The Power of Nonviolence

Hope-giving Stories from Public Radio

As we approach Martin Luther King Day – our annual time to honor the tradition of nonviolent social change – I wanted to let you know that our full Humankind public radio series on this theme is now available free online.

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Unicorns, Fairies, and Market-Based Health Care

A real “market-based” healthcare system is one in which people with the greatest need for medical attention will be the least likely to get it. It means people will be left on the streets to suffer and die from treatable conditions. It means that if you cannot afford insurance, and cannot pay cash for medical care, you cannot get into an emergency room if you have a life-threatening condition. It means that if you have no money to see a doctor, you have to beg. But if you have to beg, the people you know are probably not the ones who can come up with the cash to help you.

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Nomad Book

Nomad: A Spirituality for Travelling Light

Part-autobiography, part-Christian spirituality, Nomad offers penetrating insight into the minds of the new generations of progressive evangelical followers of Jesus in the global Church. Themes include: community, war, redemption, wonder, grace, sexuality and the Eucharist. Nomad was originally commissioned and written for Destiny Image but the publisher cancelled the contract because Brandan refused to say that he did ‘not condone, encourage or accept the homosexual lifestyle’. DLT is proud to offer Brandan’s book for all readers wishing to hear and understand his powerfully-written, graceful, whole-life spirituality.

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Two Favorite American Christmas Carols

Two Favorite American Christmas Carols

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” and “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” are both 19th century American carols created in the context of war which address its horror directly.

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John 3:16 vs. the Greatest Commandment

Part 3 of the series, What Makes a Christian?

John 3:16 is a beautiful verse, understood this way–that God’s act of sharing Jesus with us comes out of love, and that all who participate in that love through loving both God and one another follow in the Way of Jesus, which is the Way of eternity–to love Jesus so much that you imitate Him and follow His Way. To believe in His message so much that you follow it.

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Religion and Politics

We have tried to remain within the theological-only realm as we co-create what being a progressive Christian means in today’s world. However, as you can see from even our older versions of The 8 Points, three of the main points of progressive Christianity have been about the importance of social justice, inclusion and environmental stewardship. Clearly those values are broad umbrellas and with our recent political arena being what it is we are finding that the issues at hand are directly affecting the rights of human beings everywhere and threatening both social justice/equality and inclusion as well as the protection and restoration of our Earth.

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Winter Solstice – December 21st

Getting in touch with the deeper meanings of the Winter Solstice through readings, practices, poems, and prayers.

As the Winter Solstice approaches in the north, we notice the changes: the days of light are shorter, the darkness is longer, the weather is cold, the trees are bare, and snow is often on the ground. John Matthews, who has lectured widely on Celtic and Arthurian traditions, has written this lyrical passage about Winter Solstice:

“The Solstice is a time of quietude, of firelight, and dreaming, when seeds germinate in the cold earth, and the cold notes of church bells mingle with the chimes of icicles. Rivers are stilled and the land lies waiting beneath a coverlet of snow. We watch the cold sunlight and the bright stars, maybe go for walks in the quiet land. . . . All around us the season seems to reach a standstill — a point of repose.”

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A Contemplative Approach to Social Change in our Post-Election Reality

In our post-election reality, there is one part of contemplative practices that I resist the most. I tend to stay in liberal bubbles, lamenting the lack of connection and sensitivity demonstrated by one political party. I default to mourning the dignity that was stripped from many during the Trump/Pence campaign- from minorities of color, to persons of different national origins, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.

It is part of my faith to stand in these convictions. Recalling that Jesus put his life on the line for the marginalized and oppressed, my faith is made real in the world today by the same means.

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Like Looking at the Sun

Part 2 in Series: What Makes A Christian?

It is amazing how often we fail a most basic mark of the faith.

It is a downright scandal how rarely it is preached.

It’s questionable how directly our religious and moral practices stem from it.

