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Religious Freedom and Religious Privilege: a musing on the difference

The Supreme Court of the US is now considering a case from Greece, NY, in which
the town board started its meetings with sectarian Christian prayers.
 Lower courts disallowed them as violations of the clause in the Constitution …

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Clean Up After Your God

Religions, like puppy owners, often don’t do a good job of scooping up the messes they leave behind. But that’s not a compelling enough reason to give up on either your God or your dog.

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Guns, Fear, and Power

Beyond the stats, beyond the grief, beyond the finger-pointing, beyond the “culture wars” lies the solution to eleven thousand deaths by gunfire per year in the United States.

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Try-Alls and Tribulations: Interfaith Etiquette

Perhaps being a souljourner requires the same willingness to look foolish that is required in order to learn a language. I remember the crazy stuff I said when I was studying Spanish in Mexico years ago. I certainly embarrassed myself – and turned others beet-red a time or two, as well. But as long as I showed humility and a willingness to get it right the next time, people seemed to cut me lots of slack. Perhaps the most important ingredients in etiquette are genuine openness, curiosity, and an attitude, if not yet a correct appearance, of respect.

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Topics: Interfaith Issues & Dialogue. 8 Points: Point 2: Pluralism. Seasons & Special Events: Pluralism Sunday. Ages: Adult, Teen, and Young Adult. Resource Types: Adult Curriculum, Articles, and Interfaith.

Dying for a Drink

We worked all day. Dad and Rachel were on one team, Father Crespi and I were on another, refilling tanks, cleaning up trash around them, and placing new ones. Five new blue flags, marking the new tanks, waved defiantly against the demon of thirst, and fluttered in the breeze over the desert at sundown that evening. The crew enjoyed a dinner at Rachel’s house prepared by the Women’s Society of the Federated Church.

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Opening the Heart: an excerpt from Jim Burklo’s new novel, SOULJOURN

An excerpt from SOULJOURN, my new novel (Chapter 6): I went home, said goodnight to Dad, and went to bed. The moonlight bathed my bedroom. The silence seemed to beg to be filled. I opened the bedroom …

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Wonderbolts of Thunderment

Updrafts from the Rio Grande Valley pounded a white anvil against the stratosphere as the jet moaned over New Mexico while I looked out the window. I’d just finished reading the letters of Everett Ruess (in “A …

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A Search for the Historically Angry Jesus

a review by Jim Burklo

Do not think that Aslan, a professor of creative writing at my alma mater, the University of California at Riverside, wrote this book to present the Jesus of nonviolent compassion. Aslan zealously pursues an historically angry Jesus who sought to evict the Romans by force and institute an earthly realm of divine justice for the poor.

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Health Care for All: Seeds, Leaves, Roots

(I’m working now on a project called SEEDS, LEAVES, ROOTS: Faithful Rhetoric and Reflection for Progressive Social Action. It’s an initiative of Progressive Christians Uniting – I serve on its board of directors. We are creating a …

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Voting: A Ritual

“Voting is irrational.” This jarring statement comes from Paul Woodruff, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas in Austin, in his wise book, REVERENCE: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue. Paul came to USC a few months ago, hosted by my office, to give a series of talks. He’s a person who emanates the virtue that he teaches, speaking with a calm, reflective demeanor. Woodruff posits that unless we understand voting as a ritual, we’ll miss the point of it, and continue to see a decline in voter participation.

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Breathing With Gretta…

...a review by Jim Burklo of WE ALL BREATH

- a book of poems by Gretta Vosper As I review my involvement in the progressive Christian movement over the last decade and a half, I face a seeming contradiction. On the one hand, I’m amazed that …

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Free Will or Lively Imagination?

A week ago, I attended a conference at Chapman University in Orange, CA, devoted to the topic of free will. The speakers included a physicist, a Sikh spiritual teacher, a rabbi, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, and a …

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A Youth Prayer

May the sacred spirit of life’s adventure
Keep me safe when I feel afraid
Make me steadfast when I am sad

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Topics: The Younger Generation and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 1: Teachings of Jesus. Seasons & Special Events: All Seasons. Ages: Pre-Teen, Teen, and Young Adult. Resource Types: Affirmations, Prayers, and Readings.

Writing Scripture: History to Story to Theology to New Story; Repeat

Why may the majority of scholars be right, that the Bible is not a reliable book of history, although much of its historical sections are indeed based on actual events and real places in the larger picture?

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The Collapse of the Three Story Universe

The purpose of this book is to try and present a series of images that will allow us to understand how it is indeed possible for an invisible being, God, to be part of our material reality, …

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Aiming High

I’m attending a conference at Esalen Institute near Big Sur this week. It’s hosted by Esalen’s Center for Theory and Research. It’s focused on peacemaking among the Abrahamic faiths. After the first day of the meeting, I …

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The Need for a Psychology of Spiritual Journeying

It was never fully hidden but now, for sure, the tendency of religious institutions to quash doubt and keep it under wraps has succumbed to an end-around play. People can connect cross-country and around the world, and do so anonymously if they want! This is a big, big help to many. It is only one expression of a broad and accelerating shift in the way religion and spiritual life are viewed and practiced.

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