Shane Claiborne’s Friday Interfaith Lecture

Shane Claiborne’s Friday Interfaith Lecture was a medley of inspirational stories, demonstrating that the teachings of Jesus Christ still have the potential to upset systems that oppress the poor and marginalized.

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Responding to Bishop Spong’s 12 Principles and the Future of Religion

A recent national poll on millennial thinking (defining millennials as ages 18 to 34), found that millennials have very little confidence in establishment institutions. Indeed, more trust the military (55%) far more than organized religion—25%. This is a generation after all that has grown up with news of pedophile priest scandals and their cover-up by institutional religious leaders, as well as the collapse of the economic titans and their economy.

It strikes me that Bishop John Spong’s prophetic questioning of Christianity’s dogmas and structures would sit quite well with these young people, one might even say that he is posing the questions that they are asking about when it comes to organized religion. In this way he is and has been a prophetic voice (when, as Rabbi Heschel point out, the primary work of the prophet is to interfere) interfering with taken-for-granted religious doctrines for decades. He has dared to criticize religion and envision a different future for Christianity even while remaining part of the church structure. This takes quite a lot of doing and dancing! No wonder he has stayed so young! Now he is calling for a “New Reformation” and has laid out 12 principles that are equally challenges to the religious status quo.

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Experience a Single Faith Tradition

Offered each month of the year, these 5-day courses are designed to inspire and educate people who are called to serve in an Interfaith capacity in our increasingly diverse world or for those who are interested in learning more about a specific faith tradition. Participants immerse themselves in a deeply creative and nurturing environment to develop and deepen their personal theological perspectives, while also expanding their capacity to serve the spiritually and culturally diverse world in which we live; or simply to gain a greater understanding of those from different cultures or faith paths than theirs. Many individuals enroll in Thematic Module Intensives to discern their call to ministry or chaplaincy, prior to applying to our Interfaith Studies Certificate Course. Some attend because they have an interest in increasing their knowledge and understanding or particular faith tradition.

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Jesus Rode a Donkey: Why Millions of Christians Are Democrats

IF JESUS WERE ALIVE TODAY, WOULD HE:
Feed the poor–or give tax breaks to the super rich?
Comfort the old and infirm–or cut Social Security?
Make war–or make peace?

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Reflections: Theological Memoirs #4

Reflection Number 4: Undeserved Suffering

Undeserved suffering surrounds us. Natural disasters strike unsuspecting victims, disease incapacitates infants, refugees flee violence of others’ making….the list is endless and heart-breaking. From a purely secular perspective, the suffering can be analyzed, diced and spliced, and some sort of explanation can emerge.

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The Chaplaincy Institute offers education programs for those with a unique calling to spiritual service

About our Seminary Programs At The Chaplaincy Institute, we believe that the world is in need of the gifts and talents of every individual called to service. Our Interfaith seminary is dedicated to supporting the unique call …

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The Bent Over Woman

Luke 13:10-17

We worship a God who created us to stand up full and free and have the courage to look God in the eye and to ask God to share our burdens. We worship a God that wants us to stand tall and look one another in the eyes; set one another free, call one another to account and rejoice in God’s steadfast abundant grace. So do not let your burdens weigh you down. Do not let rules and regulations and law turn you into self-righteous hypocrites. Rise up! Rise up, look around and in the faces of your sisters and brothers see the face of Christ and let them see the face of Christ that is in you.

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Born of a Woman

A Bishop Rethinks the Virgin Birth and the Place of women in a Male Dominated Church

John Shelby Spong, bestselling author and Episcopal bishop of Newark, NJ, challenges the doctrine of the virgin birth, tracing its development in the early Christian church and revealing its legacy in our contemporary attitudes toward women and female sexuality.

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Orlando United – Pulse- performed by Beautiful Chorus

“Pulse” was performed for the very first time at The Venue by Alexandra Love Sarton, Divinci Glen Valencia Jr.and members of Beautiful Chorus as Chakra Khan at the Lady Elevate // The Chakra Khan CD Release PARTY just hours before Sunday’s massive heart attack began. An anthem for Orlando and love everywhere.

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Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ

“Galvanizing, beautifully written . . . a powerful expression of faith in the transforming power of Christ’s love.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)Son of Man is Andrew Harvey’s most basic statement on Christ, and it has already become a treasured work to readers interested in Christian mysticism. For the first time in any of his books, Harvey provides spiritual exercises–centuries-old rites previously available only to a few–that allow the reader direct experience with the mystical Christ. Son of Man also includes an easily accessible section of classic readings and meditations on the nature of Christ, making it the comprehensive experience in the Christ of the new millennium.

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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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A Conspiracy of Love: Following Jesus in a Postmodern World

Today, the churches of the Global North are in decline and younger generations no longer seek meaning there. Traditional “church Christianity” is gradually giving way to some new way of faithful living. From a Nazi prison cell, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer imagined a future “religionless Christianity” consisting of contemplative prayer and righteous action in the secular world.

A Conspiracy of Love presents the contours of such a faith based on the “way” of Jesus. It calls us to become troublemakers, revolutionaries, seekers of change, and agents of transformation engaged in conspiracies of love to establish justice and peace in a postmodern world. It offers many different people–those who remain in the church,those who have left, and those who have never ventured near–with a life of faith that is meaningful, intelligent, and passionate.

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Celebrating 25 Years as Open & Affirming at IUCC

Irvine United Congregational Church is celebrating 25 years of welcoming people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions into the full community and life of the church. The church was a pioneer in becoming the first Orange County congregation to adopt an Open and Affirming declaration and later became a leader in the fight for marriage equality. Irvine UCC will celebrate this monumental anniversary with an event featuring former IUCC pastor the Rev. Fred Plumer.

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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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The Void and the Vision

There are three parts to this little book. The first takes a new look at who Jesus was and what he did. The second describes four characteristics of human life. The third considers some of the perplexing questions of theology. Taken together, they represent an integrated attempt to understand our common humanity as children of God and are offered as a contribution to the on-going dialogue.

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In Memory of Jesus

In Memory of Jesus blends imaginative conversation and the author’s own personal journey of coming to know Jesus as friend to produce a realistic human picture of the person at the heart of Christian faith. Morwood maintains that Christianity must return to focusing on the human Jesus and his message if it is to have relevance in the modern world.

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The Lost Sheep: More Questions Than Answers

I need serious help! You see, I’ve done it again folks. I’ve forced myself to sit through another one of my former pastor’s sermons. But I had to, as I caught wind that for this entire month, the topic du jour is going to be “hell”—as eternal conscious torment of course! God wouldn’t have it any other way (and the Bible clearly states!). So I had to give at least one of the sermons a listen. And I think I will stick to just one, as this one was harder to follow than a Dennis Miller analogy (which, if you don’t know, is a terribly difficult task indeed).

The pastor starts out by recounting a very moving story about how his five year old was abducted and, for a time, lost. As the father of a five year old girl myself, it was very heartbreaking to listen to him, holding back the tears, and detailing the event. That being said, once he moved into the meat of the sermon, my empathy quickly gave way to confusion.

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Fanning the Flames: Pentecost Sunday

Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. Birthday celebrations lend themselves to the telling of stories. So, we begin with a parable by the radical theologian Peter Rollins. So, sit back and try to imagine that you live not at the beginning of the 21st century but at the middle of the 21st century; say about 2050. The world has changed quite a bit.

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