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Jesus and the Sacrificial System

The religious culture in which Jesus lived was the sacrificial culture centred on the temple in Jerusalem. It provided the background to his thinking and that of most other Jews including Paul, and the idea of sacrifice continued to influence the thinking of the first Christians.

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Our Eternal Roots

While it may look like there are individual trees in the above picture, quaking aspens grow in colonies of tens of thousands of trees, or stems, which are all connected by a single root system.

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Willing to Be Wrong: Rachel Held Evans

It ends with this sentence:  “Even on the days when I’m not sure I can believe it wholeheartedly, this is the story I’m willing to be wrong about.” And that humility suffuses the whole book. 

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The Quintessential Good Samaritan

The Authorized Biography of John Joseph Kelly, Champion of Social Justice

The parable good Samaritan helped his “neighbor.”
Jesus meant help everyone, especially those less fortunate than you.

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The Toxic Evangelical Variant

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the evangelical church saved me in every way a person can be saved. They introduced me to Jesus. They became the family my childhood family could not be. They loved and affirmed me. They educated me. They gave me a vocation. And they gave me exceptional opportunities of service. Although I left the evangelical church years ago for a more progressive expression of faith, I’ve always appreciated the gifts they gave me.

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Dialogue with Roger Lipsey, Dag Hammarskjold Biographer

A Zoom dialogue with Dr. Roger Lipsey, Hammarskjold biographer ‘Hammarskjold: A Life’ published by University of Michigan, 2013. His ‘Politics and Conscience: Dag Hammarskjold on the Art of Ethical Leadership’ was published in early 2020 by Shambhala.

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Religion as Encounter v. Religion as Belief

I would like to build on Carl Krieg’s recent essay in the resource section of the PC.org website entitled “The One You Feed.” His article reminded me of my past life as a political scientist studying public opinion and voting behavior.

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The Big Lie

It’s a scary thought, but true. To quote the Nazi, Joseph Goebbels, “If you tell a big lie often enough and keep repeating it, people will come to believe it.” A full 60% of Republicans today believe that Biden is not the President of the United States.

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January 6 and Beloved Community

The attack on  the Capitol on January 6, 2021, was a low point in the ongoing struggle against dark forces in the American character. It was also another moment when leaders of Christian churches betrayed the message of Jesus while claiming to uphold Christian principles.

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Let 2022 Be Your Ode to JOY!

I wonder what the numerous losses our world has experienced in the past two years may have liberated us from. What joys may we discover in this liberation? In the freedom from the way things were? In the discovery of stars to guide us? In the joy we allow ourselves to take in each new birth.

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Measuring the Evil of “the Big Lie”

In John 8, Jesus observes that when you know the truth, “the truth will make you free.”  In the Bible, truth-telling is an important matter.  Indeed, the commandment truth of the ninth commandment spells this out for us: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”.

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Humanity Sunday

For leaders of the church service

These Sundays are Seasons of Creation Sundays, so, each different aspect of creation is the focus of each Church Service.  This Humanity Sunday gives the church a golden opportunity to celebrate the mysterious wonder and the beauty of humanity.

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Peace, Health, and Democracy on Earth for a Second Pandemic Christmas

Jesus was best known for healing and exorcising. The crowds that came for medical help got more than they may have expected as they heard him speak about justice for everyone and love for neighbors and enemies. Spreading health and preaching compassion were at the heart of being the Prince of Peace.

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Prayer as Participation

Praying for others strengthens the bond of compassionate awareness. It may trigger other ways to help. Also, knowing that we are being prayed for or are in the thoughts of others while being wheeled into surgery does help, whether we believe in its causal power or not. We are not alone. Others are connecting with us, and we with them. Prayer is a form of participation.

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The Reconstructionist

People > Text, Mercy > Sacrifice, and Love > Fear

The Reconstructionist is about an earthquake of loss one pastor experienced that led him to identify three major fault lines running through the foundation of Western Christianity. You’ll be invited to tour some of the wreckage as he names the fault lines and reconstructs a more sustainable faith.

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The Omega Tree

With childlike wonder and anticipation, I too will be dreaming this holiday, less of a White Christmas than a multi-colored, trans-religious, trans-disciplinary, trans-“everything” world, one complete with an iconic (conic?) tree, party hat, and in a literary sense, megaphone.

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The Challenge for Evangelicals

Everything changes, and often not for the better. Life on this planet will end eventually, possibly sooner rather than later, due to, for example, nuclear annihilation, still quite possible but no longer front page.

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Re-seeing and re-valuing the Christian Cross

The Christian cross, taken as a modern working symbol, can also find a new role, a complementary one to its original deep association with the crucifixion. One that speaks a common language in cross-religious or interfaith contexts.

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