The evolution of prayer.

As someone who considers “God” to be primordial Being, through whom and in whom I have my own being, I find it impossible to understand prayer. Do you have any suggestion as to how prayer should be embraced? I come from a Roman Catholic background, but am no longer an adherent. I have pursued the theology of Bultmann, Tillich and the wonderful Scottish Theologian, John MacQuarrie, whose existentialist/ontological approach to the mystery of Being has led me to, what I believe to be, a more wholesome and logical interpretation of God. 
My difficulty now, however, is understanding where/how prayer fits. Any advice you can give would be deeply appreciated.


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Easter Encouragement for the Journey

Remember that resurrection is more than mere resuscitation! It is life transformed!
It is faith in possibilities, when others are convinced of inevitability.

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“Prayer for Abundant Living”

O God of empty tombs and resurrection living:
Make us mindful of the pervasiveness of hope, 
the determination of faith, 
and the persistence of love.  

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Lent: Letting Go of our Tightly Held Piety to See Our Need of Confession

When we begin to see God as the One in whom we live and move and have our being, we are able to see God as the one who dwells in with and through us. As we open ourselves to a broader understanding of God we can begin to see that the power to forgive resides in us? For it is in with and through us that our God finds expression. By letting go of our carefully held piety, perhaps we can begin to see the magnitude of the power of confession to absolve us as we evolve into all that we are created to be.

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Gathering

Have you come here this morning looking for hope and good news?
Yes! We have been searching for ways to draw new meanings from our old stories.

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A Prayer to NoOneUpThere

I first discovered the Reverend David Keighley and his poem “Leaving Home” years ago in a newsletter published by Bishop John Shelby Spong. I read “Leaving Home” every Friday as part of my early morning quiet time, when I do prayers (Progressive Christian style), relevant readings, and prep for the day. I always look forward to my weekly time reviewing “Leaving Home.” It helps me realize that I am not in this alone as I try to paddle upstream and show people an alternative to the church’s fourth-century approach to living in the twenty-first century.

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“In the Bleak Midwinter” — New Verse to Old Carol

This carol features words by 19th century English poet Christina Rossetti which were set to music by composer Gustav Holst.

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Why Progressives Need God: An Ethical Defence Of Monotheism

Environmental destruction, poverty in the midst of obscene wealth, one war after another. Our biggest crises are getting worse. Secularism makes this inevitable by denying any moral authority higher than the ruling classes. By contrast, religious traditions offer accounts of who made us, for what purpose and how we should live, but whilst some are more constructive than others it is only monotheism, defined as divine harmony, that provides the philosophical and ethical framework necessary for people to lead better lives. Drawing on cultural analysis, political philosophy, Christian apologetics and theodicy the author shows why, in order to resolve our crises, progressives need to reaffirm the goodness of the natural environment as a blessing from a good god.

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A time of gathering

“Come Again?” …we ask meaning, “tell me one more time, I didn’t quite get your message.” …Come again?
And God, the creator, by whatever name we summon does.

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“Wake, Awake for Night Is Flying”—New Verses for Advent Hymn

The words and music of this famous German hymn were created by Lutheran Pastor Philip Nicolai at a sad time in his ministry. During the winter of 1597-8, over 1300 people died of the plague in the small village of Unna, near Dortmund, where he pastored. He officiated at many
funerals, as many as 30 a day.

In a preface to its publication with other hymns and meditations he said he wished “to leave [them] behind me (if God should call me from this world) as a token of my peaceful, joyful, Christian departure, or (if God should spare me in health) to comfort other sufferers whom He should also visit with the pestilence.”

The hymn draws richly from biblical sources, including images from the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) and the Book of Revelation.

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The Profanity of ‘Thoughts and Prayers’

Offering our “thoughts and prayers” in a crisis can be an expression of sincere empathy but when you are capable of doing more and all you do is offer your thoughts and prayers then we quickly realize that such words are reflective of hollow hypocrisy. Prayer can be very helpful to our spiritual journey but as the African proverb teaches, “when you pray, move your feet.” We pray to change the one who prays so that we will do all that we can to meaningfully respond to the many crises we see happening all around us.

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Candlelight & Blessings: Symbols and Rituals for Death and Grieving

Death is inevitable, mysterious, and often confusing.

At the deathbed, patients and those gathered seek meaning, and many long for a sense of the Spiritual. Yet chaplains and spiritual caregivers have minimal information by which to determine how to provide support, limited time to develop rapport, and varying expectations from those they serve.

Regardless of the religious background of the patient and the loved ones gathered at the deathbed, there are elements of symbol and ritual that take on a pronounced role and a greater importance as one is facing the end of life.

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Prayer and God

Whether the person engaged in the act of prayer believes in a supernatural deity or force or the benevolence of the universe, we are the only answer we’ve got to the challenges facing our world. Some will work toward solutions compelled by the god in whom they believe. Others will work toward solutions compelled by theirs own sense of compassion and responsibility. Goodness comes into the world through our own hands, voices, and actions.

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Poems of Mourning and Healing Memory

The book begins with the author’s father—and the author himself— dealing with the death of wife and mother. It continues with the author’s powerful encounter with his dying father, then proceeds with poems mourning his father’s death and its aftermath.

The second half of the book contains poems which remember and honor significant people and experiences in the author’s life. As a pastoral psychotherapist, the author finds the Bible and spirituality to be major healing resources, along with memories of some key people he writes about who have helped him grow and heal in his life. What happens in writing is a mysterious and awesome thing, and the very process of remembering and writing these poems has helped the author mourn and find some healing.

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Interview with Toni Reynolds – “What message do you have for young people struggling through today’s world?”

These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!

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When theology unnerves

When theology unnerves
those who seek a mythic past,
are there echoes of the Christ
shaking faith that it might last?

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Reimagining God: An Interview with Lloyd Geering (part 5 of 5) with Ryan Bell

This week I speak with Sir Lloyd Geering, New Zealand theologian and pioneering Christian post-theist. In 1967, Geering was charged with heresy by the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand. He successfully withstood this challenge and has continued writing and speaking about religion and holy texts as a human constructions and words like “God” and “faith” as referents of human self-understanding and growth. He is the author of many books and articles, a few of which can be found in the links below.

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About “Markingsmass: A Liturgy for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation”

Dag Hammarskjold was Secretary General of the United Nations when he died in a plane crash in Africa in 1961 while on a peace-keeping mission. Widely admired for his performance in that role, he was rewarded posthumously with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Distinguished as his diplomatic career was, it has been equaled remarkably in public interest in a very different sphere—that of Christian spirituality–by the publication of Markings, a sort of diary or journal published after his death. It has remained in print since the 1960’s and is generally considered one of the great Christian devotional classics of the twentieth century, frequently compared with the works of St. Augustine, Pascal, Merton and other important Christian writers.

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