Time And A Created Universe

I am speculating that few people would argue with the concept that all life forms exist as developing entities that are superimposed on an intangible flow we call time. As self-conscious humans, we seem to have an innate awareness of the advance of “something” where change can be perceived as rather sudden and dramatic or almost imperceptible. Our lives are lived with this backdrop of measured, forward advance in units ranging from nanoseconds to eons. We are all familiar with our time-reckoning devices such as clocks and calendars as everyday aids to help govern our daily behaviors through the passage of our lives.

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An Unequivocal Condemnation of Family Separation

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, essential to protecting the integrity of human beings within the family of nations, reminds us that “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” History teaches us that this cruelty is at its worst when it is rationalized by leadership, justified by law, and made defensible by appeals to sacred writings. The voices of the many are responsible to speak out against such aberration from our shared humanity, wherever in the world it is found. Silence and inaction equate to complicity.
When a nation claims the mantle of self-evident truths “under God”, it bears a special responsibility to act in accordance with these truths under divine precept. And when a nation is made up of a multitude of families, each with their religious traditions, philosophies, and ethical beliefs, that nation bears a further responsibility to uphold the freedoms that families require to flourish.

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Alchemy of Healing

The courage we borrow, the courage we bring
Shall bind us in strength to the healing we sing
The courage to face any wound that we fear
Shall bind us in beauty and bless every tear

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A Word of Hope

A couple days ago, I asked my social media friends how they were feeling right now and if they were holding up under the stress of the news. More than 300 people commented. The most often used words were “exhausted,” “angry,” “sad,” “overwhelmed,” and “helpless.”

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The Battle for Human Decency Moral Outrage and the Politics of Chaos

Tearing apart families at the border has touched a raw nerve in the American psyche, finally. We have protested somewhat when cops shot young black men. We have responded with increasing acceptance as our children are murdered in their schools. We have done nothing as millions of our fellow Americans suffer infrastructure collapse in Puerto Rico. Each of these crises alone should have forced us into the streets to demand what human decency requires. But then the moment passes, and America continues its slow but increasing decline into incivility. The same decline may be happening world wide, but this is our country, our problem.

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Reconnection

In this coming of age story, a man tries to run from a broken relationship by taking a trip to the Himalayas, but finds himself stuck in a unusual Indian town…
 

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Jeff Sessions’ Outrageous Bible Interpretation

The recent statement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, defending the horrific separation of children from refugee parents on the basis of his tortured reading of Romans chapter 13, as well as Donald Trump’s recent statement that he wants Americans to treat him the way North Koreans obey their dictator, illustrate the critical need for our churches to stand publicly for a radically different version of the faith and for a very different direction for our country.

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Monetizing the Earth

The kind of despair that prompted ancient religious communities to write warnings of an Apocalypse that comes from the judgment of God is out of place in our modern era but it doesn’t mean that we cannot face an Apocalypse of our own making – an Apocalypse born of a breakdown of public conscience, a shift from the ethics of democracy to the violent oppression of a financially driven oligarchy that monetizes the earth and devalues human life.

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Love is All – Gungor Music Video

Michael and Lisa Gungor are curators of the Grammy-nominated musical collective simply known as Gungor. The duo uses their skills as accomplished song writers and multi-instrumentalists to tell honest and forthright stories – some personal and some allegorical. Together they’ve tapped their considerable musical reserves to blur genres and break expectations creating a unique magnetic expression.

Gungor is in the midst of their most ambitious endeavor to date called One Wild Life, which is comprised of three full-length albums – Soul, Spirit and Body. On August 7, 2015, they kicked off the album trilogy with One Wild Life: Soul, which debuted as the #15 album on the iTunes Alternative chart. “One Wild Life: Spirit,” released on March 25, 2016. The final piece of the album trilogy concludes with One Wild Life: Body, which releases on September 30, 2016. While each record carries with it its own distinct vibe, the album series presents a body of work that celebrates the adventure and challenges faced by Michael and Lisa Gungor since the release of their album I Am Mountain in 2013.

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Racism at our Core: The Divided United States

The US is built with layer upon layer of racism. The most obvious example is that the US was populated mostly by western Europeans who massacred their way across the frontier, wiping out whole cultures of people along the way.

Racism is a driving force even in our education and health care systems. How can this be?

We Americans just don’t see each other as members of the same family and society. If we did, it would be easy to convince each other of the value of investing in each other. We act very differently when we have that sense of shared commonality with others.

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King David the Louse

King David has long been one of my Biblical heroes—or so I thought. The story of David versus Goliath is a powerful metaphor for facing life’s challenges. The little guy takes on the big and the powerful—and wins.

