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Prayers for Progressive Christians   Leave a comment

Morwood_Prayers_CoverLiving the Questions is happy to join other Michael Morwood fans in welcoming the arrival of Michael’s newest book, Prayers for Progressive Christians. Michael first walks the reader through the theological shifts that are necessitating changes to liturgical, group, and personal prayer and then demonstrates how these major shifts can be incorporated into a new template for meaningful, contemporary prayer. With Michael’s permission, we’re posting several examples of prayers you’ll find in the book.

Prayers for Progressive Christians is available on both Amazon and on Michael’s website: morwood.org. Michael is a featured presenter in Living the Questions’ DVD curriculum, “Painting the Stars” and other LtQ programs.

A Prayer for Palm Sunday

We gather today
mindful of the many times
we have professed our readiness
to be true disciples of Jesus
to be salt of the earth
to be light in the world.

We acknowledge the daunting challenge
of this profession
in the society in which we live,
with its economic systems
that impoverish and disempower people,
and its political systems
that enable the rich to get richer
and the earth to become poorer.

We remember that Jesus
encountered in his day
systems as unjust as those
we experience in our day,
and who surely felt powerless
to change anything on his own.

We turn our hearts and minds
to his message
to his hopes and dreams
to his ardent desire
for a better society.

We focus on his struggle
his reflections
his prayer
his questions –
where to start?
how to start?
what to say?
whom to choose?
how to keep going?
how to be salt?
how to be light?

We call to mind
how Jesus urged his listeners
to put their trust
in the power of being neighbor
in the power of God’s Spirit within them
in the power of conversion
from religious thinking and practices
that made them feel inadequate
and worthless.

Our prayer today
is a prayer of resolve,
a prayer of determination
that we, each one of us,
will do whatever we can
however small
in whatever way
to bring the real dream of Jesus
to fruition
in our lives
and in our world today.

At the start of Holy Week
we focus on Jesus
human like us
a man with a dream for a better world
a man of extraordinary courage
a man on a journey to the end of his life
a man willing to die for what he believed
a man who knew
he would never see his dream fulfilled
a man who had to trust
that those who came after him
would keep his dream alive.

As we gather once more around bread and wine
we recall Jesus sharing bread and wine
with his friends
shortly before he died.
He invited them to eat and drink
as a sign of their readiness
to keep his memory alive
to give their all
for what he believed and taught.

We, too, eat and drink.
We stand up
as a sign of our readiness to be counted upon.
We give our word.

By our eating and drinking
we commit ourselves
to follow where Jesus dared to journey.

(Communion)

A Prayer for Easter

Today we remember and give thanks for Jesus
and the seasons of his life
– when he was full of life and hope and possibilities
– when life took him into unknown territory
– when life tested him to the limit
– when, in the depths of his Winter, he believed Spring would come.

This Easter season,
we rejoice that his life
and all that he lived for
all that he believed and taught
leads us to see beyond death and darkness
and to believe in transformation beyond our imagining.

In his memory,
we gather once more around bread and wine
symbols of nourishment
of hospitality
of friendship
and of commitment.

We share this bread and wine today
committing ourselves
to be Easter people,
people who see beyond the barriers,
the pain, the darkness and hard times,
people who live in faith, hope and love
in all the seasons of our lives
whatever the ups and downs.

We open our eyes,
we open our ears,
we open our hands,
we open our minds,
we open our hearts.

We pray for one another:

May you love the life within you
may you love the life around you
and may you know that
a part of everything is here in you
a part of everything is here in you.

We pray for ourselves:
May I love the life within me
may I love the life around me
and may I know that
a part of everything is here in me
a part of everything is here in me.

(Communion)

Other prayers cover a variety of other liturgical and spiritual topics. See the table of contents by CLICKING HERE. 

About Michael Moorwood

Michael MorwoodWith over 40 years’ experience as a sought-after retreat leader and educator, Michael Morwood is well known around the world. Bishop John Shelby Spong writes: “Michael Morwood … is raising the right and obvious questions that all Christians must face. He provides fresh and perceptive possibilities for a modern and relevant faith.” With a dozen books to his name (two of which were banned before he resigned from the Catholic priesthood), Morwood brings an extensive background in spirituality to what he sees as the urgent need to reshape Christian thinking for a new millennium.

Be sure to visit Michael’s website by clicking HERE

Posted March 21, 2018 by livingthequestionsonline in Blog post

Do you “stand” on the bible or do you have a “stand” on the bible? Q&A   Leave a comment

This post was originally published on July 24th, 2017 at progressivechristianity.org

NJ via FaceBook, writes:

Question:

How is it that liberal-minded people who claim that they are open to allowing people to believe what they want and live the way that they want attack people like me who stand on the Bible? That’s real tolerant now isn’t it?

Answer: By Rev. David M. Felten

Dear NJ,

First off, allowing people to believe what they want is just one characteristic of “liberal-minded people.” But to characterize liberalism as some willy-nilly-believe-what-you-want perspective is a false claim. True, liberals are OK with people believing what they want – but only insofar as those beliefs respect the basic dignity of other people and doesn’t do others harm. That’s a big difference. I’ve also heard it said that liberals tolerate anything but intolerance. I think that’s about right.

And let’s be clear, you’re probably not being “attacked” for being a person who “stands on the Bible,” but for being a person who’s “stand” on the Bible is not in keeping with other peoples’ “stand” on the Bible.

Let me remind you that people “stood on the Bible” to defend slavery, they “stood on the Bible” to keep women from having the vote, they “stood on the Bible” to defend segregation. Without “liberals” who opposed those racist, misogynist, and un-American practices, our world would be a very different place indeed (and not for the better). Many of those appalling liberals, by the way, were faithful Christians who appealed to the Bible to further the causes of freedom and basic human rights. I’m going to assume that, in these areas, you agree with them and their “liberal” interpretation of the Bible.

Among today’s front line issues of defense on behalf of basic human dignity and human rights are LGBTQ rights and reproductive choice. Bizarre Biblical attitudes toward women and sexuality notwithstanding, neither of these (as we currently understand them) are topics in the Bible (uh-oh, no place to “stand”!). Similarly, although there’s no mention of cultural practices like female genital mutilation and sex-trafficking in the Bible, many conservatives “stand” with liberals in opposition to these sex-related challenges – and do so on the grounds of that eminently liberal notion of human rights.

Then, if you manage to filter out all the propaganda, cultural prejudices, and superstitions from the Bible, there are plenty of examples of where scripture is clearly aligned with what you would call today’s “liberal agenda.” Opposing racial injustice and the U.S.’s unjust immigration policies are just two examples where liberals have all kinds of Biblical precedent on which to “stand.”

So, don’t mistake the liberal tendency towards tolerance (which allows you – in broad strokes – to believe what you want and do what you please) to remain silent when what you believe and advocate fails to respect the rights or freedom of others. You can claim that your “stand” is the definitive interpretation of what the Bible says, but so did the slave-owning, sexist, and racist Christians of the past – and so do the discriminatory, misogynistic dogmatists of today.

~ Rev. David M. Felten

About the Author

David Felten is a full-time pastor at The Fountains, a United Methodist Church in Fountain Hills, Arizona. David and fellow United Methodist Pastor, Jeff Procter-Murphy, are the creators of the DVD-based discussion series for Progressive Christians, “Living the Questions”.

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