We are God's Hands,
But who or what is God?
This month we are asking the question, who or what is God in Progressive Christianity? We have had some incredible responses. We hope you enjoy these articles and reviews that are in the realm of this discussion. If you would like to contribute to this discussion, please send sermons or articles to email@example.com.
The quote of the month comes from Ian Lawton, a TCPC Board Member and pastor of Christ Community Church.
"Communities such as ours don't feel any need to conform to
any orthodoxy or power relationships. Instead we rest in the blessed unrest of
a burgeoning global consciousness of which we are a part. We march to the beat
of our own drum, and yet are continually surprised to find ourselves
participants in a wide and harmonious global drum circle."
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By Deshna Ubeda
Coming from the perspective of someone who shies away from organized religion and tends to think that each individual should create and choose their own spiritual path, which they feel leads them to be the best person they can be and continually evolves based on that goal, the question of what or who is God, is quite confusing and weighted. I oscillate between no belief in a creator and the belief that we create God in the energy of Love.
All I do know for sure about my own beliefs is that we can experience true happiness and a freedom from suffering when we let go of our all the negative emotions that weigh us down: jealousy, hatred, fear, anger, and attachment.
It can be experienced in a moment, it is actually quite simple: once you see yourself as utterly interdependent with all beings, once you truly realize that everyone creates their own reality and no matter how different from your reality it may seem it is true to them, and that people that hurt us the most are simply coming from a place of suffering, we can let go of our ego and all the emotions our ego consumes us with and simply LOVE.
It is in those moments that we experience God, or what I think Jesus called, the Kingdom of Heaven. The tricky part is continuing to let go on a daily basis. Ask yourself, does it do me any good to feel this anger? Does it do the world any good? If not, then why not just let it go? So, to me, God is an experience, a view of the world, the feeling that all beings deserve our love and the continual outpouring of that love.
On a side note: When I asked my 3 year old daughter what God is, she said, I think God is everything, the whole world and everything in it...
A Public Apology to
Barbara Brown Taylor
A Review of Leaving the Church, A Memoir of Faith
Author: Barbara Brown-Taylor
Review by: Fred Plumer,
President of TCPC
Following is an excerpt from the review found on www.tcpc.org
Anyone who is thinking about going to seminary; anyone that
is thinking about leaving the church; anyone who is wondering why church has
become so difficult; anyone who is wondering why good clergy are becoming more
difficult to find; anyone who cares about the postmodern church; anyone who is
trying to find a way to re-conceptualize their Christian faith so that it
matches the reality of the twenty-first century should read this book.
Ms. Taylor does a marvelous job of reconstructing a
powerful, cohesive, and spiritual approach to the Christian faith with
integrity for the twenty first century. And she does this in a few short
To read to entire review, click here: Review
Gigantic Global Drum Circle
By Ian Lawton
The following is an excerpt from the entire article found at:
There is a vitality, an enlivening energy that
occurs when your vision manifests in action. Because you are the only one of
you that has ever existed and ever will exist, this action is unique and
essential to the evolution of Life. If you stay awake to this vital energy, and
keep the channels of awareness open, you have realized the greatest success
that a person can achieve. Don't get me wrong. It's rarely neat and tidy. It's
not always satisfying. In fact there is usually a divine dissatisfaction about
following your bliss. It is this blessed unrest that raises your life above the
steady hum of the daily grind and makes your life work exceptional.
It's the myth of the inescapable daily grind that so easily locks us in a
"scarcity" mindset. We eat every meal as if it's our last, then wonder
why the healthy abundance of the earth is replaced by an unhealthy abundance of
body fatigue. We live in fear of terrorists and fundamentalists, play out this
fear as aggression, then wonder why fundamentalism increases in number and in
sprit. We hang on to ancient religious beliefs as if God is watching our every
move, then wonder why we live in guilt.
