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As we mentioned in our post on Benjamin Franklin's religious beliefs, the Living Hour considers Franklin to be among the early progressive Christians of the United States, along with other Founding Fathers such as Thomas Jefferson (who wrote the Jefferson Bible) and Thomas Paine. One of our favorite inspirational quotes from Franklin is: "Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement,...

How do I find God? If God does exist, what path should I take to his doorstep? What road less traveled should I shimmy down? We can look for answers in the Bible, the Gnostic Gospels, the Koran, the Tao Te Ching, and other religious texts. Or we can look toward symbols to discover the nature of God, our divinity, and life...

In this Living Hour post, we are going to share some of our favorite Native American prayers. We’ve chosen prayers and blessings that are short and easy to memorize—thus they can be used as prayers for children as well as adults. Considering the current state of the world, where we seem to be long on war and short on peace, we are going to...

In St. Pauls second Epistle to the Corinthians, he tells the community to remember that "the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." When this idea is delivered from the pulpit of Christian churches today, preachers usually discuss how it refers to God's grace, the Holy Spirit, or the kingdom of Heaven. The problem is...

Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of those authors we all read in school. “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string” is an exhortation that every student recognizes the verity of when read for the first time. What many of us don’t know is that Emerson was more than just a writer and leader of the American transcendental movement. He also was...

The old saying "there is nothing common about common sense" has never rung so true as it does today. We live in a course and relativist age where the noble drive for fairness and balance has been misdirected toward conflating opinions with facts, and where common sense lies buried beneath a rubble of "truthiness". That being the case, it might be a good...

The Gulistan (Rose Garden) is the masterwork of 13th century Persian writer Sa'di (Saadi), a celebrated poet who recently was quoted by President Barack Obama in his 2009 address to the people of Iran. In the Gulistan, Saadi tells a story that goes like this: A person with a harsh voice was reciting loudly the Koran. A good and holy man went up...

The writer and wandering traveler Isabelle Eberhardt was an extraordinary woman. The remains of her book Dans l'Ombre Chaude de l'Islam - In the Hot Shade of Islam (salvaged from a flash flood that killed the young author) was once called "one of the strangest human documents that a woman has given to the world." In her early twenties, Eberhardt wrote the following: Vagrancy...

In Fyodor Dostoevsky's parable of The Grand Inquisitor, Jesus reappears on Earth during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Although the crowds adore him, he is promptly thrown in prison and sentenced to death. While in his cell, Jesus is visited by the Grand Inquisitor who says that he must kill him, even though he knows that he is truly Jesus Christ. The...

When Progressive Christians look toward their lineage, few find sympathy with the old Calvinists of 18th century New England. Jonathan Edwards' sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is one of the last things we equate with the tenants of Progressive Christianity. And yet Jonathan Edwards, like all of us, is a complicated individual. While going off the rails at times...

Jesus tells us we cannot enter the kingdom of God unless we are born of both water and spirit (("In truth I tell you," exclaimed Jesus, "unless you are reborn, you cannot see the kingdom of God." "How can someone," asked Nicodemus, "be born when they are old? Can we be born a second time?" "In truth I tell you," answered Jesus, "unless...

The 20th century Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a remarkable figure in that he was both a highly trained scientist and defender of the Christian faith---someone who realized that the entire structure of Christ's mythology had to be reworked to fit new scientific discoveries. Having forged that new structure through the crucible of his own experiences and knowledge, he not only...

To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower. Those are lovely sentiments from the brilliant 19th century poet William Blake---some folks may even take inspiration from them. But few of us actually are changed by such words. They simply strike our fancy for a moment, as we smile at their profundity. Then our thoughts eventually turn back...

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 It is said in the prophet Isaiah: 'Behold! I send my messenger before thy face; He shall prepare thy way.' 3 'The voice of one crying aloud in the wilderness: "Make ready the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.' 4 And in fulfillment of this, John the Baptist...

Some days later, when Jesus came back to Capernaum, the news spread that he was in a house there; 2 And so many people collected together, that after a while there was no room for them even round the door; and he began to tell them his message. 3 And some people came bringing to him a paralyzed man, who was being carried...

On leaving that place, Jesus, followed by his disciples, went to his own part of the country. 2 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue; and the people, as they listened, were deeply impressed. "Where did he get this?" they said, "and what is this wisdom that has been given him? and these miracles which he is doing? 3...

One day the Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus. 2 They had noticed that some of his disciples ate their food with their hands 'defiled,' by which they meant unwashed. 3 For the Pharisees, and indeed all strict Jews, will not eat without first scrupulously washing their hands, holding in this to...

About that time, when there was again a great crowd of people who had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him, and said: 2 "My heart is moved at the sight of all these people, for they have already been with me three days and they have nothing to eat; 3 And if I send them away to their homes hungry,...

"I tell you," he added, "that some of those who are standing here will not know death till they have seen the kingdom of God come in power." 2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain alone by themselves. There his appearance was transformed before their eyes, 3 And his clothes became...

On leaving that place, Jesus went into the district of Judea on the other side of the Jordan. Crowds gathered about him again; and again, as usual, he began teaching them. 2 Presently some Pharisees came up and, to test him, asked: "Has a husband the right to divorce his wife?" 3 "What direction did Moses give you?" replied Jesus. 4 "Moses," they...

When will the Second Coming occur? This seems to be a question of utmost importance to many Christians today, as we struggle through seemingly endless economic and environmental crises. The question of the Second Coming though has been front and center in the minds of Christians ever since Jesus shuffled off his mortal coil. John didn’t help matters much in penning Revelations,...

In the Beginning the Word was; and the Word was with God; and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God; 3 Through him all things came into being, and nothing came into being apart from him. 4 That which came into being in him was life; and the life was the light of all; 5 And...

Periodic discussions often arise among Progressive Christians about what does (or should) ministry include. The question is being posed a bit incorrectly. The question should be, "What does ministry NOT include?" Because when we begin to think about it from this vantage point, we start to realize that there are no good works, no vocations, and no discussions that are beyond the...

When Progressive Christians talk about How We Worship, the discussion usually centers on the goings-on inside the Church walls. While Sunday worship services have an important role to play, what matters even more is the worship that happens during the course of our every-day lives. This daily interactive worship with our immediate neighbors and our inner divinity (Christ) concerned Jesus more than...

Having answered the question "What is Christian Ministry?" by putting forward the idea that as Progressive Christians we are all ministers, albeit in various forms, the question now follows, just what is the role of the Reverend, the Minister of the bricks and mortar church? Like other Pastors, Progressive Reverends guide religious ceremonies (such as weddings and funerals), as well as serve as...