The Love Affair Doesn’t End With a Few Apologies: The SBC and Racism

The SBC has done much in recent years to leave racism in the past. Public apologies and resolutions have been forthcoming denouncing racism and all its trappings. Milestones include the 1995 apology for its complicity in slavery, the enthusiastic election of an African-American president, Fred Luter, in 2012, and the 2016 repudiation of the Confederate Flag. So this year, when a resolution was proposed to denounce the recent resurgence of white supremacy and the alt-right movement in US culture, it seemed like the stage was set for a routine—but deepening—commitment by the SBC to distance itself from racism in all its forms.

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Why Interfaith (and Interspiritual) Studies and Awareness are Epically Important in Today’s World

When we ponder religion and faith, we often think of their more modern day manifestations and how much devastation and destruction has been done in the name of religion. It is hard to remember that most major religions were born out of a profound mystical experience, flowing from an inner realization, which was then attempted to be shared via language and action. My own feelings toward religion have been complicated, confusing and challenging. Growing up in a very liberal, progressive Christian church, I had a meaningful and positive experience of the community that gathers around an organized religion and yet it was impossible for me to forget the vast atrocities which have been done in the name of Christianity over the last 2000 years. I also felt tired of the same mistranslated, seemingly irrelevant book used week after week, the same teacher held up on the pedestal week after week, a man who had died fighting for his cause over 2000 years before, who while an amazing human, was no different than you or I, just a man. I looked around and saw many incredible human beings doing phenomenal work in the world, affecting positive change and expanding upon some of the great mystic teachers, and yet no one was singing about them each week.

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Reviving the Reformation: A Jewish Believer Peers Backward to Move Biblical Truth Forward

Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism were both catapulted from the Land of Israel in the first century. Even though they came out of the same soil, the Hebrew Bible (Tanach), they ended up a distance from the starting point in opposite directions.

This book is an attempt to restore the true Biblical Messianic faith described by the Tanach. Wearing deerstalker caps with pipes in hand we need to follow the evidence from the first century C.E. before the Romans destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem to about the middle of the second century. This investigation will require us to peer through the dust of Roman destruction to evaluate the often fragmentary details. We need to sort through the orthodox and less traditional interpretations of the facts to get closer to the truth.

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Candlelight & Blessings: Symbols and Rituals for Death and Grieving

Death is inevitable, mysterious, and often confusing.

At the deathbed, patients and those gathered seek meaning, and many long for a sense of the Spiritual. Yet chaplains and spiritual caregivers have minimal information by which to determine how to provide support, limited time to develop rapport, and varying expectations from those they serve.

Regardless of the religious background of the patient and the loved ones gathered at the deathbed, there are elements of symbol and ritual that take on a pronounced role and a greater importance as one is facing the end of life.

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Preserving Democracy

The real fraud in the voter fraud discussion in the USA is the unsubstantiated claim that it is a problem. There are no more than three or four instances of voter fraud in any election cycle so the new state laws requiring a government issued photo ID at polling places is a shameless attempt at suppressing the vote of 20 million poor, disabled, or recent immigrant voters. This attempt at reversing the gains made in the civil rights movement must be rejected by progressive citizens.

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From Ancient Times to the Present: Transferring Guilt Makes a Mockery of Justice

  One of the foundations of modern ethics is crumbling. Having rights is about being respected as a human individual who shapes his life through choices. Whether with respect to original sin, honour based violence, modesty dress …

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Interview with Robin Myers: Being a follower of Jesus

Question: What does being a follower of Jesus mean to you? Can that lead to personal transformation?

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Working With God to Create the Education State

Part 2 of 2

A central theme of the Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign was growing income inequality. Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook published data that supports Senator Sanders’ claim. They recently reported that at the end of 2013 the United States was the most unequal in terms of wealth distribution among the top twenty developed nations. Seventy-five percent of all wealth in this country is held by the top ten percent of its people. Comparative figures for Canada, 57%; Australia, 50%; Japan, 49%; the United Kingdom, 53%; and Germany 61%.The United States also ranks lowest for economic mobility among the twenty wealthiest nations. It is almost impossible for those living in the bottom 20% to move into the middle class.

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How to respond to homophobic preachers

What can we do about a preacher in our state whose website is “Godhatesfags.com” and who is constantly harassing churches that seek to be open to new knowledge about homosexuality?

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Ways to Practice Thanks-giving

A gratitude practice for every day from Nov. 1 to Thanksgiving.

The Christian writer G. K. Chesterton had the right idea when he said we need to get in the habit of “taking things with gratitude and not taking things for granted.” Gratitude puts everything in a fresh perspective; it enables us to see the many blessings all around us. And the more ways we find to give thanks, the more things we find to be grateful for.

