Monetizing the Earth

The kind of despair that prompted ancient religious communities to write warnings of an Apocalypse that comes from the judgment of God is out of place in our modern era but it doesn’t mean that we cannot face an Apocalypse of our own making – an Apocalypse born of a breakdown of public conscience, a shift from the ethics of democracy to the violent oppression of a financially driven oligarchy that monetizes the earth and devalues human life.

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LOVE Has Died. LOVE Is Risen. LOVE Will Come Again, and Again, and Again! – Pluralism Sunday

Pluralism challenges us to move beyond all four of these responses to the other. As Pete puts it, “… in a genuine encounter with the other, at first I see you as weird and monstrous.

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Social change comes about when a prophet or a small prophetic community advocates for a change to the status quo. Ethics is never subject to majority vote but is, instead, sponsored by tiny minorities who are willing to speak truth to power. Therefore, progressive churches will never be mega churches and very few large churches will ever offer substantive challenge to popular society. Those who are willing to do the work of a prophet must be willing to pay the price of being ignored, derided, even fought, but if your cause is right, time is on your side.

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What If…

What if Jesus is our mirror, so we are like him, eternally and unconditionally beloved sons and daughters of God. What if we cannot be separated from God, because we are already embraced and enfolded in God, and God is already in us? What if that’s what baptism is really about? Not a sectarian, conditional, invisible bar code for access to the love of God, but the outward visible reminder that we are all, already, One with God and each other? All: all races, all colors, all genders, all creeds/none, all religions/spiritualities/none.

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Truth Beyond Courtesy

Though Bill Cosby was convicted on several charges of sexual assault, he did not show remorse or apologize to his victims. Consider in contrast, the heart-felt apology offered by Joy Reid when old homophobic blog posts of hers recently surfaced. She asked a panel of LGBTQ professionals to publicly take her to task on her own show, a painful but honest moment in journalism.

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Beyond Belief

Once a religion is distilled into a creed, a book books of doctrine, or even shared holy writ, it becomes a religion of beliefs rooted in the past. A living faith takes in new information and experience and continues to grow and evolve. Ultimately, we are seeking a faith that moves beyond belief and becomes expressed in meaningful action.

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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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