Yeshu: A Novel for the Open-Hearted

In this lyrical, Quaker retelling of the New Testament saga, readers are invited in to experience the resonant silences in the written record by joining the storytelling carpenter Yeshu, his young neighbors Daavi and Shoshana, and a band of fellow seekers as they travel through wilderness, village, and city in search of what is divine and what it means to be human.

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UNBOUND: Liberty, Freedom and the Gift of Liberation

A Commentary for the Observance of Independence Day, 2015

Liberty and Freedom: People – especially politicians, it seems – frequently use the two terms interchangeably, as if they were the same thing. But while civil liberties can be legislated and personal freedoms can be infringed upon, there is something autonomous about personal choices and actions that can never ultimately be denied or encumbered. “Freedom is not something that anybody can be given,” the late author and civil rights activist, James Baldwin, once said. “Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.”

An earlier commentary considered the two ideas of conscience and consciousness as a spiritual component and practice of human experience. These comments are written as we approach our nation’s annual observance of the Independence Day holiday; exploring what might constitute a progressive Christian perspective of a kind of liberating “freedom” that is comprised of loosing the bonds of all the little deaths we die, and binding oneself to that which can irrepressibly spring once more to life.

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Peter the Rock: What the Roman Papacy was, and what it might become

Who would dare to challenge the tradition that Jesus appointed Peter to be the rock, the foundation of the Christian Church? Who would even explore the possibility that Peter did not found the Christian Church and become …

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Conscience and Consciousness

A Spiritual Path for Personal Transformation

An aging Vietnam vet suffering from PTSD returns to Da Nang after 50 years in order to try to do something for those still afflicted generations later by the lingering toxic affects of Agent Orange. His nagging conscience leads to a redemptive act of self-healing and a common good.

Spirituality is often an amorphous and bandied about term that too often connotes the merely religious type, as somehow distinct from those who are not. Instead, I appreciate something as equally shared as it is often neglected, namely the human conscience and our sometimes-belated conscious awareness of it.

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Life of Truth: A Synoptic Gospel (Kindle Edition)

Many Biblical scholars maintain that the recovery of the historical Jesus is impossible, that “only a whisper” of him remains in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. They point out that the gospel writers, unconstrained by modern standards …

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The Politics of Jesus

Part 1: the politics of the domination system The word ‘politics’ comes from the Greek word politikos, meaning “of, for, or relating to the polis.” Polis literally means ‘city’ in Greek. It can also mean ‘citizenship’ and …

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Easter is About Seeing Those at the Margins

With a new understanding about suffering and how it victimizes the innocent and its aborts the Christian mission of inclusiveness, Jesus’ death at Calvary invites a different hermeneutic than its classically held one.

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Jesus the Cold Case – Documentary

In his native New Zealand Bryan Bruce writes, directs and hosts the internationally successful crime show THE INVESTIGATOR in which he re- examines unsolved crimes In 2010 he decided to apply his criminal investigative methods to the ultimate cold case : Who Killed Jesus and Why?

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Emmaus is Nowhere because Emmaus is Everywhere – Is Christianity Dead?

a sermon for Easter 3A – Luke 24:13-35

We must treat the earth with the same kind of compassion that you would want from creation; the same kind of compassion you would want from the divine. As we travel this road to Emmaus, it becomes less and less important for us to believe in a certain way and vital that we behave with compassion. God is not dead. God is alive and well. God walks with us on the road. God is our companion on the road.

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A Place for Everyone at the Table

As Christians we are called to love one another above all else, but what happens when we unwittingly bring in elements that illicit feelings of exclusion, rather than loving inclusion, among those at our worship services? Monette Chilson explores two practices with the potential to ostracize and calls us to reexamine them.

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The Birth of Jesus in Digital Format

Now in digital format! While Luke’s narrative, the most detailed account of the birth of Jesus, is lyrical and inspiring, in The Birth of Jesus, Spong persuasively demonstrates it is allegory. Layer by layer, Spong weighs every element of the New Testament stories against Old Testament legends building a convincing case. Spong’s 16 original essays step backward and forward through the scriptures demonstrating why each element was chosen by the early CE writers to establish Jesus’ lineage and divinity. It is a fascinating and persuasive journey and a remarkable illustration of Biblical scholarship.

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Je Suis Jésus

Satire and Blasphemy in the Teachings of a Galilean Sage

Radical religious extremists with a distorted view of Islam commit horrific acts of terror, executing the staff of a small satirical French publication. The satirists had dared to depict the Prophet Mohammed in cartoon caricature; all the while lampooning those misbegotten adherents who in turn regard such irreverent acts as blasphemous.

The Western world reacts with outrage and defiance to such an affront. World leaders join a million person protest and unity march through the streets of Paris, chanting “Je Suis Charlie,” in defense of freedom of speech, and on behalf of the publication’s name.

While a clear distinction might be drawn between the use of words and the vehement reactions they may incite, more profound underlying questions remain. While anti-blasphemy laws are common in Muslim countries, countless other “secular” countries have laws against the defamation of religion, as well. Once the dust settles and more thoughtful discussion ensues, one might ask what constitutes the differences between hate speech and freedom of expression?

This commentary consider s esus’ use of what was deemed blasphemous satire, it’s intended purpose, and well-known consequences.

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Time to Talk about Trinity, Monotheism and Panentheism

Jesus Seminar scholars (Marcus Borg, Karen Armstrong, John Spong) talk about the panentheism beyond traditional monotheistic faith. We can love and cherish the concepts of trinity, atonement, substitutionary faith without taking them literally. God is too big for any one religion.

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Marcus J. Borg Quotes

Rather, the way of Jesus is the way of death and resurrection — the path of transition and transformation from an old way of being to a new way of being. To use the language of incarnation that is so central to John, Jesus incarnates the way. Incarnation means embodiment. Jesus is what the way embodied in a human life looks like.”

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Marcus Borg on Christianity

“Christianity’s goal is not to escape from this world. It loves this world and seeks to change it for the better.” ~Marcus Borg

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Taking the “Christ” Out of Christmas

The challenge for a progressive Christian who has moved beyond such notions as virgin births and gods disguised in human form come to save us from ourselves is to remember that it is as much a historical development, as it is a theological one. That is, the attribution of a “Christ” title accorded a very human Jesus constitutes the imaginations — if not machinations — of an early Church; consisting of very human, second-generation followers of a 1st century Galilean peasant sage and itinerant preacher. And who all but drowned out the authentic voice of the one who was once born and dwelt among humankind.

Such an assertion is simply based on the fact the historical Jesus never self-identified as the “anointed one,” the Christ.

As such, if one were to remove the Christ-title from the various birth narratives of those secondary traditions of this religious movement, what would remain of the “Christmas story” that has become as prevalently assumed, as it has been unexamined? If we took the Christ out of Christmas, what might remain of the voice of one who was born and dwelt among us?

You can read more here.

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Winter Solstice: 21 Alchemical Reflections from Carl Jung to Pema Chödrön

In the northern hemisphere, this solstice occurs during what is typically the coldest season of the year. Throughout history winter has been regarded as the season of hibernation, stillness, melancholy, famine, dormancy, darkness and cold. The symbolism of the winter solstice to-date represents the coming of lighter days and potentially elevated optimism, energy and hope.

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Monthly eBulletin- The Gift of Presence, Finding the Light Within

The miracle of life is the true Christmas miracle… indeed each breath is a miracle, each moment when we are able to gaze at the stars and see their brilliance is a miracle. And love…that’s the best miracle of all. This Christmas we wish you moments of love, laughter and light.

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