Progressive Christian Reflections

Religious Liberty

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision broadening the understanding of marriage, those who have fought same-gender marriage now express fears that they will be called upon to do things their consciences will not permit and are clamoring for “religious liberty.”

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Dearly Beloved: Celebrating Same-Sex Marriage

  “If faith communities lead the way in honoring the reality of same-sex marriage, the law will eventually follow.” — Jim Burklo, BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS, 2008 Oh happy day, Friday, June 26, 2015! — when our dearly …

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UNBOUND: Liberty, Freedom and the Gift of Liberation

A Commentary for the Observance of Independence Day, 2015

Liberty and Freedom: People – especially politicians, it seems – frequently use the two terms interchangeably, as if they were the same thing. But while civil liberties can be legislated and personal freedoms can be infringed upon, there is something autonomous about personal choices and actions that can never ultimately be denied or encumbered. “Freedom is not something that anybody can be given,” the late author and civil rights activist, James Baldwin, once said. “Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.”

An earlier commentary considered the two ideas of conscience and consciousness as a spiritual component and practice of human experience. These comments are written as we approach our nation’s annual observance of the Independence Day holiday; exploring what might constitute a progressive Christian perspective of a kind of liberating “freedom” that is comprised of loosing the bonds of all the little deaths we die, and binding oneself to that which can irrepressibly spring once more to life.

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We’re All Connected

In my pocket, all my waking day, I carry a device that enables me to communicate instantly with practically anyone around the globe. I’m a cog in a vast international system of manufacturing, trade, and consumption. Sure, we’re all connected in these ways. But in our face-to-face encounters with other people, or when we walk in wilderness and commune personally with other living beings, we sense this connection in a much deeper way.

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More Love

So, here’s a question: how do we train kids to have compassion? How do we get kids to understand that the right response is the loving, honest response? I don’t know the answer. But I promise I’m working on it. All I know how to do is to model it. The only way I can think of is we can bring more love into the world by the act of love. We need to act lovingly. We need to BE LOVE for there to be more love in the world.

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Can This Woman Make Evangelical Christianity Sane Again?

Rachel Held Evans has been called “the most polarizing woman in Evangelicalism.” She is a New York Times bestselling author of three books and a popular blog in which she wrestles honestly with the cruelties and contradictions in her Christian tradition from the standpoint of a loving insider on a quest to understand God and goodness more deeply. In this interview by Valerie Tarico, Held Evans discusses both the book and her broader faith journey.

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Mexico Moves Toward National Marriage Equality

Greek Govt Announces Civil Partnership Legislation; Pope Warns Against ‘Secularism and Relativism'; Global LGBT Recap

  Vatican: Pope will meet married gay activist; warns against “secularism and relativism”   A Paraguayan LGBT organization announced that it has received and accepted an invitation to meet with Pope Francis when he visits the country …

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The Church and LGBT Justice

A majority of American voters say they support a Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry, but the issue remains far from settled among socially conservative religious communities that have repeatedly proclaimed biblical support for human injustice.

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A More Relational Theology

My cousin Sally is struggling with her faith. She finds it difficult to attend church services because she can’t find one that will engage her questions or make her feel welcome. Sally was raised in a conservative Baptist tradition, and loves everything she learned about God and the teachings of Jesus, but challenges homophobia and the literal appropriation of the Bible as the only way she can remain a Christian. As a Presbyterian minister, I was able to reach out to my cousin Sally after almost 20 years, to let her know she was not alone in her questioning the relevance of Christianity in contemporary society.

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Q Boston conference about us, not for us

Here in LGBTQ-friendly Massachusetts, there are not too many places where we are not welcome. We are invited to conferences, schools, public events, and churches. Don’t be complacent, though. Next week, April 23- 25, Christian conservative evangelicals …

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Progressive Hymns

Full Hymnal Book

As you might anticipate, there are no allusions in these hymns to a royal potentate who answers prayers on demand, nor to a heavy atonement theology which understands Jesus’ execution as a necessary price to be paid for our sins. However, it is the title Progressive Hymns that should grab our attention. For what exactly might make a hymn “progressive”? The Introduction in the hymnbook ties a hymn’s tendency to raise questions to a progressive quality.

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“Conversion” Therapies Deadly Outcomes

I wish Leelah was alive today. She would know how a petition on the White House website with 120,000 plus signatures calling for the enactment of “Leelah’s Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy” not only went …

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Easter is About Seeing Those at the Margins

With a new understanding about suffering and how it victimizes the innocent and its aborts the Christian mission of inclusiveness, Jesus’ death at Calvary invites a different hermeneutic than its classically held one.

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Prophetic Hospitality and Social Justice

We live in an increasingly polarizing time. In politics and church life, many people are on hair-trigger alert, ready to retaliate at the slightest provocation. Disagreements lead to division and governmental and congregational gridlock. Even proponents of diversity often launch attacks on those who hold more conservative positions on immigration, global climate change, and marriage equality. It is clear that our times call for prophetic action. We need to present imaginative alternatives to injustice, environmental destruction, and prejudice. But, in our quest for social and political justice, we need to find ways to nurture Shalom practices that include our opponents as well as those for whom we advocate. If we are to be true to our progressive and prophetic ideals, we need to treat the opposition with the same care that we treat the oppressed.

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Deeper Love – Faithful Rhetoric for Progressive Social Change

Deeper Love is a web resource, updated regularly with input from its users, offering faith-based language for progressive political and social action. It provides activists, lay and clergy people, politicians, campaigners, and organizers with inspiring rhetoric to advance social change. Deeper Love is edited by Rev. Jim Burklo, Associate Dean of Religious Life, University of Southern California, with the Theological Reflection Committee of Progressive Christians Uniting. Deeper Love is a project of Progressive Christians Uniting – pcu-la.org – a social justice activist organization based in Los Angeles, California, a Partner Organization of ours.

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Silicon Valley Progressive Faith Community

Check out this Inclusive, Spiritual, Progressive and Diverse Faith Community!

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Eric Alexander Asks Four Key Questions to Defrocked Pastor Frank Schaefer about LGBTQ’s and the Church

  I recently had an opportunity to catch up with Frank Schaefer, who is the prolific United Methodist pastor who was very publicly defrocked (fired and stripped of his credentials) for officiating the wedding ceremony of his gay son. …

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Bruce Jenner’s Gender Identity: What Should We Think? Russell Brand The Trews (E236)

This episode reacts to the media’s continual speculation over Bruce Jenner’s gender identity. “This is bullying. Stop. Stop. Bruce Jenner is a human being. This is not disassociated from the more vivid and violent terrors and horrors of the world. This climate of bullying and judgment and cruelty is a violence of its own nature. It contributes to the climate. All of these things are real. Like ripples in a lake. Like when you can see heat disrupting the air on a hot day. There are connections. There are things that we don’t quite see, that we don’t quite sense, but are there. Connections between all of us. If we fill these waves with hatred. It’s not going to be good for anybody.”

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