Applications are invited for the position of Minister of the Word St Michael’s Uniting Church

Melbourne, Australia

    An opportunity exists to lead and guide a receptive congregation, in a prestigious city church to its next phase of spiritual growth and development. The congregation of St Michael’s is looking for a minister who …

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Justifying the Inexcusable

An economic system is nothing more than the agreed upon method of distributing resources. Any nation can change their economic system if it isn’t working for the best interests of the majority of the citizens. Our economic system has become much worse since Dorothy Day called it a “filthy rotten system” almost a century ago. We don’t have to accept it. In fact, we must not.

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Prayer Changes Us – BRUNCHtalks 7

As our images of God expand, we must move beyond praying to an elsewhere god. All of life is lived in the midst of Divinity. The life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth point to the reality that Divinity is LOVE. All life is lived in the midst of Love. Prayer is seeking connection to Divinity/Love. Prayer changes us, changing us, changes creation, and so prayer changes the ONE in whom we live, and breathe, and have our being.

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Three Deadly Sins of Public Discourse

The USA is suffering a partisan divide that now rivals the years of the Civil Rights Movement and the protests of the war in Vietnam. In order to heal our divided nation, conservatives and liberals must learn to both talk to one another and to sincerely listen. But mere civility will not save us unless we avoid logical pitfalls in our public conversation. This sermon outlines three: the problem of epistemology, of false equivalence, and what-about-ism. Take this as a short course in philosophical reasoning.

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Advent

What is coming we yearn to know
As fallen leaves herald winter snow
Will what comes be worth the wait ?
Will past hungers our future sate?

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Publications from “Progressive” Australian and New Zealand Authors

Publications from “Progressive” Australian and New Zealand Authors

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Theology From Exile Volume I: The Year of Luke 2nd Edition: Commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary for an Emerging Church

The struggle for distributive justice-compassion continues into the first quarter of the twenty-first century and beyond in what may become a post-democratic world order. Whether Jewish-Christian scriptures continue to be relevant to contemporary “spiritual not religious” folk may determine what becomes of “Christianity.” This second edition of The Year of Luke is a valuable, contemporary resource for progressive preaching, teaching, Bible study, and resistance, grounded in postmodern biblical scholarship of Karen Armstrong, the late Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and the Westar Institute’s Jesus Seminar, as well as the transforming work of Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox, whose theology of Creation Spirituality has reclaimed Catholic mysticism for postmodern cosmology.

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Confessions of a Recovering Progressive

Description: Progress is the de facto religion in the industrial world. But something has changed in America, and beyond. What happens when we progressives ‘lose the faith’?

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The End of Providence

While much of traditional Judaism, Christianity, and Islam profess a belief in a God who is a person, a person with a will, emotions, and preferences and that God is in control of history. Progressive people of faith tend to eschew this kind of supernatural theism. As St Teresa said, God has no hands in this world but our hands, no feet but our feet. The universe is capricious but we are moral actors. Meaning, love, purpose, happen when we make them happen.

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Jesus ain’t no super-hero!

The anonymous gospel storyteller that we call Mark, provides us with the shortest of the four gospels — just 16 brief chapters. But don’t let that fool you. The writer of this account of the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth packs more action into his short gospel than any of the racy novels, spy thrillers, mystery novels or tell all biographies that you can find today on Amazon. Today’s reading occurs barely half way through our anonymous storyteller’s account of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and already Jesus has: been baptized in the river Jordan and been tempted in the wilderness by the evilest of villains, Satan himself.

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Gratitude in a Time of Grief

A sparrow was in her tree singing to the dawn. But before the song was complete, a spark somewhere flashed and a tree somewhere ignited. Because the forest was dry, the fire spread from tree to tree faster than though. The whole forest seemed to explode in flame.

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Sermon: Beyond Gratitude

Jesus didn’t give us dogma; he didn’t give us anything we had to believe. Rather, he gave us instructions for how to live an ethical life; a holy and whole life. He offered us a spirituality of actions and attributes: gratitude, yes… and love, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, a sense of faith in something. When these emotions arise unbidden, we are expressing our pure nature, our Christ Consciousness. In this way, the light within is not a metaphor, it’s an embodied spirituality.

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Haud Ignota Loquor (Speak not of what is not known)

Generations before the birth of Jesus, Virgil wrote in the Aeneid the solemn advice that we should not speak of what cannot be or what is not known. We would all be a lot better off if religions of all stripes had followed that advice. The world’s great faiths offer moral insight and direction (though even that should be critically received) but this wisdom is encrusted with magical thinking and unsubstantiated truth claims that have little or no bearing on the real world. Progressives seek to reveal the wisdom of faith without passing along the neurotic or false claims of our traditional faith.

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God is too big for just one religion

Joseph Campbell taught that all religions are true as long as they are taken poetically and metaphorically. However, when we try to take a religious text as being historically or factually “true,” then they all become false. God doesn’t write books. While we may wish for absolute truths, the fact of our spiritual lives is that we have to think critically and morally interrogate our beliefs constantly as we navigate our way between truth and “fake news.”

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All Saints – Giving thanks for the Divine in One-another!

All Saints’ Day is a day for remembering.  The word saint simply means “holy”. In the New Testament, all those who believe and were baptized were referred to as saints. It wasn’t until round about the third century that the church began using the word saint to refer to those who had been martyred for the faith. Over time these martyred saints were held up for veneration and people used to pray to them to intercede on their behalf. I’m not going to go into all of the institutional abuses that led Martin Luther and the later reformers to abolish the veneration of the saints. Except to say, that while the Reformation put an end to the veneration of the saints in the protestant churches, it did not abolish the concept of sainthood.

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Exercising Empathy

Empathy is more than sympathy, it involves a deeper understanding of, and even the ability to anticipate the feelings of another person. There are two kinds of religion, the personal piety sort whose goal is to avoid punishment and attain reward, and the empathic journey of faith that seeks to be a blessing to others, even those who are not yet born. Maybe there is really only one kind of religion because, as this sermon argues, religion without empathy is really just self-service with rituals.

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The View from Job’s Dung-heap: Peering Beyond the Heavens Toward a Theory of Everything?

When our ancestors looked into the heavens they had no way of knowing the wonders of the cosmos that we are beginning to discover. While physicists can ignore theology, theologians who ignore physics will find themselves stuck atop Job’s dung-heap impotently shaking their fists at the Divine.

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An Overdue Second Bill of Rights

F. D. Roosevelt recognized that the original bill of rights, that guaranteed certain political freedoms, would not be enough to make all American’s free with a similar bill of rights that would guarantee economic independence. Of the eight amendments he proposed in 1944, seven are still waiting to be implemented. The progressive movement is not dead but it has been too slow to gain ground. We really need to pick up FDR’s banner and run with it!

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