Remembering our nation’s values in these troubled times…

The recent flap about athletes “taking the knee” during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice has been called disrespectful of our armed services. I realize the anthem’s imagery is of a battle, but our national anthem is about ALL Americans who have contributed to our nation’s character, from the seamstress who made the first stars and stripes to the seamstress who refused to give up her seat on a bus. The “land of the free and the home of the brave” values protest and the courage of activists. We actually have benefited from both. Important battles have been fought with picket signs, resistance, demonstrations, civil disobedience, and votes.

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Words I Don’t Want to Say Together: Active Shooter & Church

It seems horrifying to imagine that the places we have used for worship, sanctuary, community, fellowship, love and connection, places that for millennia have helped define our own identity are now having to be prepared for violence and death. I can’t even believe I am having to write these words. It pains me to know that shootings happen everywhere, every day, more frequently than you may realize, yet most go unreported in mainstream media.

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A Force of Love and Fury

“Because I was so vocal about my feelings and the things I had been through, a lot of girls in my cohort started coming to me and asking the same questions. And as I was working through my own stuff, I realized that there was this huge need out there for someone who understood what it was like to be a woman and be oppressed in a spiritual space.”

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“Sacred” by J Brave feat. Kayt Pearl & Poranguí

In light of the recent natural disasters and climate changes, now more than ever must we praise Mother Earth on a deeper level. “Sacred“ is the most important piece of art I’ve ever created, and with the …

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Worshiping the Gun God is Killing Us

By Leah D. Schade for Patheos

But we have allowed ourselves to become convinced that the sacrifice of our citizens – including children – is simply the price that must be paid to the GunGod. The GunGod is the only one who will provide. “The gun is my shepherd, I shall not want,” [from Jeff Hood’s provocative gun-hermeneutic of scripture, Apostasy: Guns, God, and Sutherland.] The gun is the answer to all of our fears, the release for all of our anger. Is the teenager’s music too loud? Shoot him. Is he wearing a hoodie that makes you feel threatened? Shoot him. Are you angry at the politician? At the ones who have mistreated you? The women who have spurned you? The family member or neighbor or motorist who piss you off? The answer is the gun, always the gun. It is the final solution.

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To Whom Shall We Go to Say Thank-you After We Move Beyond Personifying God?

Thanksgiving Sunday Sermons

Expressing gratitude is a skill that all tiny little people must learn in order to develop into well-rounded human beings. Indeed, scientists insist that being grateful is a prerequisite of happiness. Happy humans it seems, are humans who embody gratitude. But there is more to gratitude than simply saying thank-you. I remember learning that gratitude includes more than simply expressing our thanks. It happened when I was about sixteen and actually noticed the beauty of a sunset and for the first time I realized that I was part of something so much bigger than myself.

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Why Interfaith (and Interspiritual) Studies and Awareness are Epically Important in Today’s World

When we ponder religion and faith, we often think of their more modern day manifestations and how much devastation and destruction has been done in the name of religion. It is hard to remember that most major religions were born out of a profound mystical experience, flowing from an inner realization, which was then attempted to be shared via language and action. My own feelings toward religion have been complicated, confusing and challenging. Growing up in a very liberal, progressive Christian church, I had a meaningful and positive experience of the community that gathers around an organized religion and yet it was impossible for me to forget the vast atrocities which have been done in the name of Christianity over the last 2000 years. I also felt tired of the same mistranslated, seemingly irrelevant book used week after week, the same teacher held up on the pedestal week after week, a man who had died fighting for his cause over 2000 years before, who while an amazing human, was no different than you or I, just a man. I looked around and saw many incredible human beings doing phenomenal work in the world, affecting positive change and expanding upon some of the great mystic teachers, and yet no one was singing about them each week.

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Candlelight & Blessings: Symbols and Rituals for Death and Grieving

Death is inevitable, mysterious, and often confusing.

At the deathbed, patients and those gathered seek meaning, and many long for a sense of the Spiritual. Yet chaplains and spiritual caregivers have minimal information by which to determine how to provide support, limited time to develop rapport, and varying expectations from those they serve.

Regardless of the religious background of the patient and the loved ones gathered at the deathbed, there are elements of symbol and ritual that take on a pronounced role and a greater importance as one is facing the end of life.

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From Ancient Times to the Present: Transferring Guilt Makes a Mockery of Justice

  One of the foundations of modern ethics is crumbling. Having rights is about being respected as a human individual who shapes his life through choices. Whether with respect to original sin, honour based violence, modesty dress …

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How to respond to homophobic preachers

What can we do about a preacher in our state whose website is “Godhatesfags.com” and who is constantly harassing churches that seek to be open to new knowledge about homosexuality?

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Ways to Practice Thanks-giving

A gratitude practice for every day from Nov. 1 to Thanksgiving.

The Christian writer G. K. Chesterton had the right idea when he said we need to get in the habit of “taking things with gratitude and not taking things for granted.” Gratitude puts everything in a fresh perspective; it enables us to see the many blessings all around us. And the more ways we find to give thanks, the more things we find to be grateful for.

Giving thanks takes practice, however. We get better at it over time. Gratitude is one of the key markers of the spiritual life we include in the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy. It is essential if we are to read the sacred significance of our daily lives.

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“Almost Like Praying”: The Religious Work of “Hamilton” Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda

In the wake of catastrophic destruction in Puerto Rico Lin-Manuel Miranda, the force behind Hamilton, has used theological rhetoric, declaring that Trump was “going straight to hell” for his lack of basic human compassion and his dismissal of the suffering of American citizens he was elected to represent.

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Why I give racists 2nd, 3rd, and more chances and it’s about sexism

Like most men, I grew up sexist, (and homophobic). It did not help that It was the culture of the Latin American country I am from. My path away from homophobia deserves a whole article of its own. Most importantly, my path to becoming a feminist (and gay rights activist) makes me a much more empathetic person towards racists and others I am diametrically and morally opposed to for what they represent. This may sound strange, but hear me out.

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Freedom of Will

I no longer believe that we have as much freedom of will as I initially thought. And I’m ok with that.

While it runs counter to our normative North American Protestant work ethic, I want to suggest that we are not as autonomous as we might believe ourselves to be. For example, we know that our environment has a very strong influence on us. In fact, it’s so strong that it affects our choices, even when we think we’re choosing freely.

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Christian Unity: Warts and All

I’ve noticed a generational divide in the quest for Christian unity. People of different ages often articulate different priorities.

Many veterans of the work for Christian unity focus on what Christians have in common. Younger ecumenists often talk of finding peace in the midst of real differences.

This divide follows a natural pattern of healing and reconciliation. It reflects more than just two sides of the same coin.

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The Church: A Fitness Center for Love

It’s not heavy lifting to love the children at church (unless they’re yours, squirming next to you in the pew). Everybody’s charmed by them as they scamper up to the altar for story time in worship.

But often it is heavy lifting to love the adults, particularly the prickly ones. The church can’t be the church without difficult people. They are among us – they are us – to remind us that we all have fallen short of the glory.

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Joining With God to Create a Better World

Part 1 of 2

The starting point for understanding how religion relates to politics is to determine how God functions in the world. Like many of you, I attribute the word God to experiences of beauty, love, and goodness that have no logical explanation. These encounters have depth. The reality of the experience is so much greater than the parts making it up.

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