Believing our lives have a meaning and purpose which extend God's realm of love

God's healing and loving movement in the world is not a spectator sport. It requires human participation. This means that all our lives are meant to further extend God’s love through our own unique gifts, quirks and abilities. This partnership with God is not just for those who are paid to work in churches and ministries. It involves each member of a community working toward the wholeness that God seeks to foster in the world. 
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"This We Affirm connects prophetic leaders to inspiring resources. If you are committed to creating a more just and generous world, the resources you need are here."
FEATURED CONTENT

“The Long Road to Freedom” by Jacqui Lewis

SERMONS  |  Convergence Network

Dr. Jacqui Lewis is Senior Minister Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village of Manhattan. Middle Church is a dynamic 900-member multiracial, multicultural, inclusive congregation in which everyone is welcome just as they are as they come through the door. Lewis is also the Executive Director of The Middle Project, an institute that prepares ethical leaders for a more just society....

God and Guns

COMMENTARY  |  Convergence Network

Riverside Church in the City of New York, in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety, hosts "God and Guns: Faith Leaders Address Gun Violence", an intensive training on gun violence for faith leaders. Interview segments include Rev. Rachel Johnson, Rev. Rob Schenck, Lucy McBath, and Abigail Disney (director of the documentary film "Armor Of Light"). Filmed & edited for Manhattan Neighborhood Network....

Matthew 19:26 Artwork

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Franklin Fong

Matthew 19:26

Beautiful artwork by Father Franklin Fong and the Franciscan Friars of Santa Barbara illustrating Matthew 19:26 — "With God all things are possible."...

Courage: Philippians 4: 12-14 Artwork

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Franklin Fong

Philippians 4: 12-14

A beautiful hi-resolution illustration of Philippians 4: 12-14, painted by Father Franklin Fong of the Franciscan Friars of Santa Barbara....

The Relational Body

COMMENTARY  |  Søren Lorenzen

Isaiah 40 - 66

This resource is a short analysis on the concept of name in Isa 40-66. It reveals how human beings universally are called by name, given an ultimate narrative and is deemed honorable by sheer existence. Further, it illuminates how human beings are intersubjectively connected and are responsible for each other in our differing proximate contexts....

Church Planting Workbook

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Cameron Trimble

If you are interested in starting a church, check out this workbook on Church Planting and then take the online course at http://www.progressiverenewal.org....

Blessings For Getting The News ArtWork

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

http://paintedprayerbook.com/2016/07/27/blessing-for-getting-the-news/

Artwork and Poetry "Grace In The Dark"
When we get news from someone, death or other, this artwork touches a sweet place for the heart. Jan Richardson- poem as well. ...

TEACHING GUIDE TO VIOLENCE- FRANCE

SMALL GROUPS  |  This We Affirm

Psalm 10

https://faithelement.net/nice-france-teaching-guide/

A teaching guide and Resource on violence that had happened in France
Great Questions and How to discuss the Violence. ...

Called For a Purpose: podcast

COMMENTARY  |  This We Affirm

Isaiah 42:1-9

https://faithelement.net/9-03-called-for-a-purpose/

We feel acceptable or unacceptable in God's Eyes... A podcast on perspective regarding who God loves. ...

Thoughts from the Prairie Table blog

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Thoughts from the Prairie Table

1 Corinthians 4:1

Thoughts from the Prairie Table blog seeks to provide creative theological understandings of God, and how we live together. There's not much to this...just a simple way to share at the table of our Lord. "Consider us this way,...stewards of God's mysteries." 1 Corinthians 4.1...

Liberate Part IX: Calling

SERMONS  |  This We Affirm

From sojourngrace.com:

"Wrapping up our series about how Liberation Theology makes the Good News "good," Kate invites us all to consider the ways in which we are Called to be a part of Liberation. Both collectively AND individually. Also featuring spoken word by Catherine Hanna Schrock, and a Faith Formation Story by Wendy Kim. "
...

Discover Your God-Given Calling

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

From womenleaders.com:

Find your passion and put it into action.  A framework for understanding your passions and how they connect to your calling.
...