Giving thanks takes practice, however. We get better at it over time. Gratitude is one of the key markers of the spiritual life we include in the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy. It is essential if we are to read the sacred significance of our daily lives.

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“Almost Like Praying”: The Religious Work of “Hamilton” Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda

In the wake of catastrophic destruction in Puerto Rico Lin-Manuel Miranda, the force behind Hamilton, has used theological rhetoric, declaring that Trump was “going straight to hell” for his lack of basic human compassion and his dismissal of the suffering of American citizens he was elected to represent.

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“Bulk of Christians Seek Salvation”—Not Me!

A friend emailed me this statement from a seminary professor: “The bulk of Christians seek salvation.” My friend likes to bait me, and he did so again. In a return email, I used a form of teaching that Jesus used often called didactics, which means one answers a question by asking a question. My questions to him were “What’s salvation?” and “Who is ‘the bulk’?” The truth is, I have no idea what people mean when they talk about salvation because there are so many concepts. Let’s look at a few:

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Why I give racists 2nd, 3rd, and more chances and it’s about sexism

Like most men, I grew up sexist, (and homophobic). It did not help that It was the culture of the Latin American country I am from. My path away from homophobia deserves a whole article of its own. Most importantly, my path to becoming a feminist (and gay rights activist) makes me a much more empathetic person towards racists and others I am diametrically and morally opposed to for what they represent. This may sound strange, but hear me out.

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Freedom of Will

I no longer believe that we have as much freedom of will as I initially thought. And I’m ok with that.

While it runs counter to our normative North American Protestant work ethic, I want to suggest that we are not as autonomous as we might believe ourselves to be. For example, we know that our environment has a very strong influence on us. In fact, it’s so strong that it affects our choices, even when we think we’re choosing freely.

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Christian Unity: Warts and All

I’ve noticed a generational divide in the quest for Christian unity. People of different ages often articulate different priorities.

Many veterans of the work for Christian unity focus on what Christians have in common. Younger ecumenists often talk of finding peace in the midst of real differences.

This divide follows a natural pattern of healing and reconciliation. It reflects more than just two sides of the same coin.

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All Saints – Giving thanks for the Divine in One-another!

All Saints’ Day is a day for remembering. The word saint simply means “holy”. In the New Testament, all those who believe and were baptized were referred to as saints. It wasn’t until round about the third century that the church began using the word saint to refer to those who had been martyred for the faith. Over time these martyred saints were held up for veneration and people used to pray to them to intercede on their behalf. I’m not going to go into all of the institutional abuses that led Martin Luther and the later reformers to abolish the veneration of the saints. Except to say, that while the Reformation put an end to the veneration of the saints in the protestant churches, it did not abolish the concept of sainthood.

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Was Einstein a Theist?

…though linguistically, “being” an a-theist (atheist) should be the same thing as not being a theist, this clearly is not always the case. Indeed, even the renowned Unitarian Humanist John H. Dietrich made this very claim: that is, that because he considered himself open minded about the possibility of there being a god he was not an atheist. Though because he saw no evidence for a god, he was not a theist. Dietrich falls victim to the mental contortion of equating denial of existence with proof of non-existence, what he felt was the definition of atheist.

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Moral Imperative vs. Moral Equivalency as a “Religious” Inquiry

A Commentary in the Aftermath of Recent Acts of Violence, Domestic Terrorism & Yet Another Culture War

Not long ago, I received a group email message from an acquaintance. A devout Muslim, he’d written to his circle of friends to tell us he was leaving the country in a few days to undertake a pilgrimage known as the Hajj. The purpose of Ejaz’ message – and as part of his required preparations for his pilgrimage — was to ask forgiveness for any wrong he may have intentionally or unintentionally committed with anyone in his circle of friends and acquaintances.

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The Church: A Fitness Center for Love

It’s not heavy lifting to love the children at church (unless they’re yours, squirming next to you in the pew). Everybody’s charmed by them as they scamper up to the altar for story time in worship.

But often it is heavy lifting to love the adults, particularly the prickly ones. The church can’t be the church without difficult people. They are among us – they are us – to remind us that we all have fallen short of the glory.

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Christian and Spiritual Themed T-Shirts Supporting ProgressiveChristianity.org

ASF Appare’s Christian Theme-based T-Shirts manufactured adhering to the Fair Labor Organizations Code of Conduct

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Robin Myers Interview – What message do you have for young people struggling through today’s world?

Robin Myers Interview – What message do you have for young people struggling through today’s world?

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UN International Day of Peace inspires 2017 Global Peace Song Awards to announce contest Winners

GPSA Founder Steve Robertson stated, “We’ve had so many amazing music and video submittals. What an honor its been to be exposed to such music and videos and then be able to share this music with our world.

