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Words Do Matter

With some wonderful exceptions, I regular hear words like- Redeemer, Lord, Savior and sin, sprinkled throughout the service in everything from the call to worship to the benediction. I often wonder what the people in the pews are thinking when they hear me preach and then stand up and recite something that is completely contrary to the sermon they just told me was wonderful.

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Show Us God

By: Gary Wiburn.  Last week I spoke of our defining identity here at First Presbyterian as being four things:  a Christ-Centered faith, a place of Creative Celebration, of Compassionate Caring, and Inclusive Community.  These are some of the primary ways in which we understand ourselves as a Center for Progressive Christianity, which means nothing less than trying to embrace the essential teachings of Jesus.

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Fraying Claims: Challenging Progressives beyond Their Chosen Response to the Burning of the Koran

The truth of the matter is that the scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are filled with violence, divisiveness, condemnation. So, too, are they filled with passages that condone the destruction of property and persons of other belief systems and nationalities. True, too, is the reality that such content can, and as Jones has reminded us, will be used for appalling purposes. The pastor in Florida is only doing what he believes his God expects him to do. It’s a God he would deny for no one. Not for his president, Barak Obama, who pleaded with him on behalf of Americans around the world, not to go ahead with his plan. Not for his evangelical brother in the faith, Rick Warren, who has called it a “cowardly act”. Not for any “progressive” Christian like me or Diana Butler Bass who drives a car with a COEXIST bumper sticker on it, each of the letters formed from the symbol of a different religion

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Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing The Story

In Correcting Jesus, Brian Griffith patiently and clearly untangles the many strands of the story of Christianity, and the many changes made over the centuries to the original story of Jesus and his message. For any reader who’s wondered, “Where did that rule come from?” and “Was it always this way?” Brian’s book is the one you’ve waited for. He’s always passionate but direct in his thesis that the original words of Jesus were meant as a basis for a society based on partnership and equity, not the one of domination and hierarchy they’re used so often to justify.

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What Do We Mean When We Say, “I am Christian?”

Over the last fifteen years I listened to a growing number of troubled clergy who are in conflicted and or dying churches. (I believe there is a connection.) Sometimes the battles are over “LBGT” issues and other times it may be about politics. But far more often, the conflict is rooted in theology, Christology and ideology. Frankly, with rare exceptions, clergy cannot freely teach what they learned in seminary or more importantly, what they have come to believe about their own understanding of the Christian religion, the Bible or their faith. The resultant message is often mixed or muddled and almost always without passion.

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Anne Rice Quits Christianity

Ironically, author Anne Rice may have been more of a Christian yesterday than she ever was, when she announced, on Facebook, that she was quitting Christianity and renouncing any claim to the title “Christian.”

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Does the Bible Really Call Homosexuality an “Abomination”?

This word, used for centuries to justify an anti-gay posture, has been badly translated and even more poorly understood.

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Progressive Christianity: Reconstructing Our Theological Witness

Progressive Christianity has been seriously hampered by at least two illusions.

One is that the triumph of progressive ideas is pretty much inevitable. The other is that progressive ideas are inherently persuasively. Neither is true. The progressive Christian witness will not triumph inevitably triumph or under its own power. Convictions prevail when they are part of social movements. Progressive ideas may be intrinsically credible, but they are actually believed only when they are effectively stated and lived, and embedded in alliances of people who act together with informed intentionality.

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Peter Kennedy’s First Year in Exile

This interview with rebel Catholic priest, Peter Kennedy, took place almost exactly 12 months after his departure from St Mary’s Parish in South Brisbane. Since leaving, he and his followers have formed a congregation outside the Catholic Church that they call St Mary’s-in-Exile.

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To Have and to Have Not

Luke’s Jesus seems to be saying, pay attention to how you are listening to the message. Are you receptive (fertile); rocky (rejecting); thorny (resisting); or dry (uninterested)? Because . . . but here the non-sequitur called “to have and have not” throws us off the track. The Jesus Seminar scholars suggest that “Luke presumably wants the reader to know that those who grasp at the initial stages of faith will be given more to understand as they mature” (The Five Gospels p. 307).

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The Study of Life, Part 5. My Search for the Meaning of Life as I Walked in Darwin’s Footsteps

In the preparation required to write my new book on eternal life, I soon discovered that this subject raised all of the contemporary theological issues that threaten to destroy Christianity as we have known it. It was clear that I would have to turn the traditional religious approach around. I had to read the modern critics for whom the religious concepts of the past make no sense. I also had to come to a new understanding of what life itself means. Life after death cannot possibly be contemplated until one understands the wondrous and even mysterious dimensions of life before death.

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Interview of Brian McLaren On His New Book

Interview of Brian McLaren on Patheos.com  Challenging the traditional assumptions around core Christian beliefs and advocating a dynamic discipleship that is more about the questions than the answers, this evangelical pastor-turned-author is preaching a compelling message for the future of Christianity that is building bridges across religious divides within the Church and beyond.

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What is Evolutionary Christianity

Evolutionary Christianity values big history — the 14-billion-year epic of physical, biological, and cultural evolution — as divine revelation and as our common creation story. Here are four core tenets of Evolutionary Christianity

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Jesus: Magician or Liberator?

For 21st Century Christianity, the question is, which interpretation makes the most sense? Magic and miracle, or liberation from injustice? Scholars and commentators are often accused of reading 21st Century world views back into 1st Century writings.

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The Great Story

The four tenets of The Great Story.  By Michael Dowd, Author of Thank God for Evolution.

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Evolution: The Next Step

As a Christian who is centred on the spiritual aspect rather than on literal doctrinal interpretations, I see no conflict between evolution and my faith. In fact a realisation about how humanity is evolving shows me an inspiring path ahead. I personally see the evolutionary process as an expression of God. (In saying this I am not assuming anything about the nature of God which I personally have come to understand in a mystical sense.) But before considering the moral and spiritual implications let us consider briefly how this evolutionary process has developed. There seems to be a large consensus on four distinctive steps.

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Awakening to the Sacred Dimension of Creation

We are facing a planetary crisis that is unparalleled in human history. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that we are at a tipping point. Species extinction is accelerating, global warming is melting the polar icecaps at a …

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Evolution Favoring Religion?

A recent post by Mark Vernon of Religion Dispatches traces some findings of David Sloan Wilson who is a biologist researching and suggesting that the so-called “selfish gene” proposed by evolutionary biologists of the past is a fallacy. Instead, Wilson’s research has lead him to posit the idea that we haven’t, as humans, evolved toward the ends and purposes only of the self but rather more toward the aims and benefit of the groups in which individuals live.

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