4 Steps to Finding Your Calling

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

From relevant.com:

"The Church is full of people who are anxious to hear from God—but hearing God and following through on what He says are two different things. We often pray for God to speak and lead us into the life He has designed for us before we are willing to take those steps forward when He gives the word.

Many of us truly believe God has good plans and purposes for our lives. But how do we discern His purpose? How do we know if where we’re headed is out of selfish ambition, or Kingdom calling? And when we do see the vision He has for our lives, how do we get started?

Stepping into God’s calling for your life is quite a journey, and it all starts with discovering God right where you are."
...

An Open Letter From Millenial

COMMENTARY  |  This We Affirm

God Weeps

SERMONS  |  This We Affirm

Luke 19: 41-44

http://sacredise.com/blog/living-on-a-prayer-weeps-luke-1941-44/

Living on Prayer and How Peace makes a difference...

Your Calling is You

SERMONS  |  This We Affirm

From trinitywallstreet.org:

"We’ve all known them — teachers, lawyers, athletes, community organizers, artists,
who knew what they wanted to do from a very young age, and did just that. What about
those of us who struggle to hear a vocation’s call? In this excerpt from
 Ray of Darkness: Sermons and Reflections, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams , the archbishop of Canterbury, suggests we retreat from the fray to recharge with a new perspective. Part 1 of 2."...

Finding God's Will

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

Father Pablo explains that for us to understand and find the will of God, we have to understand and align our own will....

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s advice for Graduates who are Trying to Discern the Will of God

OTHER RESOURCES  |  This We Affirm

Tim Suttle from Paperback Theology explains how Bonheoffer tried to understand the will of God.  That discerning God's will is an ongoing process that requires a deep and ongoing relationship....

A Sermon About Cynicism and Listening for God

SERMONS  |  This We Affirm

Joshua Smith preaches on missing prophets because of our cynicism....

Purpose Episode 1: Vocatio—Finding and Doing What Brings You Fully Alive

COMMENTARY  |  Darkwood Brew

“Vocatio” refers to a calling into our life’s work. This is the first episode of an eight-part series that features people from a variety of professions reflecting on their sense of “call,” how they responded to it, and what it means both for them and those they interact with and influence. Explore the ways that finding your “sweet spot” – the work in your life that brings you most fully alive – is a deep spiritual practice with ancient Christian roots, and possibly even an accelerant for the work of the Spirit in our world today. Because this series explores vocatio through the lens of each of the seven “Dark Wood gifts” identified in Dr. Elnes’ book, Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and Other Wanderers), it is a great follow-up to our” Gifts of the Dark Wood” series, or accompaniment to those reading the book. This series stands great on its own, too....

Waging the War Within

SERMONS  |  This We Affirm

Genesis 32:22

Pastor Colby Martin discusses the story of Jacob and who it might have been he wrestled with in the night....

A Letter to the Rock

SERMONS  |  This We Affirm

Rev. Reagan Humber writes a letter to Peter and discusses the church built on imperfection....

Important Lessons are Learned in a Boat

SERMONS  |  This We Affirm

Sojourn warmly welcomes special guest speaker Rev. Dr. Paula Stone Williams. You won’t want to miss her message as she challenges us to answer God’s call in our lives, despite the risks....

Worship Series: Imagine the People of God

WORSHIP  |  Marcia McFee

This non-lectionary series was inspired by a beautiful song called "Imagine the People of God," a song which crosses the boundaries of traditional/contemporary worship labels. Each Sunday is based on an aspect of what we can imagine the "kin-dom" of God to look like. Originally created for Ordinary Time, this series can be adapted for anytime of year for Affirmation #12, Purpose....

