No Human Being is Illegal

Sermon by Rev. Elizabeth Durant delivered on June 18, 2018 at First Congregational UCC Portland.

read more

Each Maundy Thursday we must peer beyond Passover lambs and scapegoats if we are to catch a glimpse of the LOVE that we call God

Every Sunday I stand at the altar and preside over a mystery. A mystery that has its roots in the events we remember this Holy Thursday. On Maundy Thursday, we gather together to contemplate MYSTERY. We know what will happen tomorrow as Good Friday plunges us into darkness. So is it any wonder that we cannot fully comprehend this MYSTERY.

read more

Honest to Jesus

The Christian tradition is now in the midst of Holy Week, the high holy days of our religion, concluding the season of Lent, the six-week period of repentance, prayer, fasting, and reflection in preparation for Easter.  The language and tone of Lent address the ego, known in traditional language as our ‘sinful nature.’  According to traditional Christian theology, Jesus died to ‘save’ us from our inherently depraved nature inherited from Adam & Eve, because we can’t do it for ourselves.  For the sake of biblical and religious literacy, we need to acknowledge a disclaimer.

read more

Making Sense of the Easter Stories in the 21st century

You may have sung this morning’s hymns and heard the gospel reading and wondered “Is this make-believe?” Perhaps you’ve never entered this church before, let alone attended on an Easter morning. You’re home for the weekend with your family or boyfriend or girlfriend or you’re here alone. Are you’re sitting here struggling over some of the details of the resurrection story that leave you perplexed, cynical or simply scratching your head. These are claims made by the apostle Paul and others who struggle to convey an experience of possibilities that cannot be fully expressed in words.

read more

Just Wave the White Flag of Surrender and Go Into the Party: a Sermon for the Lost – Luke 15 – Lent 4C

I am indebted to Amy-Jill Levine’s book “Short Stories by Jesus” and Bernard Brandon Scott’s book “Hear Then the Parable” for challenging me to look beyond the Christian bias of interpreting Jesus’ parables through the lens of the repentance and forgiveness and attempting to hear this story in ways more in keeping with Judaism.

read more

New Audio Series Sheds Light on Jesus’ Final Days

“The Last Week” with John Dominic Crossan is designed for Lenten study

Part historical exploration, part theological inquiry, part meditation, the new audio series “The Last Week” vividly brings to life the key moments leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection and provides space for personal reflection.

read more

The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem

Top Jesus scholars Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan join together to reveal a radical and little-known Jesus. As both authors reacted to and responded to questions about Mel Gibson’s blockbuster The Passion of the Christ, they discovered that many Christians are unclear on the details of events during the week leading up to Jesus’s crucifixion.

read more

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint

Now a New York Times bestseller, Nadia Bolz-Weber takes no prisoners as she reclaims the term “pastrix”(pronounced “pas-triks,” a term used by some Christians who refuse to recognize female pastors) in her messy, beautiful, prayer-and-profanity laden narrative about an unconventional life of faith.

read more

A Joyful Path, Children’s Curriculum, Year One, Ages 6-10, For SINGLE CLASSROOM

  Progressive Christian Spiritual Curriculum Compassionate, Intelligent, Inter-Spiritual, Non-Dogmatic   Group Curriculum with Teacher’s Handbook and 2 DVDs   Are you searching for a way to connect children with an authentic spiritual experience that is inter-spiritual, creative and …

read more

Augustine, Scripture, and Science

While there are many factors that lead up to tragedy like the mass murders in mosques in New Zealand

read more

Introducing the Last 7 Words of Christ Our Black Mother – A Lenten Series

This is public theology. As precious Patrons, I’m inviting you in to my theological process. Beginning on Ash Wednesday (March 6) and concluding on Good Friday (April 19), each week I will publish a photo and brief reflection on each of Christ’s 7 Last Words on the Cross.

read more

Embrace Your Mortality in MYSTERY: Ash Wednesday Our Wake-up Call!

An Ash Wednesday Reflection: Our changing understanding of what it means to be human, changes the nature of Ash Wednesday’s wake-up call.

read more

The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!

A Reformation Sermon – John 8:31-36

“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Let me take a moment to face the truth about who we are as Lutherans. The truth is that from the beginning Lutherans have participated in hate-filled tribalism that gives rise to anti-Semitism. The irony of attempting to commemorate the Reformation on the day after the slaughter of Jewish sisters and brothers cannot be ignored. Sadly, our church’s tragic participation in anti-Semitism goes all the way back to Martin Luther himself. Luther’s anti-Semitic rants provided the theological grounding that empowered Nazi’s to fan the flames of the Holocaust. It took until 1983 for the Lutheran World Federation to confess and repent Luther’s words.

read more

Church Ladies

I still have this burning question: Why do women go to churches that don’t allow women clergy? Ladies, don’t support churches that make you second-class citizens!

read more

One Extraordinary Church

It’s the House for all Sinners and Saints in Denver, a widely unconventional congregation led by Evangelical Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. She told correspondent Lucky Severson her language, teaching and tattoos symbolize her acceptance of everyone, and they of her. Their church is thriving.

read more

Jesus – Teacher of Radical Compassion

The one sentence from the gospels that even the most critical Biblical scholars tend to agree was quoted directly from the historical Jesus is this: Love your enemies. The first century of the common era had dozens of Jewish messiahs, many of whom were said to be exorcists and miracle workers. The titles of “king,” “Lord,” and even “Savior,” were all ascribed to the Caesar as well as to noted religious leaders. The early Jesus movement may have created narratives and titles to distinguish Jesus as being a rival to the empire or on an equal footing to Moses or Elijah but his truly unique message was a call to radical compassion.

read more

Preaching on Luke 6:27-38: Jesus’ Teaching on Non-Violent Resistance

In the Gospels According to Matthew and Luke, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Plain provide distillations of the teachings of Jesus; teachings Jesus lived for, teachings that eventually made Jesus so dangerous to the oppressive Roman Empire that they executed him as an enemy of the state. The very heart of these sermons is Jesus’ teaching on non-violence.  

read more

Christianity As A Contributing Cause Of The Current Ecological Crisis

Durham Street Methodist ChristChurch New Zealand (Aotearoa) January 20, 2019 service led by Rev. Bill Wallace featuring some of his hymns. Our theme today is Christian Theology and global warming.

read more