Tag Archives: advent

Advent 2014: One Solitary Life Can Change the World

Advent 2014: This season I’m providing a series of daily Bible readings (at the bottom of this post) to help you relate to the Advent themes of waiting, preparation, light in the darkness, and the coming of the promised Messiah. (Click here for information about our Christmas 2014 worship services, tree sale, ministries and lectionary.) But first I’d like to share the following story.

Continue reading Advent 2014: One Solitary Life Can Change the World

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

“Wag the Dog” of Christmas

Well, we are nine days away from what Christians have come to call Christmas. I find it hard to understand and almost laughable at how twisted and screwed up this “church” celebration of it’s founder has become.

I want to share this obvious observation: Even if there were some remote chance I could become pope…they would never let me. The reason is simple and it is not because of my progressive views of Christian theology, or the fact that I am unapologetically gay or even the fact that I do not believe the bible is the inerrant word of God.

Nope, it is because I believe December 25th is one of the biggest scams ever pulled on humanity.

Those who are pastors know that what I am suggesting is very true. Y’all went to seminary and know that saying Jesus was born on December 25th is like saying there is a real living breathing Santa Claus. Of course this is but one of many transparent lies and traditions that are based on fiction rather then fact.

We have kind of a “Wag the Dog” scenario. You remember the movie: The story of a US President running for office and before elections, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to “fabricate” a war in order to cover-up a presidential sex scandal.

I think the first time I heard this Christmas script of a “war on Christmas” was from Bill O’Reilly. What has now become the ultimate fundraiser of those on the “Christian and political right”: “The War on Christmas” is fought for the entire 12 weeks leading to December 25th. Do you say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”? Legal fights jam our courts over these phrases or worse when a nativity scene gets set up. Conservative Christian websites fire up the war by warning their readers and members that “Christmas is about to be stolen from them so send us money to protect you!”

However if you really think about it, this so-called “War on Christmas” is simply a ridiculous marketing idea that fits our arrogance, selfishness and greed to a “t”. Read me clearly here: the conservatives, fundamentalists, liberals and progressives have all bought into a huge marketing adventure of “wag the dog”.

For the Christmas season, which begins long before the 1st Sunday in Advent, actually right after Halloween, we are subjected to twelve weeks of Christmas messages that have little to do with or about our Christian faith. In fact, most of the preparations and so-called traditions have been borrowed or should I say stolen from pagan practices! Although many marketing people cleverly package their presentations in the form of a cute little baby in a cute well-manicured and warm manger scene.

People begin making plans for family gatherings and the perfect gift to make the perfect statement of love or impression. This is all destroyed when Johnny announces he is bringing Tom home for Christmas or Susie tells the family she will be spending this holiday with Tammy and her family.

Money, jobs, friends, illness, those dying, families, the homeless, starving children, criminals of all kinds and political games all become the all consuming thing that will happen in that particular year or in a lifetime coming up to December 25th.

Starting with Thanksgiving and through Christmas day every story has a Christmas slant meant to make one feel guilty, or believe it is possible for one day if enough money is spent, to be a day of perfect perfection.

Almost every retail business, in America anyway, is geared to this time as making or breaking them for the entire year.

Legislation, which is vital to so many people’s lives, is either held hostage or used as extortion leading to December 25th.

Also, starting with Thanksgiving our food consumption just simple goes off the charts, eating far too much of everything and especially the wrong things. Alcohol consumption also goes off the charts but hey, you got to drink something with all that food.

The normal everyday challenges of life become a crisis of faith because “tis the season”.

People’s social and pageant schedules become so jammed there is no time to take a breath or enjoy a quiet moment of peace and wonderment at God’s creativity in this world in which we live.

We are pushed to acts of kindness because it is the Christmas season, rather than it is the right and just thing to do.

I could go on and on but you get the point.

Now for those who have at this point decided I am some sort of Scrooge or Grinch that stole Christmas, be patient and give me a few more sentences.

When I was young my Grandfather told me the reason one should not lie is because once you tell a lie, you have to tell another lie to cover the first and another to cover the 2nd and pretty soon you are just having to lie all the time because you have lost track of the truth and you can’t remember what you said and to whom.

We have been told and believe so many lies concerning Christmas that we have almost completely lost why this particular birthday is important, why we celebrate a life which in thirty-three years (a couple years more or less) had such an impact as to change the very course of human events.

