Progressing Spirit

An inclusive and pioneering exploration of Theology, Spirituality and Current Events

With thousands of subscribers around the globe, Progressing Spirit is the world’s leading outlet for an intelligent, inclusive, and pioneering exploration of today’s theological, spiritual, and social advancements.

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Living the Quaker Way: Discover the Hidden Happiness in the Simple Life

The long-held priorities of Quakerism–simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality–are so universally attractive and so urgently needed in today’s world, it begs the question, Is there a little bit of Quaker in all of us? As an antidote to the complexities and challenges of modern life, award-winning author Philip Gulley offers the opportunity to participate in a world where the values of the Quaker way bring equity, peace, healing, and hope. The Quaker Way invites readers to encounter the defining commitments of the Religious Society of Friends, and shows how those ideals can be incorporated in personal and public life to bring renewal and eliminate the clutter that is keeping us from deeper spirituality. His audience is a new generation of seekers who may be disillusioned with religious institutions and strictures but yet are deeply interested in spiritual matters. In the end, Gulley’s invitation isn’t to a centuries old church, but to an honest, peaceful, and promising way of life.

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Ten Questions to Ask Your Pastor (and fellow parishioners)

How do you feel about me asking you some questions that may be hard for you to answer truthfully? Are you willing to tell me what you really think and feel and believe, even if it could get you into trouble with the church? And how can I support you if you do get in trouble for being fearless and telling your truth?

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“in all things God works for the good.”

“in all things God works for the good.”

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Prayers for Progressive Christians, A New Template

Morwood goes beyond “devotion and spiritual practice” in “Prayers for Progressive Christians, A New Template”. In the first part of the book he summaries the key theological shifts that necessitate changes to liturgical, group and personal prayer. In the second part he demonstrates how these major shifts in theological thinking can be incorporated into a new template for meaningful, contemporary prayer.

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Who is God?

For eons, humans have viewed God as a huge, external, and all-knowing human-like figure who rewards some, punishes others, and ignores many, and whose actions in the world often seem mysterious and inexplicable. This is the projection model of God: we humans unconsciously created the figure of God in our own image and projected this image “out there.” Worse, this belief assigns the responsibility for change onto a fictional character to whom we keep praying, hoping that this “God” will someday hear us, or do what we ask, or show us why things are the way they are, or something.

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Mother Teresa and Doubting Thomas

The story of Doubting Thomas (John 20:24-29) takes place at the end of the Gospel of John. Like the rest of the Gospel, the Doubting Thomas tale is not a true story but rather what we call religious history. The truth is inside the story. The surface story says that Thomas the Twin (rumored to be the twin brother of Jesus, but that idea has never been substantiated) was not in the room for Jesus’s first appearance to the disciples after his crucifixion. But Thomas was there for the second appearance a week later. Jesus insisted that Thomas touch his wounds, after which Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Thomas the Twin then became Doubting Thomas. His role in the history of the Jesus movement is to tell us that doubting is a no-no, and believers must have total faith in Jesus as God.

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Apostle to the Apostles: Mary’s Story

So here, let me honour Mary the Apostle to the Apostles with this my imaginary account of Mary’s story. Remember the power of our imaginations to breathe life into what appears to all the world to be dead.

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Prayer and Progressive Christianity

I am puzzled about prayer in the context of Progressive Christianity which has replaced the interventionist God “up there” (or “out there”) with the God within. The typical conventional church service liturgy invariably includes an intercessions segment. What meaning does this segment have in the context of progressive thinking? Should it be abandoned?

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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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New from Award-Winning Author Diana Butler Bass

Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks

The author of the multiple award-winning “Grounded” and leading trend spotter in contemporary Christianity explores why gratitude is missing as a modern spiritual practice, offers practical suggestions for reclaiming it, and illuminates how the shared practice of gratitude can lead to greater connection with God, our world, and our own souls.

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Another Take on Blessing

Entrenched theists can go on believing that their God can interfere with the natural processes of existence by conveying her blessings on chosen individuals or groups. If you want to believe that God blesses America, you can, but be aware that it is an empty phrase.

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The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love

In the history of the Western World, the Bible has been a perpetual source of inspiration and guidance for countless Christians. However, this Bible has also left a trail of pain. It is undeniable that the Bible is not always used for good. Sometimes the Bible can seem overtly evil. Sometimes its texts are terrible.

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Collective Christian Memory

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” it is said, and a background in literature has taught me that in earlier periods writers often borrowed from one another without compunction or complaint.

But I was shaken, early in my activist writing career, to discover another writer had “borrowed” something I had written for her Methodist curriculum. She put her name as the author because she had “adapted” it. I had felt similarly offended when I noticed Cat Stephens failed to acknowledge on an album that “Morning Has Broken” is an old hymn that he “adapted.”

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Is God a person?

In my theology, “Yes, and…”

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O. M. G.

Sermon preached on April 3, 2016 at The First Church of Amherst

I wonder how many OMGs have travelled around the globe in the last minute, the last day, or even the last year. More than we can count. I wonder what millennials and the rest of us are thinking about when we/they text this message! Is it a shorthand form of prayer?

I wonder to what these mini-prayers are being addressed, especially by Millennials. I even wonder to what our prayers are being addressed.

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Playing Favorites

The Problem with Blessings and Curses

“Have a blest day?” What in this world does that mean? Better luck or good karma, instead of bad? In the ancient world, denoting someone as “blest” was a way of expressing a deity’s special favor towards that person. If that sounds quaint, there are still plenty of people today who believe they can curry favor or improve the odds of achieving more blessings than curses; while politicians routinely conclude their speeches by invoking the Almighty to bless the good ‘ol USA. There’s just one problem. It doesn’t work.

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What’s the Main Source of Global Conflict? Survey Says: “Religious Beliefs”

By Hemant Mehta for Patheos

Would eliminating religion from the world make it a better place? You could argue that one from every possible direction and never settle on a solid answer, but a new survey from U.S. News & World Report says that 30% of people believe “religious beliefs” are the primary source of global conflict, more than any other option.
Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2018/01/25/whats-the-main-source-of-global-conflict-survey-says-religious-beliefs/#rQkAEKLGVFp15Lmv.99

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