In an online course entitled, “A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment”, Week 1 Video 10: Prioritize but d not pursue Happiness, Rajagopal Raghunathan recommends that for greater fulfillment we should prioritize goals, rather than pursue them. He demonstrates what this means by using sleep as an example. To prioritize sleep we should do what brings a restful night—exercise, good diet and no arguing before bedtime! We cannot find good sleep by simply going to bed and willfully pursuing it; that will likely keep us awake! And this principle can be applied to other dilemmas; Overeaters Anonymous, for example advises members not to pursue weight loss but to prioritize abstinence and working their Twelve Step program. All healing platforms affirm: illumination by any name is a reward for doing what enables it.read more
How gracious can you be to someone while standing firm in the belief that their orientation is a sin? That’s how I was to my recollection. I wasn’t incensed or abrasive, I even pointed out that I wasn’t the type of Christian to ever stand with the signs that said God hated him (as if that would make me look better). When asked what my beliefs were about him being gay, I made all the standard arguments there were, while being as kind and respectful as I could. And at some point, I said I believed that if he prayed and sought God fervently that the feelings of same-sex attraction he had could go away.read more
As a musical collective, our mission is to be the motivation and inspiration for all that have become members of our Tribe. Within our global community, we have access to the tools needed to make changes, take action and spread awareness of how to live in harmony with Mother Gaia herself. We are honored to be a force of attraction for positive and creative minds during these often-corrupt times. With your trust and support, we humbly accept this role and speak our prayers of intention to take direct action… “Hoka Hey” means, “today is a good day to die”, but perhaps with your help, it could transform into a better day to live. Thank you again for your love and support. Tribe members, let us come together today to be the change that we wish to see tomorrow.read more
Back when I was 12, there was no preventative or after-care treatment for survivors of human trafficking. January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and it does my heart good to be a survivor leader helping to make that change today. My greatest strengths are the closeness I have with my survivor sisters and, honestly, my husband. They always told me, “I believe in you. I think you can do this. You are worthy.” My proudest moment was walking across the stage to receive my master’s. I was able to say, “Fuck everyone who said I wasn’t worth it. I did this. Not my body — me.”read more
You can complain that young kids are constantly attached to their smart phones. But you might be better served asking why their lives are so deprived of human interaction that they have been sucked into the internet so strongly. Drive through most US suburbs, cities and small towns, you won’t see kids playing in the yards, families talking on porches or town folk gathering for public entertainment. This is completely antithetical to how humans have always lived. Children grow up desperately lonely and disconnected from others. Along comes the internet and suddenly they can be plugged in to people all over. Can we blame them? Then yes, over time, they lose (or never develop) the skills at interpersonal interaction.read more
What does it mean to live in a liberating, transformative faith community today? We need a different linguistic narrative along with a different set of cultural practices to give expression to this task. This means a new understanding of the Eternal Reality—the reality we call God—a new understanding of community and of the personal moral and ethical choices we make in our everyday lives. This also means new approaches to the language and symbols used in public worship for the Christian community (such as the meaning of communion, the response to scriptural texts, and the words used in sermons, hymns, congregational prayers and other forms of Christian liturgy).read more
First a quote from the January 20, 1961 Inaugural address of John F. Kennedy.
He ended it with the words:
“…. asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”
They were prescient words: “here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” Was the new President aware the moment he was speaking of the need for an American response to the ecological challenges facing the Nation? We do not know. However, it all became clear one year later when Rachel Carson published her seminal book Silent Spring. Along with many other Americans, the President too read the book. It had become an instant best-seller and the most provocative book in decades. It began the environmental movement in America.read more
A Facebook friend puzzled over my last post, wondering if it implied a kind of us-vs-them outlook. What I intended was assurance to those of us apprehensive about the Trump-Pence inauguration, including possible Trump voters, who may themselves now face loss of health care coverage, rising prices, diminished Social Security and Medicare benefits, reduced personal safety, and international insecurity.read more
Just now, mindfulness – defined in secular terms, studied scientifically, and practiced ubiquitously – has come fully into the cultural mainstream. Now is the time to rediscover it in the mainstream of Christian faith and practice, in the writings and practices of contemplatives throughout its history. Mindful prayer leads to fresh interpretation of Christian tradition, and reveals the Bible for what it is: not a book of facts, not a fixed set of prescriptions for behavior, but rather a collection of wisdom and poetry and myth made sacred by the ongoing human quest for intimate encounter with the Ultimate Reality.read more
What would you do if this was your brother/son/friend? Many of the brave and Peaceful Water Protectors of Standing Rock are now facing serious criminal charges! This is the moment for us to rise and show our gratitude for the people who risked their lives to protect our water.read more
“Sensuality may turn into a feverish hunt for rebirth… the sexual partner turns into a stand-in for various dream figures, phantasms in a stage-managed resurrection. These figures are all agents of immortality to be conquered or succumbed to many times over.” – Alan Harringtonread more
In Amen, Gretta Vosper, United Church minister and author of the controversial bestseller With or Without God, offers us her deeply felt examination of worship beyond conventional prayer, a new tradition built on love and respect rather than on the rituals of ancient beliefs.read more
These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!read more
It’s Black History month in the United States. Our new President has rolled out some truly terrifying Executive Orders his first dozen days in office. If you have a pulse you’re doubtless aware, so I won’t take up pixels enumerating them here – ’cause this post isn’t about him. These orders – with their policy and cultural ramifications – have led to some beautiful acts of resistance across the country and around the world.read more
Many of us are feeling post-election trauma and are sensitive to the great disturbance occurring in the “collective field”.
