“Making God Necessary?”

A Response by

As anyone who’s read or listened to me share my journey over the years knows full well, I have now arrived at a place (at least for now!) where – in my thinking, and with the window through which I see the world these days – I call myself a “post-theist.”

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Benefits of Adoption Versus Childbirth

In light of the many thousands of neglected, abandoned, and starving children in need of stable homes, there are palpable and important benefits of adoption. At risk of repeating a tired cliche, what do you think Jesus would do if faced with the choice of having his own children versus taking children in from the street and adopting them as his own? After all, according to Matthew 1:18, Jesus was adopted by Joseph and without him would have been raised fatherless and solely by Mary.

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The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian

The Christian story, from Genesis until now, is fundamentally about people on the move—outgrowing old, broken religious systems and embracing new, more redemptive ways of life.

It’s time to move again.

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Locavore Gospel

Sermon by Rev. Elizabeth Durant

A Locavore is a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

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Podcasts: It’s About Time

From The Parliament of World's Religions

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is proud to distribute It’s About Time, a weekly podcast produced in partnership with our allies at Religica.org and Seattle University.

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Can God Stop Climate Change Singlehandedly?

The news is devastating. Our planet is on a crash course with wide-scale death and degradation. The poorest of people and the most vulnerable of species are getting hit the hardest. It isn’t a pretty picture! Does God care?

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Maya Angelou On Being Christian

To help kick off Black History Month, here are two bite-sized pieces of wisdom from the late, great literary genius, Maya Angelou. Like gems, these are ideas you can put in your pocket, and take them out whenever you need them 🙂

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Perfecting Love

If God is love, then God is something we do, rather than somebody or something we try to believe in. If God is love, then God is a relationship, and not a Guy in the Sky or some other kind of supernatural entity. If God is love, God is nothing to fear. If God is love, when we really love someone – even of another religion, or of no religion at all – God is in that relationship, blessing it. So these three words wipe away all the theological debates about science and common sense versus religion. These three words sweep away the problem of evil, the perennial conundrum of how an all-powerful God could love people while allowing horrible things to happen to them. If God is love, then God is not in charge of the universe. Love is extremely powerful, but it is not directive. Love does not force anybody to do anything, nor to force anything to do anything to anybody. If God is love, then God is omni-attractive, not omni-potent.

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Values to Build a Life On

Part I: Introduction

Knowing the end of a career or life is approaching, one naturally looks over personal values, how they changed over the years, and what to share with those who follow. A “Last Lecture” has become a common way for academics to speak to posterity, even if the lecture is not given in public. Ministers sometimes deliver a “Last Sermon” at the end of their careers. Some of my friends in their 70s have shared drafts of their final thoughts with this fellow septuagenarian. The late Marcus Borg went even further upon reaching 70 by writing “Convictions”, a final book explaining his understanding of progressive Christianity and describing changes in his beliefs since a very Lutheran upbringing.

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How does a progressive Christian exist with no Christian community?

How does a progressive Christian exist with no Christian community of support even from clergy who certainly do discuss modernized theology? It certainly is a lonely vigil. 

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The Things We Do For Jesus! – a sermon on the Baptism of Jesus

There’s a definition of what it means to be a priest that has always daunted me. A priest it has been said is “a keeper of the mysteries; a keeper of the sacred mysteries of our faith. People often confuse the idea of mystery with the idea of secret. But I can assure you that as a keeper of the mysteries of the faith it is neither my job nor any other priest’s job to keep the mysteries of our faith a secret.

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After the Patriarchy Falls

In Terry Crews book on Manhood, he talks about targeting high profile sexual predators in order to end patriarchy is like trying to cut a tree down by cutting the leaves. Toxic masculinity is a part of our culture and we need to lay the axe to the trunk of that tree, rooting out the male privilege that has been the source of victimization of women for centuries. Perhaps the current backward trend in our nation is the retreat that will force us to find the activation energy necessary to bring about the fall of the patriarchy.

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God Can’t

How to Believe in God and Love after Tragedy, Abuse, and Other Evils

Hurting people ask heart-felt questions about God and suffering. Some “answers” they receive appeal to mystery: “God’s ways are not our ways”. Some answers say God allows evil for a greater purpose. Some say evil is God’s punishment.

Not only do the usual answers fail, they don’t support the truth God loves everyone all the time. God Can’t gives a believable answer to why a good and powerful doesn’t prevent evil.

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The Inward Journey, the Outward Gaze

Progressive Mysticism with Julian of Norwich

Theologian Karl Barth once counseled, “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” In graduate school over 40 years ago, I heard a modification of Barth’s wisdom, “The preacher should have the New York Times in one hand and the Bible in the other.” This advice surely applies to the spiritual seeker and social activist as well. We must have our eyes trained on eternity while boldly living in our time and place. Touching eternity, the cosmic wisdom of God, grants perspective and hope in the moral arc of history. But the wide perspective – our hope in God’s arc of justice – is of value only if it guides our pathway in responding to the unique challenges of our time.

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Praying a New Story

“Praying a New Story” offers a way of seeing and being in the presence of an “everywhere” God” – in all, through all, never absent, always nears.

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Maybe God is Too Big

Belief is giving of one’s mind, faith is giving of one’s heart – this is focusing on the smallness of God. Like I said, maybe God is too big sometimes. If so, then start practicing the smallness by the giving of your heart – to yourself, to a loved one, a stranger, and the one unrepeatable moment just barely in the peripheral vision of your world.

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Evensong Sermon

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

This is one of my favorite passages in the Christian Scriptures. Imagine someone coming to you, with soft-voiced compassion and saying, “I will give you rest for your soul.” Wouldn’t you want to learn more? Yes, yes, please… and how can you do that?

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On the 50th Anniversary of Thomas Merton’s Death

Monday, December 10th marks the 50th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death—which has now been confirmed as a martyr’s death by the recent solid and important investigative study, The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton by Hugh Turley and David Marin (as well as by my own encounters over the years with three CIA agents who were in Southeast Asia at the time).

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