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Christianity is worth the very redemption it proclaims…

-Rev. Shannon Michael Pater

Where Heart and Mind Meet is the website and blog of The Rev. Shannon Michael Pater (Psy.D., RYT-500), Senior Minister of Central Congregational United Church of Christ, Atlanta.

This ever-evolving site is intended to be a resource for Progressive Christianity.  Here you will find theological reflections & faith stories from Rev. Michael and members of Central, book reviews, websites and links to other resources.  The goals are:

  • To provide resources for those who want to re-image and re-define a Progressive Christian faith.  There is a lot of work being done in many communities!
  • To provide stories and testimonies from members of a Progressive Christian congregation (Central UCC, Atlanta).  Even if you are new to this place of faith, you are not alone in this journey.
  • To explore Progressive theology, not “just” issues of social justice.  Christianity needs to be rooted in theology, or else it risks simply being an expression of the politics of the day.


Mary Oliver wrote that poems are “fire for the cold, ropes to let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry” (A Poetry Handbook).  This website is meant to be fire for those whose Christian theology has left them in the cold, rope and to discover new places, and bread for those who hunger for a faith of substance, seasoned and steeped in questions.

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Marcus Borg One of the most helpful authors in the exploration of Progressive Christianity.  His books are consistently accessible (no degree in theology required) and very thoughtful.  He gently deconstructs what we thought we knew about Christianity and speaks to its and our hearts.  He never takes anyone’s faith away and provides helpful tools and …

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A list of websites, podcasts, communities and other online resources. On Being with Krista Tippett (NPR) On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and …

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2016-Jan 28-Mary Oliver

Lent 2016: Spiritual Formation & Service

Recently I had a conversation with a “conflicted congregant” who noticed that Valentine’s Day comes “inside Lent” this year—their annual spiritual practice is to forsake chocolate during the 40-day preparatory period. Partly playfully, they astutely observed that Sundays are “in” Lent, not actually counted toward the two score season; they suggested that since Valentine’s Day …

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Mercy, Justice, Vengeance

No Justice Without Mercy

On Tuesday night, along with the clergy and several members of Central UCC, I kept a silent vigil in our sanctuary while the events unfolded that ended in Kelly Gissendaner’s execution. No sermons or speeches, no politics or even public prayers; only sacred silence, spiritual space for Love and Light to hold us all. While …

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