might be, how will humanity be able to overcome the real challenges humanity faces, if humanity does not choose to take responsibility for itself instead of waiting to be saved?

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And this is it. This is the life we get here on earth.

And this is it. This is the life we get here on earth. We get to give away what we receive. We get to believe in each other. We get to forgive and be forgiven. We get to love imperfectly. And we never know what effect it will have for years to come. And all of  it…all of  it is completely worth it.

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Easter Week: A New Narrative

The profundity of Christianity is that nothing in it has but one meaning.

So it is with Easter Week.

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Five Weeks and a Holy Week

Are you envious because of my generosity? The question seemed to jump off the page. Far too often, I have felt envious because someone got something I felt I was entitled to – and I realized that I, like the laborers in the vineyard, begrudge God’s generosity. And, of course, envy and entitlement are major impediments when it comes to living a truly grateful life.

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No Human Being is Illegal

Sermon by Rev. Elizabeth Durant delivered on June 18, 2018 at First Congregational UCC Portland.

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Each Maundy Thursday we must peer beyond Passover lambs and scapegoats if we are to catch a glimpse of the LOVE that we call God

Every Sunday I stand at the altar and preside over a mystery. A mystery that has its roots in the events we remember this Holy Thursday. On Maundy Thursday, we gather together to contemplate MYSTERY. We know what will happen tomorrow as Good Friday plunges us into darkness. So is it any wonder that we cannot fully comprehend this MYSTERY.

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Is the Solution to Nursing Home Abuse to Care for Elders Ourselves?

As Americans, our individualist society can often disconnect us from those who need our help — especially the elderly. While many other cultures have extended families living in one home together, Americans typically branch off on their own. While this independence can be enjoyable, it also can put vulnerable populations at risk.

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