"Reclaiming the public ground for
tolerance and respect"

~ theme from the Common Dreams Progressive Religions  Conference

September, 2007
In This Issue
A Grand Event!
God and Progressive Christianity
Build and Sustain Faith Communities
Review of Jesus for the Non-Religious
Review of Take This Bread
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Acting Up for Peace: Activists and Actors Challenge War and WorldwideMilitarism 
Prominent actors honored the legacy of priest and peace leader Daniel Berrigan and fellow Catholic activists with a benefit performance of his play "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine" Saturday in Los Angeles. The play's focus on a renowned protest against the Vietnam War in 1968 parallels current concerns about the morality of the war in
Acting Up for Peace

Mass March on
Washington to End Iraq War
A Mass March on
Washington to end the Iraq war is planned for September 15th, 2007.  Will you stand up for peace and join the march?
March for PEACE

Over 1000 People Participate in the Progressive Religion Conference in
Sydney, Australia!
Fred Plumer, President of TCPC, spoke at the conference: Common Dreams: Progressive Religion as a Transforming Agent in Sydney, Australia: this week, where nearly 1,500 religious progressives gathered to affirm the contribution of reasonable and tolerant religion to public discourse in our society.
 A Grand Event

Progressive Christian Group Emphasizes Fighting Poverty
What would Jesus do about growing poverty in
America?  That's the question about 1,000 national religious leaders will try to answer today as they meet in Washington to focus public attention on what they call the greatest moral issue facing the nation.
Fighting Poverty


Marcus J. Borg to Speak at First Presbyterian Church, Ithaca
Oct 12, 2007: First Presbyterian Church
Ithaca, NY

The Living Spiritual Elders Project: Growing Elder, Not Older!
Oct 13, 2007
Toronto, Canada

Marcus J. Borg to Lecture at the Congregational Church of Middlebury, VT
Oct 19, 2007: The Congregational Church of Middlebury
Middlebury, VT

Fred Plumer to Lead: First Regional Gathering of TCPC for Southern Connecticut & New York
Oct 27, 2007: First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan CT
New Canaan, CT

The Interfaith Call to Justice: LA 2007
Nov 11, 2007: Temple Isaiah
Los Angeles, CA

To Read More Events, click here:
TCPC Events

Quote of the Month:

"I have ARRIVED, I am HOME, in the HERE, in the NOW.  I am SOLID, I am FREE.  In the ultimate I dwell."
~Thich Nhat Hanh

A Grand Event
sydney australia

President's Note
by Fred Plumer

It was good that I have had a little over a week to reflect on my experiences at the Common Dreams conference in Sydney Australia because I realized flying home a week ago,  that there were too many things flashing through my mind to have been cohesive in my thinking and therefore my writing. There were so many things that struck me, inspired me, informed me and yes, touched me during those four days, I knew that I would never be able to do justice to all of them. Let me share a few feelings that are still with me about the grand event.

To Read this article, click here: A Grand Event

Quote from conference attendee, Jenny Te Paa: "(it) was without doubt in my mind quite the most extraordinarily well managed, superbly facilitated, most gently led, most lovingly presented, sensitively choreographed gathering of God's people I have ever been privileged to attend! Truly, truly it was off the scale in comparison to all I have ever attended"

Common Dreams Draws a Crowd!

Almost 1,500 people participated in the COMMON DREAMS conference in Sydney, 16-19 August 2007.

Religious progressives from around Australia gathered with others from Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada, Iran, Palestine and the USA. Christians from Anglican, Assembly of God, Baptist, Churches of Christ, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Uniting Church traditions were joined by people from various other faiths and those of no religious faith.

The gathering extended over 4 days, and the large numbers attending surprised both the organizers and the media. Numbers would have been even higher but registrations were capped to fit the capacity of the Pitt St Uniting Church which served as a venue for the major sessions.

