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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A Prayer For Orlando

Fifty.
Today, a number of tragedy
symbol of guns drawn, shots fired, sheer horror.
I prayed that it was not religious extremism.
But it was.
Again.
Once more, lives lost senselessly invoking the name of God.
And so I grieve.
I let myself feel the grief and the tears.

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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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The Transgender Body of Christ

As a minister, I am disheartened by the misunderstanding and hate displayed against transgender persons in many states across our country. According to a recent report by the Human Rights Campaign, there are 44 anti-transgender bills being considered in 16 states. Within the last week, 11 states sued the Obama administration in an effort to oppose federal guidelines concerning transgender students use of restrooms and other facilities. Opponents to the equitable inclusion of transgender persons couch their arguments as simple common sense. In doing so, they reveal their dismissal of gender identity at call, by purposely misgendering trans boys and girls. For all the fear-mongering and anti-trans rhetoric that is out there regarding transgender use of public restrooms and in schools—including death threats that are being espoused by so-called “Christians”— people should take a look at how inclusive transgender laws have played out here in California.

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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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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as “black rage,?? historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post showing that this was, instead, “white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames,?? she writes, “everyone had ignored the kindling.??

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Marcus Borg@All Saints Church – Amos: A Case Study in “What I Wish Every Christian Knew”

Presentation by Marcus Borg at the All Saints Church Lent Event, on Monday, March 24, 2014

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United Methodist Church’s Inhospitality Toward Its LGBTQs

The United Methodist Church is in the need of prayer. And, one that emphasizes full inclusion of all its parishioners.

At General Conference this month in Portland the struggle to move the church’s moral compass against its anti-LGBTQ policies was courageously demonstrated when over 100 United Methodist Church(UMC) ministers and faith leaders came out to their churches – with Rev. Jay Williams of Union United Methodist Church in Boston’s South End as one of them.

While these ministers and faith leaders undoubtedly moved the hearts of many the church’s policies remain unmoved.

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Looking Back on the Anniversaries of May 17th Through the Years

When you reside at the intersections of multiple identities anniversaries of your civil rights struggles can be both bitter and sweet. And this May 17th was a reminder.

At 12:01 a.m. on May 17, 2004, the city of Cambridge was the first to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. At 9:15 a.m. the first couple was married. Then Cambridge City Clerk Margaret Drury said to Tanya McCluskey,52, and Marcia Kadish,56, of Malden, Massachusetts, “I now pronounce you married under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
Also, on that day was the 50th anniversary of the historic U.S. Supreme Court case of “Brown v. Board of Education,” a ruling that upended this country’s “separate but equal” doctrine, adopted in the “Plessy v. Ferguson” decision of 1896.
While joy washed over me that day knowing my partner and I could now follow McCluskey’s and Kadish”s footsteps and be legally married, we could not rejoice over the limited success, huge failures, and ongoing resistance of Brown that allowed a few of us entry into some of the top universities of this country, as it naggingly continues to be challenged as a form of reverse discrimination.

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Physical Water, Living Water

Samaritan’s Purse is providing clean, safe water for 100,000 people in two refugee camps in South Sudan. Not only are we meeting vast physical needs, we’re also proclaiming Jesus Christ as the Living Water, who alone can meet people’s spiritual needs.

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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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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – God Can Use Imperfect People – Part One

I am abundantly aware that God can do remarkable things with less than perfect people. Noah supposedly had “blameless behavior,” but after the flood, he got drunk on the wine he produced and, although he may not have been aware due to his drunken stupor, may have had sexual relations with one of his sons. Later in Hebrew Scriptures, we meet other imperfect people who were used by God: Moses had a stuttering problem, Gideon was afraid, Samson was a womanizer, Rahab was a prostitute, David was an adulterer and murderer, Elijah was suicidal, and Abram.

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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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