An Open Letter to My Brothers (in light of #MeToo)

[Note: I realize that many of you who read my reflections aren’t ‘brothers,’ but sisters and non-binary siblings. But I’ve been encouraged to share these words – originally urgently written and shared on social media – more carefully and more widely, in hopes that we male-bodied types can do better. If you are not male, I beg your indulgence – and please feel free to share this with a man in your life who could use the challenge + encouragement.]

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The word “God”

In religious as well as other history, when we don’t know our own history, we are condemned to repeat it. Condemned not by anyone else, not even “God”, but by ourselves and the consequences of our own willful ignorance.

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Post from Nicole Stamp about concrete ways men can help in regards to the #metoo campaign.

If you feel uncomfortable during conversations about sexism (or racism, or ableism, or cultural appropriation, or whatever- because all these systems are related, google “kyriarchy” to learn more), the only correct response is to be quiet and listen and try to focus on the topic at hand rather than centre your own feelings. It’s hard. It’s worthwhile.
Thanks for trying to be decent men. We see you.”

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2 scientists dumped 12,000 tons of oranges in the Amazon Rainforest.

Two scientists dumped 12,000 tons of oranges in the Amazon Rainforest. 16 years later, the result is breathtaking

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The Death and Resurrection of God: The Story in a Post-Christian World

A paper presented to the Living Traditions Symposium Atlantic School of Theology. Oct. 13, 2017

I propose in this presentation to give a glimpse of the material, spiritual, and historical reality as we can now understand it, and explore its implications for Christianity and all religions.

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Crusade Against Catharism

Please, God, teach us to be accepting of others: those who worship differently, different races, sexual orientation, socio-economic level – any and everyone who is different from us for whatever reason. God, you created us and pronounced your creation good. We have no right to be judge and jury. Help us to look inward, recognize our own faults, confess them, and attempt to correct them. We never want to experience another Crusade.

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Living a Life Worth Living

M. Scott Peck writes in the Road Less Traveled that there are four basic tools of discipline that allow a person to live a problem solving life rather than a life problem avoiding (which argues leads not only to sorrow but also to mental illness). This sermon addresses the first two of those four: the ability to delay gratification and acceptance of responsibility. While most of this channel’s material addresses systemic injustice this sermon and the one that will follow next week are more personally focused on how we avoid “renting space in our skull” to the painful challenges of life.

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Christians and Gun Ownership

What are your views about so many Christians being in favor of gun ownership? Doesn’t that completely contradict the Jesus of peace we read about in the Bible?

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Interview with Robin Meyers: Is there a future for church?

Interview with Robin Meyers: Is there a future for church?”

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!

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How do you recognize a spiritual abuser?

By Inas Younis for Patheos

  Sometimes a quest for truth is really just a quest for the self-esteem that’s lost every time the inconsistencies of life bulldoze our metaphysical house of cards. Like when we realized that that woman dressed in …

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The Moral Revival this Nation Needs

Sermon by Mike Kinman

“Far from Israel’s moral core, we are a nation where ‘you shall not murder’ has become a suggestion, and ‘you shall not steal’ is enforced with a gun and a prison cell if you are wearing a hoodie, and ignored with a wink and a nod if you are wearing a suit…”

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Evil

The word “Evil” as defined by Abrahamic thought has left the Western vernacular.

Time to bring it back.

Here is the question: According to the Abrahamic definition are Trump and his sycophants persons of evil?

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Route 91 to Universal Health Care

  Do all four hundred and eighty-nine wounded survivors of the Route 91 concert massacre deserve access to excellent, affordable health care to patch up their wounds, nurse them back to health, and manage care for long-term …

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Whitney Houston comes out posthumously

Houston exhibiting gender non-conforming behavior was no secret to those closest to her. The Daily Mail reported that Houston’s sister-in-law, Tina Brown, and her ex-bodyguard, Kevin Ammons, both believed Houston may have been a lesbian because she “had wild sex sessions with women while out of her mind on crack cocaine.”

