The Center For Progressive Christianity
Education by Louis Comfort Tiffany
Science In Progressive Christianity
The balance between experience, reason and faith
In This Issue
Trying to String Things Together
Seeing The Future: Can Religion Evolve and Survive in a Changing World?
The Study of Life
Feature Book: Mind In The Balance
Q & A with Bishop Spong
Quick Links
TCPC Regional Event: Guiding Your Church Through Change in our Changing Times

Lafayette, CA
Nov 6-8, 2009
With Fred Plumer

Hosted by: Our Saviors Lutheran

Online Registration and Info $35  

Topics Include:

Guiding Your Church Through Change

What is Progressive Christianity and Why is it Important?

Growing a Progressive Church for the 21st Century

Where is the Spirituality in Progressive Christianity?
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Feature Review
Not God's People: Insiders and Outsiders in the Biblical World
By Lawrence M. Wills

Review by James Rowe Adams

book cover- Not Gods People

In spite of its subtitle, Not God's People is as much a commentary on tensions in contemporary society as it is a review of inclusion and exclusion in the Biblical World. As I pondered the reports on the people in each era of biblical history attempting to establish their identity at the expense of others, parallels in our own time immediately came to mind. Lawrence Wills has made these implicit parallels clear and compelling in his brilliant conclusion to the book.

Read Full Review Here
Live Now
Blog By: Don Murray

The hummingbird feeder hangs abandoned. No longer the whirr of wings and the hover and dart as they settle to drink in the sweet and nourishing nectar. The hummingbirds have left for their long journey south; an insistent hint that summer is drawing to its close.
As the days shorten and the chill of the evening descends, we gather ourselves up for the last round of friends and family before we settle in for the more normal (we hope) routine of the rest of the year. But, oh how wonderful to see friends who come from a distance, to have time to hang out with one's children and grandchildren, to enjoy the lush beauty of the world around us.
As the years creep on, faster than we would like, these things take on even more significance. It will not go on for ever. Life has its times and seasons and the hope is that we experience each one as deeply and fully as possible.

Read On Here

Quote of the Month
Author, Dan Brown in an interview with James Kaplan said:
"I was raised Episcopalian, and I was very religious as a kid.  Then in eighth or ninth grade, I studied astronomy, cosmology, and the origins of the universe.  I remember saying to a minister, 'I don't get it.  I read a book that said there was an explosion know as the Big Bang, but here is says God created heaven and Earth and the animals in secen days.  Which is right?' Unfortunately, the response I got was, 'Nice boys don't ask that question.' A light went off, and I said, 'The Bible doesn't make sense.  Science makes much more sense to me.' And I just gravitated away from religion.  The irony is that I've really come full circle.  The more science I studied, the more I saw that physics becomes metaphysics and numbers become imaginary numbers.  The farther you go into science, the mushier the ground gets.  You start to say, 'Oh, there is an order and a spiritual aspect to science.'"
September 2009

One of the aspects of progressive Christianity that makes it unique is its innate openness to other faith traditions, spiritual paths, and scientific inquiry.  As progressive Christians we must be unafraid to question our assumptions, even those that we feel define who we are.  We must see religion as a path rather than a dwelling place where we have been given all the answers.  Can we be a religion that is open to exploring the unknown dimensions of the mind and the multiple dimensions of consciousness?  As progressive Christians can we delight in the possibility of an amicable cohabitation of religion and science, an integration and interrelationship of the two, so that both paths are able to resonate with each other, challenge each other, rejuvenate and revitalize each other in ways that have never happened before?  Science is ready, maybe for the first time in history.  Are you?
Trying to String Things Together
By: Fred Plumer, TCPC President
super string theory
According to the best scientists in the world, our universe is composed entirely of vibrating strings of energy. Everything from the smallest measurable particle to the largest star in our universe is made from the same kind of ingredient.  Just like the strings of a cello or viola can make a multitude of sounds, quantum strings of energy create a multitude of forms. In ways we cannot understand, at least at this point, all of these strings are inter-related and interdependent. In other words the great spiritual teachers, including Jesus were right. We are all one interconnected whole. The universe is like one grand symphony orchestra playing beautiful music.  And we are part of that music.

If this is not enough to get your attention, these same scientists tell us that there are at least eleven dimensions of reality that are part of our universe that are all happening simultaneously. And we may be participating in some way in any of one these, at the same time.
What this means, according to the same scientist is that at any moment we are faced with an infinite number of possibilities that the course of our life might take us and this happening with every living creature. 

