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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Evangelicals join interfaith leaders in Washington to promote religious tolerance

As hundreds of Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith leaders from the United States and abroad descended on Washington for a conference on religious tolerance this week, attendees were quick to note an unexpectedly large delegation from one particular religious group: evangelical Christians.

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The Two-Way Mirror Analogy of Aging

The Two-Way Mirror was part of my early clinical psychology training in graduate school. Therapy rooms in our training clinic had been constructed with see-through mirrors. You’ve probably seen similar arrangements on television crime shows where those behind a mirror watch a suspect’s interview. What you see through a two-way mirror depends on which side is dark and which side is lit. In my clinical training, therapists and their clients sat in the lit side observed by faculty and other students from the unseen dark side. After the session, teacher and students would discuss how things went.

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Mother Teresa and Doubting Thomas

The story of Doubting Thomas (John 20:24-29) takes place at the end of the Gospel of John. Like the rest of the Gospel, the Doubting Thomas tale is not a true story but rather what we call religious history. The truth is inside the story. The surface story says that Thomas the Twin (rumored to be the twin brother of Jesus, but that idea has never been substantiated) was not in the room for Jesus’s first appearance to the disciples after his crucifixion. But Thomas was there for the second appearance a week later. Jesus insisted that Thomas touch his wounds, after which Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Thomas the Twin then became Doubting Thomas. His role in the history of the Jesus movement is to tell us that doubting is a no-no, and believers must have total faith in Jesus as God.

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The Body Still Loves to Dance

I discovered that though gay sex may be verboten, some things never change. Camp humor abounded. People were caring and sensitive and carefully huggy. Haircuts and clothing, though not overly provocative, were still stylish and colorful; in a workshop on masculinity, I heard rumblings of discontent at a suggestion that they rid themselves of their wardrobes and patronize barbers rather than hair stylists. En route to a session, two ex-lesbians were kvetching about one’s lack of punctuality and the other’s lack of patience. And two ex-gay boys next to me in the opening worship were thrilled to find someone with a car: “We need to go to a mall really bad!” one emoted while in the next breath telling his friend, “I really want to be here; I’m longing to be closer to God.”

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Pastoral Thoughts on Decades of the Abotion Debate

At least from my perspective as a pastor, I think the abortion issue is one of the more complex moral problems of our age. It pits the rights of the mother against those of the child, such that if one takes one side over the other, one is perceived as compassionless by the other side.

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Waging a War on Poverty

No Progressive Christian and very few others for that matter need convincing that poverty in America is a Christian issue. The focus of Old Testament Law, the preaching of the prophets, and the teachings of Jesus all speak to the importance of economic justice for the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable. This theme plays a dominant role in the Bible from Genesis 1 through the Book of Revelation.

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #3 (part A)

Thesis #3: Human beings have the intelligence to think abstractly, and to use symbols (esp. complex language, which eventually allows a human person to think of himself/herself in the third person.) This is in essence what sets human psychology apart from animal psychology.

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Musing of a Progressive Christian Layman: Women in Church Leadership

  How can any 21st century woman believe that only men must lead in the home and church and that a woman’s role is to submit to male leadership? How can a woman attend a church that …

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What Jesus Wants

I’ve been rereading Henri Nouwen’s The Way of the Heart: Desert Spirituality and Contemporary Ministry for a contemplative retreat I will be co-leading this spring. It’s amazing how much one can get out of what seems a simple little book each time it is read. This time I realized why Henri became popular among evangelical Christians. He emphasizes a very personal relationship with Jesus, so personal that “Christ…lives in us, that he is our true self.”

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MLK’s assassination reminds nation of unaddressed gun violence

The 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination is sadly a searing reminder of unaddressed gun violence in America. And, because gun violence has gone unaddressed for half a century, future generations of children residing in a safer and healthier America MLK spoke about so dreamingly in his speeches now in 2018 live in fear of guns -when they are not running scared for their lives from them.

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On the Dangers of Not Giving a Fig  

Watching the NBC broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE” on Easter night was jarring. Not because it was bad. The New York Times called it “thoughtful, challenging,” and a “conceptual and artistic triumph.”[i] What was jarring was what I already knew was there: the anti-Semitism inherent in the story. A review by Jeffrey Salkin reflected on the ominous portrayal of priests Caiphas and Annas: “The Jews look like they might have been Darth Vader’s homeys. Pure evil.”[ii]  But who’s to blame for that? Certainly not the producers. And certainly not Webber or Rice. They were just working with the “source material” – and that would be our anti-Semitic gospels.

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Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Christian Ideas – Part 7

Thief on the Cross

Lawyer and historian Cameron Thorne found an ancient Templar scroll that referred to Jesus as “The Thief on the Cross.” He and his fiancée, Amanda Spencer, try to uncover several secrets of early Christianity before a splinter group of Mormon zealots finds them and destroys them.

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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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9 Reasons I Never Became Protestant

I have read a lot of articles from my Protestant friends and colleagues celebrating the 500th year of the Protestant Reformation this past year. They varied in timbre and tone—some were overtly triumphalistic while others offered a balanced treatment of the pros and cons.

Despite that, I was struck by how the Reformation just seemed to be taken for granted to be a universally good thing by virtually all Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals. I guess it’s to be expected that people wouldn’t call into question the origins of their own movement. I was still taken aback by how it was simply taken for granted. Whether it is spoken outright or simply implied, the idea that the Reformation was simply a good thing seems embedded within the American consciousness, even at the secular level.

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The Transitory Nature of Beliefs, Part II

A reflection and commentary for Holy Week & Easter Observances from the perspective of a progressive thinker from the Christian faith tradition.

  Symbol, Ritual, and Learning to Distinguish True & False Myths Because religious progressives often like to emphasize actions over words, and doing over some musty, ancient, stratified system of believing, I’ve asked what part any creedal statement of belief might still be …

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The Convergence of Passover And Easter Can Leaven (or Unleaven) The InterfaithFamily’s Holiday

By Samira K. Mehta

As almost everyone who still has a wall calendar (does anyone still have a wall calendar?) realizes, Passover begins this year on Good Friday, and ends the following Friday or Saturday depending on your tradition. While the combination of Christmas and Hanukkah gets more play in the media (with over four decades of articles on the December dilemma and special attention last year, when Hanukkah started on Christmas eve), Easter and Passover are, in many ways, a more challenging combination for many interfaith families.

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Engaging in Good Friday

Easter week can elicit many questions. Did Jesus physically rise in a miraculous resuscitation on the third day after his death? Was the holy temple curtain torn in two from top to bottom at the moment of his death? (Mt 27:51) After his death, did the bodies of many dead saints rise up from their tombs and flood Jerusalem appearing to many? (Mt 27:52) Let’s face it, progressives often come to very different conclusions on these topics than most conservative evangelical pastors do. But one thing that most tend to agree on is that Jesus was executed on a day that we recognize today as Good Friday.

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