But it was her ex-spouse, Brown, who over time came to believe Whitney married him with an ulterior motive.

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Long Overdue Reform of Gun Control

Not because of Vegas (or Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Orlando, Dallas, or even Sandy Hook) and not because of the 50 women who are murdered by their significant other every month, but because a predictable 32,000 Americans die every year from gunshot wounds and another 100,000 are wounded. No other western democracy comes anywhere close to our astonishingly high numbers and we cannot just nibble at the edges of this issue any longer. It isn’t “bump stocks” or semi-automatic weapons that gives us this annual bloodbath. It is primarily hand guns but on the whole, the USA is holding nearly half of the guns in the world and we just have to move in the direction of more sane and effective gun laws.

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Worldwide today: Christian beliefs in salvation

Do you have any reliable estimates of the number of Christians worldwide who do not subscribe to the viewpoint that “salvation comes only through Jesus Christ”?

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“I Have Disarmed Myself” | The Wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan

Someone said to Murshid, “I heard them talk against you.”

“Did they?” said he. “Have you also heard anyone speak kindly of me?”

“Yes,” the person exclaimed.

“Then,” said Murshid, “this is the light and shade to life’s portrait, making the picture complete.”

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Who’s Listening?

By Andrew Forsthoefel for Garrison Institute

Andrew Forsthoefel on the gift of being deeply listened to during an eleven-month walk across the United States.

Where would you find yourself if your need to be right and your addiction to certainty dissolved into a willingness to listen? Who would you be, then? And who would we be together—as a country, as a planet—if each one of us actually knew what listening was and how to do it because we had, over the course of our lives, been deeply listened to? This kind of listening does have to be learned and that is the only way to learn it: to receive it.

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Why We Stay: What The History Of Mormonism Reveals About The Origins Of “Rae”

By Max Mueller for Religion Dispatches

Americans cannot understand our race past and present without grappling with the power of religion—in particular religious writings—to unify and divide. If race is primarily a construction of culture, then the original construction site was on the page, in particular, as I mentioned before, on the pages of our religious writings. And I’m not just talking about sacred scriptures. I’m talking about all the writings that America’s religious people produce in relationship (intertextually) with their religious scriptures. From public writings like sermons and legal codes, to private writings like journals and letters, these writings all make up what I call the “Mormon archive,” which is a smaller part of the “American archive.” The archive, I argue, is not just a physical and metaphorical space where (race) history is preserved. It is also where (race) history is made.

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Sometimes You Just Have to Be a Bitch!

Sometimes, we have to erase the boundaries that we have drawn and let some really annoying people in. Sometimes, we have to be a bitch so that we can push people beyond the boundaries. When push comes to shove, this being human requires that we live in community and life in community is messy and it is annoying, but life in community can also shape us in ways that open us to new ways of being human.

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Why Guadalupe?

In the lowest middle niche, there is a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe directly behind a statue of Jesus on a cross.

Every time I see that Lady, I get ticked off! Why? I can never figure out why this fantasy person is so important or why she deserves all this adoration. Let me briefly share her story. Then I’ll tell you why she ticks me off.

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The LGBTQAlphabet – six letters will never be enough

For this year’s Pride, we collaborated with The LGBT Community Center, NYC’s home and hub for the LGBTQA community, to create a film celebrating the entire LGBTQA Alphabet—twenty-six ways to share who you are and how you love. Because all voices deserve to be heard.

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Fear. (It’s ok to fear.)

I sent out an email a few weeks ago about fear.

I wrote that I was scared.

And I was when I wrote it.

I am not in that sharp place of re-surfaced terror today.

When I wrote, I wrote from a place of fear. My sense of alarm was apparent to those who read my words. (I am thankful to be a powerful enough writer to express my emotions in my words.)

Allowing myself to be scared made me feel I was not so alone. Support from so many allies followed, and that also made me feel I was not so alone.

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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.

