Progressive Faith Sermons - Dr. Roger Ray (general)

Every lie incurs a debt to the truth that must eventually be paid. This was initially said of Russian lies about the Chernobyl disaster but it certain applies to lies told about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the cover up in Catholic and Protestant churches about pedophilia, Boeing’s cover up of the failures of the 737 Max. We will see how many people die in direct response to Florida’s governor trying to manipulate the numbers of Covid-19 infections in that state. A quick comparison to the honest treatment of the pandemic in South Korea to how it has been handled in the USA leaves us to wonder if the price incurred by our President’s denial and lies has been more than 90,000 deaths.

Direct download: 20200524_Service.mp3
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Logic and faith should be partners! A healthy spirituality does not deny reality but rather interrogates and interprets reality. We are not seeking to escape this world to be transported into an imaginary “other” world but rather to logically, ethically, lovingly transform the only world we know into a better, more compassionate world. For faith communities to be relevant in the emerging world, we must embrace an evidence based approach to our spirituality that is defined by critical thinking and a fearlessly prophetic scrutiny of our own beliefs.

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We are taking a wide angle view of what it means to be a woman in the 21st century, from being relegated to carrying water and fire wood in the third world where female genital mutilation and sex trafficking are still common to the USA where, sadly sex trafficking is also common, but there is also religious oppression, a glass ceiling, and a sorely lacking representation in the houses of government. It's like Mother's Day on steroids…. join us!

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May 1 is the international workers’ holiday but this year, in light of the pandemic, more consideration needs to be given to the very nature of the economy beyond the traditional rivalry between owners and laborers. As the income gap has grown and the more complex issue of the ownership of capital has pushed assets into the hands of fewer and fewer people, it is time reconsider our assumptions about ownership and distribution of wealth. As President Trump and many states’ governors are pushing (largely minority) workers to go back to work in unsafe conditions for less than a living wage in the midst of a pandemic, is the word “revolution” too strong to use or is it not quite enough?

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Prejudice is its own logic, or, at least, it is impervious to logic, evidence, or critical thinking. This week we'll consider the irrational beliefs behind many of our prejudices. We look at the early American assumption that Native Americans, Africans, and Asians were somehow less than human and then we pay special attention to the case of the British mathematician, Alan Turing, who was of unique importance to both winning World War II by breaking the German Enigma code, and later laying the groundwork for the invention of the computer. In just a few years after the war, Turing was put on trial for being gay and chose suicide over the chemical castration imposed on him. Considering our history of prejudice shines a particular light on the current violence against the trans community.

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"On Reparations" presented by Dr. Kyler Sherman-Wilkins, Missouri State University professor of Sociology

The subject of paying the descendants of African slaves some form of reparations is complicated but just because it is complicated does not mean that it should not be done. Imagine starting to play Monopoly with 10 players but one player starts with 90% of the property and the bank. Liberated slaves were promised "40 acres and a mule" to give them a more fair start in life but with the assassination of Lincoln, that plan was never carried out. How can we meaningfully address the injustice of centuries of forced, uncompensated labor and the centralization of capital in the hands of the few? We have to be honest about the history of American wealth and seriously drill down on solutions which will inevitably be controversial but must, none-the-less, be carefully thought out and implemented.

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The pandemic is almost all that is mentioned in the news and it certainly occupies much of our emotional and mental energy. Sadly, however, the Covid-19 virus might not be the most dangerous thing going on in the world right now. The Trump administration had rolled back more than a 100 Environmental Protection Agency regulations before the coronavirus elbowed its way into our awareness but since journalists are paying attention to nothing else, the Trump administration is crucifying the EPA in what CBS news has called "an open license to pollute." The virus will eventually recede, even though it may take a year to 18 months, but the earth . . . the earth is forever!

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As we try to learn the skills of staying home, maintaining distance, and the disciplines that prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus, that means that some of us are very isolated, living alone with almost no face to face contact with anyone. Others are quarantining with a significant other, or with children. There is a lot of stress in both contexts, stresses from anxiety, depression, or domestic conflict, all of which can lead to substance abuse. Dr. Roger Ray and Dr. Paul Thomlinson met two decades ago working on an addiction research project and have often shared a lectern to speak about the most recent research and the insights they have gained from both personal and professional experience with drug and alcohol use and abuse. This talk on addiction is directed to our unique situation as we are all trying to survive both the coronavirus and the quarantine it demands of us.

Direct download: 20200405_Service.mp3
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The world as we have known it no longer exists. This pandemic will end, realistically, however, the virus will remain and will be held at bay, largely by a vaccine that will have to be repeated as the virus evolves every year. Still, when it is safe to go back to church and to restaurants, movies and music venues, not all of them will have survived. And as governments around the world try to navigate the complexities of having shut an economy down and then trying to start it up again, we will have to make serious decisions about universal healthcare, and possibly even a universal basic income. As Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has observed, the virus did not so much create new problems as it poured gasoline on existing problems with health care, the income gap, foreign policy, prison policies, and the environment. We have the opportunity to forge a better world after Covid-19 than we had in the first weeks of 2020.

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Two mass shooting events took place on Saturday morning, August 3, in Texas, and that night in Dayton, Ohio. In both incidents, the shooter was stopped, the first in 6 minutes, the second in less than a minute. Still, in both cases people were killed and many more wounded because of the insanely powerful, military style weapons available for purchase all over America. This cannot go on.

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My newest book is a collection of the meditations (post-theistic "prayers") written originally for use in our Gathering services at the Emerging Church. We now how to share these liturgical resources with progressive churches everywhere.

Direct download: 20190621_Offertory.mp3
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The shocking North Carolina rally in which Trump led the crowds in a chant of "Send her back" was a bridge too far. This is no longer merely conservative blowing of dog whistles and being a bully to draw support from racists. This is the all too familiar laying of ground for fascism and none of us should allow this kind of thinking to become normative in America.

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This podcast is produced in a small independent congregation in Springfield, Missouri. The church is small and not close to being self supporting. This progressive material is made available to the world only through the donations of listeners and, frankly, we went totally broke in the middle of June and would have been in real trouble had we not received major support from a few special friends. We absolutely must grow our donor base or these videos and podcasts are threatened with extinction!!! Help!!!

You can donate through PayPal by clicking on the donate button at or by sending a check to
Community Christian Church
4806 E. Farm Road 136
Springfield, MO 65809

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I will be speaking in South Carolina the first two weeks of April and in Exeter England on June 9. Please join me at the listed locations if possible. As always, we encourage our listeners to also become supporters to help us to keep these progressive messages on line. You can donate by clicking on the donate button at or by mailing a donation to The Emerging Church, 4806 FR 136, Springfield, MO 65809.

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The mere existence of an entirely honest, progressive church is fiscally unlikely. We don't have enough support from our small Springfield, MO congregation to keep us afloat. We need the support of our listeners to keep producing new material. Please support us if you can. You can click on the donate button on our webpage ( and sign up to make monthly donations in any amount you can afford.

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