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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Isaac

We’ve all heard the expression, “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” but the information about Isaac in Genesis certainly places him in a subordinate position to his father, Abraham, and his son, Jacob.

The first mention of Isaac was when God told Sarah that she would give birth to a son and that she should name him Isaac (which means “he laughs,” a reference to Abraham laughing when God promised him a son). Abraham, who was one hundred years old when Isaac was born, followed God’s command and named his son Isaac.

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Reflections: Theological Memoirs #2

Reflection Number 2: Homo Sapiens, God, and the Evolving Universe

… if we begin our reflection with the Jesus/disciple encounter, the line of demarcation between faith and science is that faith sees the cosmos as informed by love, and science does not. That’s basic. But seeing the world as informed by love can be true not only of people of faith, but of people of all convictions, faith and non-faith, round the world. Just recently there was a report about a study that shows how compassion not only benefits the receiver but the giver as well. Seems as though there is something in our genes that rejoices in helping others. As I said earlier, that was the fundamental message of Jesus’ disciples, that the meaning of the resurrection is not a resuscitated body, but the omnipotence of love and compassion. Available to all.

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Good Day

Our Good is born in purity
As we awaken, each short day
This Good survives through struggles,
Tackles fears
Faces tests
Within the loud affray

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Of God and Self

I can hear my friends now: “Matthew! You’re beginning an article with a Calvin quote?!” Why, yes, yes I am. And here’s why: because, regardless of the many things I disagree with Calvin over, it’s a great quote. Indeed, without knowing ourselves we can’t expect to know God and without knowing God we can’t truly know ourselves. The sad thing is, so many of us don’t act as if this is true. We talk about God in terms of his loftiness, like a king on his almighty white throne. God is omni-everything. And perhaps God is, but that is not my point here. My point is that we then turn around and, in spite of humans being made in God’s image, talk about ourselves as things like “filthy rags,” for instance. We treat others as such too. We do things like insist, with cold faces, how those we don’t like are going to burn in hell for their iniquities. Then we send them there through war and conquest and terror. Assuredly then, I’m afraid we have missed the mark when it comes to knowing God and Self. The proof is in the pudding, unless of course God is a maniacal tyrant just like we human beings tend to be.

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All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice

A Free eBook

At the root of the current political, economic, cultural, and ecological chaos is a national spiritual unrest, a fragmentation that has inhibited society’s self-awareness and slowed theological progress to a glacial crawl.

In a nation where three-fourths of the population identifies as Christian and religion salts the political discourse, unrest has manifested itself as the talking-head debate between atheists and believers. In All My Bones Shake, Robert Jensen reveals the multitiered complexity of the conflict and offers a progressive approach to its key theological questions. While fundamentalists on both sides have fought to an intellectual standstill and moderates seem content to ignore the battle, Jensen pushes for answers that make sense for anyone trying to exist in the modern scientific world, concluding, “There is no God, and more than ever we all need to serve the One True Gods.”

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Jesus’ Abba: The God Who Has Not Failed

The church has emphasized ideas about God that have marginalized Jesus’ understanding of his spiritual Father, his Abba. We commonly think of God as a demanding lawgiver and judge, an omnipotent ruler, or an ultimate philosophical principle. None of these works well today.

In contrast, Jesus’ view of God as spiritual Abba still truly works when it is given a chance. Christians should be open to accepting the ideas of the one they call Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ Abba, one of the greatest theologians of this generation boldly argues for a new view of God, through the eyes of Jesus.

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Remain or Leave? Keep Faith or Give It Up?

The question of suffering leads many to leave their faith. Why didn't I?

World leaders are waiting anxiously before the British referendum on EU membership on 23 June 2016, while Remain and Leave campaigners bombard voters with facts, opinions, and threats, causing confusion about what is true and what is false, and who could be believed. Many like me are ‘Don’t knows’, between a rock and a hard place, with uncertainties on both sides.

Life is like that. It poses big questions and asks us to vote. To weigh the evidence, choose between not only competing facts but competing interpretations of facts, opinions, and risks, and reach a balanced judgement of what we think is right.