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LGBTQ History Month’s Emerging Canon

Winston Churchill once said that “History is written by the winners.” When the Stonewall Riots occurred in 1969 the history of more than a century-long oppressed people finally got national attention. And, since that historical moment, the suppressed and closeted oral histories of our fierce and courageous LGBTQ brothers and sisters began to be documented – openly and uncensored.

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“How do your beliefs and spiritual values inspire you to do meaningful work in the world?

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Prayer of Confession

We stand today on blood soaked land we have inherited
From a centuries long heritage of violence
Which was born in the genocide of the indigenous
And whose industry was built by the forced labor of slaves.

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Tribalism, Narcissism, Nationalism, and their Offspring

The religious left often finds itself at odds with the marketplace but when it comes to refugees and the undocumented, there is a purely profit driven approach that can give spiritual people a reason to cheer. There is more than a moral reason not to deport the 80,000 DACA youth living in the USA, looked at purely for their law-abiding, tax-paying potential, we need for them to stay here! A similarly strong economic argument can be made in favor of granting citizenship to foreign students who come here to earn advanced STEM degrees. Looked at from either a spiritual/compassionate perspective, or from an economic viewpoint: we do not need a Muslim ban, we don’t need a wall on the Mexican border, and we need to be much more welcoming of refugees.

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The Academy of Holistic Theology & Spirituality

Offering quality progressive, inter-spiritual, and holistic higher education to ministers, para-ministers, church staff, and lay leaders.

    The Academy of Holistic Theology & Spirituality (AHTS) is a progressive, inter-spiritual, and holistic based center for higher learning that works to educate and assist in the development of forward-thinking leaders. Degree programs are designed to …

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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.

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Tea Infuser

Double wall Glass Water Bottle tea infuser tumbler with stainless strainer by Yaima.

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Taking One (Knee) for the Team

Race relations in the U.S.A. all too often play out like this:

African-American people: “We have a problem in this country with race, and it is important to us.”
White Americans: “Be quiet!”
African American people: “Lives are impacted both in the past and now.”
White Americans: “Get over it!”

I wish I could say this were an exaggeration. Sadly, I have seen these responses quite literally on the social media pages I manage and elsewhere.

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Bringing God Back

The problem with the Christian church in Western Europe is that it has little or no impact on the society at large. You can’t have an impact if the pews are empty. With the possible exception of Evangelical Protestants, the same trend is occurring in America, though at a slower rate. Museums are in our future too. Millennials are abandoning Christianity in record numbers. Like the people I spoke to in Denmark, they do not reject God but rather Christian doctrine.

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Excuse Me, Your Idols Are Showing: Why an Athlete Kneeling is Totally Biblical

By Kerry Connelly for Patheos

Many of the people who are sputtering and red in the face over the fact that athletes are kneeling are — no surprise here — Christians. White Christians. Christians who maybe have their gods a little confused, because I’m gonna take a hot second to say here: the flag is not supposed to be your god. The national anthem is not supposed to be your god. Excuse me, but your idols are showing, because if you’re more upset by an athlete respectfully taking a knee (and I’ll talk more about that in a minute) than you are about actual human lives being lost, then you should maybe add a Bible class to that Civics class you need to take. Also, maybe a Google spreadsheet class, because that program has this handy-dandy tool where you can number things and then sort your freaking priorities.
Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jerseygirljesus/excuse-idols-showing-athletes-kneeling-totally-biblical/#wV8Kl8ROyPaRr13s.99

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Survival @ 2.5 Minutes to Midnight

For 70 years, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has maintained the Doomsday Clock, a graphic representation of the level of danger to the planet from nuclear weapons and other threats. Partly because of the election of Donald Trump, it has moved the clock from 3 to 2.5 minutes from midnight. The danger has been dire for many decades, and now it is worse – but only by a small increment.

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I BELIEVE IN THE GOD WHOM JESUS KNEW ©

I believe in the God whom Jesus knew.
I love the God to whom Jesus prayed.
I follow, but erringly, the God
For whom John’s Gospel says
He spoke and acted (John 14:10),x
By whom and for whom he lived
With all the passion in his being.
That was why he came.

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