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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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Jim Burklo’s Book of Common Prayer- Liturgical Elements

We are here to praise and enjoy God with body and soul, mind and heart, with song and word, with hands and feet.
We are here to give because of the abundance God has given us, to share with each other, and to receive, because God has created us to depend on each other.
We are here to celebrate the differences that otherwise might divide us: differences of age, of body, of culture, of opinion, of ability, of religious conviction.
We are here to put things in perspective: to celebrate what matters, to laugh about things we take too seriously, to cry about things that truly touch our hearts.
So may it be this morning: Amen!

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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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Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk

Pluralistic Marriage- Review by Jim Burklo

Impending marriage often leads couples to learn more about their traditions of origin. And that study can lead to confrontation with the question of religious pluralism. Is my partner going to hell unless she accepts Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior – really? Is my partner’s Hinduism possibly as good a path to Ultimate Reality as my Islamic faith is for me?

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Spring Equinox: Seeds of New Life

Lighting the altar candles

White candle in the center:
Mother of all life, soul of our being, center of all our longing,
who shines for all and flows through all,
Be with us, guide us, now and always.

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Timelines in Jewish History- a website resource

This is the web version of a Jewish history project I prepared a few years ago, “Timelines in Jewish History, 1000 BCE – 1925 CE, with Parallel Timelines in Relevant General History.”

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Take Two Giant Steps Back

Many Christians today are increasingly unsure about how to “take” the Bible. To borrow from the childhood game “Mother, May I?” I’d suggest we take two giant steps back. We need to move ourselves back to challenge two assumptions that block our comfort with the Holy Bible.

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Progressive Christian Calendar 2014

My book, BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians, is a “book of common prayer” for progressive Christians. These “Sundays” are described more fully in it.

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Cosmic Christmas Communion

From grains, bread connects us to soil and a three billion year old process. Photosynthesis, first begun when ocean organisms, earth’s first populations, with neither brains or bibles, learned how to create a chlorophyll molecule. Since then all biological life is able to trap, store, and convert sun’s energy into food that sustains both the plant and that specie’s place in the food chain. Like the elements connect Christians to the nourishing ways of Jesus, food unites us to our ecology and the life-sustaining ways of nature itself. Communion, it is not only a rite of Christianity, it is the evolutionary levan in the Earth story itself.

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Topics: Theology & Religious Education. 8 Points: Point 7: Integrity of the Earth. Seasons & Special Events: Christmas. Ages: Adult. Rituals: Communion. Resource Types: Full Service Liturgies, Interfaith, and Sermons.

Light One Candle

by Peter Yarrow

Light one candle for the Maccabee children
With thanks that their light didn’t die
Light one candle for the pain they endured
When their right to exist was denied

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Topics: Non-Violence, Peace and Justice, and Worship & Liturgy. 8 Points: Point 6: Peace and Justice. Seasons & Special Events: Advent. Resource Types: Interfaith and Music.

Winter Solstice Ritual

On the altar: 4 candles for the directions, a wreath with 4 candles around the edges and a 5th (larger) candle in the middle.

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Topics: Devotional, Spiritual Exploration & Practice, and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: Advent. Resource Types: Full Service Liturgies and Interfaith.

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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Is the Kingdom of God Built of Vegetables?

We find ourselves in a food economy that sickens us. Health is divided along race and class lines: the food economy particularly sickens those whose wages do not allow them to buy the foods that can cure us of the diseases industrial “foods” cause. Corporations, who do not speak the language of human love and health, wrangle to profit from the stream of ill Americans falling from the industrial foods conveyor belt. But we know that type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and some cancers are fully preventable by replacing part of what we eat with fruits and vegetables. Why, in a wealthy, fertile country are we wrecking the environment to produce foods that kill us?

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Jesus, Wendell, and a Few Fish

What does a new kingdom look like when your family becomes disconnected from the patterns of the sea and must function within a more “efficient” system? Would the new kingdom Jesus talked about lead you back to a balance between humankind and the fishing patterns you once knew? Is something lost when we begin to place layer upon layer of human ingenuity between us and the sustaining power of earth and sea?

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Kindred Spirits: A Collection by Carrie Newcomer- Music CD

Relating Kindred Spirits: A Collection, spirituality and songwriting, Newcomer writes “I am one of a growing number of people who don’t want to put the sacred in such a small container. I am disturbed that one very narrowly focused and extremely political brand of Christianity being called the ‘religious voice.’ There are wide communities of spiritual people who believe that walking this world in love and compassion is about feeding the hungry, providing for the poor or sick, caring for our elders, making sure that the table of love includes and welcomes everyone, educating our children and young people, honoring our beautiful and interconnected planet. These communities believe that women are equal spiritual beings, and that the highest and most honorable work is creating a less violent, more just and kind world. Isn’t a life of compassion bigger than a catch phrase or sound byte? Isn’t love wider and deeper than fear?” Speaking more to this point, she shares, “If a spiritual leader is teaching hate, it is not spiritual message, it is political message.”

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I Believe by Carrie Newcomer- Music Video

Carrie Newcomer with special guests, Indian peformers Amjad Ali Khan, Aaman Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, in concert Saturday, October 15, 2011 at 2nd Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. This special performance promotes the release of Newcomer’s latest album, “Everything is Everywhere”. Proceeds from the album benefits the Interfaith Hunger Initiative, a multi-faith effort dedicated to elevating hunger and the roots of poverty in the USA and abroad.

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Breathe in Breathe Out, by Carrie Newcomer (featuring Amjad Ali Khan)- Music Video

Carrie Newcomer explores the intersection of the spiritual and the daily, the sacred and the ordinary. Over the course of her career she has become a prominent voice for progressive spirituality, social justice and interfaith dialogue. She has been described as “a soaring songstress” by Billboard, a “prairie mystic” by the Boston Globe and Rolling Stone has declared that Newcomer “asks all the right questions.” Author Barbara Kingsolver wrote, “She’s a poet, storyteller, snake-charmer, good neighbor, friend and lover, minister of the wide-eyed gospel of hope and grace.”

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Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation

This book is a call to action for a new era of spirituality-infused activism. Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world.

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