Listen! Hearing That Still, Small Voice and Finding Your Own - 6 sermon packet

SERMONS  |  Eric Elnes

1 Kings 19 Genesis 2:7 Romans 8:26-27 Psalm 46 Mark 9:14-29 Romans 12:1-2 Matthew 26:36-46

This is a 6-sermon resource packet on focussed on how progressively-oriented Christians may develop a prayerful relationship with God.  Also available (at additional cost) are a complete set of worship resources to accompany this series from Marcia McFee's Worship Design Studio (http://www.worshipdesignstudio.com/) as well as complete small group video resources produced by Darkwood Brew which are available in DVD and internet streaming formats (https://darkwoodbrew.org/product/listen-series-guided-episodes/).

Sermons include: (1) Finding Your Cave: Listening Spaces; (2) Finding Your Breath: Listening to Our Bodies; (3) Finding a Word: Listening to the Texts; (4) Finding Your Power: Listening for Healing; ...

Converging Paths Interview with Brian McLaren on "God Experiences"

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Brian McLaren regarding his experiences of God and how they continue to shape his personal and vocational path.  The 30-minute interview is followed by a 20 minute guided meditation....

Converging Paths Interview with Bishop John Selders

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Bishop John Selders, founder of Amistad United Church of Christ and Asst. Dean of Trinity College on his experiences of God and how they continue to shape is personal and vocational path....

Converging Paths Interview with Rachel Hackenberg

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews author, speaker, ordained minister, and soccer mom, Rachel Hackenberg, on "God experiences" and how they continue to guide her life and vocation. Rachel's book, Denial Is My Spiritual Practice (and Other Failures of Faith) with co-author Martha Spong, explores faith’s failure to provide answers through experiences of illness and divorce, abuse and death. Rachel’s popular devotional Writing to God introduces the spiritual discipline of prayer-writing, and her book, Writing to God: Kids’ Edition offers simple prayer ideas to encourage kids to talk with God about everyday life in everyday language.  ...

Converging Paths Interview with Donna Knutson

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews author, interfaith minister, spiritual director, Donna Knutson about "God experiences" and how they continue to shape her personal and vocational path.  Donna is the author of Finding God on Mayberry Street: Seasons of Spirituality In Poems and Reflections....

Converging Paths Interview with Jana Riess

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews author, Jana Riess, about "God experiences" and how they continue to shape her personal and vocational path.  Jana is the author of a number of books including, The Prayer Wheel: A Daily Guide to Renewing Your Faith with a Rediscovered Spiritual Practice; Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor; What Would Buffy Do? The Vampire Slayer as Spiritual Guide; and The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters  or Less … Now with 68% More Humor. ...

Converging Paths Interview with Melvin Bray

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews speaker/storyteller, Melvin Bray, on "God experiences" and how they continue to shape his personal and professional path.  Melvin describes himself as a Curator, who designs space for beauty, courage, and genius to show up; a Connector of people and resources; and a Collaborator whose passion is creating intersectional space where not only people of different races, but of various historically marginalized identities, are willing to enter into relationship, trying on new scripts and levels of risk to both transcend and celebrate differences.   
...

Converging Paths Interview with Tony Jones

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews author/speaker, provocateur, Tony Jones about "God experiences" that continue to shape is personal and professional life.  Tony is the author of a number of books including, Did God Kill Jesus?  Searching for Love in History’s Most Famous Execution, and The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life.   Tony is also Theologian-In-Residence at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis and teaches Theology at both Fuller and United Theological seminaries. In his “free time” Tony serves as  the senior acquisitions editor at Fortress Press, curating the Theology for the People line of books.  
...

Converging Paths Interview with Frank Schaeffer and Scott Griessel

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Frank Schaeffer and Scott Griessel, about "God experiences" and how they continue to shape their personal and professional lives. 

Frank is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and artist who describes himself as a survivor of both polio and an evangelical/fundamentalist childhood. Frank has been a frequent guest on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, has appeared on Oprah, and been interviewed by Terri Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air. 

Scott Griessel is a photographer and filmmaker who served as the Producer for the Darkwood Brew video broadcast.  Scott has produced several documentaries, including one on Frank Schaeffer's life called "Let Me Be Frank," and “The Asphalt Gospel” – covering the 2006 walk of Christians from Phoenix, Arizona to Washington, DC, to raise awareness of the Phoenix Affirmations.

