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Breakfast with the Dalai Lama

The Seeds of Compassion organization is a very interesting organization and I believe it has a lot to tell those of us that are still trying to grow Christian churches. The organization came through the collaboration of the Kirlin Foundation and the Venerable Tenzin Dhonden and many other religious, educational and spiritual people from the area. These dreamers wanted to bring concrete public awareness, public will, and an empowering call to action to address our local and global need for the social and emotional well-being of children…As an outcome, they seek to bring social and emotional learning into families, to caregivers, and to schools so that all who touch the lives of children have the tools and empowerment to provide the foundation for kinder and more compassionate children, communities, and society. (Quotes from their own brochure)

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We Are Interconnected Within the Divine Plan

If Jesus Is A Wayshower, What Does He Show Us?

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It Must Be True (Easter)

Easter has always held a special place in my life and spiritual journey as it holds promise for rebirth, change, growth, and yes, resurection. It is a challenge for many to let go of the belief of a physically resurcted Jesus, but once we recognize the beauty of a spiritual resurection, we can unravel the incredible miracle of having the potential, each day, to re-birth our spirit, to lift it up out of the darkness of despair, fear, and lonliness and merge it with the luminous light of the universal spirit.

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The Great Awakening on the Right and Left

Washington Post, On Faith Tuesday, February 12, 2008 The Great Awakening speaks of two great hungers in our world today-the hunger for spirituality and the hunger for social justice. I believe that the connection between the two is one the world, and especially a new generation, is waiting for. The Great Awakening makes that vital connection and shows how spiritual renewal will likely be a necessary part of social change, and how perhaps only genuine spiritual revival can spark social and political transformation.

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The Magic of Christmas

Recently as my wife and I were having a quiet dinner with some friends and found ourselves going through something that seems to have become an annual ritual. It always starts with someone announcing, “Can you believe it? Christmas is only X days away!” And in chorus the rest of us go, “your kidding! How did that happen?” We have other little ditties that we sing like, “It seems like it was only a few months ago we were celebrating Easter.” Or, “But I just put the Christmas decorations away from last year” Then for the closing song we always sing rather sadly, “It comes faster and faster every year.” As the evening progressed someone wistfully asked, ” I wonder if we can every capture the magic of Christmas again?” I have thought a lot about that over the last few years. I wondered if there ever was “the magic of Christmas” that has been shared in common with others over the years…

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I Have Lost the War

Yesterday, as I sometimes do when I need amusement, I went online to read my horoscope for today. The words leaped off the page at me, “The long, exhausting battle is over, and you have lost the war” I immediately burst into deep sobs of both sorrow and relief. Those words struck a chord of truth deep in me…I felt like a kid standing on the football field after the lights have gone out and his team has lost the big game. He still holds the football in his hand and believes he’s just one more touchdown away from a winning game.

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In Praise of the Secular

Now he has followed the lead of the Renaissance sage Erasmus, whose droll and counter-intuitive title "In Praise of Folly" similarly introduced a critical assessment of a conflicted and self-satisfied society. Our present paradox, Lloyd notes, is that willy-nilly we live in a secular society lately evolved from Christendom – one in which liberal spiritualities are under assault by both religious fundamentalists and militant atheists. But then, liberty has always fought an uphill battle against political and ecclesiastical tyrannies, and has always demanded a high level of individual responsibility. The personal freedom offered by secularism – which includes a free choice of spiritual pathways – is what Lloyd Geering sees as a beacon of hope as we strive to create the global society of tomorrow. Indeed, one may well see in this little volume an echo of one of Jesus' most radical and authentic teachings – the parable of the Leaven – the essence of which is the inspired insight that only when the sacred and the secular are made one will the Kingdom of God have come.

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God In Disguise

So many of my relationships suffered from the not-knowing of such a truth: that absolutely everyone and everything we meet along the journey is God-in-disguise waiting to show us the way to liberation. All that separates me from remembering this universal wisdom are my own (often buried) thoughts, judgments, fears and beliefs. If I stop making up stories about other people who don't look, talk, sound or act like me, I usually find another man, woman or child who just wants to love and be loved.