To Read More about this amazing conference, click here:  Common Dreams

God and Progressive Christianity
steeple sunsetWritten by:  Gene W. Marshall 

Progressive Christians are achieving great clarity about the historical development of the Bible and about viewing biblical passages in a metaphorical rather than a literal way.  Using the word "God," however, continues to be an area of unclarity and outright confusion.

It is, I believe, helpful to begin with H. Richard Niebuhr's insight that the word "God" is a devotional word, much like the word "sweetheart." "Sweetheart" points to a particular person, but it also expresses a quality of relationship. Similarly, the word "God" includes the meanings of loyalty, commitment, trust, friendship, and passionate devotion. At the same time, "God," as used in the Bible, points to an actual experience, an actual encounter with, how shall we say it, the Ground of our Being; the Mystery, Depth, and Greatness of our lives; Final Reality; Reality as a Whole; the Mystery that will not go away.

Marcus Borg recently stated that Paul Tillich's "You are Accepted" essay in The Shaking of the Foundations is the finest description in print about sin and grace. I agree. For 45 years I have used this essay to help inquiring Christians acquire an understanding of the meaning of grace in their own lives. Yet our clarity about Tillich's description of sin and grace is muddled unless we grasp what Tillich was referring to with the "Ground of our Being," the "Mystery, Depth, and Greatness" of our lives. Tillich used the word "God" sparingly because he realized how many misunderstandings circle around this word. Tillich says that God is not a thing among other things or a person but the Ground of Being that is beyond all beings, beyond all persons. This Ground of Being is an inescapable Overallness with which we have a relationship, whether we relate to this Ground as our God or not.

To Finish reading this article, click here: God and Progressive Christianity

Build and Sustain Faith Communities by Feeding the Hungry

dream skyBy: Fred Plumer, presented at the Common Dreams Conference

Friends, I believe it is time for us to rethink how we build churches or progressive faith communities these days.  Before I get too far into my comments I want to be upfront with you. Although I head up an organization that is committed to helping congregations find ways to enter into the 21st century, theologically, spiritually and socially, by providing worship materials, sermon suggestions, reading lists, book reviews, original articles and the opportunity for churches to market themselves on our extremely active website, I wonder if we are simply rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic and still arguing over what music we want the band to play.  I am not certain what the future of the church really is, at least as we know it,  regardless of how we might change  the worship format, become more open and affirming, more liberal, more pluralistic, or even more entertaining.

To Read this Inspiring Presentation,
click here:
Build and Sustain

Jesus for the Non-Religious, a Review
Spong bookAuthor:  John Shelby Spong
Review by: Jim Burklo

With a coroner's scalpel of scholarship, John Shelby Spong autopsies the corpse of doctrinal Christianity.  In Jesus for the Non-Religious, he cuts away at the miracle stories and dissects the myths and the theological constructs that were written into the texts of the gospels.  His quest is to reveal the Jesus of history.

Spong reveals a Jesus who crosses the borders between insiders and outsiders, Jews and gentiles, male and female, clean and unclean, sacred and profane, and leads us through to the other side of chauvinism.  This Jesus reveals, by his own action and example, the way that divinity can be found in humanity.  This Jesus was so present, so whole, so free, so devoted to justice and compassion, that he filled his followers with remarkable hope and courage even after his crucifixion by the Romans.  This Jesus inspires John Shelby Spong so deeply that he holds hope for a Christianity devoid of many of its most commonly-cherished beliefs.

To Finish reading this review click here:  Review
Take This Bread, A Review

Book: Take This Bread, A Radical Conversion, 2007
Author: Sara Miles
Review by: Richard Wheatcroft

The day after I btake this bread book coverought this book and had read about half of it, I experienced myself being fed with bread by this memoir. I wanted everyone to know this astonishing story even before I wrote this review, so I sought the author on the Internet, found an announcement of her book, and forwarded it to everyone on my e-mail list. In Sara Miles' memoir, which spans over thirty years and several countries, you will find bread for yourself and experience what is involved in being bread for others.

To Read this Review and visit our Library, click here: Take This Bread

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