I always envisioned the great King David as the prototype for who and what the Messiah should be: a powerful leader, admired by all, who would lead the chosen people to achieve the highest standards.

Then I bought the Great Courses DVDs on the Old Testament, which consist of twenty-four thirty-minute lectures by Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, a Biblical scholar from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

In lecture sixteen, Dr. Levine talked about who King David really was. That lecture was an eye opener—and not a nice one!

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‘Welcoming the Stranger’ new from Humankind’s Spiritual Care Podcast

Stories of caregivers who foster personal transformation

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Hastening Change in the Church

In this episode of Faith And Reason 360 we are honored to welcome author, scholar, and scribe of the popular monthly newsletter “Connections,” Barbara Wendland.

Join us as Barbara discusses the need for a radical update of creed, attitude, and structure in the Christian church, whose practices, Wendland says, are outdated—and this behind-the-times attitude, though revered as traditional by many, comes at the expense of Church success. The world has changed dramatically since the 3rd century; is the Church ready to catch up?

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The Other Side of Anger

I am convinced that the majority of us are people of hope. If we didn’t have hope we would find it difficult to get up in the morning or put one foot in front of the other as we struggled to get through ordinary and even difficult days. However, I believe it is important to know there is a place for anger to be embedded in hope and to spur us to release compassionate action.

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How Can We Help the Homeless This Summer?

Living as a homeless person is hard enough as it is. However, when you have to endure harsh weather conditions, like a heatwave, many homeless individuals may find themselves in an even tougher situation. As a result, the underprivileged need our help more than ever during the summer months.

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American Christian Nationalism

The level of insanity and chaos is so widespread out there, and getting worse I felt I needed to address a pressing issue.

The issue is: the notion that the U.S of A. is a Christian nation, or was a Christian nation, or should be, a Christian nation, is pure propaganda; not to mention unconstitutional. As Christians, we should stop trying to pretend otherwise. Unfortunately, White Christian Nationalism is rearing its ugly head, mostly due to white Christian evangelicals. Some background history.

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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.

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The Trouble with Kings

President Trump has shocked the world with his announcements of imperial power to pardon himself or to command that the judiciary end investigations or dismiss a special counsel. However, he isn’t the first or the last head of state to lean towards tyranny. Though in times of instability and fear, the majority may long for a strong leader, history has shown us how dangerous it is to give away democracy. As I Samuel stated so well, Kings tend to be self-serving and we will always be sorry if we allow an imperial king to arise out of our apathy or indifference.

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Progressing Spirit

An inclusive and pioneering exploration of Theology, Spirituality and Current Events

With thousands of subscribers around the globe, Progressing Spirit is the world’s leading outlet for an intelligent, inclusive, and pioneering exploration of today’s theological, spiritual, and social advancements.

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Undivided: Coming Out, Becoming Whole, and Living Free from Shame by Vicky Beeching

One Woman’s Fight for LGBT Equality in the Church

Vicky Beeching, called “arguably the most influential Christian of her generation” in The Guardian, was an international poster girl for evangelical Christianity as a recording artist and worship leader, but she was living with a debilitating inner battle: she was gay. The tens of thousands of traditional Christians she sang in front of were unanimous in their view: They staunchly opposed same-sex relationships and saw homosexuality as a grievous sin. Vicky knew that if she ever spoke up about her identity it would cost her everything. But eventually, she did.

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Toxic Theology: 
Religious Beliefs that Hurt Instead of Heal


In October 2015 a television news crew covered the story of a ten year-old boy named Kyler Bradley who was diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. The crew filmed Kyler in his classroom surrounded by his friends, while the teacher instructed the children to “pray for a miracle.” The reporter said: “Kyler believes in miracles. So do his classmates. Their teacher planted that idea when she told 30 ten year-olds about Kyler’s cancer.”

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Christology in the African context

Prof. Dr. Philomena Njeri Mwaura (University of Nairobi) speaks about African theology and christology at the IWM conference on “Christ and the religions” in Frankfurt.

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Living the Quaker Way: Discover the Hidden Happiness in the Simple Life

The long-held priorities of Quakerism–simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality–are so universally attractive and so urgently needed in today’s world, it begs the question, Is there a little bit of Quaker in all of us? As an antidote to the complexities and challenges of modern life, award-winning author Philip Gulley offers the opportunity to participate in a world where the values of the Quaker way bring equity, peace, healing, and hope. The Quaker Way invites readers to encounter the defining commitments of the Religious Society of Friends, and shows how those ideals can be incorporated in personal and public life to bring renewal and eliminate the clutter that is keeping us from deeper spirituality. His audience is a new generation of seekers who may be disillusioned with religious institutions and strictures but yet are deeply interested in spiritual matters. In the end, Gulley’s invitation isn’t to a centuries old church, but to an honest, peaceful, and promising way of life.

