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In Tom Harpur s book, The Pagan Christ. Recovering the Lost Light, he claims: As we shall see, the Pagans , who were persecuted, decried, killed, and ultimately utterly vanquished by the Church, held views of the Christ within that the Church was to plagiarize blatantly and then cover up with book burning, anathemas, and murder. Because the root meaning of pagan is peasant , I can agree with Harpur that the institutional Church has frequently and consistently been guilty of alienating outsiders, fringe people, and the marginalized. I see it in our own time and town! Everyone has to...

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I ve been listening to Brian Eno all day. Eno, for those of you who don t know, is probably best known for his work with U2. Mondays, as usual for most pastors I know, is my day off. But I don t really take it off. I spend ALL DAY in my studio painting like crazy. So, I ve been painting all day to the ethereal, dreamy, mood music of Eno such albums as Apollo and Ambient 2: Plateaux of Mirror. Next on my list is Discreet Music, and Ambient 1: Music for Airports. Sometimes I paint to crazy...

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I stayed up late last night to watch the foreign film TSOTSI, from South Africa (click here to watch the trailer). It won Best Foreign Language film last year at the Oscars. I d recommend it. It is about a young man nicknamed Tsotsi , which means thug . He lives his life, or rather survives, in a township of Johannesburg, caught up in a whirlwind of violence. His life radically alters course when he discovers a baby in the back seat of a car he has stolen. I think it is one of the most difficult tasks to depict...

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I m up very early Sunday mornings to fine-tune my messages. Here s what I m teaching today (anyone can use this if you want). It's taken from PSALM 16:11 (click on it!). 1. God makes known the path of life: This is not about making known how I should behave. It s not like God gives me a detailed blueprint of how I have to live. He shows me a path, and I am free to walk it. Interestingly, to enter the path of life, Jesus said the gate is very narrow, and few find it. My painting THE...

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Thinking about freedom, I read Oswald Chambers, again in MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST:: Our Lord never insists on having authority; he never says, Thou shalt! He leaves us perfectly free so free that we can spit in his face, as men did; so free that we can put him to death, as men did; and he will never say a word. I am convinced that we need to provide this same kind of freedom to people, including church people. It has actually been my experience in ministry that I have witnessed people come to a place of realizing that...

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