Christianity has generally operated according to a scarcity mindset. It has
suggested that humanity is born in sin, which I guess means that our inhumanity
and shameful lack of stewardship of earth's resources is inevitable. In any
case the sin that was foisted upon us from the beginning must be atoned by the
sacrifice of a perfectly innocent, suffering servant. The sin is atoned in
order to guarantee some future bliss in some other place, meaning that the sin
soaked life we live in this world scarcely matters either way.
The most public Christian voice is still basically an otherworldly, guilt
ridden message. There doesn't seem much reason for optimism. Or is there?
To read the rest of this article, click here:
Global Drum Circle
|God, Darwin and The Church
|Pray like a pietist, worship
like an enthusiast, think like an atheist
by James Rowe Adams
The following is an excerpt found at www.tcpc.org
In his review of Philip Kitcher's Living with Darwin (TPC May/June 2007), Robert Cornwall suggested
that his readers pick up the challenge to "reconcile a dynamic supernaturalism
with evolutionary science". I think that
Cornwall has identified the most
important test facing the churches in the developed nations of the world. While evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity
is thriving in Africa and parts of Asia,
in Europe over 90% of the people have little to do with
religious organizations. Are the
churches in the United States
bound to follow the path taken by the older industrialized nations? Or can we welcome people to whom evolutionary
science makes more sense than a divine creator or an intelligent designer?
Most progressive churches do welcome people who are
convinced that Charles Darwin got it right, but the acceptance they receive is
a bit like what gay and lesbian people get from the military. As long as no one addresses the subject
directly, everybody can get along. The
Christians who are satisfied with this approach are able to accept Darwin
when they are in a conversation about science and to accept God as the creator
when they are in church. They would
rather not think too much about the apparent contradiction. If pressed, they usually take what a trained
theologian would call a deist position.
God set the whole universe in motion, including the capacity of life
forms to evolve into new species. Never
mind the implication that God's design allowed for viruses and earthquakes that
kill millions of people. When pressed to
confront the logical contradictions in accepting both Darwin and God, such
people tend to respond vaguely with talk about mystery. Mystery is the last refuge of determined
believers when faced with gaps in their logic.
To Read the rest of this article, click here: God Article
Reprinted from The
), September/October 2007, pp. 51-53
|Honest to God
|A Case for Christian Atheism
By: Richard Wheatcroft
Recently Newsweek conducted a
poll and found that 91 percent of Americans believe in God. A more nuanced Financial
Times/Harris poll of Europeans and Americans found that 73 percent of those
polled believe in God as a "supreme being." A Baylor Religion Survey of more
than 1700 people found that 73 percent believe in God as a "higher power." Such
polls are of little value because there is no common understanding of what the
word God means. But it is probably fair to say that a high percentage of the people
polled believe in God as a supreme being or a higher being whatever else they
believe about God.
I think it is helpful for Christians that five books by atheists have
recently been published and appeared on the best seller list the past two years
- Sam Harris's The EndLetter To A Christian Nation, Daniel
Dennett's Breaking The Spell, Richard
Dawkin's The God Illusion, and
Christopher Hitchen's God is Not Great.
Another book, God at 2000, edited by Marcus
Borg and Ross Mackenzie, published in 2000, is a collection
of essays by seven well - known scholars from a variety of faith perspectives,
who seek to describe the "changing ways we think about God at the beginning of
the 21st century." These books might encourage Christians to give thought to what they mean when they say they believe in God.
The common belief in God is
usually called theism or more precisely supernatural theism. It is the concept
that God is a Being in heaven who created the world and from time to time
intervenes in the world to assert his will. In her book The History of God, Karen Armstrong states that this concept of God
is evident in the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is this
concept of God which the atheist authors of the five books deny. It is my
contention that Christians should also be atheists about such a concept of God.
If I were asked by a pollster if I believed in God I would, as an ordained
clergyman, say No!
To read this entire article, click here: Honest to God
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|NOTICE: SEEKING AN ASSISTANT/ASSOCIATE RECTOR
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, a progressive community in
Washington D.C. 's
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information, please visit our website at www.stmarks.net. You can access PDF
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deadline for applicants is November 2, 2007.