I’m Not With Stupid Anymore

Fascism, A Warning, Madeline Albright’s new book, asks us to seriously consider how many familiar elements of the growth of fascism in 20th century Europe are now evident in 21st century America. This is a sobering matter that demands that spiritual people to take it seriously. Bonhoeffer wrote in his letters from prison that stupidity made it possible for fascism to rise in Germany but isn’t it really complacency? And though Russia meddle in the American election in 2016, they did not hack our voting machines, they just appealed to our fear and racism and that was enough to alter the course of an election and of history. It is time for us to decide that we are “not with stupid anymore.”

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Apostle to the Apostles: Mary’s Story

So here, let me honour Mary the Apostle to the Apostles with this my imaginary account of Mary’s story. Remember the power of our imaginations to breathe life into what appears to all the world to be dead.

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The Ghost Community (the one everyone talks about, but no one has ever seen)

The author of Acts describes (in the form of early church propaganda) an almost utopian beginning of the church. Of course, Luke was not there, and his musings are more imagination than history, but he gives voice to a vision that many of us have shared: the good community where everyone shares their belongings, and everyone has what they need. Like ghosts, everyone talks about an egalitarian society but few of us have ever seen it work for more than a flash in history. Still, we know that our present economic system is doomed to failure and something much more fair must emerge.

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The Brave New World

When science fiction writers describe the future, they tend to see the world going in one of two directions: one possibility is a life made easier through technology and the other sees a growing gulf between the super-rich and the majority of the world living with poverty, hunger, illness, and ignorance. The truth is that it could go either way, but unbridled capitalism will almost certainly lead to a horrible dystopian future that no sane person would want. To avoid that path, people of conscience must organize, unionize, network and collaborate to shape a moral universe for our coming generations.

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Preparing to Preach on RESURRECTION: Giving up the notion of a physical resuscitation.

This Sunday worship services will begin with the proclamation that: Christ is Risen! Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia! Let me follow that proclamation up with a good Lutheran question:“What does this mean?” What does it mean that Christ is risen? What does resurrection mean? The truth is that there are about as many different explanations of Christ’s resurrection as there are Christians. And that’s a good thing, because the question of the resurrection is a question that lies at the very heart of Christianity. So, is it any wonder that Christians have been struggling to come to terms with resurrection since the very first rumours that Christ had risen began to circulate. Over the centuries the various responses to the question of resurrection have divided Christians as various camps work out various responses.

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Palm Sunday Sermons

Rev. Dawn Hutchings shares past Palm Sunday Sermons

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Easter Encouragement for the Journey

Remember that resurrection is more than mere resuscitation! It is life transformed!
It is faith in possibilities, when others are convinced of inevitability.

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Religious Myth and Faithful Reality (From Idols to Ideas)

Looked at honestly, the Bible contains a good deal of “fake news,” stories created to justify things that might have embarrassed the priestly editors of the more ancient strata of the scriptures. The progressive church has to lead the way in being honest about scholarship and history.

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A Progressive Christian Look at John 3:

What is it about John 3:16 that has made it the “go to” Bible chapter and verse for Evangelical Christians? Watch as Rev. Salvatore Sapienza, pastor of Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ, gives us a Progressive Christian view of John 3:16.

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A New New Testament: A Bible for the Twenty-first Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts

There are twenty-seven books in the traditional New Testament, but the earliest Christian communities were far more vibrant than that small number might lead you to think. In fact, many more scriptures were written and just as important as the New Testament in shaping early-Christian communities and beliefs. Over the past century, many of those texts that were lost have been found and translated, yet are still not known to much of the public; they are discussed mainly by scholars or within a context of the now outdated notion of gnostic gospels. In A New New Testament Hal Taussig is changing that. With the help of nineteen important spiritual leaders, he has added ten of the recently discovered texts to the traditional New Testament, leading many churches and spiritual seekers to use this new New Testament for their spiritual and intellectual growth.

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The New Oxford Annotated Bible, With Apocrypha (Fifth Edition)

For over 50 years students, professors, clergy, and general readers have relied on The New Oxford Annotated Bible as an unparalleled authority in Study Bibles. This fifth edition of the Annotated remains the best way to study and understand the Bible at home or in the classroom. This thoroughly revised and substantially updated edition contains the best scholarship informed by recent discoveries and anchored in the solid Study Bible tradition.

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Commandments or Helpful Guidelines?

Unlike the generations who came before us, our religion no longer includes either the carrot of heaven or the threat of hell. Now, relieved of divine obligation and fear, we are left to choose to be good people because that is who we have chosen to be, and to sacrifice and work to create a good society because that is preferable to the alternative.

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“Prayer for Abundant Living”

O God of empty tombs and resurrection living:
Make us mindful of the pervasiveness of hope, 
the determination of faith, 
and the persistence of love.  

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Lent: Letting Go of our Tightly Held Piety to See Our Need of Confession

When we begin to see God as the One in whom we live and move and have our being, we are able to see God as the one who dwells in with and through us. As we open ourselves to a broader understanding of God we can begin to see that the power to forgive resides in us? For it is in with and through us that our God finds expression. By letting go of our carefully held piety, perhaps we can begin to see the magnitude of the power of confession to absolve us as we evolve into all that we are created to be.

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On Being Woke

Beyond all of the political and policy issues around the Russian hacking of the 2016 election, there remains the embarrassing moral awareness that this was not a hacking of voting machines or the electronics of media agencies. The Russians appealed to the prejudices of voters. They stoked belief in conspiracy theories rooted in hatred of Hillary Clinton. Our vulnerability to being led around by our ignorance and vitriol is a spiritual issue and not a complimentary one. It is time for us to awaken to a deeper connection to the truth.

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Love is All You Need (Domestic Abuse Unplugged)

Though adherents of virtually all religions will claim that love is central to their belief system, the unfortunate fact is that religious indoctrination usually comes with a healthy dose of patriarchy, misogyny, as well as homophobia and nationalism. This lays the foundation for a culture that often encourages, defends, protects, and lies about domestic violence. Our words shape our thinking. Our thinking shapes our culture. Our culture tolerates a horrifying rate of domestic violence that is begging for us to change.

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O. M. G.

Sermon preached on April 3, 2016 at The First Church of Amherst

I wonder how many OMGs have travelled around the globe in the last minute, the last day, or even the last year. More than we can count. I wonder what millennials and the rest of us are thinking about when we/they text this message! Is it a shorthand form of prayer?

I wonder to what these mini-prayers are being addressed, especially by Millennials. I even wonder to what our prayers are being addressed.

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Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Black History month requires a serious reflection on the state of racism in America. Why can’t we all get along? Probably because progress has been far too slow and the media and the white majority is far too satisfied with the status quo.

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