What is wrong with this picture?

Orange County’s latest project cost $35 million and is located on a ten-acre campus with state-of-the-art housing for up to four hundred homeless occupants. Each separate area is entirely soundproof and temperature-controlled. The five-star facility is two stories and over thirty thousand square feet. It features a large reception area with friendly greeters, large outdoor recreational areas, well-marked drop-off locations, outstanding medical facilities, and classrooms for educational activities.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors is extremely proud of this facility, and one of the county supervisors has publicly stated that this huge expenditure serves a critical need in the county.

Did I mention that this facility, built on former a Marine Corps air station, is a shelter for dogs, cats, and other animals?

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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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Jesus’ “Bad” Table Manners

The traditional beginning of the Communion story is “On the night that Jesus was betrayed…” But we did more than betray him that night; we denied him multiple times and abandoned him to the “powers that be.” We expressed shock that any of us would desert him, let alone betray him, and we each said, “Is it I, Lord?” Was our fear of authority figures and the awareness of Jesus’ and our vulnerability already palpable at the meal? Regardless, both believers and betrayers were welcome at his table.

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Right and Wrong Times and Places

Those who believe there is a right and wrong time and place to protest injustices are those whose privilege keeps them from the injustices. Those who with Rev. Dr. M.L. King, Jr., live by the principle that the right time to do the right thing is now, privileged or not, remind us of the immorality of acquiescence, apathy, indifference, denial, negligence, and procrastination in confronting injustice and evil.

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #6 (Part B)

Thesis #6 – There are defense mechanisms in individual psychology, habitual patterns of mental schemes and individual behaviors aimed at defending against potentially threatening, anxiety-provoking  information. Each of these mechanisms may manifest itself in both creative and destructive forms.

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Affordable Health Care: Why It’s a Right for Everyone

The debate continues on whether or not healthcare is a right for everyone or only for the privileged. Often people ask if healthcare is an act of charity or a luxury. No matter which side you take on this issue, we should all agree that everyone should be taken care of, especially in times of sickness. Healthcare can be expensive and finding the right affordable resource for you and your family is vital. Here are a few reasons why affordable healthcare should be available to all families, no matter what their faith is.

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Our Cranial Problem

Could it be that there are inherent evolutionary cranial/neurological deficiencies in our DNA makeup; so deeply embedded that we as a species now in this industrial age are unable to comprehend ourselves as a threat to our own future existence? Could it be that this is the reason our response to our desecration of the planet and its biosphere is so muted? Could it be that this deceitful cranial/neurological DNA side of us will lead to our painful end?

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Celebrate and Defend Real Religious Freedom

Every day at my job, I witness and celebrate America’s religious freedom in action. Through our Office of Religious Life, over 70 religious clubs from all the world’s faiths, including a secular humanist club, practice their traditions in harmony with each other. They compete with each other openly in the “marketplace” of ideas and practices on campus, with respect for each other and gratitude for the liberty they all enjoy. None of them complain to us that they are in any way oppressed or stifled. We’re a private campus, so we could impose all sorts of restrictions on them that would not be possible in the wider public sphere. But they have all the rights they’d have at a publicly-owned university, as well as many extra benefits for all of them – without any one faith tradition getting special privileges. What happens at the University Religious Center at USC is what real religious freedom looks like in America, and it’s a beautiful thing.

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Why Do Christians Fear Death?

I’m continually perplexed by Christians who fear death. If heaven is so wonderful, shouldn’t we welcome the opportunity to go there as soon as possible? A funeral today is often called a celebration of life, but for a Christian with a strong faith should it not actually be a celebration of death?

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Souls “Flung Up to Heaven”: Maya Angelou and Hildegard of Bingen

Recently I co-lead a contemplative retreat at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama. Four years ago on this site, Dewey Weiss Kramer gave an uplifting course on Hildegard of Bingen for Columbia Seminary’s Spiritual Formation Program. I decided to adapt today’s post from my reflections on that experience

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Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

I want to let you know about a religious group (“church”) that has continued to respond to new knowledge and new challenges. It is the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) founded in England in 1652 by George Fox and his colleagues.

It was founded as an improvement on the current state religion (Church of England) and the dissenting churches (Calvinism, etc.).

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Consciousness or Collapse? The Choice is ours.

What’s really happening? Where are we headed? Is human civilization really coming apart? Will we all come together as never before? What does this mean for us personally? What can we do? How can we ‘be the change we want to see in the world’?

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Meaningful Fellowship

The question of meaning and human motivation is not an easy question. It might be necessary to first ask, what is meaning? Is the meaning of life to simply survive? To maximize pleasure? Perhaps the “meta” meaning of life, generally speaking, is to discover a purpose within it? Or is it something deeper?

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Be My Neighbor

Why I want to be like Mr. Rogers when I grow up

“Who is my neighbor?” the lawyer asked, leading Jesus to tell the story of the Good Samaritan.  Every kid in America was neighbor to every other when they entered into Mr. Rogers’ realm. 

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PATHWAYS Theological Education

An Online Institute for Progressive Christian Theology

PATHWAYS Theological Education, Inc., is a Progressive Christian learning community seeking to empower transformative leadership for justice and peace within and beyond the church by engaging heart and mind to consider what it means to know, love and serve God in today’s changing world. 

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Suppose it was like this…

Jesus was a man born in the usual way. Mary and Joseph were his parents, and he had some brothers and sisters. His home town, Nazareth, was a small hamlet occupied mostly by poor peasants who eked out a living on small plots of land that were increasingly appropriated by the wealthy. Four miles away, the city of Sepphoris was a bustling scene of government projects that provided day labor for the peasantry, and often Joseph took Jesus with him to the city as they sought to support the family.

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“We’re a Nation of Laws…”

I often hear the retort “we’re a nation of laws.” Usually, it is given by someone justifying the exclusion of immigrants and a lack of compassion for their very difficult, often mind-numbingly horrific circumstances.

But what these folks probably don’t realize is that they are saying more about who they are than about immigrants. When you say “we’re a nation of laws,” you are setting a standard for yourself–and a good one.

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Jesus and Fig Trees

Did you ever read something in the Bible and wonder what you just read? So, you read it again. It still makes no sense. You try again. Nothing.

Here’s an example from Matthew 21:18–19. Jesus arrived in Jerusalem and was hungry. He saw a fig tree, but he went to it, he found no fruit, only leaves. Jesus said to the tree, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the tree “withered at once.” Huh?

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