In all the perfection we strive for in the holiday season, we forget this birth was anything but neat, clean and glamorous. We forget or by cheesy tradition, explain away that this child was conceived out of wedlock, borne in abject poverty and grew up in a world that was most certainly as dangerous to human life as it is today. We forget or don’t talk about how the gossips of the day must have had a field day both inside the temple and outside.

We jump past the truth of this story which tells us that no matter how bad things are or get God can raise us up out of the ashes of despair to a place with the Creator.

We forget this is a birth that gave us a moral compass for living a life that would be pleasing to the God who created us because it leads to a life of doing justice, acting mercifully and walking humbly with God.

When we first bought the lie of December 25th, it became easier to buy the other lies. In fact the Christian and political right’s fear of Christmas being stolen while a lie itself was a self-fulfilling prophecy. For you see, I don’t think we have to worry about Christmas being stolen…it already has been stolen and replaced with the craziness that we call the “Holiday Season”.

It is the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was born that we celebrate. The truth of the date is somewhere between April and August depending on whose math you believed. About the only thing certain about the date is it was not the 25th of December. The story of the circumstances of his conception and birth give us real hope that it gets better. Jesus’ life and work gives us a working model and road map for our life. His life is indeed one we can look up to and not be disappointed in what we see. His arrest, faulty conviction and the administration of capital punishment followed by a resurrection give those us who call ourselves followers of “The Christ”, the assurance that nothing in this world including death of the physical body can keep us from God.

Maybe the date we celebrate the birth in the wider view is not as important as getting back to why we remember this birth like no other birth in history.

So it is with the spirit of being authentic in our celebration I ask us to consider how our “Christmas” celebration this year will measure up to the words attributed to the one we celebrate, we remember, we strive to be like:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Creator in heaven. Matthew 5:3-16 (New International Version, ©2010)

It seems to me that December 25th is as good as any day to get back to the authentic reason for giving honor to the birth of the one called Jesus. So to those who have bought into the “Wag the Dog” scenario of Christmas, how about we just get back to basics and let people enjoy the season in peace?

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

The Fraud Called Christmas

I want to share this obvious observation: Even if there were some remote chance I could become pope…they would never let me. The reason is simple and it is not because of my progressive views of Christian theology, or the fact that I am unapologetically gay or even the fact that I do not believe the bible is the inerrant word of God.

Nope is because I believe December 25th is one of the biggest frauds every pulled on humanity.

Those who are pastors know that what I am suggesting is very true. Y’all went to seminary and know saying Jesus was born on December 25th is like saying there is a real living breathing Santa Claus. This fraudulent claim has made our jobs and life during this time of the year a living nightmare of endless days of no sleep and one crisis on top of another.

For the Christmas season, which begins long before the 1st Sunday in Advent, actually right after Halloween we are subjected to 12 weeks of Christmas messages that have little to do with or about our Christian faith. In fact most of the preparations, and so-called traditions have been borrowed or should I say stolen from pagan practices! Although many marketing people cleverly package their presentations pointed in the direction of a cute little baby in cute well manicured and warm manger scene.

People begin making plans for family gatherings and the perfect gift to make the perfect statement of love or impression. This is all destroyed when Johnny announces he is bringing Tom home for Christmas or Susie tells the family she will be spending this holiday with Tammy and her family.

Money, jobs, friends, illness, those dying, families, the homeless, starving children, criminals of all kinds and political games all become the all consuming thing that will happen in that particular year or in a lifetime coming up to December 25th.

Starting with Thanksgiving and through Christmas day every story has a Christmas slant meant to make one feel guilty, or believe it is possible for one day if enough money is spent to be a day of perfect perfection.

Almost every retail business, in America anyway, is geared to this time as making or breaking them for the entire year.

Legislation, which is vital to so many people’s lives, is either held hostage or used as extortion leading to December 25th.

Also, starting with Thanksgiving our food consumption just simple goes off the charts eating far too much of everything and especially the wrong things. Alcohol consumption also goes off the charts but hey you got to drink something with all that food.

The normal every day challenges of life become a crisis of faith because “tis the season”.

People’s social and pageant schedules become so jammed there is no time to take a breath or enjoy a quiet moment of peace and wonderment at God’s creativity in this world in which we live.

We are pushed to acts of kindness because it is the Christmas season, rather than it is the right and just thing to do.

