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Jesus Was Different

I have come to realize how different Jesus was and that his life before his baptism was the foundation for what became Christianity. Although his mission began suddenly when he was about 30, his previous experience must have provided the motivation for what he said and did.

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Traditions, Dead or Alive: Ruminations & Remembrances

When asked in later years how I received my calling to ordained ministry, I used to joke that the burning bush for me was an incinerated draft card.  But with a last name like ‘Bennison,’ (an old English word for ‘blessing,’ or ‘benediction)’ and the first name John (from the Greek”Ἰωάννης” or Hebrew “Yôḥānān” meaning ‘graced by God)’ what else was I to do with my life?

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The Date of Mark’s Gospel

Mark wrote his gospel in Rome in about 52 AD. Such an early date is very much a minority view these days, but the more I investigated the matter the more convinced I became. The date is important because if Mark wrote only about twenty years after Jesus’ crucifixion it supports the essential truthfulness of his account.

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Who is Jesus today?

Distinguishing the Pre-Easter from the Post-Easter Jesus

The pre-Easter Jesus is the historical Jesus, the Jesus before his crucifixion and the experience of Easter Sunday.  He is the Jesus of history, the Jesus who grew up in the peasant village of Nazareth and who, around the age of thirty, launched a public ministry that changed the world.  However, trying to unpack who this Jesus was as an historical person is a daunting task. 

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Choose Your Parade: The 8th Point of Progressive Christianity

On Palm Sunday, there were two parades: one representing oppressive Roman Imperial Theology and one representing the compassion and selfless love of the Reign of God. Join Co-Executive Director of ProgressiveChristianity.org Rev. Dr. Caleb J Lines as he talks about the 8th Point of Progressive Christianity in relation to Palm Sunday.

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The Ending of Luke’s Gospel

I have been thinking about the ending of Luke’s gospel. Luke’s ending (24:1-53) is based on Mark’s ending (16:1-20) and is a modified and magnified version of it. When this is realized one can work out how Luke’s ending developed into its final form. Also one needs to understand that during this period of development a pro-Peter group had become powerful in Rome.

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Resurrection: Conversations with Matthew Fox & Bruce Chilton

Listen to Matthew Fox and Bruce Chilton as they explore the meaning of Easter in a two-session event hosted by Cameron Trimble. These conversations were recorded and are available now for purchase.

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Faith and Free Will

While you can choose to believe in anything, I think faith requires a little more structure. Something more rigid. Something with tradition and maybe even ritual. Something with, God forbid, rules. For a while the faith we choose, or make up, is dependent on the limits of our knowledge, culture and experience, so that faith, definitively chosen, or made up, limits our expression of free will as it imposes on us rules not to be violated.

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Donkey Wisdom for Palm Sunday

Jesus may have been humble. But in the last couple of months, I’ve learned a thing or two about donkeys. And I can say this: Jesus wasn’t humble because he rode into town on a donkey. A donkey is as noble an animal as any horse.

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The Cross as a symbol

I find the notion of human sacrifice abhorrent, and yet the whole dogma of the church is based on the crucifixion of Jesus.   The cross wasn’t even used as a symbol for a hundred years AD, and yet we have it used in church today.  How do I cope?

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The Bible Beyond Religion: Witness to the Evolution of Consciousness

In this book, Don Murray explores the wisdom we can inherit from the Bible after Christianity has faded as a creative religious force.

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Transformative Prayer: Mark 1:29-39

It may seem ludicrous for this “progressive preacher” to find herself tempted to pray for a miracle. But the region in which I live has been under a strict stay-at-home order since Boxing Day. So, right about now I sure could use some sort of miracle to occur which would release us all from this COVID enforced lockdown.

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The Birth Stories of Jesus in Matthew and Luke

Here’s another effort to help Christians better understand Bible stories do not conflict with science, as they are mostly metaphorical. They need not fear and disrespect science, as so many now do, creating havoc in our religious and political worlds.

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Chats with Larry Podcast

Chats with Larry is a podcast of phone call conversations of Rabbi Brian with his best buddy, Larry Keene, a retired minister and sociology professor.

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Caesar and God

As long as everyday Christians avoid the marketplace of ideas, extremist Christians will seem the prevailing voice of Christianity and/or the church. As Bishop Spong has said, religion is like a public pool: all the noise comes from the shallow end.

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Beyond Disavowing the Doctrine of Discovery

Steps for Christians to Dismantle It

Many Christians are ready to address what remains of the Doctrine of Discovery that continues to cause harm. Beyond simply disavowing or repudiating it, they want to help Dismantle the Doctrine of Discovery, recognizing the ongoing harm that it does.

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Satan as Trickster in the Desert: An Experiment in Non-literal Interpretation

If one chooses to interpret the story of Jesus fasting in the desert symbolically, the story becomes an allegory of transformation.

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The Biblical tradition has something solid to give the East and to New Age.

I embrace today’s “new age spirituality” where Mind, Body and Spirit are aligned under a new paradigm of oneness with all –  that no longer supports the dogma of traditional religious institutions. My question is whether there is still room for my bible from which I have found so much comfort and wisdom? 

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