Magnificat! Learning to Sing Mary’s Song (A Progressive Christian Lectionary Commentary on Luke 1:46-55)

I love that the Revised Common Lectionary includes the Magnificat as the alternative Psalm reading for the third Sunday of Advent. Mary was bold to sing about God, “You have brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly / You have filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.” And this Advent season, I invite to consider, "How is God calling you to sing new lyrics to Mary’s song?"How are hope, peace, joy, and love being birthed in you this Christm … [Read more...]

Highlights from Marcus Borg and Diana Butler Bass Lectures (Part 7 of 7)

The introductory post to this blog series is available here. The highlights from Bass’ three lectures are available here, here, and here. Borg’s first two lectures are here and here. My musings on the lectures are in brackets. Marcus Borg's third and final lecture was titled: Reclaiming Christian Language: Compassion and Justice … [Read more...]

Musical Setting of Jesus’ Greatest Commandments?

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Diana Butler Bass helped popularize the term "Great Command Christianity," and I'm on record as agreeing with her about how central Jesus' "Greatest Commandments" should be for progressive Christians.When asked, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus could have selected from the Torah any of the commandments. He could have chosen one the passages that have been used to justify patriarchy, xenophobia, or violence; but he chose the commandment in Deuteronomy 6:5 that, “You shall love th … [Read more...]

Highlights from Marcus Borg and Diana Butler Bass Lectures (Part 6 of 7)

The introductory post to this blog series is available here. The highlights from Bass’ first two lectures are available here and here. Borg’s first two lectures are here and here. My musings on the lectures are in brackets. Diana Butler Bass' third and final lecture in the series was titled, Great Awakening: Opening Our Eyes: Who We Are, What We Can Do, and How Everything Can Change   … [Read more...]

Highlights from Marcus Borg and Diana Butler Bass Lectures (Part 5 of 7)

The introductory post to this blog series is available here. The highlights from Bass’ first two lectures are available here and here. Borg’s first lecture is here. My musings on the lectures are in brackets. Borg's second lecture was titled, "Case Study: Salvation (and its siblings: 'Saved' and 'Savior')." … [Read more...]

Theology in a 13.7 Billion-Year-Old Universe: Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, and Creation Spirituality

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What would Christianity look like if the focus were Original Blessing, not Original Sin; Creation Spirituality, not the Fall/Redemption story; and social justice, not individual perfectionism? How do we do theology in the twenty-first century that accounts for scientific insights in general and the 13.7 billion-year-old "Universe Story" in particular? There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness. This mysterious Unity and Inte … [Read more...]

Highlights from Marcus Borg and Diana Butler Bass Lectures (Part 4 of 7)

The introductory post to this blog series is available here. The highlights from Bass' first lecture are available here and Borg's here. My musings on the lectures are in brackets. Diana Butler Bass' second lecture (of three total lectures) was titled, “Faith: From Convention to Experience.”[This title reminds me of James Fowler's important work on Stages of Faith, particularly the shift from Stage 3, "Conventional" faith to Stage 4, "Individuative-Reflective" faith. For more, see my post … [Read more...]

Highlights from Marcus Borg and Diana Butler Bass Lectures (Part 3 of 7)

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The introductory post to this blog series is available here. The highlights from Diana Butler Bass' first lecture are available here. My musings on the lectures are in brackets. Marcus Borg's first lecture (of three total lectures) was on “Reclaiming Christian Language.” He began by reminding us that his work is done in the hope of inspiring "adult theological re-education." … [Read more...]

Progressive Christian Reflections on Advent

How should progressive Christians approach Advent in light of twenty-first century knowledge? The following are four meditations based on the Annunciation account in Luke 1:(1) "Magnificat! Learning to Sing Mary’s Song" - An excerpt: How are you being called to sing new lyrics to Mary’s Song — of hope and peace and joy and love — this Christmas and in the new year so that your soul may ever more fully magnify God?”(2) "A Performance of Those Things Which Were Told" - An excerpt: The way w … [Read more...]

A Thanksgiving Liturgy of Gratitude, Prayer, Song, and Feast

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At the congregation where I served as associate pastor for seven years, there was an annual tradition of an Agape Meal. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, a group would remain after morning worship to transform the sanctuary from rows of chairs facing forward to chairs around tables, similar to the dining area of a restaurant. That evening, participants would return for a feast with conversation, hymns of Thanksgiving, and stories of gratitude.The following liturgy adapts that traditions for u … [Read more...]


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