As difficult as this is, it is calling us as a spiritual community to galvanize our strength, stand together and stay fiercely connected to our core. It’s important to stay committed to our spiritual practices so we can be fully present.
Today I want to offer you some FREE tools to help you get grounded, centered, and ready to meet the challenges ahead.read more
In this book, Andrew and Carolyn mine the mystical wisdom of the ages that places joy at the core of our existence and purpose as a species, moving forward to consider in depth the myriad enemies of joy in our time. As we tend the fires of joy, we celebrate its seven flames and nurture its ubiquitous presence whether in the background or the foreground of our lives.read more
We’ve been robbed of the power of the story of Sodom. It should be a strong companion to Matthew 25:31-46, which also gives dire warnings for those who do not serve Jesus by feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger and the other Works of Mercy. It’s a path that ends in destruction.read more
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.)read more
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” (Carrie Fisher). Although the other person won’t die, resentment does poison Good. Yet we guard our resentments against a touch of forgiveness as if our lives depended upon it! In a state of resentment all forgiveness retreats to a mental blank spot. But forgiving is the only way to fully recover from the effects of toxic resentment. Through doctrines and teachings all major faiths advocate for forgiveness as essential for faith fulfillment. In secular life too forgiveness is recognized as necessary for well-being. But forgiveness has not always meant what it does today.read more
Partisan hostility is not new but social media has certainly ratcheted up the rhetoric so that we quickly fall into hostile name calling of one another and asserting that every politician we don’t like is just like Hitler. In this time when so many important ethical issues are up in the air we cannot be silent but we should be exacting in our honesty. We need the courage to raise our voices in advocacy and even in protest but we must embrace the spiritual character that asks us to speak the truth in love so that we can persuade rather than alienate those with whom we communicate.read more
ABN AMRO, the Dutch bank, today announced that it will end its financing for Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) if the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) will be constructed without the consent of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, or if further violence will be used. The Dutch Fair Finance Guide, Greenpeace Netherlands and BankTrack welcome the decision of ABN AMRO, and call on other banks, including ING in the Netherlands, to follow this example and end all outstanding finance to the pipeline and the companies behind it if no agreement is reached with the Sioux Tribe about the pipeline.read more
Trump’s public statement commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day omitted any mention of Judaism, anti-Semitism or the Nazis’ systematic program exterminating European Jewry. The omission was not only hurtful to remaining Holocaust survivors, their families, and friends, but it was dismissive of its six million victims during World War II.read more
As a youth I was fascinated by a custom practiced among Pacific Northwest Native Americans called the Potlatch. I capitalize the Chinook term here, though my OED does not, because it seems every bit as sacred as Christmas and Easter.
Having accumulated much, a person (often a chief) would give away or burn all possessions and start afresh. Though my dictionary implies this was a show of wealth and prestige rather than generosity and humility, I’d say Christmas or any show of charity and humility is practiced with similar mixed motives, so why quibble?read more
Sometimes our greatest breach with Scripture is not when we outright contradict it–it’s what we choose to prioritize, diminish or outright ignore. There is a time for everything under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We need to put first things first and second things second.
Much of Christianity focuses on salvation plans and doctrinal ideas.read more
Her message is simple- it’s time to share the love. love. love.read more
Rereading this sermon from 2014, I am struck by the power of Jesus, Gandhi, and MLK’s saltiness to address our current need for seasoning! In the wake of the tragedy at the Islamic Cultural Centre in …read more
Communications Strategy isn’t the only thing a church does, but it has a way of revealing what a congregation values – and where its future lies.
Churches also engage with new members, train their people in spiritual disciplines, raise up effective leaders, pay special attention to young adults, and do mission. They worship, they extend pastoral care, they educate, and they transform lives.
In other words, a church has a full plate. Communications Strategy tends to shape what gets on that plate.read more
That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with action, spiritual practice.
Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world’s traditions–Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve-Step spirituality–to present not a smorgasbord, but a synthesized, modern view of embodied spirituality. It turns inward to examine the human condition, meeting personal suffering with heartfelt insight and transformative practice. It steers clear of the wishful thinking, unfounded beliefs, and cynicism that define much of the spirituality genre.
I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my father. –John 15:15
These words of Jesus to his disciples teach that the mutuality of friendship is at the heart of a Christian community. When baptized into that community, we accept this mutuality and desire to serve others. Kevin Thew Forrester says, “We can go so far as to say that to be a member of the community entails being a minister. . . Baptism and ministry are two sides of the same coin.” This ministry is the responsibility of all baptized members of the church not merely the ordained.read more
Imagine that the entire state of Connecticut, with a population larger than those of 20 states, was barred from participation in the presidential election, and we see how the Electoral College distorts the will of the people. Ultimately it must be eliminated with a Constitutional amendment that provides for a direct election of the president by the American people as a whole.read more
With all the tension in the world that can divide us, this video is a reminder that we are better together. We have a lot more in common, than we might think, and the differences only make us stronger. It is simple: if we dance through live together, we can live together.read more
Lent is a kind of sabbatical: a break from the usual routines of our lives, over the forty-day period from Ash Wednesday until Easter. On the Sabbath, in the Jewish tradition, the prohibition from work is more precisely a break from doing things that interfere with Nature’s processes. According to the Torah, on the Sabbath you can pick up an apple that naturally falls from a tree onto the ground, but you can’t pick it from the tree. Mindful Christian meditative prayer practice is very similar. In it, we take time to see things as they are, without interfering with them or trying to fix or change them. Once we know what is, we can then think and act wisely on what ought to be.read more