I could go on and on but you get the point. Oh wait I forgot the ultimate fundraiser of those on the “Christian and political right”: “The War on Christmas” is fought for the entire 12 weeks leading to December 25th. Do you say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”? Legal fights jam our courts over these phrases or worse where a nativity scene gets set up. Conservative Christian websites fire up the war by warning their readers and members that “Christmas is about to be stolen from them so send us money to protect you!”

Now for those readers who have at this point decided I am some sort of Scrooge or Grinch that stole Christmas be patient and keep reading.

When I was young my Grandfather told me the reason one should not lie is because once you tell a lie, you have to tell another lie to cover the first and another to cover the 2nd and pretty soon you are just having to lie all the time because you have lost track of the truth and you can’t remember what you said and to whom.

We have been told and believe so many lies concerning Christmas that we have almost completely lost why this particular birthday is important, why we celebrate a life which in 33 years (a couple years more or less) had such an impact as to change the very course of human events.

In all the perfection we strive for in the holiday season we forget this birth was anything but neat, clean and glamorous. We forget or by cheesy tradition explain away this child was conceived out of wedlock, borne in abject poverty and grew up in a world that was most certainly as dangerous to human life as it is today. We forget or don’t talk about how the gossips of the day most have had a field day both inside the temple and outside.

We jump past the truth of this story which tells us that no matter how bad things are or get God can raise us up out of the ashes of despair to a place with the Creator.

We forget this is a birth that gave us a moral compass for living a life that would being pleasing to the God who created us because it leads to a life of doing justice, acting mercifully and walking humbly with God.

When we first bought the lie of December 25th, it became easier to buy the other lies. In fact the Christian and political right’s fear of Christmas being stolen while a lie itself was a self-fulfilling prophecy. For you see I don’t think we have to worry about Christmas being stolen…it already has been stolen and replaced with the craziness that we call the Holiday Season.

It is the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was born that we celebrate. The truth of the date is somewhere between April and August depending on whose math you believed. About the only thing certain about the date is it was not the 25th of December. The story of the circumstances of his conception and birth give us real hope that it gets better. Jesus’ life and work gives us a working model and road map for our life. His life is indeed one we can look up to and not be disappointed in what we see. His arrest, faulty conviction and the administration of capital punishment followed by a resurrection give those us who call ourselves followers of The Christ, the assurance that nothing in this world including death of the physical body can keep us from God.

Maybe the date we celebrate the birth in the wider view is not as important as getting back to why we remember this birth like no other birth in history.

So it is with the spirit of being authentic in our celebration I ask us to consider how our “Christmas” celebration this year will measure up to the words attributed to the one we celebrate, we remember, we strive to be like:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Creator in heaven.

Matthew 5:3-16 (New International Version, ©2010)

It seems to me that December 25th is as good as any day to get back to the authentic reason for giving honor to the birth of the one called Christ.

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

HAPPY HOLY DAYS

Get a cup of coffee or some hot chocolate and get comfortable…this is a little longer then usual.

You know it was bad enough that I had not even got Thanksgiving fully into my mind, had not gone through my annual cry of, “how much weight will I gain this year?” When I started receiving e-mail alerts from the American Family Association shouting there was a “war on Christmas”. Now folks this is “Thanksgiving weekend”. Did anyone note a lack of Christmas?

I mean we barely finished with Halloween and Christmas decorations started popping up in all the stores. My favorite radio station has been playing Christmas music since the beginning of November, and I don’t mean just holiday music, I mean Christmas carols and songs.

Then I start getting lists of stores that we should shop at or not shop at based on if the use the words Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. Excuse me? Who is sitting down and counting all the words in advertisements? Further, isn’t one of the definitions of holiday “Holy Day”? Is not the celebration of Jesus’ birthday a “Holy Day” even if we celebrate it on the wrong day? I may get flamed here but Jesus was not born on December 25, 0.

People need to stop and read a little of the history of Christmas controversy at Wikipedia.

Let’s be real here, we live in a capitalistic country where if there is a way to make money, it will be done even if we have to make up a war. Think I am kidding? Take a look at the letter I got from self-proclaimed leader of family morals and values Don Wildmon:

“It’s hard to believe that there are companies which ban “Merry Christmas” and replace it with “Holiday Greetings” because, they say, they don’t want to offend anyone.

It’s time Christians take a stand and proclaim to our communities that Christmas is not just a winter holiday focused on materialism, but a “holy day” when we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

This year you can remind your community of the true meaning of Christmas by taking a vital leadership role in AFA’s “Project Merry Christmas.”

