It’s Finally Official – Pope Francis Demotes Highest-Ranking US Cardinal Over LGBT Issues

It’s been in the news. Now it has been confirmed. As of this past weekend, Raymond Leo Burke, America’s highest-ranking cardinal at the Vatican, was officially removed from the Vatican’s Supreme Court, and demoted to chaplain of the Knights of Malta, where he will reign with much less responsibility.

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Tensions Needn’t Derail Us

… as many church leaders know too well, innovation can become threatening. Powerful constituencies push back, and things that manifestly need to be rethought take on a non-negotiable, do-not-mess aura.

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Scarboro Missions Golden Rule Poster making a splash in Africa

  Dear Golden Rule allies around the world: adapted versions of the Scarboro Missions Golden Rule Poster have been published in Ethiopia in two languages – 500,000 copies of the English poster have been circulated across Africa …

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Listen Up, Listen Often, Get Confused

I want to make a basic point about Spiritual Development. But first I need to file two disclaimers: Spiritual Development isn’t an exact science and there is no one single path …

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In Support of The Reverend Gretta Vosper

Gretta represents a small but growing number of clergy who are best described as courageous. The have spoken the truth when others too often fumble for words or refuse to look any deeper than their online sermons.

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Make Time for Marketing

If church leaders want people to “buy” their “goods and services’ — come to worship, take a class, engage with the community, grow in faith, serve God — they can’t just open the door on Sunday or send out a weekly newsletter stuffed with announcements. They need to do solid marketing. They need to do the basics as outlined above: catch people’s attention, explain offerings, present opportunities to engage, lead people to various forms of participation, form relationships, provide customer service.

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Six Keys to Learning from Experience

You’ve heard it many times: “Experience is the best teacher.” And its corollary, “Failure is a better teacher than success.” Makes sense, but what does it actually mean for church leaders? Here are six keys to learning from experience.

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Remember the S Curve

The S curve — shows what happens as a new idea takes hold, or a compelling vision, or fresh leadership, or a new mission thrust. If the idea or vision has legs, it will start slowly, then gather momentum as people buy into it and become excited by it. This new vision captures many imaginations. It puts into action the deepest values of the organization — in this case, a congregation.

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7 Steps to Prepare for Hate Attacks

It is time for congregations to develop protocols for responding to hate initiatives on their doorsteps. As the intolerant lose any self-discipline in lashing out at others, we can expect a fresh round of cross-burnings, gay-bashing graffiti, and online vitriol.

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A Letter from Pope Francis on Climate and Environment: Why a Papal Encyclical May Matter

Pope Francis and the Environment: Yale Examines Historic Climate Encyclical. What follows are the transcripts from the Panel on the Papal Encyclical held at Yale University on April 8, 2015.

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Two Realities of an Assertive Social Media Strategy

The “face” of a congregation needs to be its key leader, not its handsome edifice. Prospects will ask whether they can trust the leader and find his or her message inspiring. They won’t ask what the congregation did fifty years ago or why the liturgical space is the way it is.

Social media will put the pastor out front. Instead of trying to reach people through a traditional church newsletter describing institutional activities, the pastor will be posting, blogging and writing essays — on many subjects, but in the consistent voice of the author and focused on the reader’s needs and interests, not on the church as institution.

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What Do Racism and Progressive Christianity Have to Do with Each Other?

9 times out of 10 it is not about explicit individual prejudice. It’s fundamentally not about you as an individual, nor is it about feeling guilty for being “racist” as a white person. It’s about principalities and powers, systems so deeply rooted in us that they shape our very way of life. And those dynamics are built to remain invisible to all those are advantaged by them. Now that’s sin! But it’s so hard to express this in ways white people can hear without feeling like they are under attack.

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Black Bodies and the Black Church: A Blues Slant

(Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice)

There is a problem in the black church. It is a problem with black bodies and a blues problem. This book addresses these problems head-on. It proclaims that as long as the black church cannot be a home for certain bodies, such as LGBT bodies, then it has forsaken its very black faith identity. The black church must find a way back to itself. Kelly Brown Douglas argues that the way back is through the blues.

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Bishop John Shelby Spong: Why Atonement Theology will Kill Christianity

Speaking at Community Christian Church of Springfield, MO, Bishop Spong gave us a taste of sections of his next book which will be on the Gospel of Matthew. In this lecture he is speaking to the need for the modern church to abandon its outdated commitment to belief in substitutionary death/atonement theology.

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The Weekly: Bishop John Spong [Extended Interview]

Catch Charlie’s complete, full-length interview with Bishop John Spong.

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Intentional Spirituality: Exploring My Growing Edge – Hard Copy

  FOSTERING SPIRITUAL DEPTH IN A BUSY WORLD • Small group materials help your members embed greater meaning in their lives. • Your participants quickly make deep connections with each other. • Proven materials and techniques help …

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Intentional Spirituality: Exploring My Growing Edge – Digital Download

Fostering Spiritual Depth in a Busy World

• Small group materials help your members embed greater meaning in their lives.
• Your participants quickly make deep connections with each other.
• Proven materials and techniques help you lead your small group through transformation.

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In The Wake of the Emanuel AME Church Murders

The nine deaths in the mass murder in the Mother Emanuel AME church will not automatically become redemptive suffering. Those deaths may be simply sad victims of senseless, racist, violence unless their deaths inspire transformation. It is up to us. The universe, on its own, is capricious and chaotic, entirely devoid of meaning UNLESS we bring meaning to it.

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