Questions for Conviviality

What questions can you ask to help move an acquaintance into a real friendship?

What questions are worth savoring – pondering – considering – without being in a hurry for answers?

What questions take us deeper into our own hearts, and into the hearts of others?

Here is a list of questions that can enrich your relationship with yourself and with other people. When you ask them, ask with genuine curiosity and openness, withholding judgments or preconceptions. Make room in your soul for surprising answers. Ask with a desire to learn, grow, know, and love.

read more

A proposal: Fearless Sunday – A Day for Theological “Outing” (Second Sunday in September – 9/9/2018)

  So, Reverend: how many more Sundays, how many more years, how many more decades do your folks have to wait before you tell them the truth about what you really do and don’t believe?  If you …

read more

Samaritan Care

A study guide for churches on health care policy in America

Here I offer a church “adult study” that can be completed in one after-worship program, or expanded to multiple sessions. It focuses on one of the most important issues facing voters in the upcoming midterm elections. Use as you wish! And please give me feedback on how you use it and how it is received.

read more

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 …

read more

Meditation in Mud

“Dorodango” is a Japanese word that means “mud dumpling”. It is a Japanese art form that can be created in a variety of ways. Dorodangos are made with nothing but dirt, water, and some time and effort with your hands. I find the process of making them to be meditative. It is a way of bringing myself fully into the present moment. It is like making a miniature Earth out of the Earth. There is something truly magical about making an almost perfect sphere just by slapping a ball of mud, rolling it around in one’s hands, and then polishing it till it develops a lovely sheen.

read more

Gathering

Have you come here this morning looking for hope and good news?
Yes! We have been searching for ways to draw new meanings from our old stories.

read more

The Arts of Ritual

  Recently, my daughter, Liz Burklo, invited me to speak with a group of the social work student interns she supervises. She wanted me to equip them with skills in conducting rituals that can serve the communities …

read more

Got the holiday blues? Here’s a resource for resistance AND renewal!

A new way to experience the holidays..together.

Is it that time of year already?

Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and Christmas is coming…how are you feeling?

Overwhelmed? Resolute? Confused? Curious?

read more

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.

read more

The Practicing Democracy Project

What kind of spiritual practices help us build a robust and healthy society, where citizens are united, at a deep level that transcends ideology, race, and class, around a shared spiritual and moral vision of what America should be? That’s what The Practicing Democracy Project strives to answer, by bringing you thought-provoking and inspiring articles, books, excerpts, quotes, topics, and spiritual practices, with more to come.

read more

An Urgent Message for the trees

Our love can create miracles and magic in every moment. Our love can speak to the spirit of the ancient stones and trees. Our love can sing light into the darkest of days, be a voice of answered prayer, or an unexpected gift in a moment of great need.

read more

Breaking Through: The Relationship Repair Game

The Relationship Repair Game is a collection of some of the most effective conflict resolution tools and relationship repair strategies used by Mediators, Counselors, Therapists, Social Workers, and Life Coaches.

Whether you are looking for couples communication exercises or workplace conflict tools, this game guides you through your current conflict while building valuable communication skills for all relationships.

read more

Faith Communities Rise in Support of Housing for the Homeless: Talking points for religious leaders

(I wrote this in my role with the campaign in Los Angeles to get neighborhood acceptance for permanent supportive housing projects, now funded by our recent successful campaign for City Measure HHH, which provides $1.2 billion for construction of thousands of units. It was one thing to convince voters to pass this ambitious proposal; it is quite another to convince citizens to support the construction of such units in their neighborhoods. We are mounting a sub-campaign to enlist religious leaders and communities to help lead this effort. These talking points also may be useful in other cities which are struggling to address the crisis of homelessness.)

read more

FaithandReason® presents The Challenge of Paul, featuring John Dominic Crossan

The D. L. Dykes, Jr. Foundation (DLDF), producers of FaithandReason®, will distribute, free of charge, The Challenge of Paul, an extraordinary video learning experience with John Dominic Crossan (Themes 1 and 2, plus a digital resource guide – a $150 value) to 1,000 or more churches across the country.

read more

Choosing a Bishop Spong book for your group

Boy you are asking a tough question that begs for a good response. I suppose that is why this ended up on my desk. Frankly the choice would depend on the level of sophistication of your group.

read more

Communities of Hope

Practices to build hope include dialogues, just getting out there, prayer, and imagining a house of hope. We do what we can, and there is plenty to do.

On November 9, 2016, the United States concluded a blisteringly polarized, vicious political campaign cycle. The results — especially the surprise upset of Hillary Clinton by Donald J. Trump in the presidential election — stunned people as devastating or miraculous, depending on different standpoints.

Concerned about civil rights, immigration, international relations, civility, multiculturalism, and a host of other issues, many people found hope in short supply after the election results came in.

read more

Healing Earth – Free Digital Textbook

International Jesuit Ecology Project

Loyola University Chicago and the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP) have launched Healing Earth, a free digital environmental science textbook. The textbook is intended for fourth-year secondary school students, first-year university students, adult learners, and independent learners worldwide. Unlike any other environmental science textbook, Healing Earth presents an integrated, global, and living approach to the ecological challenges we face on our extraordinary planet.

read more

How to Lead a Mindful Christianity Group

Using the book as a text, you can form a Mindful Christianity group in your home, church, or other setting. I recommend that the group have a “host” – a person designated to convene the group and keep it on schedule. The “host” need not be a trained mindfulness teacher or highly experienced meditator. Hosting is not formal teaching. I recommend that your group have a limit of fifteen people in order to ensure that participants feel able and willing to share their experiences. I suggest that the group maintain confidentiality about what goes on within it. I suggest that the group agree that should anyone in the group experience acute distress as a result of experiences that well up in the course of practice, the group will urge the person to seek professional therapeutic help, and then be welcomed back to the group when the acute disturbance has passed. (This is not an unusual consequence of beginning mindful prayer practice.)

read more