“Things That Make You Go Hmmm…” Bob Ryder

Do not believe anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it. (Attributed to Siddhartha Gautama – the Buddha)

“You never get to the bottom of it.” Tom Teasley [Read more…]

Pluralism Sunday

“Pluralism Sunday,” Susan Ryder


John 10:14-16
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

Rumi “Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged.” [Read more…]

Gratitude for Teachers

“Gratitude for Teachers,” Bob Ryder

Buddhist Proverb – When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

“Can you read this?  You’re welcome!”  (message on a sign carried by demonstrators at the Arizona “Red for Ed” March soliciting increased funding for teachers’ compensation and school funding) [Read more…]

In Living Color

“In Living Color,” Susan Ryder


Galatians 3:28
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

Original Point #8 – Eight Points of Progressive Christianity
Recognize that our faith entails costly discipleship, renunciation of privilege, and conscientious resistance to evil – as has always been the tradition of the church. [Read more…]


“As it Is,” Bob Ryder

Psalm 23 (Bay Bok of Psalms)
The Lord to me a shepherd is,
Want therefore shall not I,
He in the folds of tender grass
Doth make me down to lie
To waters calm he gently leads
Restore my soul doth he
He doth in paths of righteousness
For his name’s sake lead me.
Yea though in valley of death’s shade
I walk none ill I’ll fear,
Because thou art with me, thy rod,
and staff my comfort are. [Read more…]

Easter 2018

“Tomorrow They’ll Be More of Us,” Susan Ryder

Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. [Read more…]

Palm Sunday 2018

“Jesus as Revolutionary,” Bob Ryder

Mark 11:1-11, 15-19 (NRSV – excerpted/paraphrased)
When they were approaching Jerusalem near the Mount of Olives, Jesus said to two of his disciples, ‘Go into the village ahead, and immediately as you enter it you will find there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it to me. They went and found the colt tied near a door outside in the street. They brought it to Jesus and covered it with their cloaks; and he sat upon it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others waved leafy branches they had cut from the nearby fields. Then they formed a procession around Jesus shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’

Then they came into Jerusalem. Jesus went to the temple and at once began to drive out the merchants. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; and would not allow anyone to trade within the temple. He decried them, saying, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a den of thieves.’  The whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. And when the chief priests and the scribes heard of it, they conspired to kill him; for they were threatened by his preaching. When evening came, Jesus and his disciples left the city. [Read more…]

Lent 5 – Who Do You Say That I Am?

“Jesus as Wisdom Teacher,” Susan Ryder

This week, as we continue our Lenten series on “who do we say that Jesus is,” we consider Jesus as Wisdom Teacher. One of the things that made Jesus different from other teachers of his time is that he embraced and taught alternative, or subversive wisdom, not the conventional wisdom taught by the Scribes and Pharisees. Here are a few examples from Matthew’s gospel.

Matthew 5 (selected verses)
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: 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 receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Matthew 7:13-14
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it. [Read more…]

Lent 4 – Who Do You Say That I Am?

“Jesus as Boundary Breaker and Movement Founder,” Bob Ryder

Mark 8:27-30
Jesus went with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked them, ‘Who do people say that I am?’ They answered, ‘Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah; and others say you’re one of the prophets.’ Then he asked, ‘And who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah.’ And Jesus sternly ordered them not to tell anyone what they knew.

Richard Rohr “We worshipped Jesus instead of following him on his same path.  We made Jesus into a mere religion instead of a journey toward union with God and everything else.  This shift made us into a religion of belonging and believing instead of a religion of transformation.” [Read more…]

Lent 3 – Who Do You Say That I Am?

“Jesus as Healer,” Susan Ryder

 As those of you who have been here the last two weeks know, we’ve been exploring a Lenten theme based on this passage from the Gospel of Mark 8:27-29: Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked them, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” Jesus then asked them, “But who do YOU say that I am?” This morning we will consider Jesus as healer, and begin with a few readings, and a question for you to consider. First, the question: Have you had an experience of healing in your life? What was it like, how did you experience it? How were you healed? [Read more…]