Here’s how. AFA is making available an attractive button and magnet that carry this thought-provoking, Gospel-focused message: “Merry Christmas. God’s Good News.”

I am asking you to purchase enough buttons for each member of your church and enough magnets for each family to have one. Urge your fellow members to wear their buttons and display the magnets during the entire Christmas season.

If you are unable to sponsor your church yourself, ask your Sunday school class to make it a class project. You can even order buttons and magnets to share with co-workers, children in Christian schools, customers, etc.
I know that some might think simply wearing a button or displaying a car magnet is a small thing, but God can use small things to make a big point, and to create opportunities to share the Good News. And what a great time to do that at Christmas!

I’m asking individuals like you in thousands of communities across the nation to head up this project in their local churches. Your willingness to underwrite the cost for your church and enthusiastically promote this project is the key to making an impact in your area.

Click Here to Order

Sincerely,
Donald E. Wildmon, Chairman
American Family Association

Don, did you run out of people to judge, companies to boycott? Do you have some memos stating these companies will “ban” the use of the word or phrase “Merry Christmas”? Or wait…maybe nobody is paying attention to poor Don. After all how many ways can you say America is going to hell in a hand basket before people start turning you off?

So I guess you need to do your annual fundraiser Don. It is the same every year; you start by saying Christmas is at risk. Then you start making buttons you can sell and yelling for boycotts of all those who don’t fit your brand of Christianity or definition of Christmas. Hey Don how much money does your “non-profit” (I use that term loosely) make off Christmas?

These businesses sell their goods to all people Christian and non-Christian alike. They will use words in their marketing that will bring in the most people and the most money, it is not their job to explain, teach or support your brand of Christian theology.

Alas if it were just Don who was looking to be on the front page but no there are other lunatics out there.

I have taken to reading a blog called “The Carpetbagger Report”, a commentary and analysis on politics in America. By Steve Benen. Here is the latest entry by a person called Morbo.

I hate to keep carping about the “War on Christmas,” but there have been major developments, and I believe you need to be informed.

The Liberty Counsel has issued its annual “Naughty and Nice List.”

This legal group, associated with Jerry Falwell before his demise, puts out a helpful list (.pdf) advising you which retailers to avoid and which to patronize. The criterion is simple: whether the word “Christmas” is used in sales material and on websites.

Unfortunately, the list does not address every issue that might confront zealous fundamentalist Christians, Bill O’Reilly and various other Christmas Nazis over the next six weeks. I want to help the Liberty Counsel in its quest to force Christmas down the throat of every American, so I’ve compiled a list of some specific situations and questions that the list fails to address:

* Unnamed Retailers: A lot of retailers aren’t even on this list. I need to know if I can patronize Meineke Mufflers next month. Little help, please!

* Mixed Messages: Some businesses are clearly trying to play both sides. Every week the gang at the Vermont Country Store sends me a catalog. Some mention Christmas on the cover, some do not. Worse yet, some use the term “Holiday” on the cover but say “Christmas” inside. Does that count? What am I to do? This list provides no guidance.

* Type Games: This list says nothing about the always-crucial issue of font size. What if the catalog uses both terms, but “Christmas” is in smaller type than “Holiday”? Is that insult to our Lord and Savior big enough to trigger a boycott?

* The Greater Good Conundrum: Here’s one for all of you Jesuits out there: Let’s say I can achieve greater good by buying something from a merchant who uses the term “Holiday.” Is it ever morally licit to do so? What if an item I want to buy is 50 percent off from a store that uses the term “Holiday”? Can I take the money saved and give it to a TV preacher — or is the money saved ill-gotten gains that would be rejected by any morally upstanding television evangelist? (I think I know the answer to this one. Operators are standing by to take your check.)

* Suspected Tricks/Clarence Thomas Factor: What about retailers that use the term “Christmas” but don’t really mean it? If the local adult DVD store is having a “Christmas Sale” on sex toys, whips and dog collars, can I buy some? If going into such a shop is considered a sin but Clarence Thomas is hanging around outside, can I give him the money and ask him to pick the items up for me since I wouldn’t actually be entering the store?

* Exploding Head Paradox: Let’s say my local bookstore is having a “Christmas Sale.” Is it permissible to go there and buy something that makes fun of Christmas or the faith that spawned it, like a Christopher Hitchens book or this horrifying Billy Idol CD?

