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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Jesus Matters – BRUNCHtalks 5

Jesus MATTERS – BRUNCHtalks 5
by Rev. Dawn Hutchings

Audio only click here

Moving beyond the sacrificial interpretation of the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth to explore a progressive way of following Jesus. Jesus’ way of being provides hope for 21st century christian communities who embrace the LOVE we meet in the stories about Jesus that have been handed down to us. Can christian communities provide a space where people can gather together to learn how to love?

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This Rabbi On That Rabbi

A modern Portland, Oregon rabbi explains Jesus’s messages

An outside-the-box, modern rabbi from Portland, Oregon explains the Jewish messages of Jesus. Rabbi Brian’s style is approachable, warm, honest and quirky. He quotes Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy to help explain the intent of the phrase “I am the way the truth and the life. No one gets to the Father except through me.”

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Following Jesus is for Losers

This Sunday Rev. Meyers preaches from the Gospel according to Mark, chapter chapter 8 verses 27 thru 38, a passage known as “Peter’s Declaration about Jesus.” Recorded Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018 from the pulpit of Mayflower Congregational UCC Church in Oklahoma City.

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Faith Defined by Radical Compassion

Molly Tibbetts was murdered by an undocumented immigrant farm worker. When her death was being used to promote the building of a wall along our border with Mexico and a stepped up deportation policy, Molly’s father wrote an op-ed asking for compassion and sanity. The spiritual practice of compassion is not simply a matter of civility and good manners but requires that we make sacrifices of our comfort or even our safety.

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We’re All Mad Here

Suicide is now on the top ten list of causes of death in America. It is time for us to get honest about the social isolation that leads to a sense of worthlessness, of not being needed, of not belonging anywhere. While we do need to support mental health practitioners and access to appropriate medications but the most effective treatment for depression, the most effective way to prevent suicide is a combination of maintaining close friendships and the habit of exercising in sunlight for at least 30 minutes every day. Ultimately, we should be mature enough to accept that the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland was right: We are all mad here. Because we are all damaged in some way, we should be honest about the fact that we need one another (and we need to exercise in natural light).

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Journey to Liberation: The Legacy of Womanist Theology

By Filmmaker Anika Gibbons

In this film, filmmaker Anika Gibbons ’13 takes a deeper look at the radical spirituality and scholarship within the lives of the founding mothers of Womanist theology and Womanist ethics. She focuses on their significance as African-American theology and history, and on the role played by Union in that founding.

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Jesus the Christ? – BRUNCHtalks 8

Jesus is not some sort of cosmic bargain with a demanding, jealous, elsewhere god, sacrificing himself so that we can live happily ever after! Jesus of Nazareth was fully human. The Christ is the experiece of Jesus his followers encountered after his death. The Cosmic Christ is neither human nor divine, but rather a gateway into the MYSTERY’s presence among us. Our BRUNCHtalks continue to explore what it means to be Progressive in approach: Christ-like in action.

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A Universal Basic Income

The UBI (Universal Basic Income) is an idea that is growing in favor among economists as well as philosophers. The world is changing and as automation decreases the demand for labor our economic system must also change so that we are not squeezing human beings out of the equation as we make a few people super rich and leave millions to live in the violence of poverty. We must change our priorities so that we do not continue to push all of our real wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people.

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As Labour Day Weekend approaches: some thoughts about Work: a job? a profession? or LOVE made visible!

Labour Day weekend marks a milestone in my life. You see 24 years ago, after a driving about 4,000 kilometres, all the way from Vancouver, I arrived in Waterloo, Ontario, just in time for the long Labour Day weekend. I didn’t know anyone in Waterloo. I didn’t have a place to live. But on the Tuesday after Labour Day, I was scheduled to report to Waterloo Lutheran Seminary to begin orientation for what would be a four year masters of Divinity program. In the course of that long ago Labour Day weekend, I found a place to live, unpacked all the belongings that I’d been able to stuff in to my old 84 Oldsmobile, and discovered that in Ontario, milk comes out of in plastic bags. You have no idea how mystified I was wondering just how those plastic bags functioned as an appropriate container for milk. I actually remember standing in the grocery store wondering what people here in Ontario did once they’d opened the plastic bag. Visions of milk spilling everywhere caused me to well up with such a feeling of homesickness. Since then, Labour Day Weekends have been strange combination of nostalgia for what once was and excitement for what is yet to be.

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Ego and Other Barriers to Community

The obvious obscenity of narcissism or bloated egos among politicians (and preachers) makes us want to turn our heads and avoid contact. However, it deserves to be considered that some of the most mean and egotistical people are simply starving for attention and affirmation. What if we chose to give others attention and approval in advance? If we all need air, water, food, and sleep, and we also need positive social contact, then it would be foolish to deprive anyone of air, water, food, or sleep and it is equally foolish to fail to give others attention and approval. We all need meaningful connections and we should have the courage to reach out and make those connections.

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Sage Advice

We are exhausted with reports of corruption in government, a judicial system that is bereft of justice, and a penal system that seems to institutionalize social revenge rather than reform. While we will never acquiesce to the injustices of our judicial and penal systems, we will not surrender to corruption in business or government, we do recognize a need to live as wisely as possible to avoid turning our fate, or the fate of our children, over to a system that has shown itself to be rife with racism, classism, and corruption. The Proverbs call to us to love wisdom and reject the temptations of a foolish and dangerous life.

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The Power and Paradox of Forgiveness

Sermon by Rev. Robin Meyers, Mayflower Congregational Church

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Why We’re Still Here

The Emerging Church held its first service 10 years ago today. The progressive movement is largely comprised of small, liberal, academically oriented congregations who are committed to expressing their faith in passionate social justice involvement. To make it to the 10 year mark in very conservative Springfield, MO is reason for celebration!

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From Common Sense to an Age of Reason

The progressive faith movement has deep roots in the 19th century in the writings of Voltaire, in France, and Thomas Paine, in the United States. Paine foresaw that a revolution in favor of democracy would lead directly into a revolution in religious beliefs and practices. Three major periods of revivals in America has kept evangelical faith alive in America while France moved more decidedly in the direction of a more secular approach to life. Still, Paine’s “Common Sense” inspired the birth of democracy in the USA and it led to his writing of “Age of Reason” to encourage religion to focus on moral living and to dismiss creedal or doctrinal theology. What we modern progressives call the primacy of orthopraxy over orthodoxy. Rather than beliefs about heaven, hell, salvation, and invisible beings, progressives believe in freedom, justice, equality, and working for the wellbeing and happiness of all.

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San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral’s Beyoncé Mass

Finding God at a Beyoncé Mass

Beyoncé is undeniably the most powerful force in pop culture. So it makes sense that someone decided to bring her music and philosophy into church, where it belongs.

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Pride

It is obviously and indisputably true that “all lives matter.” However, this statement of the obvious, and its cousin, “blue lives matter,” are used to dismiss, shout down, or reject the “black lives matter” movement. No heterosexual ever had to pretend to be gay in order to be accepted at family gatherings, job interviews, or as school. We have gay pride weekends because every weekend is a heterosexual pride weekend. We have a Black History month because every month is a white history month. Black people are trying to explain what it means to be black in America in the 21st century and before we offer any replies at all, we white folks probably need to just shut up and listen.

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