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Wolf Blitzer Learned that there are Indeed Atheists in Fox-holes! – A Sermon for Trinity Sunday

This Trinity Sunday sermon owes much to John Shelby Spong’s book a “New Christianity for a New World” You can listen to the sermon here then watch the tail end of the Wolf Blitzer interview mentioned in the sermon.

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All Set Free: How God is Revealed in Jesus and Why That is Really Good News

What is the ending to the human drama? Will all be reconciled to God in the end? Does God demand an altar, a corpse, and blood? Or, rather, is the Christian God set apart from all the other gods throughout history? All Set Free sets out to answer some of the more difficult questions Christians today are faced with. It will challenge the Augustinian understanding of hell and the Calvinist understanding of the atonement; replacing them with a more Christ-centered understanding of both doctrines. This book will also use the work of René Girard in order to reshape how many understand “what it means to be human.” Then and only then should we ask: “Who is God?” Come explore what has become Matthew’s theological pilgrimage to this point. Come discover the God of peace.

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Drink from the Well

From a rich lode of speeches, articles in eBulletins, and numerous publications, Fred Plumer has mined those that define the Progressive Christianity movement as it evolves to meet new challenges in a rapidly changing world. Written over a period of approximately six years, the material has been reviewed and edited but not in a manner that would change its original themes and purpose. This anthology is vintage Plumer, concise and direct to the point. It is organized into chapters that focus on a particular subject, so it might shed more light on that subject or theme.

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Allies for Atheists: Why and How?

In the US, now is a better time to be an atheist than ever. A serious candidate for the presidency has declared on national television that he does not believe in God. The percentage of declared atheists and religiously unaffiliated people in America has risen substantially in recent years. To lack or reject religion is becoming considerably more socially acceptable.

That’s why the non-religious, and avowed atheists in particular, need theistic allies to defend them, more than ever.

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God In My Head: The true story of an ex-Christian who accidentally met God.

Joshua Steven Grisetti didn’t even believe God existed when he experienced an accidental drug overdose… and met Him. The first thing God said: “Stop telling people I don’t exist.” What followed was a life-altering spiritual adventure that you have to read to believe!

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Jesus, Muhammad and the Goddess

A Girl God Anthology

35 International contributors reflect on finding Goddess within (and without) Christianity and Islam.

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Gretta Vosper: The Atheist Minister

Gretta Vosper is an “atheist minister” in the United Church of Canada. Because of her views, the church might remove her from the pulpit.

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Born Bad – Original Sin and the Making of the Western World

“Original sin is the Western world’s creation story.”

According to the Christian doctrine of original sin, humans are born inherently bad, and only through God’s grace can they achieve salvation. In this captivating and controversial book, acclaimed historian James Boyce explores how this centuries-old concept has shaped the Western view of human nature right up to the present. Boyce traces a history of original sin from Adam and Eve, St. Augustine, and Martin Luther to Adam Smith, Sigmund Freud, and Richard Dawkins, and explores how each has contributed to shaping our conception of original sin.

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Becoming Part of The Teleological Argument

Occasionally I meet someone and they say to me; I am an Atheist. I think to myself:

What exactly do you mean by that? How can you be so sure of what you disbelieve? You my friend need a better word and a better “A -” with more definition. In today’s quantum world such a statement as yours is “passé.” Theism, Atheism and Deism are word descriptions from the prescientific past.

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Reconciling False Divisions, Part II

Second in a Series exploring the shared Abrahamic roots of three faith traditions

In a world so filled with forced migration and walls of division, the three Abrahmic faith traditions can share a common pilgrimage of faith over belief. It is an act of trust. Put another way, it is an act of submission that draws one into another kind of journey. In this sense, all children of Abraham are “muslims.”

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First Impressions Interview with John Shelby Spong On “Biblical Literalism as a Gentile Heresy”

A close reading of Matthew’s gospel reveals that a literal understanding of Jesus’s story obscures its deep Jewish roots. John Shelby Spong joins Art Remillard to discuss his new book, Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy. Spong was the Episcopal Bishop of Newark before his retirement in 2000, and he is the author of several books to include Why Christianity Must Change or Die and his autobiography Here I Stand.

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