Love in a Time of Climate Change: Honoring Creation, Establishing Justice

challenges readers to develop a faithful response to climate change, which disproportionately harms the poor, threatens future generations, and damages God’s creation.

This book uses scripture, tradition, reason, and experience to explore the themes of creation and justice in the context of the earth’s changing climate. By creatively employing these four sources of authority, readers discover a unique way to assess the physical realities of climate change, discern its physical and spiritual implications, reflect on planetary warming theologically and discern a faithful response.

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Adios, “Dios” – Part I

Saying Goodbye to “God” in Sacred Text

What good is “God?” We know well how much violence is committed in the name of “God.” If we were to delete both our traditional Western word and notion of “god” from both our speech and thinking, what are the implications for such things we ourselves know and experience to be true in our own human experience? I’m talking about conceiving of such things as love, compassion, mercy, grace, reconciliation, forgiveness, even absolution, redemption, and salvation. Part one in this series considers a scripture text considered sacred, but noticeably absent is the presence of any deity.

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The picture, speaking of itself

The picture, speaking of itself,
not shaping something else we know;
imagines mystery makes it glow
beyond all earthly sight can show.

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Resurrection as Change, Part III: Deleting “God”

The idea of “God” has been problematic for as long as the notion existed. As a result, “God” has admittedly been for me a direction; but neither a destination, nor even a companion along the way any longer. As the poet suggests, if the notion of “god” is directional movement from a former past to the present now, then perhaps it is the time to leave the “G” word behind. What does that mean?

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Social Activist, Religious Activist

While young people today are movers and shakers, reformers and influencers, seeking voice and empowerment through protest and organization, our activism is largely restricted to political and social spheres. We will boycott products from a company that exploits labor, hold signs and march in the streets for the rights of immigrants, but we generally do not seek to reform the religious institutions of which we are a part.

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Resurrection as Change, Part II

The Emmaus Experience of Transformation

The Emmaus legend is about both the inevitability of change and the possibility of transformation. … In all the swift and varied changes of this world, the elusive goal of converting hearts and minds remains optional.

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the Easter uprising

Jesus rises up whenever the conspiracy of love rises up, whenever compassionate and courageous acts of the kingdom of God are present, whenever the reign of love is made manifest in this life. Following Jesus is a response to his call to establish justice and peace in the world.

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An Easter Acclamation, Cosmic and Evolutionary

After searching for an opening Easter Acclamation that is progressive and cosmic in nature, and finding nothing that went where I’d like to take the congregation, I decided I’d just have to write one.

This acclamation/invocation draws on themes found in the Gospel of Thomas, Meister Eckhart, Hildegard von Bingen, Teilhard de Chardin, and Thomas Berry. I also hope is has some of the poetic flare of that great earth mystic, Saint John (Muir) of the Mountains.

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Hiking Through Lent

Today marks the first Sunday of Lent, a time of self-reflection and lament. It is often considered a season of darkness. Something I am all too familiar with. The season of Lent reminds me of walking a labyrinth. A labyrinth is a path that requires you to go in and come out the same way in which you entered. It is a journey towards the center, then back out again, into the world to which you came. You cannot skip the part you did not like, or go around a difficult feeling, you must return the exact way you entered. But, even though the path does not change, you have, and in this we find new life.

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The Determination Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr’s brother, H. Richard, argued for faithfulness to the example of Jesus’s nonviolence, while Reinhold believed this was naive and unrealistic in an imperfect world. H. Richard was the purist to the Christian faith, believing that following the Golden Rule, no matter the consequences, is what Jesus and God called us to do — the success of the mission being in God’s hands rather than our own. Reinhold, however, looked at the more practical side of things, substituting his or the world’s idea of what was possible and changing his ethics accordingly. H. Richard thus trusted more in the providential moral arc of history as M.L. King, Jr. , would call it rather than a realist’s version of what humans believe is attainable given their corrupt nature. In essence, H. Richard focused on the power of God’s grace to transform our spirits and the world for the better, while Reinhold accepted a more cynical view of our ability to be radically changed as a specie.

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An Unorthodox Faith: A New Reformation in a Postmodern World

“An Unorthodox Faith” proposes an alternative to traditional Christian creeds and theology with a simpler humanist theology of love and compassion. It explores the implications for faith and ethics based on the proposition that “God is love”—not a loving supernatural being, but, more radically, frail human love itself. The book deconstructs traditional images of God as cosmic creator and occasional interventionist, the apocalyptic image of Christ, the image of the Holy Spirit as a supernatural being, medieval images of heaven and hell, ancient doctrines of sin and atonement, and contemporary beliefs in resurrection and eternal life. When all of these concepts are removed from traditional Christianity, what remains is a deeply spiritual humanism of service and social action—a way of living that reflects the words and deeds of the historical Jesus.

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The Call to Celibacy

I distinguish between the “gift” of celibacy and the “call” to celibacy, which I will come to later in this post.

The gift of celibacy is a debatable proposition. Is someone “blessed” with that gift or simply avoiding intimate relationships? Is it a rejection of God’s gift of sexuality and more broadly sensuality and embodiment, or a prioritizing of one’s energy and involvement and commitment?

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Progressive Christian Unapologetics

When it comes to doctrine, we progressive Christians have nothing for which to apologize. We don’t believe the old dogma that gets in the way of kindness, inclusion, science, and common sense. No wonder, then, that few of us know much about “apologetics”, a major preoccupation of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians who memorize answers to the dozens of common objections to their doctrines.

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What Happened and What to Do About It

What Happened:

On November 8, 58% of voting-age citizens cast ballots in the presidential election. In 2008, when Obama was elected, 64% cast ballots. When all the ballots are counted, Clinton will have won the popular vote by at least a million. Trump won the electoral college by squeaking ahead in some of the swing states: he was only 68,236 ahead in Pennsylvania, for example.

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Immoral Equivalence?

esus taught that lust is as bad as adultery. Covetousness is as bad as theft. Anger is as bad as murder. His was an “argumentum ad absurdum” against anybody claiming to be morally pure, which was a real social problem in Israel in his time. The wealthy, leisured Pharisees used countless fussy purity codes to bludgeon into submission the mass of common people who could not afford the time and money to comply.

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Rituals and a Song for Voting: Worship Nov 6

tation, salute it and say: “I salute all those Americans who risked their lives for my right to vote!”

Ask your friends and family members, or in a ritual in worship, asking parishioners: “With which hand will you be voting on November 8?” Take that hand and hold it with yours, and say: “May love (or the love that is God) guide your hand to vote for the common good!”

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Ethical Wills / Legacy Letters

Your Legacy of Values

An ethical will, or legacy letter, is a way to share your values, blessings, life’s lessons, hopes and dreams for the future, love, and forgiveness with your family, friends, and community.

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I Belong, Therefore I Am

Another way that religion can do a body good is through the mindfulness practices that are embedded in it. It’s no news that it’s part of Buddhism. But for most Christians, it may come as a surprise to find that it has always been integral to contemplative prayer. You can’t confess the truth of your heart unless you know what’s in it.

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