...

Converging Paths Interview with Rita Otis

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews spiritual director, Rita Otis about "God experiences" and how they continue to shape her personal and professional path.  Rita is also a Tai Chi instructor as well as a facilitator for Interplay, a national organization whose goal is to create active creative ways to unlock the wisdom of your body....

Converging Paths Interview with Susan Smith

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Dr. Susan Smith about "God experiences" that continue to shape her personal and professional life.  Dr. Smith is founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries in Columbus, Ohio -  an organization committed to working with and for the downtrodden.  She is also a widely published blogger, and author of the book Crazy Faith: Ordinary People; Extraordinary Lives. She has also been interviewed by Bill Moyers on the subject of Violence, Racism, and Democracy in America....

Converging Paths Interview with Eric Elnes

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews ... himself!  In this podcast he speaks about two significant "Road to Damascus" experiences he had that continue to shape is personal and professional life.  Elnes is the author of a number of books, including Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Spiritual Wanderers (and Other Skeptics), and The Phoenix Affirmations: A New Vision for the Future of Christianity - the first commentary on the 12 Phoenix Affirmations that are used as an organizing structure for ThisWeAffirm.org's website.  A 2007 documentary, The Asphalt Gospel, film was made about his walk across the U.S. with CrossWalk America to raise awareness of the twelve Phoenix Affirmations....

Converging Paths Interview with Maryanne Stevens, RSM

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Dr. Maryanne Stevens, RSM, about "God experiences" that continue to shape her personal and professional life.  Dr. Stevens is President of the College of St. Mary in Omaha, NE, as well as the Board Chair for Omaha's renowned Tri-Faith Initiative (www.trifaith.org) where a Jewish synagogue, a Christian church, and an Islamic mosque have co-located to a 35-acre Commons to move beyond interfaith dialog to interfaith community....

Converging Paths Interview with Imam Jamal Daoudi

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Imam Jamal Daoudi about "God experiences" that continue to shape is personal and professional life.  Imam Daoudi is the spiritual leader of of the American Muslim Institute – the Muslim partner in Omaha, Nebraska's Tri-Faith Initiative (www.trifaith.org).  Imam Jamal was born in Damascus, Syria where, from the age of 12, he attended Abu Nour Islamic Center, under the direction of the eminent scholars of that center. Imam Jamal holds a B.A in English Literature from Damascus University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH.  He came to the U.S. in 1995 and became a U.S. citizen in 2005 – the same year he received the Martin Luther King “Living the Dream” award for peace advocacy.
...

Converging Paths Interview with Nuzhat Mahmood

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Nuzhat Mahmood on "God experiences" that continue to shape her personal and professional life.  Ms. Nuzhat is a founding member of the American Muslim Institute – the Muslim partner in Omaha, Nebraska's Tri-Faith Initiative (www.trifaith.org), where a synagogue, a mosque, and a church have co-located to a 35-acre Commons in order to move from interfaith dialog into interfaith community.  She currently serves on its Board of Directors as well as the Tri-Faith Board of Directors. ...

Converging Paths Interview with Wendy Goldberg

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Wendy Goldberg about "God experiences" that continue to shape her personal and professional life.  Ms. Goldberg is a founding member of Omaha, Nebraska's Tri-Faith Initiative (www.trifaith.org), where a synagogue, a mosque, and a church are co-locating to a 35-acre Commons in order to move from interfaith dialog to interfaith relationship.  She is also member of Temple Israel (the Tri-Faith’s Jewish partner) and has served on its Board of Trustees, as President of the synagogue, and as Temple Israel’s Program Director.  Wendy currently serves as a project manager for Project Harmony, an organization dedicated to protecting and supporting children and ending child neglect and abuse....

Converging Paths Interview with Ashley Swartz

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Ashley Schwartz, a farmer, grandmother, volunteer firefighter, a Christian, and transgender activist who made her gender transition twenty years ago while continuing to live and farm in her hometown of Malmo, Nebraska. Ashley credits her transition as instrumental in bringing her into closer relationship with God and her community.  In this interview, Ashley shares intimately about her path and the "God experiences" that continue to shape it....

