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.)

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The relevancy of The Old Testament today

Are there parts of the Old Testament that are said to be relevant today and why?

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Is God punishing Texas & Florida for the governments they elected or … ?

Many in the Right Wing fringe blamed Hurricane Sandy and other disasters on gays and Liberals. Could it be time to analyze why Texas and Florida are the two states that God sent Hurricanes to decimate this season?

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Spiritual but Not Religious Should Be a Phase in Life, Not a Way of Life

Do you identify as spiritual but not religious? If so, you are certainly not alone.

According to a recent Pew Research report, one-fifth of the adult population describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated. That’s a 15 percent increase from five years ago, and the percentage goes higher the younger you are. The “I am spiritual but not religious,” trend is the fastest-growing demographic in the U.S.

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USA’s First Certified Slaughter-free Dairy Opens at Gita Nagari

At the European Leaders’ Meetings this fall, ISKCON leaders from all over Europe discussed a common dilemma for devotees today: do we drink milk, an important staple of the ISKCON diet? Or do we avoid it, since today’s store-bought milk supports the slaughter industry?

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How You Become Like Your Enemies

I think this is what Jesus was warning us about when he told us to turn the other cheek. A punch in the cheek seems to demand a punch on the cheek in return. However, whether you “win” or not by punching the other person, the other side has controlled you and gotten you to play their game. Play this out long term, and you realize there is no winning as life simply deteriorates into an endless game of king of the hill where no one stays on top for long.

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What “Men on Boats” tell us about American History

“Men on Boats” is more than just a belly of laughs about ten men in four boats surveying an uncharted canyon. “Men on Boats” is an eye-opening and provocative comedy/drama about the polemics of white cisgender male power and privilege to conquer the wilderness girded by their unflinching God-given belief in the 19th-century doctrine of Manifest Destiny to do so. Also, these men had the power and privilege to write America’s history of exploring westward to spread “democracy” by conquering anything and anyone in their way.

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Resistance Bible Study

(This is the introduction to a weekly Bible study I’m starting for students at USC. A few days ago, I finished reading a remarkable little book that my dear cousin Judy sent me: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder, a Yale history professor who incisively diagnoses the present danger posed by Trump and the Republicans to the survival of democracy in this country, and offers prescriptions for action. I closed the book, took a deep breath, and resolved to do something new and different toward that end. This “Resistance Bible Study” is the result. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes! Any “musings” readers wishing to do their own version of this, please go for it – and keep me posted, too.)

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Selma 50th Anniversary Pilgrimage

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson, in an historic address to Congress, said: “At times history and fate meet in a single place to shape a turning point in man’s unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago in Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama.”

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What do you see as the ideal church?

If you were the moderator of the United Church of Canada with no restrictions… what would the church look like? What do you see as the perfect/ideal United Church of Canada?

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The Gospel Is Not Good News For Everyone

By Alexis James Waggoner for Sojourners

I’ve been operating under a false assumption. An unexamined theology, of my own making, that I have been forced to confront: The gospel is good news, but it is not good news for all. At least not in the way we want it to be.

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How to Respect Patient’s Religious Beliefs During Treatment

By Adventist University Academic Resource

In times of illness and injury, many people turn to religion and spirituality for comfort and healing. So it makes sense that these parts of a person’s life should be incorporated into their care. The good news is that there’s growing support in the medical community to address religious and spiritual issues in patient care. In fact, organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Family Physicians and American Nursing Association have stressed the need for greater understanding of a patient’s belief systems, particularly when dealing with treatment options and end-of-life issues.

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Support LGBTQ students with these resources

86% of LGBTQ students report being harassed at school. Jewlyes Gutierrez, a transgender teenager, reported bullying to her vice-principal for two years without recourse. Pushed to physically defend herself, she faced criminal assault charges while her two attackers only received suspensions.

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Spiritual Care During Times of Disaster

Spiritual health can often be a casualty of war in times of unprecedented upheaval and change. There are a number of shifts that occur in times of disaster in regards to an individual’s faith, beliefs and spiritual practices. I think sometimes this can get neglected or overlooked, especially by mainstream media coverage, and yet it is every bit as important as our emotional and physical well-being. People not only seek the basic survival needs – shelter, safety, water, food, sanitation and sleep – but they also yearn to make meaning of what is happening in relation to God and in relation to each other.

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Why ‘Works’ Are Necessary

A recent Pew Research Center poll has reopened the old debate about faith vs works–the line of scrimmage of the Protestant Reformation. Whereas Martin Luther and the heirs of the Reformation have always held that it is through faith alone that salvation occurs, many Protestants and Catholics today have a blended view of the role faith and works–at least, according to this poll (“works” is defined differently by different denominations, but could refer to any effort on the part of humankind, whether it is doing good deeds or following any religious prescription that guarantees that God will act a certain way after we do it).

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The World in a State of Extreme Transition

By Schuyler Brown and Daniel Pinchbeck for HighExistence

Communication is the tool we use to navigate change in this perishable, impermanent world. We talk about what’s happening and what’s coming. We use words to rally and activate citizens; to inform and educate people; to alleviate or aggravate fears, depending on our intentions. Humans use language to make sense of things — even those things that are happening at a scale beyond our grasp. As Wittgenstein said, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” And so, while it may seem like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic (let’s hope not!), reevaluating the language of climate change can offer a fresh perspective on where we are and where we’re headed.

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Hurricane Harvey’s Homosexual Problem?

Since the intentional misreading of the Sodom and Gomorrah story in Genesis 19 in the Bible where the twin cities were supposedly destroyed because of homosexual depravity, the causes of natural disasters always find ways to be placed on the backs of LGBTQ Americans. It has become an easy go-to explanation. And, usually by Bible-thumping religious conservatives, or, in Ann Coulter’s case, a worn out right-wing conservative pundit needing free publicity by any means necessary.

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Spirituality outside the context of religion

  Question & Answer   Mike from SanFrancisco asks: Question: I am interested in spirituality but not in religion but isn’t spirituality the same as religion? Answer: By Rev. Matthew Fox Recently I had a thoughtful discussion …

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