Seeing Abuse

For 20 years, I went from one abusive situation to another. A small group, usually longtime members who resented my efforts toward growth and mission, believed they had the privilege and the duty to make my life miserable.

They left snide notes, sometimes anonymous, at my desk. They berated me in parish meetings and made sure I knew my salary was on the line. They started whispering campaigns and held secret meetings that they made sure I knew about. One warden sat in my office and said, “We are going to destroy you, Tom.”

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How to Love People But Hate It When They Say “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”

“Love the sinner, but hate the sin.”

This phrase has been used countless times by some Christians to pretend to offer welcome to LGBT people while condemning the natural consequence of the way God made them. It speaks for a shallow kind of love at most: one that claims to be okay with a person’s same-sex orientation while stigmatizing its fulfillment. This noxious phrase also summarizes the underlying attitude of many people of other religions towards sexual minorities.

It is a phrase whose time has come – and gone. More than ever, it needs to be excised from the vocabulary of faith, once and for all, as it pertains to homosexuality.

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Find Your Orlando

At first I intended only to post this rainbow flag at half-mast in front of a church—so overwhelmed and silenced I was by the carnage at the LGBT nightclub in Orlando this past weekend.

May those who lost their lives rest in peace. May those who are injured heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. May those who lost loved ones find healing ways to grieve.

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The Intoxication of Power – Sermon Video

There is a very distinct anti-government thread that runs through the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings of the Hebrew Bible. The story of how Ahab’s wife had a citizen killed so that the king could take his land represents the danger of how power corrupts an individual and destroys a society. As easy as it is to criticize the abuses of those in power, there is also a personal message in this to reflect on how much better we really are when given the power to abuse others.

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The Tragedy of the Orlando, Florida Massacre

I grieve deeply over these attacks. I grieve even more when one of our candidates for the presidency of this nation seeks to use this tragedy to score political points. I am amazed to hear not only innuendo from one of them, but also actual hints that the president of the United States is either so weak and inept as to be helpless in the face of this threat, or is actually in collusion with these terrorists, thus revising the charges this candidate once made that our president was not born in the United States, but in Kenya, and is really a Muslim. As lawyer Joseph Welsh once said to Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin when he was on a witch hunt for communists: “Have you no sense of decency?” Those words are once more totally in order to be spoken in our national life at this time.

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Mary and Elizabeth: Visitation or Escape?

May 31st is the day the Church commemorates “The Visitation” the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth as it is recorded in the Gospel According to Luke 1:39-56. Since reading Jane Schalberg’s “The Illegitimacy of Jesus”, I can’t help but wonder if Mary’s visited her cousin Elizabeth or escaped to her cousin Elizabeth seeking protection for the crime of being raped in a culture that all too often blamed the victim. Historians estimate that Mary may have been all of twelve years old when she became pregnant. There is ample evidence in the New Testament accounts of Mary’s story that suggest that she may indeed have been raped. So rather than sweep the possibility under the rug, on this the Feast of the Visitation, I’m reposting a sermon I preached a few years ago during Advent. I do so because women young and old continue to be raped and to this day, are forced to flee from the accusations and persecutions of cultures that continue to blame the victim. What follows is a written approximation of the sermon which in addition to Jane Schalberg is also indebted to John Shelby Spong’s “Born of a Woman” and “Jesus for the Non Religious” along with John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg’s “The First Christmas”.

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Salt of the Earth

Ben Dawson, widowed pastor, takes a bullet from an assault rifle triggered by an anti-abortion protester at a women’s health clinic; further unanticipated events land him in the national spotlight. Colorful characters, including a brilliant and glamorous woman, are influenced by Ben’s local progressive church, at which people of all spiritualties find purpose and meaning. Woven into the story is romance, adventure on the high seas, and a sensational dog.

Salt of the Earth brings to light social issues such as addictions, gun violence, wealth distribution, and gender equality. Villains scheme to bring heroes down. Who will win?

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Violence Divine: Overcoming the Bible’s Betrayal of Its Non-Violent God

One of the world’s foremost historical Jesus scholars helps the church and its alumni/ae rise above the greatest of Christian treasons: that everlasting peace can only be achieved through the onslaught of divine violence.

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Faith in the Face of Terrorism

  The word “faith” in early Christianity was more synonymous with “courage” than it was with “belief.” Perhaps the most faithful response to terrorism is to refuse to be terrified. In Brussels on Easter they held a …

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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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Countering The “Countering Violent Extemism” Program

By Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

“P2P Challenging Extremism” is a new State Department-sponsored program that enlists American college students to combat online extremism.

the CVE agenda adopts a particular approach to religion in which the latter is understood to “cause” political outcomes, both good and bad.

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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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Xavier Rudd @ LEAF Spring 2015 (full show) Music Video

Xavier Rudd and The United Nations perform @ LEAF Spring 2015. Since the very beginning, Xavier Rudd’s ability to connect with people has been his most powerful gift. The more he has toured the world, the more hearts he has touched and the more of the world he has put back into his music.

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What if Time Has No Beginning and No End? – Video Sermon

Accepting that the world has a beginning and an end leads to a dismissive view of poverty, pollution, warfare, and social classes. While everyone certainly has a right to their personal beliefs about life after death, Muslims, Christians, and Jews must focus on the life that we know and to root our faith in what we can see in front of us. The early church was so confident that Jesus was coming back soon that they ignored many important matters of ethics. We cannot afford to make that mistake.

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Obama’s send-off at last White House correspondents’ dinner ends with the n-word …

What was expected to be a friendly and light-hearted skewering of political and media elites at the White House correspondents’ dinner by Larry Wilmore, comedian and host of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show,” turned into a night …

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Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Written by Matt Carriker

On the surface, it seems that death is triumphant.
It appears as though those who conspired to do evil have won.

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Scarboro Missions’ Golden Rule and Business Ethics

One researcher suggests that the Golden Rule remains the most common method to resolve ethical dilemmas. More often, however, the Golden Rule is the implicit ethic that underlies and supports codes of good business conduct and responsible consumption.

The websites presented in this document are offered as a service to all who are interested in delving further into the field of business ethics.

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Big Brands Sell Their Souls to the Devil

By Steve Robertson

Similarly, if we allow the menacing influence of certain TV and/or movie content to go unchecked and corporations from whom we buy products to sponsors such debasement without pushback, then the boil of apathy and moral confusion will likely lead us to experience and repeat the history of the fallen Roman Empire. According to Lewis Munford (1895-1990), American renowned historian, sociologist, philosopher of technology and influential literary critic: “Rome fell not because of political or economic ineptitude, not even because of barbarian invasions; Rome collapsed through a leaching away of meaning and a loss of faith. Rome fell because of a barbarization from within.”

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