The Center For Progressive Christianity
Sex in Progressive Christianity
from sacred sex to gay marriage- we talk about it all
in this issue
:: Sacred Marriage, Sacred Sex, Sacred Text
:: Affirming Acceptance
:: The Bible and Homosexuality
:: The Path of Jesus Means Inclusion of All
:: Proposition 8 and Progressive Christianity
Mary Magdalene Greetings!

Several years ago when the "The Da Vinci Code" was so popular, I ended up doing about six presentations on the background of the book... One aspect I emphasized was that, while most of the so called "scholarship" that Dan Brown used for the foundation of his premise that Jesus had been married and had a family with heirs still living was poor scholarship at best, the importance of the book was that it has raised the serious issue of how poorly the church has treated women throughout the centuries and frankly, with some rare exceptions, still does.  Although that was not my main purpose for being there, I tried to give them a perspective on how the male leadership of the Roman Church and later protestant traditions manipulated, misinterpreted and ignored Christian scriptures to keep women in a secondary or subservient role...   

READ Fred's article: What Have We Done?
Sacred Marriage
Sacred Sex and Sacred Text: The Song of Solomon

By: Sea Raven, D.Min

earth embrace
In the cosmology of the ancient world, the Goddess, the Great Mother, brought forth all of life parthenogenetically - i.e., without the benefit of input from the God. Later, when humans had figured out the role of sun and seed, the metaphor of sacred marriage was ritualized in the ceremonial union of the king or ruler with the representative of the Goddess in the Temple. Such a ceremony assured the strength, the fertility, the success, the safety of the land and the people.This ceremony is called "Temple Prostitution" by most clergy, which tinges it with degradation and evil - but that is merely the gloss of 1,600 years of Church dogma. The union of the sun god and the earth goddess, or the Sky with the Earth, is as old as humankind and as varied in interpretation as all the tribes.


Affirming Acceptance- a blog
A Word to the Spiritual Seekers
By: Don Murray

rainbow flagAmong the mysterious convolutions of the United Church there is a policy concerning the acceptance of gays and people of all sexual orientations. The National church is all for it. But local churches are left to decide for themselves. Affirming Congregations are those who decide by a vote of their membership that they will accept, marry and in all ways treat people of all sexual orientations in an equal manner. It may seem redundant. We don't have to vote on Affirming heterosexuality. It is, however, an outward and visible sign that ones who were marginalized and even abused are now welcomed into the mainstream of life and faith.

The Bible and Homosexuality A Faithful Look
By: Rev Lea Mathieu

Is it possible for a person to love God, love the Bible, and accept the ordination of gay men and women all at the same time?
Yes. I do.
Please take a few moments to understand my position.
The church has for centuries prohibited the ordination of open homosexuals for one reason: "The Bible condemns it."
why has the Bible been used to damn homosexuals for so long? Perhaps for the same reasons that Holy Scripture has also been abused in history to oppress women, slaughter Jews, Indians, and Muslims, and enslave rights supporters Thank God we learn (eventually).
Hate is a sad legacy for a book that tells us the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.


More Sex in the Pulpit from By: Jeanne Carstensen

Old Church Inside
While religious conservatives are vocal on issues of sexuality-from pre-marital sex to masturbation to abortion-progressive religious leaders have largely 'abstained' from discussing these matters in the pulpit. A new report urges more clergy education and openness on sexuality issues.

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The Path of Jesus Means Inclusion of All
By: Rev Ronald Sparks

Let us be honest and introspective. Could it be that we need to assume some guilt in perpetrating and perpetuating the violence, division, hatred and ugliness we say we deplore and condemn? Marginalizing and minimalizing others is not "The Path of Jesus." It is contrary to everything He preached and practiced. To say that some people are less worthy in God's estimation and esteem (and therefore in ours as well)spiritual path is to preach and practice an exclusivity which Jesus never advocated or advanced. Exclusiveness is the path of destruction and dehumanization. Inclusiveness is the path of healing, peace, joy and community.


Proposition 8 and Progressive Christianity
By Rev Ian Lawton

Jesus at the well
We now know more about gender equality and legal rights. We don't depend on children for cheap labor. We actually legislate against it. We don't encourage young girls to get married at 13. We actually legislate against it. We don't see women as merely procreation machines. We legislate for women to play equal and autonomous roles outside of the home. Society has changed, as it should change. Now its time to take a giant step forward in our understanding of the Christian tradition.  Maybe we could begin by looking to the radical example of Jesus.  At a time when men did not even speak to women publicly, Jesus offered spiritual guidance to the woman at the well, a member of an outcast race. He taught women, healed women, and accepted women, even those considered "unclean."
Leading international human rights organization Survival International opens office in Berkeley, CA

We Are One cover
The organization Survival International was established in 1969 to defend the lands and protect the lives of tribal peoples such as Boa Senior.  For 40 years the organization has striven to show the world that tribal peoples are not backward; that they are evolving, modern, complex societies like any other and that they need to be accorded the same human rights - that they have every right to live on their own lands in the way they see fit. Survival works with tribal peoples across the globe - from the Yanomami of Brazil to the Penan of Sarawak, from the Nenet reindeer herders of Siberia to the Bushman of Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve.  
Survival has also recently published 'We are One', an anthology of prose, poetry and photographs about tribal peoples. We Are One celebrates the lives, homelands and values of tribal peoples and explores the relevance of their beliefs and wisdom to the present time. It shows how their philosophies often place human values above those of economics, and tend to value balance with nature as a prerequisite for the future of the planet.  Contributors include Richard Gere, Jane Goodall, Peter Matthiessen, Steve McCurry and Sebastiao Salgado.
The book is available here
Click here to read the rest of this article
We live in a time of extremes.  Extreme sexual carelessness and extreme sexual prejudice.  Unfortunately, the bible has been used falsely as a weapon of hate and exclusion and people claiming to be followers of Jesus' teachings let their fear and ignorance justify their dehumanizing of others.  Frankly, Jesus would be horrified with what much of the world has done with his message of love.  We hope to remind people and inform people what his true message was.  He stood up against exclusion, tyranny, violence, and hate.  So do we. We hope you can help us continue to spread a message of love, inclusion, and openness.  We have been gifted as humans with intelligence.  Let us use it to educate others without judgment and to continue to question and evolve.  We are all one people, we are all breathing and exchanging the same energy.  With our bodies we can express our love in a sacred way.  With our words and open arms, we can live as Jesus did.  Separate from no one.  Respectful of all, including our own bodies, minds and souls. 
Deshna Ubeda, Fred Plumer and the Team at The Center For Progressive Christianity    253-303-0022
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