Even Eunuchs and Foreigners are Welcome!

Easter 5B – Acts 8:26-40

What follows is a sermon I preached on the 5th Sunday of Easter 2003. In the 18 years since I preached this sermon, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has come a long way. The debate about the full inclusion of LGBTQ folk in the full life of the church has been resolved and we can truly say: “All are welcome!” But rule changes don’t always change practices. Sadly, there are still places in our church were not everyone is welcome. So, I offer this sermon to cybersapce as both a reminder of where we have been and how far we need to travel. Shalom.

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Evangelicals join interfaith leaders in Washington to promote religious tolerance

As hundreds of Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith leaders from the United States and abroad descended on Washington for a conference on religious tolerance this week, attendees were quick to note an unexpectedly large delegation from one particular religious group: evangelical Christians.

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Musing of a Progressive Christian Layman: Women in Church Leadership

  How can any 21st century woman believe that only men must lead in the home and church and that a woman’s role is to submit to male leadership? How can a woman attend a church that …

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9 Reasons I Never Became Protestant

I have read a lot of articles from my Protestant friends and colleagues celebrating the 500th year of the Protestant Reformation this past year. They varied in timbre and tone—some were overtly triumphalistic while others offered a balanced treatment of the pros and cons.

Despite that, I was struck by how the Reformation just seemed to be taken for granted to be a universally good thing by virtually all Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals. I guess it’s to be expected that people wouldn’t call into question the origins of their own movement. I was still taken aback by how it was simply taken for granted. Whether it is spoken outright or simply implied, the idea that the Reformation was simply a good thing seems embedded within the American consciousness, even at the secular level.

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Preparing to Preach on RESURRECTION: Giving up the notion of a physical resuscitation.

This Sunday worship services will begin with the proclamation that: Christ is Risen! Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia! Let me follow that proclamation up with a good Lutheran question:“What does this mean?” What does it mean that Christ is risen? What does resurrection mean? The truth is that there are about as many different explanations of Christ’s resurrection as there are Christians. And that’s a good thing, because the question of the resurrection is a question that lies at the very heart of Christianity. So, is it any wonder that Christians have been struggling to come to terms with resurrection since the very first rumours that Christ had risen began to circulate. Over the centuries the various responses to the question of resurrection have divided Christians as various camps work out various responses.

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The Transitory Nature of Beliefs, Part II

A reflection and commentary for Holy Week & Easter Observances from the perspective of a progressive thinker from the Christian faith tradition.

  Symbol, Ritual, and Learning to Distinguish True & False Myths Because religious progressives often like to emphasize actions over words, and doing over some musty, ancient, stratified system of believing, I’ve asked what part any creedal statement of belief might still be …

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Will we make it to Spiritual Adulthood?

Question: I am a New Thought Minister who presents the Bible and the Christ in much the same manner as Bishop Spong does in his articles and books. Can the Christ and Christianity survive the adolescence period where all is in flux, change and turmoil and emerge as the loving empowering way of life that Jesus intended and that we so desperately need or will the Fundamentalists win the day? Will we make it to Spiritual Adulthood?

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United Methodist Clergy queers launch new ministry, enfleshed

As queer and trans ministers who have faced significant discrimination in the church, Rev. Anna Blaedel and Rev. M Barclay know personally the impact of harmful words used in religious spaces. Despite the barriers they’ve faced in the institutional church, they’re committed to helping others connect with the Sacred in ways that matter. For this reason, they’re partnering with a board of faith activists, academics, and pastors to launch a new ministry called enfleshed.

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Choosing a Bible

Many of my peers use the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) because it is the updated version of the classic Revised Standard Version (RSV) upon which many of us grew up. Published in 1989, the editors recognized that much misunderstanding had entered into the interpretation of the text because English is inherently biased toward the masculine. In order to mitigate such abuse of the text, all references to humanity are gender-neutral. So it is really one of the better “inclusive language” texts despite it continuing to provide exclusively male language in references to God. At the very least, I would recommend that you not read anything that hasn’t managed to get to a place of gender neutrality with respect to humanity.

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Christians As Truth Seekers and Agnostics

Christianity should encourage and honor the ongoing search for truth. This requires tolerating absence of certainty and respect for emerging scientific knowledge, which leads to updated understanding of human rights and morality. Lessing’s statement about the true value of a person should reflect the view of all who follow the Judeo-Christian tradition, for it focuses on devotion to God through the unending quest for truth rather than holding to cultural idols.

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God Versus the Idea of God

Divinity Is What We Think, Faith Is What We Experience

Some sixteen hundred years ago St. Augustine, the bishop of Hippo said, “To think of God is to attempt to conceive something than which nothing more excellent or sublime exists, or could exist.” But to think of God assumes that the notion, or the idea of (a) god, is already present. What is the idea of God? What is the origin of the idea? Is it God? If so, how did we get it from God—is it innate or discovered in experience? Or, did we simply invent it? (“I wonder?”) Questions, questions, questions.

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87 organizations honored as ‘Certified Best Christian Workplaces’

Largest-ever number of Christian organizations in a six-month span affirms growing vital importance of healthy organizational culture

The Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI), a pioneer in equipping and inspiring Christian leaders to build a flourishing organizational culture, today honored 87 faith-based organizations as Certified Best Christian Workplaces.

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How to Look Bigger:

(or, why it is a problem for progressive Christians to be so exotic....)

Clearly, we are not nearly as visible and audible as we need to be… not for our own sake, but for the sake of the poor, the sick, and the vulnerable.

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A New Christianity is Being Born

Despite the mournful laments of many that Christianity is a dying faith, that churches are no longer relevant, and that religion is perceived as a destructive rather than redeeming exercise, I register my opposition to these claims. The core stories of Christianity are about birth. The Christmas story, with the babe in the manger, the shepherds and the animals, tells of a humble birth heralded by angels. The Easter story is one of new life born out of death.

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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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Rolling The Stone Away: LGBTQI Elders Meet The Next Generation Of Christian Activists At A Watershed Conference

Five hundred years after Martin Luther’s reform, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex people, and allies celebrated fifty years of valiant efforts to make churches Christian—that is, welcoming, inclusive, and just.

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Lessons in Political Theology from Jerusalem

On Wednesday (12/6/17), President Trump announced a dramatic change in Middle East policy by declaring the United States would move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Most Israelis were thrilled. The government of Israel declared Jerusalem to be its eternal capital in 1980. What is important to note about this declaration is that it is an expression of Jewish nationalism. The claim has little support in Jewish history or from Jewish scriptures.

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The Case of Prodigal Job: A Closer Look at Grace and Faith

An important reason for declining biblical literacy, I believe, is spiritual starvation caused by the marriage of fundamentalism and materialistic capitalism in evangelical churches. Many Americans describe themselves as spiritual, not religious; thereby rejecting inflexible moral and religious guidance by churches that measure divine approval in dollars and attendance counts. There are lots of Americans who recognize the difference between genuine piety and marketing success tracked by congregational growth, donations, and merchandise sales.

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