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We are God's Hands,

But who or what is God?
October 20, 2007


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

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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In This Issue
Review of Leaving the Church
A Gigantic Global Drum Circle
God, Darwin and the Church
Honest to God
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News and Events

St. Mark's Episcopal Church, a progressive community in WashingtonD.C. 's Capitol Hill neighborhood, is seeking an Assistant/Associate Rector.  Please see  notice at bottom of  this eBulletin.

To See All of Our News visit:


Fall 2007 Westar Meeting- Jesus Seminar
Oct 17, 2007: Flamingo Hotel
Santa Rosa, CA

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

Feminization of the church, male spirituality: "King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine"
Oct 30, 2007: Upfront & Company restaurant
Marquette, MI

"Reweaving the Dream"- A Gathering of Emerging and Seasoned Leaders in Progressive Christianity
Nov 2, 2007
Minneapolis, MN

Better than Believing: A Progressive Approach to Welcoming Worship
Nov 5, 2007: United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
New Brighton, MN

Local Group Event: LGBT Week Celebration Concert
Nov 7, 2007: Lancaster Theological Seminary
Lancaster, PA

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

To Submit Events to be on our website, click here: Events

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Blissful Seeker
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
Leaving the Church book cover
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

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 pages. 

To read to entire review, click here: Review

A Gigantic Global Drum Circle

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
science and relgionPray like a pietist, worship like an enthusiast, think like an atheist

by James Rowe Adams

The following is an excerpt found at

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 Progressive Christian (formerly Zion's Herald), 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

We thank you for your support and interest in our goal of promoting an approach to Christianity that is inclusive, innovative, and informed.  The truth is that your are what makes up this organization.  You can help us keep the Progressive Christian movement growing by supporting us financially, by sending in articles, reviews, and event items, and by spreading the word.  Forward this email to a just might be what they have been waiting and hoping to hear.  Thank you again,

The Team at The Center For Progressive Christianity
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, a progressive community in Washington D.C. 's Capitol Hill neighborhood, is seeking an Assistant/Associate Rector. For more information, please visit our website at You can access PDF files for the job description, desired characteristics, and a parish profile from our home page. For application information, please contact Mary Sulerud, Canon for Deployment, Episcopal Diocese of Washington at The deadline for applicants is November 2, 2007.