Interpreting “The Great Commission”

The “whole world” is a big place (today we know our universe is made up of two trillion galaxies!) so there is plenty of space to roam in. While Matthew’s “Great Commission” talks about teaching the commandments Jesus has taught, at the heart of these are love of God and love of neighbor and vice versa. Our neighbor is not restricted to the two-legged ones, but all creation deserves to hear that humans are busy loving all creatures–not destroying other creatures in narcissistic fits of greed and violence that end whole species while endangering human generations that follow with a depleted earth.

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Easter? It’s Up to You!

Think for a minute about what you admire most about the life of Jesus. He was a person of profound compassion, bringing good news to the poor and healing to the brokenhearted. He reached out to everyone who had been wounded by life, including those who had been wounded by organized religion. He transcended ethnicity, race, religion, gender and status in society. Instead of judgment, he brought understanding. Instead of revenge, he brought forgiveness. And in the face of power, he brought courage for justice and fairness and respect for all people. Most of all, he brought a profound sense of hope, believing that betrayal and violence do not have the last word. Nor do our personal disappointments and heartaches. As long as love beats inside the human heart, then a new humanity is possible. That’s the Easter message we celebrate today.

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Progressive Christianity on the concept of hell

That is an excellent question and we progressive Christians really would do well to have some thought out responses when our more evangelical friends ask us about these matters – as well as our agnostic, atheist, and spiritual but not religious friends ask us this same question. As with so many things, progressive Christianity doesn’t have any official stance about this, but it does seem to be the case that most progressive Christians do not have a concept of hell as part of their faith and practice. I cannot speak for all of progressive Christianity, but I can share how this progressive Christian understands things – hell isn’t even part of the Bible and shouldn’t be a part of Christianity. To be blunt about it, let me repeat, Hell isn’t Christian – or Jewish. It’s pagan.

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Jesus, A New Adam

Jesus is the “new Adam”—not the innocent and perfect and beautiful Ken and Barbie doll of Adam and Eve.

For me as a progressive Christian, Jesus is the “new Adam”—not the innocent and perfect and beautiful (and initially sexless) Ken and Barbie doll of Adam and Eve; rather the tried and tested, unappealing and vulnerable and wounded one, acquainted with sorrows and grief, the bearer of the sins and injustices of the world—political, religious, and personal. Treasonous and blasphemous, betrayable and deniable, because compassion was all he held dear.

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A Hatred of Science Is Killing the Church: Why Young Adults Leave or Never Show Up

By Kurt Willems for Patheos

One of the reasons young adults feel disconnected from church or from faith is the tension they feel between Christianity and science. The most common of the perceptions in this arena is “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” (35%). Three out of ten young adults with a Christian background feel that “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in” (29%). Another one-quarter embrace the perception that “Christianity is anti-science” (25%). And nearly the same proportion (23%) said they have “been turned off by the creation-versus-evolution debate.”

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Days of Awe and Wonder: How to Be a Christian in the Twenty-first Century

Showcasing some of his most enduring and insightful writings, including many previously unpublished works, a concise and illuminating introduction to Marcus J. Borg, the late spokesman for progressive Christianity and one of the most revered and influential theologians of our time.

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Robin Meyers Interview: “Faith Journey”

In this short interview, we asked progressive Christian leader, author and activist, Rev. Robin Meyers: “What theological shifts have shaped your story?”

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Humpty Dumpty, Doubting Thomas, and Resurrection – John 20:19-31 – Easter 2A

Do I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life ever lasting? The truth is, that like Saint Thomas, I too have questions. Do I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life ever lasting? I have experienced the Risen Christ in the body of Christ that is the church. I believe that Christ has no hands but our hands, for we are the body of Christ. Christ lives through us, just as surely as Christ lived through those who first believed in things not yet seen. So, in the presence of such a great crowd of witnesses, with all the saints of every time and place, I can say, “Yes, I believe!”

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The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene

  Mary Magdalene was the first person, male or female, to witness the empty tomb…the first to see angels who reported the resurrection…the first to hear the voice of, and see, the risen Christ…and the first to …

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Blake Osborne Interview: Progressive Christianity

Blake Osborne Interview: Progressive Christianity

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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Why still call yourself a Christian?

I enjoy what you have been saying about Jesus, and I am becoming much more progressive than I used to be, but still I have a hard time understanding why someone with your beliefs still remains a Christian? If the Jesus you still “believe” in is not the Jesus that resurrected and was God incarnate, then why do you still call yourself a Christian?

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Jesus Speaks to the 12: Thomas, Matthew and James son of Alphaeus

Part 3 of a 4-Part Series

Part 3 of a 4-part series leading up to Holy Thursday. Each day 3 disciples present at the Last Supper are highlighted. It is partially inspired by the Unity teaching of the Twelve Powers. Part 1 sets the context and Jesus speaks to Peter, Andrew and James. Part 2 is John, Phillip and Bartholomew.

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Jesus Speaks to the 12: John, Phillip and Bartholomew

Part 2 of a 4-Part Series

Part 2 of a 4-part series leading up to Holy Thursday. Each day 3 disciples present at the Last Supper are highlighted. It is partially inspired by the Unity teaching of the Twelve Powers. Part 1 sets the context and Jesus speaks to Peter, Andrew and James.

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Jesus Speaks to the 12: Peter, Andrew, and James

Part 1 of a 4-Part Series

Part 1 of a 4-part series leading up to Holy Thursday. Each day 3 disciples present at the Last Supper are highlighted. It is partially inspired by the Unity teaching of the Twelve Powers.

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RES·UR·REC·TION

I often cringe when I hear the words: “God be with us.” To me, “with” implies that God is a divine being separate from us, outside of us, called to be next to us and “on our side” rather than someone else’s.

Jesus’ disciples were terrified when he was crucified. They thought he was no longer “with” them even though he had promised to be “until the end of time (age) (world)” (Matthew 28:20). He was buried in a tomb for God’s sake! How could he ever be with them again?
But look closer at the definition. “With” also means “possessing.” Now that’s something to which I can relate.

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Why do we assign a gender to God?

I have used the term “God” here several times to explain how we became more patriarchal. But the truth be told, no one has been able to decide where the word God came from or how long ago. The word God is a relatively new European invention, which was never used in any of the ancient Judeo-Christian scripture manuscripts that were written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek or Latin. Scholars tend to agree that is was sometime in the 6th century, probably in the Germanic culture and a derivation of the word, gudan.

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Toni Reynolds Interview: “What is God?”

Interview with Toni Reynolds, a missionary for the Christian Church Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ.

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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A Preference for Blindness

A recent University of Michigan study looked into the curious fact that most people do not change their prejudices when confronted with contrary facts but rather double down on their mistaken beliefs. It seems that John uses blindness as a metaphor for choosing not to see in the account of the man born blind. Both then and now courageous faith asks us to love truth enough to reject prejudice, propaganda, and political lies.

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