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This Is Not a Pipe – and other opinions….

The Belgian surrealist painter Magritte became famous for his painting of a pipe with words below it, in French, reading: “This is not a pipe”. His was a visual reminder that our names and definitions of things are very often, if not always, opinions. We’re entitled to our opinions, but we equate them with reality at our peril.

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She’s Alive… Beautiful… Finite… Hurting… Worth Dying for- video

by Bittu Sahgal

This is a non-commercial attempt from http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/sanctuaryasi…, to highlight the fact that world leaders, irresponsible corporates and mindless ‘consumers’ are combining to destroy life on earth. It is dedicated to all who died fighting for …

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A cuckoo in the holy nest

The real Jesus - dare we look at the real Jesus...?

A cuckoo in the holy nest, can I admit to what I see? A Jesus who is rough and hard, a normal bloke like you and me, a Jesus who could moan a bit, a Jesus who …

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Dust and Ashes

The Gift of Mortality

Avowed atheist Susan Jacoby recently created a dust up with a recent article in the New York Times Sunday Review entitled, “The Blessings of Atheism.” She wrote in response to all the god-talk that appeared in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown massacre; with all those unanswerable questions or inadequate answers to human suffering and death so often peddled in popular religious belief.

So too, not long ago author and “non-believer,” Christopher Hitchen’s posthumously published his little book Mortality; recounting his rambling thoughts on his own imminent demise; after a terminal diagnosis left him a sufficient number of days to find himself “deported from the country of the well across the stark frontier that marks off the land of malady.”

But what, or where to, after that? What if this really is all there is?

It seems there has always been the human hankering to imagine all kinds of fanciful notions, in our attempts to recapitulate our mortal existence into something more than it is. Many religious traditions, including centuries of “mainline” orthodox Christianity, employ great mythic stories to describe a life subsumed into something greater than we can either know, or grasp, except by “faith.” Heaven knows, some folks try to better themselves, merely in the hope of a remote possibility there something more, after our death, which is a certainty. But in the end, is it all dust and ashes? And is that OK?

This is the liturgical time of year when many in the Christian tradition undergo a seasonal pilgrimage in which the faithful are reminded at the onset we mortals are nothing more than dust. And so we will one day return to that from whence we came. Then the traditional forty days end with the perennial re-enactment of a passion play commemorating the mortal demise of the one whom Christians even these many centuries later would profess to follow.

Many do so in the hope of some kind of immortality for themselves in some indecipherable form or other; attributing to Jesus a “resurrection” that means the same thing to them as god-like immortality; while others of us may find such imaginings to be not only reasonably implausible, but of less importance than what we take to be of greater significance and meaning in this faith tradition.

Otherwise, the vainglorious hope of immortality can become so enshrouded in our mortal fears that we become – like Lazarus in his early grave – so wrapped up in death that we fail to truly acknowledge and appreciate the gift of our mortality for what it is; nothing more, nor less.

With the certain assurance then that we are but dust and ash, we can ask ourselves if the gift of our mortality is not only enough, but more than enough? And if so, as the psalmist says, how then shall we “number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom?” (Psalm 90:12)

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The Arts of Manhood

This past week, I’ve engaged in a couple of intense conversations about manhood in America. A lovely, thoughtful young friend of our family, age 25, was lamenting that she could not find men her age who were …

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Can We Measure Growth by Stages? (Part 2)

I believe there is great value in gaining some understanding of the leading developmental stage theories, and particularly how they relate to one another. This can be valuable for use for oneself as well as it is, often highly so, for working with other people who may have less insight into themselves and less knowledge of either social science findings or spiritual development than you or other “people helpers” do.

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Can We Measure Our Growth by Stages?

Sadly, some people do stop thinking in terms of their growth except as it relates to occupational skills or promotions perhaps. But I think most people are quite aware of their need for ongoing growth throughout life. Are there, then, some meaningful markers to see how we are doing? Can such markers be used by scholars or “people helpers” who want to size up anyone from individuals to entire societies in terms of development?

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A Lenten Journey

When we look at the entire story of Jesus, including his teachings as well as his life, it seems clear his path always presumed a spiritual death before one could experience new life or rebirth. His hodos required a death to the old before there could be a birthto a new way of seeing, a new way of understanding and experiencing life.

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Revelations: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation

In this startling and timely book, Pagels returns The Book of Revelation to its historical origin, written as its author John of Patmos took aim at the Roman Empire after what is now known as “the Jewish War,” in 66 CE. Militant Jews in Jerusalem, fired with religious fervor, waged an all-out war against Rome’s occupation of Judea and their defeat resulted in the desecration of Jerusalem and its Great Temple.

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The Liturgy Project- An International Collection!

The Liturgy Project has been in the works for several years, and now that our new website has launched, the liturgy contributions have too. The idea behind the project is straightforward: all over the world, progressive clergy …

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We All Breathe

A new collection of poetry and prayer. Vosper once again gives expression to the beauty and complexity of life in ways that can touch and move us on many levels. Identifying our interconnectedness as a core principle of our common, human journey, Vosper plays with imagery and symbol, weaving us into a whole that lifts and ennobles us all.

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