The Center For Progressive Christianity
The Christmas Myth: A Reminder to See God Within All
But...who or what is God?
December 2009
mountains Greetings!

Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity and the privilege to meet with two different groups made up of people who are all, in their own way, searching for new ways to tell the Christian story.  One group is made up primarily of theologians and clergy.  At least four of the participants have published one or more books.  The other group gathered in Chicago to look for new language to communicate the message of Jesus to children.  It was made up of clergy, active church lay-people and scholars. 
More than once, while I was participating in one of these gatherings, I was almost overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude.  I wondered, "How did I get so lucky to be involved with such bright, informed, caring people who really are dedicated to making a positive change in their lives and in the world?" Interestingly, although each group had a slightly different focus, at some point in both of these gatherings, we found ourselves trying to decide what we mean when we use a word or metaphor for that which we commonly call "God."

Click HERE to continue reading President Fred's article
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Thank God for Evolution
By Michael Dowd

book cover

Thank God for Evolution presents in a lively and accessible manner the reasons why it is now possible to view evolution as a call to deep integrity; how a dozen scientific disciplines reveal evolution to be measurably creative, rather than meaningless blind chance; practical methods for using evolutionary insights to achieve greater joy and personal fulfillment; and how aligning with evolutionary trends can guide activists and others hoping to make our world a better place.
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"All know that the drop merges into the ocean but few know that the ocean merges into the drop. "

drop of water
Music of the Month
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eye of the universe Progressive Christians and God Talk
By: Michael Morwood

What moves us to posit some mysterious reality that underpins all this?  I suspect that a great part of our difficulty in dealing with the notion of "God" today is the fact that we are "pruning". It is like pruning a bush and all the while wanting to preserve the identity of the bush, wondering how far we can cut it back before it gives up the ghost and dies on us.  But we keep pruning away, and as we prune, domino after domino falls, whether it be connected with revelation, the person and role of Jesus, the meaning of salvation, doctrine, worship, prayer, death and afterlife. So "progressive Christians" find themselves almost aching with questions and issues such as:
Who or what is God?
What is worship for or about?
What is prayer about?
How do we talk to children about "God" in ways that respect the pruning we have done?

Click HERE to read this article
Lots of Love book cover Lots of Love
By Gary Wilburn

Each day physical life may conspire to ebb out of Gary's body but his spirit flows through his pen and his glorious fight to bring us all a message of hope at the holiday season. Lots of Love is an ornament to be hung on every tree, a candle to be lit on the last night of Hanukkah, an Eid prayer at Ramadan and a strand of lights at the new moon of Diwali.
Gary's message at these holidays is captured in the haunted words of the great social reformer, Charles Dickens and the miraculous self-revelation of George Bailey in "Its A Wonderful Life". Lots of Love walks us across a shattered mosque in Iraq and points out the angels that flit around us each day - our eyes not completely adjusted to see these selfless spirits in the bright light of their kindness.

Click HERE to purchase or to read full review
Story of Jesus' Birth What Gift Will You Give
By Tom Hall
A Sermon

I trust it will come as news to very few that the canonical gospels offer us two Christmas stories, and to those who have actually read the accounts it is clear that the two bear little resemblance to one another.  To be sure, the names of the infant, his mother, his nominal father, and the place of birth are the same; but nearly all the other details stand in striking and irreconcilable conflict.  Does this mean that Matthew's narrative or Luke's-or both-are simply to be rejected as wildly unreliable? Not if we adopt the strategy of understanding the two tales not as failed attempts at history, but as brilliantly conceived and wonderfully effective parables.  Each poses as powerful and disturbing a question today as it did then. Each cuts to the heart of the Christmas story and the Christian message.Where do you see God made manifest? What kind of a world do you want for you and your children to live in?

Read Sermon Here
Ordinary God book coverThe Ordinary God
Notes from the Far West of Ireland
By Hilary Wakeman

A bible discussion group, parishioners of various ages, was getting tied up in knots on a rather basic subject - God.
In frustration, one woman said to another, 'But, what sort of God are you talking about?' 

The other woman looked puzzled. 'Just the ordinary, everyday God,' she said.

That is what this book is about. The ordinary, everyday God. The 'God' that comes instinctively to most of us. If we've had a religious education, from schools or parents, we may need to drop a lot of stuff that has been drilled into us. If what we think we know about God doesn't feel right, or doesn't feel true, then it probably isn't right and isn't true. Like love, this is a subject where we do better to trust our gut feelings.
Read More here
Christmas in BethlehemO Little Town
A Poem
By Jim Burklo

Dead dogma burdens Bethlehem
With grudges from the past
Muslims, Jews, and Christians, too
Say their claims are the last
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight....

Read this Poem Here
God- A Quest
By: Saurabh Bhattacharya

Welcome to the biggest treasure hunt of all. The game plan is simple. Like all treasure hunts, we start with a map. Only, in this case, the map will not be in our hands. It'll lie in our head-uncharted, unmarked, and incomplete-like a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces will emerge as we proceed on our quest. Pieces that will continually shift shape, size and color, much in tune with the seeker's frame of mind. My clue will not be the same as your clue; your map will not be the same as mine.
For our ancestors, however, the origin of a God-concept perhaps had a cause more basic than that of gaining knowledge from dead predecessors-and that was the dilemma of mortality. Unlike humans, all other animals are born with a set of instincts that enable them to function independently from an early age. They mature, mate, struggle against the elements, and eventually die.
Read More HERE
Joy Affirmation Spiritual Curriculum for Young Hearts and Minds
TCPC is embarking on an exciting and groundbreaking journey as we create progressive Christian children's curriculum that celebrates a joy-filled life, compassion for all, and the wisdom within.  We are getting close to completing the first year's curriculum.  It will be ready for use in homes, small groups and churches in the Fall of 2010. 

Each lesson will have a teacher's reflection, a full color Affirmations page to print out and take home with artwork like the one above, inspiring quotes, fun activities that tie it all together, discussion questions, a story to bring home, and tips to bring nature and music into the lessons. 

Email usto be on our waiting list, for more information or to receive emails regarding the creating of this exciting project!
Click HERE for more details
Merry Christmas, Love filled Solstice, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!
From the whole team at TCPC.
We hope this month is a time of light, laughter and delight for you and your loved ones.  Thank you for taking this journey with us as we remember the myths that came from a time long ago, in a land very different from our own, but which still fill our hearts with the message of love.  We'll never truly know what "God" is, what is beyond this endless universe, or where we came from- but we can live our daily lives with the knowledge that there is something that connects us all, that causes us to strive toward love, to yearn for light, and to keep our doors open to those in need.  May you always remember the God-within you and within all.
Fred Plumer
President, TCPC