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What did Jesus really mean?

A Refreshing Rearticulation of Honest to God Truth

From his saying “This is my body” when breaking bread and “This is my blood” when pouring wine at what has since been referenced as The Last Supper with his disciples (see Matthew 26), it is clear that Jesus rationally grasped as well as mystically (that is, transpersonally) identified with the Oneness of Creation. If what he meant to communicate by way of such sayings had been truly apprehended, such utterances may indeed have been foundational in establishing an ecologically sane, holistically Lifeaugmentative civilization.

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Political Salesmanship and Christian Morality

  The reason I speak to them in parables is that ‘seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand.’ (Matthew 13:13)   Has overt Christian involvement in politics made public …

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Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling doesn’t crumple our opponents

As a black lesbian in this Trump administration, I now feel like I am unquestionably moving into a new Jim Crow era reestablishing discriminatory laws targeting LGBTQ Americans. I grew up knowing about racist placards that read “Colored Water Fountain,” “Waiting Room For Colored Only,” ”We Serve Whites Only, and “No N-word Allowed, to name a few.

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Ten Questions to Ask Your Pastor (and fellow parishioners)

How do you feel about me asking you some questions that may be hard for you to answer truthfully? Are you willing to tell me what you really think and feel and believe, even if it could get you into trouble with the church? And how can I support you if you do get in trouble for being fearless and telling your truth?

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Moon Song | Gungor

Gungor is in the midst of their most ambitious endeavor to date called One Wild Life, which is comprised of three full-length albums – Soul, Spirit and Body. On August 7, 2015, they kicked off the album trilogy with One Wild Life: Soul, which debuted as the #15 album on the iTunes Alternative chart. “One Wild Life: Spirit,” released on March 25, 2016. The final piece of the album trilogy concludes with One Wild Life: Body, which releases on September 30, 2016. While each record carries with it its own distinct vibe, the album series presents a body of work that celebrates the adventure and challenges faced by Michael and Lisa Gungor since the release of their album I Am Mountain in 2013.

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Musing of a Progressive Christian Layman: Was Moses Hebrew or Egyptian?

Since Moses’ name is similar to the name of the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose (or Tuthmosis) III, many scholars speculate that Moses was Egyptian royalty.

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Creation and the Cross: The Mercy of God for a Planet in Peril

In this fresh creative approach to theology, Elizabeth Johnson asks how we can understand cosmic redemption in a time of advancing ecological devastation. In effect, how can we extend the core Christian belief in salvation to include all created beings? Immediately this question runs into a formidable obstacle: the idea that Jesus’s death on the cross was required as atonement for human sin– a theology laid out by the eleventh-century theologian St. Anselm.

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Practice being who you want to be.

If you want to be angry, practice that.
If you want patience, practice that.

There is nothing that does not become lighter through habit and familiarity. – Shantideva

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Jesus the Tough Guy

http://peacelovejoyhope.com/jesus-tough-guy/

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Returning the Genie to Its Bottle: A Christian Strategy to End the Horror of Nuclear War

During the Cold War years, the United States and the Soviet Union built nuclear bombs. By 1986, the U.S. arsenal included 23,000 such bombs with the Soviet arsenal reaching 40,000. Each of these bombs was, at minimum, several times more powerful than the nuclear bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1946. The yield of some of the larger bombs was 1,000 times more powerful than the ones used at the end of World War 11.

These national security policies of the two states were insane, morally bankrupt. An all out war between the two countries would have ended human life on the planet. And we came so close!

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LOVE Has Died. LOVE Is Risen. LOVE Will Come Again, and Again, and Again! – Pluralism Sunday

Pluralism challenges us to move beyond all four of these responses to the other. As Pete puts it, “… in a genuine encounter with the other, at first I see you as weird and monstrous.

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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Social change comes about when a prophet or a small prophetic community advocates for a change to the status quo. Ethics is never subject to majority vote but is, instead, sponsored by tiny minorities who are willing to speak truth to power. Therefore, progressive churches will never be mega churches and very few large churches will ever offer substantive challenge to popular society. Those who are willing to do the work of a prophet must be willing to pay the price of being ignored, derided, even fought, but if your cause is right, time is on your side.

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What’s happening to Pride?

While pride events are still fraught with divisions, at their core, pride events are an invitation for communities to connect their political activism with their celebratory acts of song and dance in its continued fight for justice. They should highlight the multicultural aspect of joy and celebration that symbolizes not only our uniqueness as individuals and communities but also affirms our varied expressions of LGBTQIA life in America.

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