I’ve heard that in the Middle Ages, learned theologians spent hours debating questions like how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. We’re not getting that kind of attention to detail from today’s religious fanatics. To Liberty Counsel, I can only say that the list is not enough. Next year, send some instructions as well.

P.S. This week, Pat Robertson said on “The 700 Club” that Christmas trees are not worth making a fuss over because they “come from Teutonic Paganism” and “are not an integral part of Christianity.” You know things are getting bad when even Robertson starts making sense.

I do not know who this person is but with good use of satire they have hit the nail on the head.

So Don and all the others who think there is a “war on Christmas” what are you doing for Advent this year?

Our church is collecting stuffed animals which will be hugged and lovingly held during worship over the next 4 weeks in preparation of being delivered to AIDS hospices, to children’s homes, and kids in the hospital who desperately need something to hang onto.

Our bible study over the next 4 weeks will attempt to get folks ready to welcome the Savior into their everyday lives. Along the way we will continue to feed the hungry, try to find housing for the homeless. We will continue to advocate for those caught in the hell of addiction. Yes Don, we will also continue to clean up the mess you and your kind are making of the church daily.

Oh yea if it is exceedingly cold on any of the nights this winter, I and an army of volunteers will drive around the city picking up the homeless and getting them to a shelter.

We will come together with another congregation and worship together with a “candle light service” Christmas Eve. We will do our best to make sure that anybody who wants company or someplace to be will have that happen.

Sorry to say we will not be making buttons or helping your marketing ploy…instead we will do our best to live out the true meaning of the season, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that they lay down their life for their friends.” John 15:12-13 (New International Version)

I guess that is why the birth of Jesus is a holy day.

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.

Advent: Its Genesis, Meaning, Mood and Message

The Genesis of Advent
Starting in about the 9th century in the Western Church, the season of Advent has been celebrated as a period of preparation for the birth of our Lord and the beginning of the ecclesiastical year (Church year).

In the early church words Advent, Epiphany, and Nativity were used interchangeably to denote the “feast of the Nativity”. Advent services first appeared in the 6th century in the church of Gaul. Epiphany was observed as a baptismal festival and the period preceding it was utilized as a period of preparation for baptism, much like the season of Lent. So Advent originated as a type of “little Lent”. From France the observance spread to England in the 7th and 8th centuries. In the 9th century, Advent was finally incorporated into the Roman Rite.

The Meaning of Advent
The word “Advent” means literally, “to come to”. It is a special season when we celebrate the bold claim that the Lord of the Universe has come among us in human form through Jesus the Christ. In him we have Immanuel, God with us. Not only do we celebrate that God has come to the world in human form from Galilee but also that God is come as a spiritual reality and will come again in triumph at the close of the age.

There is another sense to the definition of Advent, “to come to”. Since God has, is and will come to us, therefore we need “to come to”. Our task as people in full relationship with God is to become fully awake not only to the importance of indwelling but also to the many immersions of Christ in our lives. None of us is fully conscious of God’s presence; we need to come to, to wake up, and be vigilant for the visits of God within history and at the end of time when God’s realm is fully realized.

The Mood of Advent
If God is coming to us and we truly believe that to be true, our mood will be one of excitement, anticipation, and joyful preparation. Mood is conveyed through color and light. As the awareness of the celebrative nature of Advent has grown, many congregations have substituted blue for the older tradition of purple, as we have done in our church. The brighter color of blue, the color of infinite sky, conveys better the bright hope of change and eternal life in the Christ than the more somber and sacrificial purple.

The Message of Advent
As we look at God’s word, we need to understand how the Christ (as the word of God) comes to humankind now and how we can receive and carry the Christ’s presence today. This starts with our attitude… and the guides for which can be found all throughout scripture. I am calling them “Advent Attitudes” — alertness, attentiveness, watchfulness, readiness, joyful anticipation, patience and receptivity. The task then becomes to take a journey over the next 4 weeks to come into a full consciousness with God, who comes to us in Jesus the Christ and in fact be prepared.

Rev. Paul M. Turner

About Rev. Paul M. Turner

Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Rev. Paul M. Turner grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He and his husband Bill have lived in metro Atlanta since 1994. He is the editor of the Seeds of Hope blog whose posts from 1999-2005 are at http://whosoever.org/seeds/ -- and which now resides at http://gentlespirit.org/topics/blog/seeds-of-hope/.