Did you vote for Donald Trump? Because your salvation apparently depends on it.

A few weeks back, right-wing Christian activist, David Barton, made the following statement in hopes of getting Christians to cast their vote for the GOP’s potentially fascist and definitely anti-Christ candidate, Donald Trump: We will stand before …

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Matthew 13 Revisited

Matthew: The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed
Martha: Which a woman hid in three measures of meal.

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Blessing Litany

One: A Blessing on you who are poor
Many Yours is the household of God
One A blessing on you who mourn
Many: you shall be comforted

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Make the Week Holy

This coming week we have the opportunity to enact our faith with those fleeing violence and seeking sanctuary in our country. Doing so is how we can actually make Holy Week holy.

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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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Made On Earth – How the gospel writers created the Christ

NEW TITLE RELEASE 21st January 2016

In this book Lorraine Parkinson sets out compelling reasons why the gospels may be found to have been ‘made on earth’. She builds a strong argument that each gospel was written to make a distinct case for Jesus as the Christ. She presents detailed evidence that the Christ of the gospels is the creation of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, plus later editors. The sub-text of this book contends that by including teachings of Jesus alongside claims for him as Christ, gospel writers bequeathed to Christianity two contradictory gospels – the gospel of Jesus and the gospel about Jesus.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 8: Learning from Mistakes

If we look honestly at our mistakes and listen within for guidance, we will discover our true identity as an unlimited spirit.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 10: Sharing

When we share, our awareness grows beyond our little self to a broader reality.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 14: Service

Through service we find love and truth in action. When we serve with love and compassion, those whom we serve become brothers and sisters, not the others.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 17: Non-Greed

To be anxious and fearful of our own needs means we are forgetting who we really are. Spending all of our time and energy acquiring possessions means we are looking outward for satisfaction and neglecting the only source of true happiness — our eternal identity as spirit.

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Matthew Fox Interview with Eric Alexander: Part 2 of 3: What is the Cosmic Christ

This is Part 2 of an interview between Eric Alexander and Matthew Fox. In this clip Eric asks what the word Christ means to Matthew, and whether that answer could reframe what it means to call oneself a Christian, and Matthew offers an insightful response.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 24: Infinite Possibilities in Each Moment

Most people would define work as something that is hard to do and creativity as something fun. But when we are open to the sacred guidance that is abundant in the universe, work and creativity become the same thing. The most creative and inspiring work can be accomplished when we are open to all possibilities.
Being open to infinite possibilities means letting inspiration flow freely — and not blocking that flow with thoughts of what we want to happen or what other people might think of what we are doing.
Children can learn to feel for the right direction within and to recognize that every impulse is not the right one simply because it is there. Every time we remember to put our highest self in charge, the more inner joy and freedom we experience.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 26: A Heavy Load

It seems to be human nature to weigh down our hearts with the past and project our minds into the future. Jesus admonished his listeners to forgive, to love, to be merciful, and to give up worry about the future or the past, long before “living in the moment” was an over-used phrase.
Every true spiritual teacher tells us that the joy we are seeking lies within our hearts now. The past cannot be changed. The future is unknown. Letting go of regrets and worries frees our energy to be focused on the infinite potential of the present moment. To make the choice to live joyfully in this moment is true freedom — the freedom to be who we are.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 27: Forgiving and Healing

There is abundant love within each of us, but even when we try to act as messengers of love in the world, we often mess up the message. Like the old game of telephone, where a message is passed along and completely mixed up by the time it reaches the end of the line, we mix up divine love with our own desires, confusions, and misunderstandings and end up hurting one another. Then we must forgive.
Getting children to say the words, “I forgive you,” is not enough. True forgiveness is inward and will actually remove the hurts we have from our hearts, like pulling weeds in a beautiful garden. Forgiving is not simply a gift we give someone who has wronged us, either; it is a step in our own spiritual growth that will enable our hearts to blossom as intended.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 28: Security

When our identity is defined in outward ways, we are going to feel insecure because outward definitions always change. If we understand our identity as changeless spirit, then it is easier to let go of our attachment to our physical self. Jesus and other spiritual teachers have taught us that a spiritual path and our experiences on that path will lead us to a deeper understanding. It isn’t enough to just read the words or have the beliefs — we need to act in harmony with those beliefs in order to be more aware of who we really are.
The world will tell us that our security depends on money in the bank or the right clothes or an important job, but we know all those things are temporary. True security that lasts forever comes from discovering the reality that we are spiritual beings. With that knowledge, we can face anything, even our fear of death. We can’t force children to feel secure, but we can encourage them to find that truth within themselves and live from that experience. We can also talk about death in a way that is not fearful. Our Western society does much to teach fear of death. We may not know what happens after we die, but if we are secure in the knowledge that our true self does not die, it only grows and evolves, then we need not fear death or any outward physical changes that happen to our human body.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 30: Truthfulness

Being truthful puts us in harmony with our spiritual self and is an expression of our divine nature. There are many different kinds of truth, but being truthful is primarily about being conscious of our motivations and expressing that truth in the way we live and treat others, as well as how we speak. Why do we say what we say? Are we sharing the truth about who we are?

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 31: Willingness

Everyone has the option to say no — no, I don’t want to learn. No, I don’t want to work that hard. No, I won’t love that person. We were created with free will; saying no is a natural part of our development. But eventually, we begin to realize that saying no doesn’t usually bring us joy. We yearn for true happiness, and to find true happiness we must first stop saying no and say yes to growth opportunities.
One of the greatest challenges in leading a spiritual life is simply being willing to try. Willingness requires that we step out of our comfort zone of limitations into new possibilities and allow new understanding to come through our experiences. Spiritual growth is about change. If we are not willing to have new experiences, or we are afraid of change, spiritual growth is impossible. Being willing is one of the greatest spiritual challenges, but it is also the secret to the greatest spiritual blessings. The disciples who followed Jesus left old ideas and habits behind and they discovered their true identity and their highest potential, all because they were willing.
Meeting life with willingness requires enthusiasm, courage, good humor, humility, and a sense of adventure. It also means that we recognize the presence of God in every circumstance. Every life challenge shrinks when we are willing to take it on. If we encourage willingness in children, they will discover infinite possibilities in life and the infinite presence of spirit through every opportunity.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 32: Inclusion

When we exclude others, we refuse to relate to realities different than our own, and we keep our experience defined in a way that is comfortable and familiar. If we want children to be inclusive, we have to help them redefine their experiences in a broader way. For instance, if older children exclude a younger child from a ball game because she can’t catch the ball, we can guide them to give her a special job that makes her feel part of the game. Finding a way to include her will expand their limited thinking. Scolding them for excluding her will most likely make them resentful, which leads to closing the heart.
Accepting and coping with outward differences is an important step toward opening the heart to others. But to really include others in our reality, we must understand that despite apparent differences, there is only one self, one spirit, and one true reality, underlying all that is. The more children experience their own spiritual nature, the more they will recognize the one spirit in all.

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