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    • Rabbi Brian
    • My work is to help adults maintain a healthy, adult relationship with God.

      I can help you de-tangle your baggage with regard to surrender, society, religion, and God. I won’t tell you want to think, but will help you unlearn, learn, and flesh out for your beliefs for yourself.

      I work for God in a “Blues Brothers” meets “John Lennon as an ordained rabbi” kind of way.

      My long term goal is to spread love.

Why do people shout?

When two people are kind to each other – when two people love each other – they don’t even need to speak to know the thoughts of the other. They can just be silent, and they can see each other, and their hearts feel each other, and they can communicate.

But when our hearts grow distant from each other, we often raise our voices.

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The difference authorization makes.

Perhaps the world wouldn’t be better if it conformed to our rules.
Perhaps the world would be better if we were better able to accept reality as it is.

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Finding freedom

Religion ought not shackle or limit people, it should set them free.

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Love, please. Love please. Please, love. Please love.

I am doing my part as I am certain you are doing yours. And, the state of the world right now requires us to double down and do more. So, let us pepper the world in a myriad of small, little, unsexy ways of being more loving, compassionate, caring, long-suffering, kind, humble, gentle, virtuous?

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Practice being who you want to be.

If you want to be angry, practice that.
If you want patience, practice that.

There is nothing that does not become lighter through habit and familiarity. – Shantideva

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Getting Used to Reality

With lots of love and a little optimism that when we learn to accept reality as it is – that this is just how it is – that our world becomes less anxious.

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I am not a big theist, but …. Enough!

We need to stop our striving and building and creating and making because we are making a mess. We know that we are.

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Meeting hate with love.

Be like the peacemakers. Be like those who do not fight violence with violence. Find common humanity and celebrate it. Talk with people. Love people. Because hate does not dispel hate. Darkness cannot take darkness away. Only light can do that. Only love can cure what ails us.

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Patience, Anger and Compassion

Patience is not a beast we can slay and master.
Rather, patience is an adversary ever rising to do battle with us again.
The universe seems to conspire to always test our mettle.
We level up, we have more patience than we ever have had, and, again, yet and assuredly again, there arises a new situation that will demand yet more and more of us. We cannot win against patience.
At best, we can keep our calm for longer and longer than ever before.

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Heart > Minds

You have a problem: you can’t convince people that you are right.
You’ve tried reason, arguing, logic, debating, and even pleading.
And yet they don’t go along with your thinking. Maybe you can get them to acquiesce while you hope for a later conversion, but that’s not your goal.
You want them to change their minds.You want to “save” them from their errant ways or in less religious terms, you want to help them or the greater good – and they just don’t understand this.This is a hard situation.

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On loving angry, older white-guys. (Why and how love might help.)

Let us be unified in non-violence.
Let us be bastions of love.
Let us assure them that we are thankful for what we have.
We can even thank them for their contributions that we enjoy – after all, we enjoy the roads we drive upon and the gas we put in our cars. Let us thank them for keeping the peace in our communities.

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Finding peace with reality, alphabetically.

All relationships require tune-ups.

Relationships between parents and children, relationship between co-workers, and relationships between ourselves and reality all require the occasional tune-up – and some forgiveness.

It’s the last relationship that I want to talk about – you getting right with (the) God (of your understanding).

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Spiritual Acceptance

  Acceptance is saying “what is is.” Acceptance The more we fight with reality, the less smoothly our lives go. The spiritual word for “not fighting with reality” is acceptance. (The religious word is surrender.) The more …

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If your holiday season feels to you to be more holidaze than holy days, ‘tis on you, my friend.

The only one who can make your holidays feel wonderful – holy – is you.

You can bring holiness to this time of year.

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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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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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Why we don’t embrace change (in our spiritual-religious-faith practice)

While we might work really hard to control reality and predict what will happen to keep us from having to deal with change, the bottom line is that we all have to deal with uncertainty and change.

This article will help you towards making positive changes in your spiritual-religious life.

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Fear. (It’s ok to fear.)

I sent out an email a few weeks ago about fear.

I wrote that I was scared.

And I was when I wrote it.

I am not in that sharp place of re-surfaced terror today.

When I wrote, I wrote from a place of fear. My sense of alarm was apparent to those who read my words. (I am thankful to be a powerful enough writer to express my emotions in my words.)

Allowing myself to be scared made me feel I was not so alone. Support from so many allies followed, and that also made me feel I was not so alone.

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Hate. No. Radical Love. Always.

The other side – no matter how vile, how much they hate me – are human beings. Stereotyping and dehumanizing them is wrong. Causing harm to them is wrong. Period.

