Archive for the ‘emerging’ Tag

A Prayer for a Quirky New Year: Happy 2014!   1 comment

A Harvest of Quirkiness (CLICK HERE for HD version on VIMEO)

Gracious God,
how can creation sing your praises,
except with the red wings of blackbirds
flashing across blue sky,
and the croak and splash of frogs
playing hide-and-seek in the ponds?

How can the firmament proclaim your handiwork,
except in the wagging tail of a puppy,
and the focused attention of a toddler
soaking in the wonder of it all?

How can the heavens proclaim your glory,
except through a morning sun rising upon gold-green grass,
lighting up the face of lovers as Earth spins them
once more into a new day?

Your beauty and goodness, O Immanent One,
requires Earth’s diversity
and our own wildness,
breaking down – and out of –
the monotony of prescribed patterns,
choosing rather to take our place
in the dancing procession
of differentness,
the variegated life of Christ finding expression
in this body of the church
and the bodies of our kin-creatures.

Make a harvest, O Holy One,
of our quirkiness,
that we might be your radiant presence.

— from If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics, by Bruce Sanguin

Each session of LtQ’s DVD curriculum, Painting the Stars, concludes with a reading from Bruce Sanguin’s collection of prayers and liturgical resources published in his book “If Darwin Prayed.” This prayer, “A Harvest of Quirkiness” was produced by Scott Griessel of Creatista and is read by Sara Jackson. Happy New Year!

PtS logo white frameFor more on Living the Questions and Painting the Stars, including DVD/web-based curriculum and home editions, CLICK HERE (or on the graphic at left)

Bruce Sanguin_scarf

Rev. Bruce Sanguin is a leader in evolutionary Christianity, teaching evolutionary theology and practice with a passion for updating the theology and practice of the church in light of the reality of evolutionary processes and the creative impulse of the universe. He lives in Vancouver. Find more of his writing HERE

Jesus Didn’t Give a Rip about Heaven   Leave a comment

Morwood PtS posterThere’s no small amount of confusion around the notion of heaven and the Kingdom of God. Much of it probably derives from the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew writes to a Jewish audience for whom the word “God” is unutterable, so he changes “Kingdom of God” to “Kingdom of Heaven.” In the Gospels according to Mark and Luke (and Thomas), Jesus’ expressed purpose is to embody and proclaim the Kingdom of God as a lived reality here and now – “not in some heaven, light years away.”  So “The kingdom of heaven,” (to use Matthew’s designation) isn’t about an otherworldly heaven – it isn’t a concept of the afterlife at all.

As Dave Tomlinson says in his book, How to Be a Bad Christian (and a Better Human Being),

It’s a “state of consciousness – a different way of looking at the world, a transformed awareness that anyone may sense from time to time. Every truly joyful (I don’t mean ‘religious’) experience is a taste of heaven. Every kindness is a taste of heaven. Every loving partnership, every real friendship is a taste of heaven. Every expression of beauty, every new discovery is a taste of heaven. Every selfless act, every attempt to create justice, every hungry mouth fed, every homeless person welcomed, every difference celebrated is a taste of heaven.”

The real danger comes when Christians become “so heavenly-minded that they’re no earthly good.” Again, Tomlinson says,

“There is a stream of otherworldly spirituality within Christianity that tells us not to feel too much at home in this world; that we are exiles or aliens here, awaiting removal to our true home in heaven. I think this is mistaken. Yes, of course, there are things in the world that we shouldn’t feel at home with – injustice, poverty, prejudice, greed, abuse, disease and the like – but it is these things that are alien and need to be eradicated, evicted and exiled.”

In Living the Questions’ new series on Science, Evolution, and an Evolving Faith, Painting the Stars, Australian theologian Michael Morwood says,

“It is my utter conviction that the dream ‑ the intensity ‑ of Jesus of Nazareth had nothing to do with people getting to Heaven. It’s about the Kingdom of God. It’s about the here. It’s about the now. It’s about us being empowered by the presence of the divine with us; that the Jesus story is our story. The Jesus reality is the divine emerging in the human, giving voice to that ‘presence’ in the universe and on this planet ‑ and saying, ‘This is what it is to be human.'”

It’s not about getting to some otherworldly heaven, but about how we embody the Jesus story in our own lives, here and now. May the coming New Year offer us all opportunities to live out the Jesus story wherever we find ourselves!

Chlorophyl as Religious Experience   1 comment

Rossing Photosynthesis poster

“I remember as a child first learning about photosynthesis. That was truly one of the biggest ‘Aha’ moments I have ever experienced. To realize that plants have these amazing chlorophyl molecules that are somehow able to transform the energy of sunlight into food…to realize that all the oxygen we breathe on our planet is created by trees, by plants. I had to ask my mother, ‘Is it really true?’ The connections were so amazing. ‘Yes!’ my chemist mother told me. Yes!’ said my physicist father.