Converging Paths Interview with Floyd Thompkins

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interview's San Francisco Theological Seminary's  Director of the Center for Innovation in Ministry, Rev. Floyd Thompkins, about "God experiences" that have shaped his personal and professional life.   Floyd has served as a dean and chaplain at two world-class institutions, Stanford and Princeton universities. There he developed unique, highly effective programs to empower underserved teenage youth and young adults in urban and rural areas. He also led Antioch Baptist Church, the oldest African American Church in San Jose, CA, and was the Education and Administrative Pastor of Covenant Christian Church in Douglas, GA....

Converging Paths Interview with Rabbi Aryeh Azriel

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Rev. Dr. Chris Alexander interviews Rabbi Aryeh Azriel, one of the founders of Omaha, Nebraska's Tri-Faith Initiative (www.trifaith.org) about human nature, Judaism, the Tri-Faith Initiative, and the future of interfaith cooperation. Rabbi Azriel is Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel and serves as Scholar-In-Residence at Countryside Community Church (UCC), both in Omaha, NE....

Converging Paths Interview with Chris Alexander

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Rev. Dr. Chris Alexander about spiritual discernment, and "God experiences" that have shaped her personal and professional life and continue to do so.  Chris is the Associate Minister at Countryside Community Church (UCC), the Christian partner in Omaha, Nebraska's Tri-Faith Initiative (www.trifaith.org).  She is the author of a Doctor of Ministry thesis, Opening to Revelation: Building Discernment Processes from Practices that Best Inform Communal Decision-Making....

Converging Paths Interview with Rev. Bruce Van Blair

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Bruce Van Blair on "God experiences" that have shaped his personal and professional life, and continue to do so.  Bruce has served as a United Church of Christ minister for over 40 years. The interview also features an extended conversation on the nature of evil as it impacts spiritual discernment. ...

Converging Paths Interview with Dr. Marcia McFee

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews Dr. Marcia McFee, of the Worship Design Studio (http://worshipdesignstudio.com/) about "God experiences" that have shaped her personal and professional life, as well as the relationship between creativity, the arts, and spiritual formation/expression.  Drs. Elnes and McFee have frequently collaborated on worship series design and preaching, including a series based on Elnes' book, Gifts of the Dark Wood....

Converging Paths Interview with Chuck Marohnic

OTHER RESOURCES  |  Eric Elnes

Eric Elnes interviews jazz pianist, Chuck Marohnic, on "God experiences" that have shaped his personal and professional life, as well as the relationship between music, creativity, and the spiritual path.  Chuck was the Director of Jazz Studies at Arizona State University for 25 years and currently resides in Louisville, KY. Chuck's music may be found at www.chuckmarohnic.com...

On Earth As It Is In Heaven - a six sermon packet on faith and God's Creation

SERMONS  |  Eric Elnes

Genesis 1:1-5; Genesis 1:6-8; Genesis 1:9-13; Genesis 1:14-19; Genesis 1:20-23; Genesis 1:24-28

Drawing inspiration from John Philip Newell's, The Book of Creation: An Introduction to Celtic Spirituality, this 6-sermon resource packet by pastor/biblical scholar, Rev. Eric Elnes, Ph.D., explores faith and Creation through a Celtic lens informed by Dr. Elnes' biblical scholarship on the book of Genesis.  These sermons celebrate "the God whose Spirit pervades and whose glory is reflected in all of God’s Creation, including the earth and its ecosystems, the sacred and secular, the Christian and non-Christian, the human and non-human" (Phoenix Affirmation 3).  Also available (at additional cost) is a complete small group video resource keyed to these sermons produced by Darkwood Brew which is available in DVD and internet streaming formats (https://darkwoodbrew.org/product/on-earth-series-guided-episodes/). 

Sermons include: (1) The Generosity of God; (2...

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