Therefore, it is with great pleasure that we announce the 2017 GPSA WINNERS

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Joining With God to Create a Better World

Part 1 of 2

The starting point for understanding how religion relates to politics is to determine how God functions in the world. Like many of you, I attribute the word God to experiences of beauty, love, and goodness that have no logical explanation. These encounters have depth. The reality of the experience is so much greater than the parts making it up.

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What Will I Give Back? How to Discover What Your Soul Still Longs to Do

Conscious Aging organizations encourage elders to contribute their time, energy, wisdom, and experience in “giving back” to the world. So when I retired, I was surprised by how much resistance I felt to getting involved.

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The Matthew Shepard murder revisited

With October being LGBTQ History Month it allows the LGBTQ community to look back at historical events. And Matthew Shepard’s murder is one of them.

This October marks nineteen years since the death of Matthew Shepard. In October 1998, Shepard, then 21, was a first-year college student at University of Wyoming. Under the guise of friendship, two men (Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson) lured Shepard from a tavern, tortured and bludgeoned him with their rifles, and then tethered him to a rough-hewn wooden fence to die – simply because he was gay.

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Spiritual but not Religious…

Winston Churchill said that it takes courage to stand up and speak but it also takes courage to listen. Now, in the wake of a cascade of sexual predator and harassment cases involving powerful and wealthy men, we must have the courage to listen to victims without judgment. Truth does depend upon perspective and we should never assume that our own perspective is either universal or normative. Only through generous listening can we really understand other races, genders, and faiths in a way that fosters honest community.

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We are living in a time of unprecedented evil

We are living in a time of unprecedented evil, yet we don’t see it; we can’t see it. Not only has industrial civilization lost the ability to distinguish good and evil, we typically confuse the two and casually treat things that are downright anti-future as good.

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The Practicing Democracy Project

What kind of spiritual practices help us build a robust and healthy society, where citizens are united, at a deep level that transcends ideology, race, and class, around a shared spiritual and moral vision of what America should be? That’s what The Practicing Democracy Project strives to answer, by bringing you thought-provoking and inspiring articles, books, excerpts, quotes, topics, and spiritual practices, with more to come.

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Realization of Tao #1: Life Is Suffering

By Ilchi Lee for Patheos

People everywhere are chasing happiness. Many of us work most of our waking hours to earn money and to bring ourselves comfortable lifestyles. And then when we have free time, we seek out entertainment and delicious food to give ourselves pleasure. But how many of us find true happiness, a lasting joy that fulfills and gratifies us permanently?

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Why we don’t embrace change (in our spiritual-religious-faith practice)

While we might work really hard to control reality and predict what will happen to keep us from having to deal with change, the bottom line is that we all have to deal with uncertainty and change.

This article will help you towards making positive changes in your spiritual-religious life.

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4 Tools to See the Biblical Big Picture

Scripture is like a tree. Some parts are the roots, some are the branches and others form the trunk. You will run into problems if you correctly read a line that serves as a leaf but try to present it as if it were the trunk. This is partly what it means when experts advise us to read Scripture within its proper context(s). You could even read your favorite lines word-for-word but end up misunderstanding them if you fail to see where they fit within the whole body. This is, of course, the same mistake the Pharisees made. They were so right–and yet at the same time so very wrong.

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We Are the Resistance

Yes, Donald Trump is dangerously eroding the foundations of the US Constitution. And no, democracy would not be fully rescued if he were removed from office tomorrow, because he’s as much a symptom as a cause. Our resistance to the threat to democracy is not about just one man, but an active effort to heal the social ills that put him in office.

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Presence and Process

While the Christian church in 21st century North America is experiencing decline, interest in Buddhist-derived Mindfulness meditation is on the rise. Yet Christianity also has a rich meditative/contemplative tradition.

This book is an exploration of meditative/contemplative practices in both Christian and Buddhist contexts, emphasizing their areas of affinity. Common characteristics and effects of meditative/contemplative practices are defined.

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Faith and Reason 360

As fires rage in California and hurricanes menace the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean, hosts Ann Phelps and Debo Dykes talk with guest Frederica Helmiere about the environment and what lessons Christians can learn from their interaction with the natural world.

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Calm After the Storm

How to Recenter in Times of Chaos

Acknowledging our own needs in times of crisis does not come naturally to most of us. It feels frivolous in the face of such devastation to admit that we need to collect ourselves. To sit and just be. To realign souls that have been disconnected from their source for too long. But reconnect, we must, for if we don’t, all our good deeds and fine intentions will simply add to the frenetic energy of the wounded around us.

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Catholic church to make record divestment from fossil fuels

By Arthur Neslen for The Guardian

More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi.

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