On the 50th Anniversary of Thomas Merton’s Death

Monday, December 10th marks the 50th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death—which has now been confirmed as a martyr’s death by the recent solid and important investigative study, The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton by Hugh Turley and David Marin (as well as by my own encounters over the years with three CIA agents who were in Southeast Asia at the time).

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Indubious Video – See Sharp

“We call upon the tonal vibration of the Earth to bring us clarity, vision, and a broadened perspective. We humble ourselves to the power of the planet and ask for guidance through these trying times. As we gather in greater numbers as gentle shepherds of the Earth, and cultivate of our birthright of inner magic, we heal our ancestral wounds and usher in a brand new way to See Sharp.”

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Justifying the Inexcusable

An economic system is nothing more than the agreed upon method of distributing resources. Any nation can change their economic system if it isn’t working for the best interests of the majority of the citizens. Our economic system has become much worse since Dorothy Day called it a “filthy rotten system” almost a century ago. We don’t have to accept it. In fact, we must not.

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The Shape of Christmas

My mind is a maze with the turns of the journey

The wise men wandered while aimed at the star

Their ears had the form of the wings of the angels

Attuned to the music they sang from afar

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New Creation with Matthew Fox (Video) + A Community Offering for You This Holiday Season

Hi friend,Are you looking for community on the way to Christmas?

Make Advent Great Again just might be what you’re looking for.

We’re back to compassionately struggle – not against some fabricated ‘war on Christmas,’ but against the steady dehumanization that attempt to desecrate God’s image in the face of each other – the war on Advent.

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Mysticism and Social Action: The Spirituality of Howard Thurman

Activism is at the heart of progressive theology. The way of Jesus is both personal and social. Jesus’ embodiment of prophetic spirituality was reflected in his welcome of the marginalized, affirmation of women, expansion of the scope of salvation and ethical concern to include foreigners and the disinherited, and challenge to narrow purity codes which promoted exclusion. Jesus proclaimed that the “spirit of the Lord” was upon him, and this meant the healing of the social order as well as people’s religious lives.

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Three Deadly Sins of Public Discourse

The USA is suffering a partisan divide that now rivals the years of the Civil Rights Movement and the protests of the war in Vietnam. In order to heal our divided nation, conservatives and liberals must learn to both talk to one another and to sincerely listen. But mere civility will not save us unless we avoid logical pitfalls in our public conversation. This sermon outlines three: the problem of epistemology, of false equivalence, and what-about-ism. Take this as a short course in philosophical reasoning.

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Who We Are – Gungor Video

Growing up as a Christian and an American, I always had a sense that I was on the good team. I was told our country was founded on ideals like freedom and justice for all. I was told our faith in Jesus led us to be the salt and light of the world. We were the sheep, not the goats. We were the ones who welcomed the stranger. Took care of the widow and the orphan.

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The End of Providence

While much of traditional Judaism, Christianity, and Islam profess a belief in a God who is a person, a person with a will, emotions, and preferences and that God is in control of history. Progressive people of faith tend to eschew this kind of supernatural theism. As St Teresa said, God has no hands in this world but our hands, no feet but our feet. The universe is capricious but we are moral actors. Meaning, love, purpose, happen when we make them happen.

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Gratitude in a Time of Grief

A sparrow was in her tree singing to the dawn. But before the song was complete, a spark somewhere flashed and a tree somewhere ignited. Because the forest was dry, the fire spread from tree to tree faster than though. The whole forest seemed to explode in flame.

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“Unbelievable” is believably clear and concise

Spong posits 12 theses to encourage a new reformation, a new re-formation of our spiritual lives. He begins with the theistic image of God, replacing the vision of God as a Supreme Being with God as Being itself. That first thesis challenges many fundamentals of creedal faith. Without a judgmental god to appease, there is no need of “God’s great rescue plan” for mankind, no need to limit our understanding of Jesus’ crucifixion as a sacrifice for the sins of all: “There can be no ‘substitutionary atonement’ in the Christianity of tomorrow.”

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Sermon: Beyond Gratitude

Jesus didn’t give us dogma; he didn’t give us anything we had to believe. Rather, he gave us instructions for how to live an ethical life; a holy and whole life. He offered us a spirituality of actions and attributes: gratitude, yes… and love, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, a sense of faith in something. When these emotions arise unbidden, we are expressing our pure nature, our Christ Consciousness. In this way, the light within is not a metaphor, it’s an embodied spirituality.

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The Mythologies of Science and Religion

I’ve written before that I am at “that age” when you look for connections, a time late in life indicated by recent studies. Regular readers will know that, during my morning prayers these days, I’ve been slowly absorbing Fritjof Capra’s 1975 book, The Tao of Physics. I find physicist Capra’s writing more accessible than that of Stephen Hawking, though I wonder how dated his science may be today, even as he demonstrates a pretty thorough understanding of Eastern spirituality.

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Meeting the Holy Spirit: A Review of “The Desire for Mutual Recognition”

All good Christians know there are three aspects to the traditional belief in a Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The one part of the Trinity I have paid little attention to is the Holy Spirit. Peter Gabel’s new book, The Desire for Mutual Recognition, makes that impossible. Although meeting the Holy Spirit is not the central focus of Gabel’s book, this manifestation of the Triune God jumps out at you with important implications for political theology.

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Meeting God in our Pain: My video conversation with ‘Science Mike’ McHargue!

A few days ago, before the sold-out Evolving Faith Conference kicked off at Montreat, ‘Science’ Mike McHargue and I were able to grab an hour together to talk about some of our most vulnerable experiences with God, and how these encounters have impacted our approaches to life.

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Peia “Machi” from Four Great Winds

This song speaks of healing power and medicine of Woman, the Moon and the Earth Herself. “Machi” is a word that comes from the Mapuche people of Chile and Argentina. A Machi is a medicine woman and sometimes also refers to a medicine man. May the images here remind us all what a miracle this life is. May we see that though tender and vulnerable our Earth is wise and resilient beyond all measure. “Where there is Love there is Life ” and here there is a lot of Love. Blessed Be.

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All Saints – Giving thanks for the Divine in One-another!

All Saints’ Day is a day for remembering.  The word saint simply means “holy”. In the New Testament, all those who believe and were baptized were referred to as saints. It wasn’t until round about the third century that the church began using the word saint to refer to those who had been martyred for the faith. Over time these martyred saints were held up for veneration and people used to pray to them to intercede on their behalf. I’m not going to go into all of the institutional abuses that led Martin Luther and the later reformers to abolish the veneration of the saints. Except to say, that while the Reformation put an end to the veneration of the saints in the protestant churches, it did not abolish the concept of sainthood.

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Progressive Mysticism?

A number of years ago, I did a consultation for a progressive congregation in which the relationship between contemplation and social action was a source of friendly debate. On one side, several congregational leaders asserted that the task of the church is to change the world.  The way of Jesus compels us to be activists, they contended, challenging anything that threatens human and nonhuman well-being. We must provide meals for the soup kitchen and volunteer in the local schools, but we must also challenge our leaders to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). 

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