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Educating Messiahs

When a group of graduates from the European Union School in Culham near Oxford, England, invited him to a reunion for former students and teachers, Colin was greeted with a surprising and career-affirming challenge to write a series of essays to appear on Facebook to “tell the world what you taught us in your classroom.” What more genuine and humbling words could a teacher ever hope to hear than these?

What you are about to read is the faithful product of many long hours and many restless nights devoted to meeting the challenge laid down by his students. What could he say of significance about how to help the children of the world defuse the explosive dynamite of the absolute certainties held and defended by religions and governments and societies the world over that threaten, in the end, to be our collective undoing?

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Street Psalm

Written 12/89

For the freedom of the air
that absorbs the smoke of hand-rolled cigs

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Be careful what you pray for

When we pray
come, Lord Jesus
Do we mean to say
come, you malnourished stranger

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Why Isn’t Ferguson the Start of a New Civil Rights Movement?

What’s interesting is that, unlike their predecessors in previous civil rights battles, they don’t appear to be leading the protestors or generating an organizational network to create a larger movement.

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Jesus Died With His Hands Up, Too

Michael Brown should not have been shot dead by police in Ferguson, Missouri. His hands were up. He was unarmed. It doesn’t make any difference whether or not he had stolen earlier something that day. If he had committed such a crime, he should have been given appropriate justice, not a volley of bullets. At the time he was shot, there was simply no excuse for what happened to him. Somebody else had his life stolen from him, too: a man named Jesus, killed for no good reason. Jesus also died with his hands up. He had been ethnically profiled by the Roman occupying army in Jerusalem, and was brutally murdered on a cross.

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How to End Poverty? A Spiritual Question

“Bread for me is a material question. Bread for my neighbor is a spiritual one,” wrote Nikolai Berdyaev, a 19th-20th c. Russian philosopher and theologian. Is there a more important spiritual question than this one? Today may be a particularly good time to ask it in America.

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The Dough Is Rising

From the Boundless Life collection

The dough is rising,
The frond unfurling,
The people’s hope is growing
For justice everywhere.

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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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Joint Statement on Israel/Gaza by an Imam and a Rabbi

The current military operations in Israel and the Gaza strip should disturb all people of faith. The only moral path to a solution between Israelis and Palestinians (Israeli Jewish/Muslim/Christian and Palestinian Muslim/Christian) will be dialogue and negotiation. This is a long and arduous path, but the faith that grounds our traditions can sustain the slow evolution of history. The current conflict is an outgrowth of over a century of opposing narratives and ideological differences that no military operations can resolve.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 11: Self- Control

When we put our highest selves in charge, our inner joy and understanding grows. Children can learn to feel for the right direction within and to recognize that every impulse is not the right one simply because it is there. Every time we remember to put our highest self in charge, the more inner joy and freedom we experience.

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