Yet if we believe the direct words of Jesus Himself–you know, God–the very ability of others to recognize our Christian identity is dependent on how we follow this.

We gather in churches. We have elaborate worship and praise. And yet we barely give lip service to the first and foremost of the commandments. When we do, it is often to give exceptions–No, Jesus didn’t really mean that. . .

I’m talking about the Greatest Commandment–love God and love neighbor. Abundantly.

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A Joyful Path, Year Two – Unit 8: Lifelong Learning

Most young children are born with a sense of wonder and anticipate discovery around every corner. A shiny penny or a snowflake holds a world of delight. But perhaps because our culture tends to overstimulate and excite our children, boredom begins to seep in as children get older. It’s not uncommon to hear complaints of, “I’ve seen that” or “I know that already” from children who are already closing the doors to their sense of discovery.

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A Joyful Path, Year Two – Unit 7: Integrity of the Earth

The best way to enjoy the planet is to get out and do something — not sit and talk about it.

This lesson offers an encouraging reminder for an attitude of enjoyment and appreciation when we experience the natural world in all its forms. To enjoy means to have an inner experience of joy — to be “in joy” as our bodies and minds are engaged in activity.

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A Joyful Path, Year Two – Unit 6: Peace and Justice

Progressive Christians believe that resisting oppression or cruelty in society has always been both an obligation and an opportunity for those who follow Jesus. It is an obligation because it is a way to test our commitment to the path. It is an opportunity because putting oneself at risk on behalf of another, as a result of one’s compassion, can be one of the most direct paths to an experience of the realm of God or that absolute sense of connectedness.

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A Joyful Path, Year Two – Unit 5: Search for Understanding

This point, recognizing that we open ourselves to a constant flow of grace as we search for understanding, is inextricably linked to the eighth point in Progressive Christian beliefs: that we are committed to a lifelong path of learning. For as soon as we think we have arrived at the end point of understanding, we close ourselves to that flow of grace. Wisdom teachers of all paths describe gradual awakening or a progressive realization of understanding, marked by moments of clear inner revelation; but if we keep searching, there are ever-new octaves of clarity.

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A Joyful Path, Year Two – Unit 4: How We Behave

The Jesus of the scriptures was a man of action. He was someone who healed, demonstrated compassion, took a stand against injustices, loved unconditionally, and told his disciples to go and do likewise. As followers of Jesus, Progressive Christians are dedicated to treating
their fellow human beings with kindness, caring, and compassion.

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A Joyful Path, Year Two – Unit 3: Inclusive of All

No matter what our family looks like outwardly, or whether our family is one of blood or one of choice, family is where we have some of the deepest connections of our hearts. Family is our first and lifelong teacher.

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A Joyful Path, Year Two – Unit 2: Many Ways

This group of lessons introduces children to the beliefs and rituals of five major world religions.

The core value of this curriculum is that children have experiences that open their hearts and give them moments of joy and feelings of unity with nature and with others. These moments can occur through the arts and through the physical body. Therefore, most of the activities involve one or both. The intellect analyzes and distinguishes differences—valuable skills for scientific research and progress. The heart receives and feels unity. One of the goals of these lessons is that children understand that people of different religions have much in common.

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A Joyful Path Curriculum, Year Two – Unit 1: The Path and Teachings of Jesus

In “A Joyful Path, Year Two”  we focus on some of the main tenets of Progressive Christianity and Spirituality, giving our children the foundation they need to walk the path of Jesus in today’s world.  It has stories and affirmations written to help children clarify their own personal beliefs while staying open to the wisdom of other traditions.

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An Inappropriate Christmas

by Zach Christensen for Patheos

his past Sunday, many people began celebrating Advent, the season in which the majority of Western Christian churches commemorate the birth of Jesus. As we progress toward Christmas, there will be a many sermons preached about shepherds, wise men, innkeepers who are total jerks, and unplanned visits from angels. However, there is one passage from the birth narrative of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew that I think truly captures the meaning of Christmas.

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