How Did We Get Here?

By Shane Phipps for Patheos

Welcome to Bizarro World. For more than a year now, millions of Americans have been walking around in disbelief. I’ve been struggling to put my thoughts on this into words for a while now. A quick perusal of my archives will reveal dozens of attempts to express my exasperation. Sometimes I fear I’m caught in a Groundhog Day scenario where I get up and write the same article day after day. I keep searching for a new way to say what I need to say in a way that satisfies. In the past 24 hours I have happened across a couple of bits of wisdom that have helped crystalize my thoughts enough to try, once again, to tackle the question that’s been eating away at me for months; how did we get here?

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

By the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948

  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed …

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Occupy Love

Could the crisis of our time become a love story? This moving, transformative, and heartfelt film explores how love can unite as much as greed can divide.

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The Foundational Way -The Human Life of Jesus

Although revered as a ’Jewish holy one’ Jesus was seen to much enjoy ‘secular’ life on the streets, and in doorways, on hillsides and seashores and in village centres. He was most often seen and heard in these ‘secular’ places for there he carried out nearly all his teaching, demonstrating and healing.

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Recycling Our Lives, Recycling Our Religion

How can we re-use, re-purpose, recycle, reduce, and even compost the incidents and memories and experiences and trajectories of our lives into a new narrative that serves us and others better?

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Jesus as Critic of Hypocrisy, Then and Now

The very lifestyle chosen by Jesus showed little concern for the separateness purity required. Jesus was a practicing Jew who observed the Sabbath and kosher requirements; but he objected to the pride, self-righteousness, and pettiness of criticisms by scribes and Pharisees as he emphasized serving God through ethical action more than ritual observance. Jesus did not criticize purity in temple worship; however, extending temple purity to normal life resulted in focus on oneself rather than on ethical behavior toward others. His emphasis was on serving God through actions that recognized the rule of God now and helped prepare for complete realization of God’s sovereignty and justice in the future. Present and future depended on actions now.

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A Challenge to the Religions of Abraham

As human consciousness slowly developed over its evolutionary period, a high level of perception was the result but there remained a deficiency. That level of perception was incomplete. Humans were left unable to comprehend certain realities. One was the importance of their relationship to the biosphere of the planet. Within that biosphere there is a layer that allows all life to exist. Another; it did not provide comprehension of the importance of their relationship to planetary nonlife. The Abrahamic religions in their time attempted to address these issues. Care for the earth as a provider, care for each other, and an Apocalypse at the end well served their purpose. We now find that this religious understanding was far too simplistic and that the Abrahamic simplicity is coming back to haunt us. The reality is that we are facing the possibility of a Sixth Extinction. It is a reality of our own doing. Planet Earth is under siege. Judaism, Christianity and Islam urgently need to address this human consciousness deficit issue. The time has come for them come together with an intra religious configuration wherein all life and non-life on Planet Earth is able to find its universal meaning.

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“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”—New Verses to Beloved Carol

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” is a 19th century American carol created in the context of war which addresses its horror directly.

Despite this, it offers hope and a plea for peace.

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‘A different kind of church’: Boulder campus ministry reflects on its 100-year evolution

By Elizabeth Hernandez

Walking into the Wesley Fellowship building on a frigid Wednesday night, the first thing that hits you is the warmth — both temperature-wise and decor.

The voices of the Mosaic Gospel Choir bounce off the wood-paneled, A-frame ceiling. Downstairs, cozy couches with vibrant pillows and floor cushions beckon visitors to kick back with a cup of coffee brewing in the corner.

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Cultivating Wonder

In this hectic season help us to remember,
even the simplest actions count.
Let us pause and take a breath
to feel the miracle
of air filling and emptying within,
as though God is breathing into us.

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Devil’s Whisper Music Video

from Raury's new Album "All We Need"

“Devil’s Whisper” taken from Raury’s new album ALL WE NEED.

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Addendum to book: Sixth Extinction ?

In recent years biosphere degradation has been forcing many scientists and nonscientists to focus
attention on the interacting dangers within the relationship between our human species and this
planet. Many are concluding that we humans have become an ecological force contrary to
biosphere stabilization and that this is so serious it could lead to our extinction. Renowned
physicist, Stephen Hawking is now sounding the alarm. He has even predicted that we have
less than 600 years before the planet turns into, as he describes it; “a sizzling fireball.”

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The Connection Between Climate Change and Gun Control

From the perspective of political theology, the issues of climate change and gun control are related in two ways. The first linkage is that progressive Christians need no promptings on these issues. By massive numbers they know that God is calling on them to enact laws to control guns and to take actions that help to wean the country away from carbon producing energy.

These issues also tell us something important about how many Conservative Christians think about political issues.

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Thanksgiving as a Myth of Origin

Thanksgiving fits neatly into the “sacred feast” of the sort of the Hebrew Passover feast. Thanksgiving ties us to American history, family history, and religious devotion while denying actual history, especially as it relates to the relationship between Native Americans and the northern European invaders who stole their land and tried to extinguish their culture while killing off most of their population. Americans need to come to an honest awareness of our history, both the parts we can be proud of and the parts that call for confession and penance. The past does not have to be prelude. We can choose to help create a greater America.

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The American Empire

In a speech Robert Gates gave as Secretary of Defense in the second Bush administration, he let on that the United States’ navy is larger than the next thirteen navies combined. Again, eleven of those thirteen countries are our allies. The U.S. currently has 800 military bases around the world in eighty-five countries. 250,000 military personnel staff those bases for an annual cost of 156 billion dollars.

This global military presence is unique in history, and its existence speaks louder than the hypocritical words of American exceptionalism that we seek no advantage for ourselves, that our military presence throughout the world is only there for the good of others. As recent history suggests, we use this unprecedented military power to move from enemy to enemy in an attempt to shape the world in our interests.

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Sermon: God and the Universe

It’s that old approach that St Anselm wrote about in the 11th c, fides quarens intellectum, faith seeking understanding. It’s important to distinguish faith and belief. Faith is an attitude of trust, and belief is trying to make sense of that attitude. What you believe is serious, but not too serious. Karl Barth, who wrote many, many books, including his voluminous Church Dogmatics, once commented that the angels would have a good laugh when they saw him pushing a wheelbarrow full of his books through the pearly gate. That we all agree in our belief is not the point. Each of us is seeking understanding. Agreement is not the point. Openness and respect is.

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Why Christianity Is No Longer Believable – And How We Can Change That

Pre-order John Shelby Spong’s final book, "Unbelievable"

Five hundred years after Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses ushered in the Reformation, bestselling author and controversial bishop and teacher John Shelby Spong delivers twelve forward-thinking theses to spark a new reformation to reinvigorate Christianity and ensure its future.

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Nevertheless, love.

My words in this article will implore you to live a life of love. My tone borders on zeal. You will hear echoes of the Buddha, Chasidic masters, Mother Teresa, 1 Corinthians 13, and what you know in your heart to be true. If you are not able to consider living your life in more love, please do not proceed. If you read this and do not like parts of what I write, please respond so we can both learn and grow.

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