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 Challenge of Community: Sermon by Rev. Roger Ray

The comedian, Dave Berry, observed that if the person you are with is kind to you but mean to the waiter, the person you are with is not a good person. For progressive communities to thrive and gain influence both in the world of religion and in public policy, we simply must stop engaging in liberal cannibalism and find ways to lovingly network with people who are something other than a perfect match with our own beliefs and opinions. Michael Moore has predicted a 2020 win Donald Trump, not because he deserves to be re-elected but because of the fractured nature of progressives in America. We really must do better.

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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.

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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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Robin Meyers Interview: What social justice issues matter most to you?

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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Race, Drugs, and Prisons

The War on Drugs has failed to reduce drug use but it has succeeded in the original plan of the Nixon administration which was to incarcerate minorities and political dissidents. In a magazine interview in 2016, John Ehrlichman confessed, “Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

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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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Broken for Good

BROKEN FOR GOOD takes the general public on a wild ride into the upside down world of nonprofit management. Hailed as both provocative and uplifting BFG uses an “emperor has no clothes” approach to confront the “crazy-making” that’s paralyzed the charitable sector for the past fifty years. Relying on vivid story-telling BROKEN FOR GOOD “challenges the existing order of things” inspiring society to solve global problems by first transforming the nonprofits in whom they invest.

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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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Meaningful Work AND Meaningful Salaries!

The weakness of the labor unions in our day has eroded the wages, health care benefits, job security, retirement programs, and even the safety of the workplace. When labor unions were growing, spiritual communities articulated the causes labor supported but in our era the church has been far too silent on labor issues. It isn’t just for union members that we need to find our prophetic voice, it is for the whole population because we all benefit when salaries are increased and the challenges of economic vulnerability in retirement, illness, and unemployment.

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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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Family and Politics: Why I’m Against ‘Keeping the Peace’

There are times when we need to speak up.

We live in an age of sharp division. According to the Pew Research Center, an “overwhelming majority” of Americans (86%) believe the country is more politically divided than it has ever been before. These political and ideological differences aren’t merely a matter of red or blue states; these same sharp divisions exist within many families, potentially alienating parents from children, sisters from brothers. When we disagree with those we love about some of our most closely held beliefs, must keeping the peace always mean keeping quiet?

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Happy 150th Birthday to LGBTI Activism

August 29 2017 marks the 150th birthday of LGBTI activism, which all started with Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the father of LGBTI activism and the first modern gay man.

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Heeding messages. Whose messages?

This article about messaging is in three parts:

• Part One: Michelangelo’s Biblical Errancy
• Part Two: Meaning and Message Are Intertwined
• Part Three: Asking You to Choose to Believe in Awe

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What Stage of Faith Are You In?

On March 9, David Felten, a Methodist pastor with a congregation in Fountain Hills, Arizona, published “How to Repeal and Replace Christianity’s Addiction to ‘Fake News’ and ‘Alternative Facts.’” He lays out the problems and then suggests a solution that quotes from James Fowler’s book, Stages of Faith (Harpercollins, 1981). I find these six stages very interesting because they answer some basic questions for me, such as why so many people, many well educated, seem stuck in fundamentalist thinking about Christianity.

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India.Arie Sings “I Am Light”

Watch as singer/songwriter India.Arie performs the song ‘I Am Light’ from her new album, ‘Songversation’

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KBOO Interview with Matthew Fox: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey

Was Merton Assassinated by the CIA?
This week I speak with someone who models activism, intellect and spirituality, Matthew Fox. Silenced by the Vatican for his views, he left the Catholic priesthood in the early 1980s. Matthew Fox is a theologian and activist who has written over 30 books.

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A Second Look at Jesus

If you are certain that your understanding of Jesus’ person and ministry is correct because it comes from the biblical gospels, then your first reaction to this article is that I am writing fantasy. Let me reassure you that I am very familiar with the content of the bible, I have studied theology, and I served in parish ministry for thirty-five years with a rather traditional view of Christianity.

However, seeds for change were planted during my ministry, and in retirement I have had opportunity to study the writings of a number of prominent theological scholars who have helped me to understand the gospels as ‘time sensitive’ writings. This has led to a radically different understanding of Jesus and his ministry, a change that has stimulated my faith journey. I will attempt to summarize my journey.

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Confluence

  It’s the coming together sometimes in not so wonderful ways sometimes with the cleansing power of justice like an ever rolling stream. I used to watch the mighty Ohio as a young boy. At the convergence …

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Civil Rights Memories 1963-64

Three years ago many classmates gathered for a fifty year reunion. It was reassuring to hear many of them tell how this civil rights involvement shaped their later careers, where in different forms and contexts they became involved in many efforts to fight the results of bigotry, injustice, poverty and ignorance. Over a dozen went to Selma in ’65. One, as a rookie pastor, founded the first integrated day care in Louisiana, shortly after finishing seminary in ’68. Many are involved these days in welcoming immigrants, fighting for health, housing and nutrition and opposing injustice and discrimination in many forms.

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Undaunted Grace

The earth turns, seasons turn,
and we turn homeward, seeking
a place we’ve never been.

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My Day With Sheriff Joe Arpaio

We got to go behind the curtain and see the real Wizard of Oz that day, and came away unimpressed. Arpaio was all smoke and mirrors, his blather all for show, devoid of substance. When we watched Fox “News” that night, my students were horrified at the way their conversation with him was misrepresented. At Arpaio’s jail, it was obvious that his deputies disrespected him for being more of a media maven than a sheriff. What’s so tough about a sheriff who can’t win an election or a beat a court case?

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Interview with Toni Renolds – “What is the story of your faith journey?”

Toni Reynolds, a Union Theological Seminary student and “Young Leader in Religion”, shares her thoughts on what it means to be a Christian.

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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