Interview with Robin Meyers – Is there a future for church?

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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100 Year Old Sewing Dresses and Planting Gospel Seeds

Eva Bossenberger is 100 years old. Eva, who has enjoyed sewing since she was a child, makes dresses to pack in Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts. She prays that every girl who receives a dress will hear the Gospel and come to know Jesus as her Savior. Learn

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“Who Do You Say I AM?” – Jesus IS? – Part 3

We cannot un-know what we have learned. In the past one-hundred years biblical scholarship has exploded. In the halls of academia, in the seminaries of mainline denominations the quest for knowledge about Jesus has born so very much fruit. Now thanks to the explosions of the information age, information that was once reserved to the carefully initiated, is available to everyone. Wander into your local bookstore, or turn on your computer and you will discover more information than any one person could ever digest on the subject of Jesus. And yet, despite more than 2000 years of scholarship, theologizing, speculating, preaching, and teaching, the question, put on the lips of Jesus by the anonymous gospel-storyteller that we call Matthew, remains a daunting question to answer.

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Who Do You Say that I AM? Part 2

Matthew 16:13-28

  This sermon is the second in a series of three sermons responding to questions about Jesus’ identity. You can explore the part one here Part Two of this exploration of Jesus’ identity includes three reflections interspersed …

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Who Do You Say that I AM? Part 1

Matthew 16:13-20 and Romans 12: 1-8 – a sermon

“Who do you say that I Am?” For most of my life I have been trying to figure out who I think Jesus was and is. Your very presence here on a beautiful summer morning, suggests to me that many of you have also tried to figure out who Jesus was and is. From time to time, I suspect that most of us have believed that we have worked it out; that we know just who Jesus is. But Jesus, just like every person we have ever known and or ever loved, Jesus keeps changing on us.

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Hate. No. Radical Love. Always.

The other side – no matter how vile, how much they hate me – are human beings. Stereotyping and dehumanizing them is wrong. Causing harm to them is wrong. Period.

No matter how wrong someone is, we must not treat them inhumanely.

They might be the problem. They might shout at us. They might threaten us. But hate is never the solution.

Hate is a narrowing; it makes the table more and more narrow, inviting fewer and fewer people to be with us. Love invites more people to join us.

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Treasure Map: Christians United in the Search

For 2,000+ years, Christians have studied the words of Jesus, the Apostles, Ancient Israelite prophets, psalmists and lawmakers in the Bible. We have been locked in theological debate over the meaning of life and how to achieve the union with God we so desire.

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That Time a Woman Stood up in Church and Called Me a Muslim

By Bert Montgomery for Patheos

When my friend Sue first met Tom, whom she would eventually marry, he was introduced to her as a Sunday School teacher at a Baptist church. Her immediate response was, “you don’t look like a Baptist Sunday School teacher!”

Sue had a mental template, a way of categorizing what Baptist Sunday School teachers should look, dress, and act like. Tom didn’t fit any of those things. Her mind scrambled to categorize him so she could know how she should speak to him, how she should relate to him. But, in her mind’s filing system, Tom was not anywhere close to her “Sunday School teacher” box. (By the way, Tom was, and still is, a Sunday School teacher at a Baptist church; and he still doesn’t look the part).

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Urdu-language Multifaith Golden Rule Poster

This Urdu-language multifaith poster featuring Golden Rule texts in 13 religions is published by Scarboro Missions with support from members of the Urdu-speaking community in Canada and around the world. The Urdu language originated in India in the thirteenth century as a blending of languages – chiefly Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit along with many local dialects. Urdu eventually developed as a language of culture, poetry and song. Upon the partition of India in 1947, Urdu became the official language of Pakistan and remains prevalent in India due to its linguistic similarity to Hindi and the immense popularity of Bollywood films. Today, nearly one billion people understand spoken Urdu, not only in South Asia but also in the Middle East, Europe, North America and other parts of the world as a result of large-scale migration from the Indian subcontinent.

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FaithandReason® presents The Challenge of Paul, featuring John Dominic Crossan

The D. L. Dykes, Jr. Foundation (DLDF), producers of FaithandReason®, will distribute, free of charge, The Challenge of Paul, an extraordinary video learning experience with John Dominic Crossan (Themes 1 and 2, plus a digital resource guide – a $150 value) to 1,000 or more churches across the country.

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The relevancy of The Old Testament today

Are there parts of the Old Testament that are said to be relevant today and why?

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Spiritual but Not Religious Should Be a Phase in Life, Not a Way of Life

By Inas Younis for Patheos

Do you identify as spiritual but not religious? If so, you are certainly not alone.

According to a recent Pew Research report, one-fifth of the adult population describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated. That’s a 15 percent increase from five years ago, and the percentage goes higher the younger you are. The “I am spiritual but not religious,” trend is the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S.

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Resistance Bible Study

(This is the introduction to a weekly Bible study I’m starting for students at USC. A few days ago, I finished reading a remarkable little book that my dear cousin Judy sent me: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder, a Yale history professor who incisively diagnoses the present danger posed by Trump and the Republicans to the survival of democracy in this country, and offers prescriptions for action. I closed the book, took a deep breath, and resolved to do something new and different toward that end. This “Resistance Bible Study” is the result. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! Any “musings” readers wishing to do their own version of this, please go for it – and keep me posted, too.)

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What do you see as the ideal church?

If you were the moderator of the United Church of Canada with no restrictions… what would the church look like? What do you see as the perfect/ideal United Church of Canada?

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The Gospel Is Not Good News For Everyone

By Alexis James Waggoner for Sojourners

I’ve been operating under a false assumption. An unexamined theology, of my own making, that I have been forced to confront: The gospel is good news, but it is not good news for all. At least not in the way we want it to be.

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Why ‘Works’ Are Necessary

A recent Pew Research Center poll has reopened the old debate about faith vs works–the line of scrimmage of the Protestant Reformation. Whereas Martin Luther and the heirs of the Reformation have always held that it is through faith alone that salvation occurs, many Protestants and Catholics today have a blended view of the role faith and works–at least, according to this poll (“works” is defined differently by different denominations, but could refer to any effort on the part of humankind, whether it is doing good deeds or following any religious prescription that guarantees that God will act a certain way after we do it).

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Spirituality outside the context of religion

  Question & Answer   Mike from SanFrancisco asks: Question: I am interested in spirituality but not in religion but isn’t spirituality the same as religion? Answer: By Rev. Matthew Fox Recently I had a thoughtful discussion …

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Heeding messages. Whose messages?

This article about messaging is in three parts:

• Part One: Michelangelo’s Biblical Errancy
• Part Two: Meaning and Message Are Intertwined
• Part Three: Asking You to Choose to Believe in Awe

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