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St. Nicholas Is Too Old and Too Tired to Defeat the Selling Power of Santa Claus!

Today: the Feast of St. Nicholas, the ancient precursor to the modern Santa Claus, will pass without much ado. Some will try to encourage us to resurrect St. Nicholas to save us all from Santa’s powers for we have gone astray. To those well meaning souls who would rid Christmas of its flagrant consumerism, I can only offer up a feeble, “Baa Humbug!”

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Updated Church Service

I fully support regular church attendance but not to worship. I go to give thanks to my ancient ancestors who strove so hard against violence and kept humanity progressing. I’ve written a sample service for updating Christianity to today’s reality.

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(Dys)function and Family: Holiday Guilt Trips

Holidays have always been challenging as families from divergent views try to gather around one table and reconnect. Now, in our deeply polarized political environment in which most of us only expose ourselves to media that confirms our biases, even people with DNA and history in common find one another to be so profoundly “other” that they can barely tolerate one another.

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Incrementalism

The weight of the status quo bears down on even the well intended and well informed so that we assume that all change comes by degrees, in small incremental moves. It persuades us to believe that only moderate progressives can ever win election and that most of what progressives want (universal health care, an end to racism, aggressive work to save the planet, a universal basic income, a compassionate immigration policy) is unobtainable.

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Coming Out, Coming Home: Love & Stardust

Sermon delivered June 17, 2018 by Rev. Elizabeth Durant

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Life is a shipwreck, remember to sing in the lifeboats

To say that something “only” has a placebo effect does not have to be seen as a criticism. In fact, the placebo effect is proof that we can heal ourselves. But just as our minds can help us to be healthy, even to control pain, our minds can similarly make us sick, even to hasten our death.

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Micro-Liberation and Radical Wellness

Sermon by Rev. Dr. Janet Parker
First Congregational UCC, Portland, OR

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More Color More Pride:Courage in Mary’s Gospel

This sermon was presented on Sunday June 18th 2017 by Rev. Elizabeth Durant at First congregational United Church of Christ, Portland Oregon.

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Allies or Traitors? Waitangi Weekend Reflection

Black Lives Matter. It’s a vibrant, grassroots movement in the United States that grew out of the unspeakable killings of black men, women, children, genderqueer folk, by state and government sanctioned police officers. Black people—and people of colour—gathering to say, “Enough! Don’t kill us. We matter too.”

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Healthcare – America Taken Hostage

Access to healthcare is a spiritual issue, deeply rooted in a compassionate world view. Currently, in America, more than 40 million people are uninsured and millions more have insurance with such a high deductible that they cannot afford to use it. It is estimated that 22,000 Americans die prematurely every year because of a lack of access to healthcare.

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The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off!

A Reformation Sermon – John 8:31-36

Facing the truth about who we are as Lutherans means facing up to the reality of the history of anti-Semitism. The truth about who and what I am is far from the ideal image of the person I long to be.

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Columbus Was A Jerk

America has two original sins. The sin of African slavery is obvious to most of us, but less obvious to Americans who do not live near a reservation was the genocide of Native Americans.

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How to apologize when you’re the one who is owed an apology

Sermon at Peace of Christ Church, August 25, 2019 – “How to apologize when you’re the one who is owed an apology” – Rev. Aurelia Davila Pratt

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Drugs, Race, and Prisons

Unfortunately, putting non-violent offenders and drug users in jail has become so profitable that we continue to incarcerate more and more people and we keep them in prison for longer and longer sentences.

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Compassion for the ‘Other’: The Narrow Gate to Heaven on Earth

Reflection before the start of mass at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, Minneapolis

“Those now last will be first, and those now first will be last.”

Let me just be honest and say that this was hard for me to read, if not a bit repugnant as it goes against everything I have come to understand about Jesus as an open and inclusive teacher who frequently transgressed conventional norms that were exclusionary.

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The Cosmic Christ

The Cosmic Christ existed at the beginning of time, billions of years before Jesus of Nazareth was born. Watch as Rev. Salvatore Sapienza, pastor of Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ, talks about the “Universal Christ” and the “Spirit of the Cosmos.”

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When Our Emotions Become Our Prison

About one in five adults suffer from a diagnosable mental illness but none of us can be held up to the light as an example of mental health. While we all have issues (triggers, quirks, hot buttons, etc.) rather than focusing on psychological problems there is a whole school of study around positive psychology that marries well to a spiritual path in which we hope to grow, become stronger and more insightfully aware of ourselves and others. Our emotions can become a mental prison or, we can take charge of our journey and become increasingly healthy and subsequently, free.

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A Wee Little Man

Jesus saw him in his lostness – alone in that tree. He looked past all the judgements and self-imposed values the people of Jericho were heaping on Zaccheus and he saw him as a lost human being, fully deserving of love. And in that he saw that Zaccheus, just as each one of us, possessed uncommon value.

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