The Mindful Mirror of Passion Week

“Mindfulness is “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” … It could have been at the mouth of one of the shallow caves carved by Nature out of the limestone cliffs of Mount Quarantania, facing Jericho on the Jordan River and the Dead Sea to the southeast, that Jesus sat to gaze at forty dawns in the wilderness before he began his ministry. This 40-day season of Lent invites us to join Jesus in practicing mindfulness as he did in the desert.

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A Progressive Prayer of Christ

O God, our Divine Parent, may your presence be ever revered. May your peace and justice dwell among us. May your love and compassion live within and between us. Nourish us daily with the necessities of life; sustenance for our bodies, and inspiration for our spirits.

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Repent or Perish and The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

Compassion over rules

sadly in a world dominated by might, money, and power, some people look upon compassion, mercy, gentleness of spirit, inclusiveness and unconditional love as weakness. In a world blighted by terrorism, war and indescribable brutality demonstrated day by day, for example in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan; in a world where many have become indifferent, self righteous and just downright selfish; in a world where Bible passages are taken out of context to uphold racism, sexism, homophobia and unhealthy nationalism: these are the places in which compassion, mercy, gentleness of spirit, inclusiveness and unconditional love should work and speak.

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The Lament over Jerusalem

As Christian people we all too often pay lip service to the fact that the political and religious context in which Jesus lived, thought and died, was one of economic, political and military domination by the Roman Empire. We also often fail to realise that this was also both the context in which the Christian scriptures were written and the life and death of Jesus was interpreted. Failure to understand these Jewish contexts leads Christians and the Church to misinterpret the underlying message and meaning of the life and death of Jesus the Jew of Nazareth. Whether we like it or not, I am convinced that Jesus had a political agenda as well as an agenda of compassion.

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The Foolishness of God – a Sermon for Lent 4C – Parables of the Lost

These parables of the lost and found are outrageous. None of us would get very fare in life if we lived by these teachings. It is better to put the welfare of the many above the needs of one. It is pointless to cry over spilt milk. Sometimes its better to cut your losses and move on. The best accountants learn quickly to write off losses that would be too time consuming and costly to recoup. Children need to learn that they can’t always get what they want; that there are consequences to their actions, that dues must be paid, that we need to ask for forgiveness and make amends for our crimes, that rules need to be followed, and laws cannot be broken. That doing the right thing will be rewarded. And yet along comes Jesus, spouting such foolishness that even we who are predisposed to agree with him, even we can sympathize with the self-righteous and wonder how anyone could be expected to live like this.

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Progressive Christianity Lent Course 2016 Alternative Insights into the Lent Gospel Readings

As we prepare for Easter, this Season of Lent offers us an opportunity to reflect again upon how we experience Yahweh God and how we live our lives of servant hood – not as doormats to be trampled under foot but as true servants of Yahweh God who proclaim by our lives that Jesus is our Way, our Truth and our Life.

Lent offers us the opportunity NOT to give up but to give more of ourselves in the service of others and in the causes of justice and peace. May this Season of Lent have real meaning for each one of us.

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Marcus Borg: “Why Jesus Matters”

“Jesus matters for Christians because he was for us the decisive disclosure of God.” | “The notion of Jesus’ death as a substitute for our sins was not found in the first 1000 years of Christianity.” Just two quotes from an extraordinary “Lent Event” Forum with Jesus scholar Marcus Borg.

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Mindfulness: a short course

(This is adapted from emails I sent to students, faculty, and staff in the course on mindfulness I’m teaching at the USC Keck School of Medicine, through our Mindful.USC.edu initiative:) Mindfulness: A short course Mindfulness is “paying …

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Worship Materials: Holy Saturday

From the Festive Worship collection

THEME Life-giving Sabbath – Time of Silent Wrestling
Despite the fact that Holy Saturday is not a major Christian festival it is included here because psychologically there is no Easter without making one’s peace with the dead and with the forces of destruction that lurk within the human psyche, our inner “Hades”, our inner “hell”.

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Worship Materials: Good Friday

From the Festive Worship collection

THEME The mystery of suffering

THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION
1. When love and hatred engage in mortal conflict it is love which suffers most; but love has the final victory.

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Waking to the Light

“… remain here, and stay awake with me.” Jesus, Matthew 26: 38 One night of our dog’s life lasted for just a few minutes. Our yellow Labrador, Kai, was playing in our front yard on a sunny …

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Monthly eBulletin – Personal and World Transformation through Loving Kindness

Loving kindness is the cultivation of benevolence toward all living beings, love without clinging, and a strong wish for the happiness of others. It is the kind of love that often bubbles up freely in the heart of a mother for her child. It is a love that is independent of expecting or needing anything in return.

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Too Often Christianity’s Cross-Eyed Perspective Distorts the Good News that God is LOVE: a sermon for the Second Sunday of Lent – Mark 8:27-38

When someone shares in our suffering, somehow the knowledge that we are not alone, that there is someone out there who knows the pain that we are going through, the knowledge that we are cared for by someone who truly knows our pain comforts us and gives us the strength we need to endure our suffering.

To be alone in our suffering is the most terrible thing that we can imagine. The Good News that God is LOVE means that LOVE will not let us suffer alone because LOVE is determined to suffer with us. Working in, with, and through those who have experienced our pain LOVE is able to enfold us and say, “I know, my child, I know.”

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Worship Materials: Lent

From the Festive Worship collection

THEME The Connecting Solitude
THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION
The spiritual desert is not a foe to be conquered but an emptiness to be affirmed: for when we are full, we perceive nothing, but when we are empty we can receive everything.

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Weep Not for Me

From the Boundless Life collection

“Weep not, weep not for me*
Daughters of Israel’s womb;
Weep for yourselves”, said Christ
“Not for my cross or tomb”.

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The Soul of the Psalms: from ashes to alleluias

Structured for Lent, but practical for any time of the year, this new resource examines the lament psalms for their connections to contemporary experiences. The introduction acquaints the reader with Dr. Walter Brueggemann’s analysis of the psalms into the categories of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation. A contemporary psalm/poem for each entry discerns the emotional tenor of the psalms and makes it relevant for the challenges of contemporary life and relationships.

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Ryan Bell’s Year Without God

I thought I’d pretty well covered the territory in a “musing” I wrote a few years ago called “The Varieties of God”, a listing of the many alternatives along the spectrum between traditional theism and atheism. But Ryan Bell has added a new one: provisional atheism. Godlessness for the time being. He’s gone public with this status, and I intend to follow his “Year Without God” blog to see how it goes for him.

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“I Am…” – A Reflection for Holy Week

Being a child of God – for Jesus and for the rest of us – is a poetic way of describing our direct, personal engagement with Ultimate Reality. It is an artful expression of ourselves as physically integrated with the divine essence of the cosmos. Being the son or daughter of God does not mean that any of us can leap off the cross in a single bound.

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