Read The Entire Article Here
A Progressive Christian Faces Death
By: AJ (Jack) Good

two empty boats 
The diagnosis, mercifully, came in small portions. "Trouble urinating? You probably have an enlarged prostate; medication will help." "Blood in the urine? You probably have prostate cancer, but prostate cancer can be managed." Then, after a series of tests: "Sorry to report, but your cancer is a particularly aggressive form that has metastasized into your bones. Your life expectancy has been significantly shortened."

Like agnostics on any question, I wander from pole to pole on the subject of eternal life. The essence of being religious is to experience oneself as being part of Something grander and more enduring-an embrace of the idea that the materialistic assumptions of our science-oriented culture are incomplete. Religion forces us to ask the question: What, if anything, will be my relationship to this Something after death causes my body to decay?

Read The Full Article Here
Seeing the Future: Can Religion Evolve and Survive in a Changing World?
By: Peter Savastano

Evolve From

Since the fall of Secularization Theory, which claimed that belief in God would slowly recede in the face of science and technology, we still must ask: Is there a future for formal, organized, institutionalized religion as we presently recognize it in rapidly globalizing, postindustrial and postmodern world? Here's what religion will have to do for humans to survive and flourish.
The Study of Life, Part 5
By: Bishop John Shelby Spong

  flower bud
Galapagos II: My Search for the Meaning of Life as I Walked in Darwin's Footsteps

In the preparation required to write my new book on eternal life, I soon discovered that this subject raised all of the contemporary theological issues that threaten to destroy Christianity as we have known it. It was clear that I would have to turn the traditional religious approach around. I had to read the modern critics for whom the religious concepts of the past make no sense. I also had to come to a new understanding of what life itself means. Life after death cannot possibly be contemplated until one understands the wondrous and even mysterious dimensions of life before death. That study resulted in two immediate insights. First, I discovered the drive to survive deep in every specimen of life from the rainforests to human beings. Second, I found all life to be deeply interrelated and even linked through DNA. Armed with this information I now faced the fact that the work of Charles Darwin had rendered the basic tenets of traditional religion so suspect that if I were to speak of life after death with any credibility I would have to find a new starting place, perhaps outside of or beyond religion itself.

To read this entire article click here
or visit:
Mind In The Balance; Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity
By: B. Alan Wallace

book coverBy establishing a dialogue in which the meditative practices of Buddhism and Christianity speak to the theories of modern philosophy and science, B. Alan Wallace reveals the theoretical similarities underlying these disparate disciplines and their unified approach to making sense of the objective world.

Click here to purchase and for more information

Watch Wallace Speak about his book here
Blinded By Belief
By: Joseph Mattioli,
TCPC Message Board Moderator
person in shroud
Humans are wondrous creatures. Even the very thought that we are conscious at all is enough to baffle the most intelligent of people. Yet it is even more amazing that this wondrous creature we call human, which has been mysteriously endowed with mind and reason, will voluntarily give up these faculties rather than use them. How? They give it up to have a book they can believe in that has all the answers spelled out for them. Then the attribute this book they know was written by humans, to the divine creator.

What is it that would cause someone to do such a thing?

Click here to read on
The Intersubjective Worlds of Science and Religion
By: B. Alan Wallace

two heads Mind Teaser of the Month!

Excerpt:  If the fundamental aim of both science and religion is to reveal truths that enhance the well being of humanity, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these fields of inquiry, and how might they complement each other? When we raise such questions, the discord between science and religion may be give way to a collaborative pursuit of truth in the service of humanity.

Click here to read this lecture
Update on the TCPC Children's Curriculum Project

happy childWe have recently been awarded with a $20,000 grant to complete the first phase of the curriculum project and have received word that next year we receive an additional  $20,000 grant to finish the project.  We have recently contracted with an excellent illustrator and our writers are close to finishing the first year's curriculum.  It is already looking like it will be a beautiful, inspiring, and unique progressive Christian curriculum.  We hope to be able to offer it in DVD format that teachers can download and print according to their needs (less paper wasted!)  At this point we are aiming for spring of 2010 to complete the project and summer of 2010 to be ready for fulfillment.  We are thrilled to be honored with such a grant.  There is little to no other professionally done progressive Christian children's church curriculum out there.  Our children deserve to have access to informed, inclusive, and compassionate curriculum.  Help us make this dream come true! We could still use your help, to donate to our project, click here.
Thank you for taking this journey with us as we continue to encourage the growth and understanding of a Christianity that is open, inclusive, just, loving and compassionate.  As you delve deeper into the heart of this beautiful and authentic spiritual path, we hope you share it with those around you, educate those who desire to learn, and most importantly let it fill you with light and loving kindness.
Fred Plumer
and the Team at The Center For Progressive Christianity, (253) 303-0022

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