A Letter from Pope Francis on Climate and Environment: Why a Papal Encyclical May Matter

Pope Francis and the Environment: Yale Examines Historic Climate Encyclical. What follows are the transcripts from the Panel on the Papal Encyclical held at Yale University on April 8, 2015.

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An Open Letter to My Readers

It was a very good week for our nation. I rejoice in it, welcome it and give thanks to God for it. The world and the church have the opportunity today to be more profoundly Christian than we were able to be just last week. That is a powerful and a welcomed realization. John Shelby Spong

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What God is Supposed to be Saying

It’s a confusing world out there if you’re attempting to discern what a supernatural, divine being is trying to do and say in this world. Between, on the one hand, the millions of Seventh Day Adventists meeting to argue over whether the Bible permits or disallows the ordination of women, and, on the other, the Archbishop of Canterbury trying to placate his riven bishops after a vote to allow priests to perform same-sex marriages was passed at the Episcopal General Convention in Salt Lake City, the deity’s message is mixed, to say the least. On any given day, thousands of rival decisions made by the myriad arms of the Christian church are reported on around the globe. Add all the other religions and their interpretations of what morality and ethics mean in the twenty-first century, and you’ve got a lot of deity decisions, many of them contradictory, being shared.

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Connecting with “Prospects”

If “touches” are the many thousands whom your church touches in any way, “prospects” are touches whom you stimulate to take some interest in who you are as a faith community and what you do, especially in mission and ministering to people. Take it as a given that, at this point, they aren’t the least interested in how you worship, the traditions you observe, who presides at your altar, the quality of your facilities, or your history. If that’s all you have to tell them, you are lost.

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ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME

“LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs”.

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ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME

  1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we …

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Jeb vs. Francis

Just when I had concluded that Jeb Bush was the likely Republican nominee for president in 2016, he said something that dumbfounded me: “I hope I’m not going to get castigated for saying this by my priest back home, but I don’t get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinals or my pope. And I’d like to see what [the pope] says as it relates to climate change and how that connects to these broader, deeper issues before I pass judgment. But I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm. ” (New York Times, June 17, 2015)

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The Jesus Fatwah: Love Your (Muslim) Neighbor as Yourself

Much of what passes as information about Islam is weed-like disinformation rooted in stereotype and watered by fear. In The Jesus Fatwah, Islamic and Christian scholars offer reliable information about what Muslims believe, how they live out their faith, and how we all can be about building relationships across the lines of faith.

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Rethinking Membership Development

A day did exist when a church could grow and thrive by opening its doors on Sunday and welcoming whoever arrived. Knowing how to welcome regulars and visitors was as much evangelism as a congregation needed to do. That day ended long ago. Nowadays, most churches don’t have enough visitors to offset the inevitable attrition that happens when people die, move out of town, or lose interest. And “regular attendance” now means one or two Sundays a month, not three or four.

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Faith Fight – Fountain Hills, Arizona

“Faith Fight”—that’s what the local news is calling it. Eight churches in Fountain Hills, Arizona, led by the Rev. Bill Good, pastor of Fountain Hills Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), have posted banners announcing a sermon series called “‘Progressive’ …

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Why I No Longer Believe in Church

This is basically the story of being human. We are all terrible in one way or another. Being obnoxiously aggressive … is one of the milder forms of being terrible to other people, but it’s what we do. I’ve certainly been terrible in my own ways – mean or annoying or ridiculous when I could have been kind. But it got me thinking about what church is supposed to be like, about what the church is supposed to do.

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Brian McLaren – The Future of Church Planting

Learn why we believe “Common Cause Communities” are the future of church planting.
Hear why Brian McClaren, Peter Rollins, and Alexie Torres-Fleming (among others) are joining our guest faculty.

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Vanishing Grace, Whatever Happened to the Good News?

How can Christians offer grace in a way that is compelling to a jaded society? And how can they make a difference in a world that cries out in need?

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The Future is Calling Us to Greatness- Online Conference on Science, Inspiration and Sustainability

A worldwide movement is emerging at the nexus of science, inspiration, and sustainability. Beliefs are secondary. What unites us is a pool of shared values and commitments—and the vision of a just and healthy future for humanity and the larger body of life. This historic series of 30-60 minute Skype interviews showcases the work of many of today’s leaders and luminaries regarding what to expect in the decades ahead, what’s being done—what still needs to be done—and how to be in action despite enormous challenges. These 55 experts represent a veritable Who’s Who of prophetic inspiration.

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Exclusive Interview with Ben Corey: Discussing The Wide Spectrum of Progressive Christianity, and more…

An insightful discussion with Eric Alexander of ProgressiveChristianity.org and popular progressive Christian blogger and author Benjamin Corey about the state of progressive Christianity, Jesus as the only way, how the Emergent Church movement fits into progressive Christianity, defining sin (and original sin), and what exactly Ben’s got strapped around his chest in his blog’s profile picture.

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The BIG Tent of Progressive Christianity

If I had a dollar for every time someone on the conservative side of the Christian spectrum said that I wasn’t a real Christian I would have, well…quite a few dollars. I have even had the distinction to be told that I wasn’t a Christian by some who call themselves progressive Christians. This type of thing is not uncommon on the conservative side of Christianity. To have certainty about what a Christian is and isn’t, and be willing (and eager) to kick people out who don’t match one’s own opinion of what Christianity is, has become part and parcel of modern conservative Christianity’s mission objectives. But on the progressive side of the coin I want to make a request, which is that progressive Christians worldwide just don’t do that type of thing, especially to each other, and here’s why.

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Defining Progressive Christianity

An Open-Ended “Creed” for a Progressive Christian

I have often said so-called “progressive Christianity” is a notion forever in search of its own elusive definition; and that’s as good a way of explaining it as we may be able to find. We live in a post-modern world that considers the age of Enlightenment to be a post-facto reality. As such, “progressive” thinking in an age of Reason has pushed the boundaries of nearly every facet of life, except one: those ‘traditional’ or ‘orthodox’ beliefs, based on certain creeds, doctrines and dogma that still dominate what it presumably means to be “Christian.” It hardly needs to be said that it is also why so many one-time believers have outgrown their one-time faith. Calling them merely “lapsed” is misleading. So much has elapsed in the world we have all come to know and take for granted, that the once-dominant Church — — despite all its denominational varieties — has fast become a post-modern relic. Yet any critical examination of how Christian scriptures developed and how the history of the tradition evolved will quickly demonstrate how it has always been in a constant state of flux. Or, if you like, “progression.” It was only when it stopped and got stuck that we traded in the tent for a temple, and snuffed the life out of a movement that is progressive by its very nature. What then would constitute an honest statement of belief for at least this “progressive Christian?”

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Theology From Exile Volume III: The Year of Mark

The political, social, spiritual, and economic history of most of the Western world has been defined by the belief articulated in the literal application of John’s gospel to personal and social piety. If Christianity is to survive with any relevance to postmodern, twenty-first century realities, the theology of condemnation and substitutionary atonement associated with the fourth gospel has to be scrapped. Not only is the future of Christianity at stake. This theology threatens the further evolution of human consciousness, and life as humanity has known it thus far on Planet Earth.

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