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Jesus Did Not Die for Us, Jesus Lived and Died for Us

In the April 1995 issue of Theology Today, theologian Murray Joseph Haar lamented what he regarded as a "rampant" sickness within the American church. He wrote, "The symptoms of this illness sound like this: 'Jesus died for my sins, His pain my gain, He died to set us free, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away my sins, I have decided to accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior." With words like these, many Christians proclaim and define their faith in the efficacy of Jesus' death on their behalf. I contend that these words of faith indicate precisely the nature of the sickness at the heart of American Christianity." He calls the sickness, a "rampant, individualistic, self-serving redemptionsm." (1)The sickness continues today. The common understanding and frequent statement of many Christians is that "Jesus died for us." Standing alone, that is a distortion of the Christian faith, for it separates the life of Jesus from his death. A dramatic depiction of this separation is seen in Mel Gibson's film The Passion of The Christ. In the film the passion of Christ was almost entirely limited to his death. There was no understanding that his death was the consequence and fulfillment of the passion of his life.

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Giving Thanks for the Good, the Bad and the Surprising

Ian Lawton is pastor of C3/ Christ Community Church in Spring Lake,West Michigan and on the TCPC Executive Coucil. What does it mean to live as if I am surrounded by miracles, even though the kids are fighting, the mortgage is overdue, there seems no end to global conflict and my back hurts? Who should I be grateful to, and for what?

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Nurturing a Progressive Christian Spirituality

You cannot love and serve with a compassionate heart without eventually seeing those whom you are serving as your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, or eventually as yourself, even when it is “the least of these” who you serve. But if we do our serving because we feel that it something we are supposed to do “because the Bible says we should” or “because that is what Jesus did according to scripture,” or because it is our “duty,” we only separate ourselves more from the others. On the other hand, if we see our compassionate service as an opportunity to experience the “Realm of God” or “Sacred Unity” then our compassionate actions or practices become golden opportunities.

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Build and Sustain Faith Communities by Feeding the Hungry

This presentation was given by Fred Plumer at the Common Dreams Conference in Sydney, Australia last month. It clearly lays out 8 steps and goals for churches and spiritual communities that want to build and sustain their communities by feeding the hunger that people feel for spirituality, purpose, a mission, and clear path.

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The Wake I Leave Behind

Let's look at this as a comedy of errors…or as a cosmic joke on me. The point of this story is that how we look at the events that cross our paths effects everything about the cosmology we are constantly building (and revising) as we grope along the path through life.

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The Winter of my Awakening

During my winter sojourn in Sarasota, while attending these 2 ½ hour weekly sessions led by Meredith Jordan, I (and 65 others) embarked on an inward-turned journey to discover our true inner being, to let our outer life of busyness in the world drain away, to learn from today's living spiritual elders so that we too could assume the role of "elder" in our own sphere of influence. "Becoming an elder is quite different from becoming elderly," Jordan says. "It is a time when we focus internally on qualities of character, leadership and integrity, growing and sharing those traits. Being an elder means using every opportunity to give others something of what life has led you to understand and embody."

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Churches Have More than Just Good Music

Ten years ago George Carlin the comedian, wrote in his book, Brain Droppings, "The only thing good that came out of religion was the music."  When I ponder the
violent history of the Christian church, the religious wars that still
continue to plague our world, the divisiveness, the prejudice and the
bigotry that the church has perpetuated and continues to perpetuate in
the world today, I wonder if George Carlin is right. When I ponder the violent history of the Christian church, the religious wars that still continue to plague our world, the divisiveness, the prejudice and the bigotry that the church has perpetuated and continues to perpetuate in the world today, I wonder if George Carlin is right.

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A Startling Vision for the 21st Century Church

Tom Thresher makes a powerful argument for a new kind of Christianity that transcends Christianity as we know it today. A fascinating discussion that may and open your eyes to a new vision of Christianity, even startling! 

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Josh’s Confessions

The dangers for Jews and Christians of believing in being divinely chosen.

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Who We Are and How We Got Here

TCPC Founder, James Adams, talks about the origins of TCPC.

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