No matter how wrong someone is, we must not treat them inhumanely.

They might be the problem. They might shout at us. They might threaten us. But hate is never the solution.

Hate is a narrowing; it makes the table more and more narrow, inviting fewer and fewer people to be with us. Love invites more people to join us.

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Heeding messages. Whose messages?

This article about messaging is in three parts:

• Part One: Michelangelo’s Biblical Errancy
• Part Two: Meaning and Message Are Intertwined
• Part Three: Asking You to Choose to Believe in Awe

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Fear

Fear can transform our rational, mammalian brains into reptilian, fight-flight-flee, us-versus-them brains.

Fear – as many are experiencing right now – paralyzes us and robs us of our very humanity.

Fear makes us scattered.

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Say Something

We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.

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Empowering your Spiritual life

A talk given by Rabbi Brian at the Embrace Festival produced by Progressive Christianity. Portland, Oregon. May 5, 2017.

What is empowering? What is the spiritual life?

The definition of the word empower is to give someone the authority to do something and to make them stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

I am Rabbi Brian – an ordained rabbi on a mission from God – a rabbi with John Lennon’s inclusivity and a Blues Brothers mission. My mission, to empower people in their spiritual lives – so that they can feel the seat of their religious authority within them.

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Frog or Fish: How Much Do You want it?

For many people, their spiritual life is a place where they are the frog.
Many people know that their spiritual life needs tending to.
But, like the frog, they have decided to take action without actually doing so.

Perhaps, with regard to your spiritual life, you feel like the fish or Plato.
Maybe you feel that tending to your spiritual life is a matter of life and death.

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Managing Expectations

Surprises undo us. Most of us dislike being completely fooled. We don’t mind if a spoon bends, and we don’t mind if the signed card is now in a wallet — as long as we were somewhat expecting that to happen. We are comfortable with our expectations being messed with as long as we are expecting our expectations to be messed with. We do not like when things happen far outside our expectations.

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The 10-Day Spiritual Fitness Program

Want a richer spiritual practice?
Need some help getting more gratitude in your life?
Would you trade 20 minutes to get spiritually fit?

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Hidden Talents

Did you know that the word “talent” is a Greek word which in ancient times was a unit of currency? By ancient standards, it was a real large sum of money.

The dictionary defines talent as: any natural ability or power; a superior ability in an art, etc.

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Anger, OK. Hatred, not so.

So, what to do instead of hate?

Take your anger, feel it. But, then find love and put it into action.

Let me conclude with words from Dr. Martin Luther King – who is celebrated today in the United States,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

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Living Abundance

I am a big proponent of gratitude.

Acknowledging that I am in favor of gratitude seems silly. Who isn’t in favor of gratitude? In case you were wondering, I also like fresh air, holding sleeping babies in my arms, and freshly-made pie. Of course I am a proponent of gratitude! Gratitude is the basis of every spiritual practice. I have written, made videos, and talked about gratitude for years.

Science can demonstrate positive correlations between gratitude and academic performance. And there are studies that show a link between gratitude and higher levels of immunity.

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How to be loving …

  Question and Answer   Question:   Dear rB, You talk about loving and not being filled with hate. I remember this past summer you turned the racist, anti-Semitic graffiti outside your house into a teaching moment …

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Love What’s Broken

Ironically, the culturally normative, protestant work ethic mandates we ought not let the world see our troubles. Let me advise a more spiritual, human approach. When you are angry, be angry. When you are sad, be sad. When you feel broken, feel broken. I’m not talking about indulging any of these feeling or taking out your feelings on others. I’m talking about being honest.

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Living Abundance

  Living with gratitude. Living with abundance This is a LONG article. Please consider taking time to print this or carve out five minutes to read and reflect. It is an important article. It talks about living …

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My Fun Theology Workbook: A guide to finding out what (the) God (of your understanding) wants from you

This book will not give you answers but help you find answers of your own.

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Stop Thinking Rationally

Today I am going to introduce you to and implore you to dive in to a religious concept called METANOIA – which means beyond thinking. (Note: this Greek word is translated as repentance, but it only means repentance in as much as when we repent we have experienced a paradigm shift.)Today I am going to introduce you to and implore you to dive in to a religious concept called METANOIA – which means beyond thinking. (Note: this Greek word is translated as repentance, but it only means repentance in as much as when we repent we have experienced a paradigm shift.)

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Accept (them) without exception

The spiritual-religious notion of acting where one can and accepting where one cannot is transcultural.

In the 1st century, Epictetus wrote:

Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.

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The Peace of Wild Things

Last week, I sent my friend Alexis a poem. She sent this one back to me. I love it.

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