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Music Moments

Such a captivating experience is not limited by the type or setting of the music. Classical, pop, bluegrass, jazz, country, blues, to name common Western music, all have the capacity to release an energy within us, previously pent up, but now free. That release can and does happen to anyone, any time, any place. Music is one of the great equalizers of persons. No matter who you are, you are susceptible to this unfathomed power. What is going on here?

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Singing in the Beloved Community

St. Augustine said that the one who sings, prays twice. We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words; we get closest to praying as we ought when we sing. But church singing has changed rapidly in the 30-some years I’ve been a pastor. The hip new hymnal that came out in the nineties contains far too many hymns that were written for an organ and a congregation in the hundreds, not a guitar, a piano, and a raggedy chorus of twenty-some.

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Bath Water Or Baby

Our hymnals are full of great hymns. Great because the melodies and harmonies have survived, in some cases for centuries. Great because the lyrics, whether in their original language, or translated, or adapted, can often read as timeless poetry, lending themselves to effortless memorization.

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Progressive Praise

The varieties of religious experience call forth hymns and songs, emerging from the varieties of cultures, personality types, and religious expressions. Our worship and song reflects this diversity. We join in sacred worship traditional and contemporary, North American and African, and European and Asian. We chant hymns from Taize and melodies from Iona, and dance to “Siyahamba” (We are marching in the light of God), sometimes in the same service.

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Weather Report, Mojave Desert, 8-2-14

Thunder lags behind lightning beyond an outcrop of stone slabs framed by clusters of Joshua trees with spikes shivering in the wind. A dark gauzy curtain descends from a boiling mass of cloud. Scattered spits of rain puff dust out of tiny craters they form on impact in the fine dirt. The cooling air fills with the overwhelming scent of wet creosote.

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Comfort, Assurance, Peace

May we be comforted, God, by your eternal presence — inward, around, among us
As the ground of all being, your creation knows no boundaries

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“This is my body.”

This body knows what it is like to have a nice house and a good job
It knows what it is like to feel uneasy about being wealthy

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Topics: Devotional and Worship & Liturgy. Seasons & Special Events: All Seasons. Ages: Adult. Rituals: Communion and Eucharist. Resource Types: Full Service Liturgies.

A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 15: Being an Instrument for Blessing

Finding ways to be a blessing to others is the best way to avoid doing harm. The idea of non-injury or harmlessness extends beyond our actions to our words and thoughts as well. We don’t want to burden children with guilt about their thoughts, but we want to offer opportunities to infuse their hearts and minds with thoughts of blessing and peace toward others.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 12: Stillness

Taking time to be in stillness is important for physical and mental well-being, and it is absolutely vital if we want an inner experience of spirit. It is not easy to quiet the storms of excitement and learn to be comfortable with stillness. Providing opportunities to practice is a priceless gift we can give children.

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Affirmations and Confessions of a Progressive Christian Layman – Christian Missions

I think Christian missionaries should live among the people exhibiting their Christianity in their daily lives. If the people see something in their lives that is missing in their own lives they will ask about it, which gives the missionary permission to tell them about their faith.

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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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