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16 February 2017: Take Care of Number One

      By Gretta Vosper   Take Care of Number One. And everything else takes care of itself.   I know. You think you’ve opened the wrong email or caught a link to the wrong page. This must be from Mind, Body, Green, or A Daily Dose of Motivation. Maybe you’re signed up to …

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Q & A:

If Jesus was divinely conceived, then why do Matthew and Luke give us his lineage in their genealogies?

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9 February 2017: Japan’s 18th-Century Pioneer of Historical Consciousness

  Martin Scorsese recently released a film adaptation of the 1966 novel Silence by Shusaku Endo that traces the persecution of Christians in 17th-century Japan. As a long-time admirer and friend of the Japanese people, I am understandably nervous about how this new film will affect Western perceptions of a country I hold dear, so …

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Q & A:

Have you ever been scared? When people criticize your ideas, how do you remain courageous enough to keep your faith?

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2 February 2017: Five Beliefs I Continue to Hold About Jesus

By Eric Alexander As we continue our exciting journey in charting the new reformation, there are many questions we all must grapple with. So I want to begin 2017 with a step back to the basics, as a place on which to build throughout the year. Before diving into the reconstruction however, I want to …

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Q & A:

Why is Christianity growing in its fundamentalist forms and dying where it tries to engage the thought of the present world?

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26 January 2017: More Than Words: A Thank You and Introduction

It’s interesting, I love reading Spong now for the exact opposite reason I first loved reading Spong. Let me explain. I’ve been a devout Christian my entire life. From the somewhat conservative thinking Greystone Baptist Church of my childhood to the progressive thinking Presbyterian Church of the Covenant where I currently serve as Interim minister …

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Q & A:

Thanks, Kevin, for the article.  How wonderful to know Bishop Spong and write about him with deep appreciation.  The article brought to mind how difficult it was to have students who came to campus ministry to buttress up doctrines and beliefs when those aspects of the Faith were not the most meaningful to me.  I found discussions about conforming to a particular theological ‘rule’ painful because the academic setting was already challenging so many students’ world views and students were in so much distress.  Many of those students left for more conservative campus ministry groups.  The ones who stayed agreed to disagree and/or found common ground with our group.  Often students who stayed with the ministry would continue to try to change the direction of the group towards conformity to their point of view.  It was challenging because there was continual tension.  Being retired is great because there isn’t that tension.  The down side is not being invited into a young generation and understanding the Faith from their perspective.  It was exciting and fun to learn from the young adults that the church had nurtured and sent on to college.

How do you communicate compassion for those who find meaning and comfort in doctrine and belief while at the same time being uncomfortable with faith based on doctrine and belief?

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19 January 2017: Jack Spong – A Teacher Whose Words Offer Life

Even before our children were born, my wife, Rïse, and I, like many a parent, sang and read to our children. Later, nestled between us in bed and then resting upon our laps, they listened intently as we read about rabbits, moons, gardens, fingers, toes and smiles. Bit by bit, these little beings began to …

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Q & A:

Do you believe in Christ’s Resurrection? If not, what distinguishes you as a Christian vs. something else?

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12 January 2017: A Letter from Bishop Spong

Dear Friends, As you may have heard, while visiting in Marquette, Michigan I suffered a stroke. The date was September 10th. Since that time I have worked hard to regain my strength. I have been quite successful in that and now have no trouble walking or using my arms. It has been a learning experience. …

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5 January 2017: The Ultimate Source of Anti-Semitism – The Circumstances That Brought Judas Into the Jesus Story

I return today to a subject that I have covered before. It is essential however, to this series on the sources of anti-Semitism, so I ask my reader’s indulgence while I once again bring Judas into focus. My request to you is a simple one. Suspend for a moment your critical faculties, as well as …

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Q & A:

If God doesn't intervene, what is the meaning of intercessory prayer?

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29 December 2016: May our world learn to see the infinite shades between black and white.

This week’s guest author is Mike McHargue, Author and Podcaster Evolution shaped our brains to take shortcuts. Our senses relay to the brain a ceaseless, torrential downpour of stimulus and information, and so our neurons team up to sort and sift this stream into higher-order abstractions–mainly categorizations in the form of either/or classifications. Prey or …

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Q & A:

When Jesus said, "In my house there are many mansions," was he giving legitimacy to the other world religions like Islam and Buddhism?

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22 December 2016: The Terrible Texts: Be Fruitful and Multiply and Subdue the Earth (Originally posted August 2003)

Christians have never been significantly committed to the preservation of our common environment. Ecological concerns are present in Church life, but they never quite make it to the top tier of the issues that consume ecclesiastical energy. That is usually reserved for theological and sexual concerns. To be fair, each denomination probably includes some environmental …

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Q & A:

What is it about this Jesus that you find so compelling? When I hear the Christmas story from the Bible I believe that I am listening to fairy tales. Stars do not announce the birth of a human being. Angels do not sing to hillside shepherds. Virgins do not conceive and give birth. Is there something behind the old mythology that I am missing? Can you still, with any integrity, refer to Jesus as “the son of God?”

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15 December 2016: I, and many others, stand upon Bishop Spong’s shoulders

We continue this week with guest author Roger Wolsey, United Methodist Pastor and author.   It’s accurately said that “we stand on the shoulders of giants” and John Shelby Spong is one of mine. Bishop Spong has been a tremendous influence on my life as a pastor who is also a theologian and writer. Though …

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Q & A:

The Bible speaks of God addressing particular people, e.g. Abraham, Moses, Elijah and Nathan directly. Other people claim that God has spoken directly to them. How do you account for or explain that?

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