That whole week I pondered the deepening realization that we are all connected in a ‘luminous web,’ a wondrous communion of living beings — and that’s how it felt when I learned about evolution too. It was so wonderful, so amazing. So, for me, before there was any ‘conflict’ between religion and science, there was wonder, amazement about photosynthesis, and gratitude to God for evolution.”

— Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing in Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, and an Evolving Faith

Celebrating the communion of science and faith, Painting the Stars features over a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers in a seven-session program that explores the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality.

Living the Questions contributor, Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing

Living the Questions contributor, Rev. Dr. Barbara Rossing

Barbara Rossing  is Professor of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.  Her publications include The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation, a critique of fundamentalist “Left Behind” theology and articles and book chapters on ecology.  She serves on the executive committee and council of the Lutheran World Federation, where she also chairs the Lutheran World Federation’s theology and studies committee. She has contributed to a number of Living the Questions series, including Living the Questions 2.0 and Saving Jesus Redux

Evolution as a Sacred Story   1 comment

Sanguin Nebula poster

Bruce Sanguin understands evolution as a divine strategy for making a world that can make itself, and that God is in the business of alluring all of creation into the deep enjoyment of realizing the highest possible expression of goodness, truth, and beauty.  

“Everything and everybody is involved in a sacred, evolutionary process, including the Christian faith. What might it look like for a church to consciously embrace and celebrate the “blessed unrest” that is coursing through us as a work of Spirit? We have more questions than answers at this point, and that’s part of the adventure.”

As a Christian, Sanguin believes the Heart and Mind of God–that which was in Jesus–is incarnate in every bit of this blessed universe and planet of ours. Along with the rest of life, we need to creatively adapt to changing life conditions, or suffer the evolutionary consequences — which we’re seeing with the decline of the mainline churches. The crisis that we’re going through right now on the planet could very well be birth of a new reality. This creative adaptation and innovation is driven by Spirit. It’s up to us to be part of the evolution.

Rev. Bruce Sanguin is the Minister of Canadian Memorial United Church and Centre for Peace in Vancouver, B.C.  He is a leader in evolutionary Christianity, teaching evolutionary theology and practice with a passion for updating the theology and practice of the church in light of the reality of evolutionary processes and the creative impulse of the universe.

The author of five books, including If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics and  Darwin, Divinity and the Dance of the Cosmos: an Ecological ChristianityBruce is both preparing the participant guide and appearing as a contributor on the upcoming DVD series from Living the Questions: “Painting the Stars: Science, Religion, and the Promise of Evolutionary Christianity.” 

Bruce posts regularly at www.brucesanguin.com

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ALSO: Bruce Sanguin Lecture in Phoenix

Sunday night, January 13th, 2013 at 6pm

Central United Methodist Church
1875 N. Central Ave., Phoenix 85004

Admission: $10 (students $5)

Register online at darwinanddivinity.eventbrite.com

A Meditation for the New Year from LtQ – 2013   Leave a comment

The words of Rumi are visualized as a meditation for the New Year. May 2013 be a time when you hear the music others don’t…

EVOLVE

The Mystic dances in the sun

Hearing music others don’t 

Forget any sounds or touch you knew that did not help you dance. 

You will come to see that all evolves us.

– Rumi (adapted)

Rumi Evolve GrabConcept, Visuals, & Edit: Scott Greissel (Creatista) 
Copyright (c) 2013 livingthequestions.com

Click HERE to buy the new HarperOne book from LtQ: Living the Questions: the Wisdom of Progressive Christianity

Another Version of Virgin…   9 comments

With Pope Benedict’s recent release of a book reflecting on the Nativity, the historicity of the Virgin Birth is yet again back in the news. It seems that Benedict is more concerned that barnyard animals are inaccurately included in most traditional Nativity scenes than the fact that insistence on a literal virgin birth is one of the reasons many thinking people leave the church.

Retired Episcopal Bishop Jack Spong sees it differently than Pope Benedict — and offers an alternative vision for interpreting the meaning behind the parable of the virgin birth. With apologies to Dr. Seuss: “Maybe Christmas, Jack thought, doesn’t come from a virgin. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a Spirit emergin’…”.

Spong Virgin Birth

Horizontal Transcendence   Leave a comment

In a reflection reminiscent of Emerson’s appeal to see in every fair flower a “wayside sacrament,” Philip Clayton urges the seeker to not miss the miracle of every moment:

“Do not, in your rush to find ultimate meaning and the ground of all being, neglect the transcendence that lies around you like a miracle at every moment . . . every outlook, every walk in a park is a call to horizontal transcendence.”

— Philip Clayton (from LtQ’s upcoming series on Science, Religion, and Evolutionary Spirituality)

Philip Clayton is the author of numerous books, including, Adventures in the Spirit: God, World, Divine Action (Fortress Press, 2008), In Quest of Freedom (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2009), The Predicament of Belief (Oxford 2012, with Steven Knapp), and Religion and Science: The Basics (Routledge 2012). He has served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty, and Professor of Theology at Claremont School of Theology and is currently the Provost of Claremont Lincoln University.

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