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Progressive Sermons Years A. B. C.
SPECIAL: Sermons/Addresses shaped by Religious Naturalism

With these sermons I am indebted to many people, named and forgotten.  Some of those who have influenced my 'progressive/post liberal' thinking whom I remember, include: Willi Marxsen, B Brandon Scott, Bernard E Meland, Robert Funk, Henry Nelson Wieman, Karl Peters, Tom Boomershine, Gordon D Kaufman, Lloyd Geering, and Stephen Patterson - to name a few. All males I realise...  Mmm.

I do not see myself as an original thinker but more as a reasonably good editor (at least I hope so...) able to weave thoughts, stories and ideas together in a fairly conversational, and at times, narrative way.  Thus in my preaching style I try to invite others to both get curious and excited about what they hear and to explore further.  If that happens then I feel I have been faithful to my calling as a preacher, as well as being respectful of my hearer, trusting s/he will complete the 'message'.

What follows in these Sermons and Addresses, therefore, are some of those invitations to explore - in a spirit of progressive/post-liberal theology, moulded by my understanding of Religious Naturalism. Most are reasonably short, as far as Sermons go, because I reckon Sermons should be short if they are going to be heard in our multimedia/digital society.  To preach much longer than 10-15 minutes these days, is bad communication no matter who you are!  And all are written in what I call 'oral writing', although that doesn't always show on the web site format.

I also invite you to remember that a sermon, as an oral form of communication, is also part of a larger liturgy, a happening.  That is, there are many other words, images, stories, reflections and music not published here - all of which helped shape the total experience of the Sunday morning experience in which these Sermons were first spoken.

All this is earthed in my vision of ministry:
• Awakening others to the best/latest contemporary religious scholarship currently available, allowing that scholarship to shape liturgies, sermons, prayers and hymns;

• Shaping services of celebration, especially the Sunday morning experience, which blend tradition with the contemporary, using inclusive language, story, conversation, Australian images and new metaphors - all from a progressive/post-liberal theological perspective;

• Inviting others to focus on a theology which advocates:
         (i) the ‘sacred’ (non-theistic) as expressed within Religious Naturalism;
         (ii) the humanity of Jesus/Yeshu'a;
         (iii) an ethical/social stance which values compassion and social justice;

• Encouraging all to push theological boundaries - to reimagine, reconceive and reconstruct, rather than just restate.

A word about Religious Naturalism… Microbiologist Ursula Goodenough suggests the following which resonates with me: “My core narrative is the naturalistic worldview, based on the discoveries of contemporary science.  This narrative elicits in me three kinds of religious responses: 1) the interpretive (the philosophical/existential meanings of the worldview); 2) the spiritual (eg. awe, gratitude, humility, reverence, and joy); and 3) the moral/ethical (eg. responsibility, fairness, cooperation, and community), with a major focus on social justice and ecomorality.”

I have included a selection of ‘sermons/Addresses’ and ‘articles', shaped by RN, at the end of this Sermon Collection, for your consideration. (Including a very early sermon!)