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A Visit to Thad’s

This past Sunday morning in Los Angeles was bright with strong wind blowing clear air over the mountains from the high desert. The palm trees swayed along Highway 10 west into Santa Monica. Two right turns at the Cloverfield exit took me past the garbage company and into the chain-link gate of Bergamot Station, a former warehouse complex turned into dozens of art studios. In the back corner, in a galvanized iron building, is the “Writer’s Bootcamp”, a complex with offices and meeting spaces, where I found Thad’s.

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The Sixth Sense

The “sixth sense” in popular culture is a reference to paranormal powers of perception. But I sense it’s something deeper than clairvoyance. It’s not some kind of superpower. It is our ability and propensity to have a relationship with the underlying essence of all reality. There’s a subtle way in which we can know what we cannot know, touch what we cannot touch.

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The Duero at Soria (For Roberta)

By the caves of San Satorio
We hold hands and gaze at the quiet rush of the Duero
As once did Leonor Machado and her husband Antonio,
The poet of the two Spains – upstream and down in time -
Through this same place where hermit monks of old
Contemplated the flow that ever is here and now
And drew close to the subtle power moving the silent river
Imperceptibly carving the hill of Soria, steep and stark.

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Bible Work Bench, Adult Curriculum (Electronic)

BibleWorkbench is a lectionary based life-centered biblical resource designed for small group youth and adult education in church and home, for individual study or as an aid to preachers. One of the texts from the Revised Common Lectionary is chosen each Sunday. The exploration begins with encountering the story found in the biblical text. The focus then shifts to how this story is happening in the world around us. Finally the questions turn toward how the story is an event in the lives of the people in the group. The journey through the text seeks life-giving questions that wait to be lived.

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Bible Workbench, Adult Curriculum (Hard Copy)

BibleWorkbench is a lectionary based life-centered biblical resource designed for small group youth and adult education in church and home, for individual study or as an aid to preachers. One of the texts from the Revised Common Lectionary is chosen each Sunday. The exploration begins with encountering the story found in the biblical text. The focus then shifts to how this story is happening in the world around us. Finally the questions turn toward how the story is an event in the lives of the people in the group. The journey through the text seeks life-giving questions that wait to be lived.

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Tension in the Tank: Embracing Interfaith Mysticism Without Leaving the Church

Ultimately, Tension in the Tank is about faith that is relevant, secure and ever-evolving. It is a guidebook for building meaningful relationships with Spirit, self and each other. Radically open to possibility and wonder, Tension in the Tank offers the opportunity and challenge to live our faith in such a way that the walls between us come down and we become pursuers and enactors of universal justice.

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Sacred Sex: Replacing the Marriage Ethic with a Sexual Ethic

Between sex as sin and sex as sport is an embrace of sexuality as a good gift. Between the teachings of “just say no” and “whatever turns you on” is a platform where we are free to …

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Would We Recognize Jesus If He Came Today?

The idea of a second coming of Christ is a mystery, if not explicitly controversial. Jesus’ followers apparently believed he would return during their lifetime after he was crucified. When that didn’t happen, later followers gradually changed the belief into an indefinite “someday.” After two thousand years of waiting, most Christians no longer look for it to happen in their lifetimes and acknowledge that Jesus may have been speaking metaphorically about his return. It is just as likely that those words were put into Jesus’ mouth by the gospel writers themselves. Wishful thinking?

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Awe Fills Us

Watch mountain shadows run
Allelujia! Amen!
Clouds gilded by the sun
Allelujia! Amen!
Hear tumbling water sing
Birds calling on the wing

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Topics: Arts and Music, Devotional, and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 7: Integrity of the Earth. Seasons & Special Events: Ordinary Time. Ages: Adult, Pre-Teen, Teen, and Young Adult. Resource Types: Hymns, Meditations, Music, and Poetry.

Ages and Ages: Divisionary (Do the Right Thing) Music Video

Do the right thing, do the right thing, do it all the time, do it all the time. Make yourself right, never mind them. Don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering. I hear a higher calling, better here than there I guess so long.

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Buckwheat Salvation: Native Plant Revival Coming to a Church Near You

To hold a bloom of California buckwheat in the palm of your hand is to admire an infinity of heavens. Each little round flower is a mass of tinier flowers, their delicate pink stamens pointing out in every direction of the universe. The tough stems of the plant, with their little spiky leaves, stay green even now during one of the worst droughts in memory. Hiking on the flanks of Boney Mountain in the Santa Monica range a week ago, in an area ravaged by wildfire, I stopped to gaze at a buckwheat bush and congratulate it on its survival.

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Pop Prophets and Religious Pluralism- A Review of Natural Mystics

A review by Jim Burklo of NATURAL MYSTICS: The Prophetic Lives of Bob Marley and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan by Varun Soni

Varun Soni argues that Khan and Marley, among other artists at present and in the recent past, situate themselves in long lineages of religious prophecy while expressing prophetic traditions in distinct ways that reflect cultural globalization and technological advances. Music is a more powerful medium for prophecy than ever before, now that it has the potential for instantaneous global reach. Varun names this phenomenon “pop-propheticism”, characterized by canonical recitation (referencing ancient lines of prophetic utterance), mystical intoxication with the Divine (whether through spiritual practices or by ingesting mind-altering substances), musical fusion (stretching traditional musical boundaries to reach new audiences), media proliferation (taking advantage of new and emerging communication channels), economic commodification (making the most of the global musical marketplace), and political appropriation (putting music consciously in the service of social change).

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Ryan Bell’s Year Without God

I thought I’d pretty well covered the territory in a “musing” I wrote a few years ago called “The Varieties of God”, a listing of the many alternatives along the spectrum between traditional theism and atheism. But Ryan Bell has added a new one: provisional atheism. Godlessness for the time being. He’s gone public with this status, and I intend to follow his “Year Without God” blog to see how it goes for him.

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Topics: Atheism, Emerging/Emergent Church, and Theology & Religious Education. 8 Points: Point 3: Inclusive Community and Point 5: Non-Dogmatic Searchers. Seasons & Special Events: Easter and Lent. Ages: Adult, Teen, and Young Adult. Rituals: Lent. Resource Types: Articles and Meditations.

Blessing Taxes, Honoring Oaths

The form of the blessing differ, but the essential message is the same: we give thanks to the Love that is God for the good that comes through our taxes. They are a special form of our “offerings” in worship. Many blessings flow from them, and divine guidance is needed for us to have the wisdom to see to it they are spent for the best purposes.

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The “Faith” in Clear Faith

The terms faith and beliefs are sometimes used interchangeably, but I think it is useful to make a distinction between them. Beliefs are things you think are true, like “I believe in God.” “I believe that there is life after death.” These are improvable opinions (or they would be accepted by all as “facts”). A list can be made of beliefs.

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“I Am…” – A Reflection for Holy Week

Being a child of God – for Jesus and for the rest of us – is a poetic way of describing our direct, personal engagement with Ultimate Reality. It is an artful expression of ourselves as physically integrated with the divine essence of the cosmos. Being the son or daughter of God does not mean that any of us can leap off the cross in a single bound.

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