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Rethinking Membership Development

A day did exist when a church could grow and thrive by opening its doors on Sunday and welcoming whoever arrived. Knowing how to welcome regulars and visitors was as much evangelism as a congregation needed to do. That day ended long ago. Nowadays, most churches don’t have enough visitors to offset the inevitable attrition that happens when people die, move out of town, or lose interest. And “regular attendance” now means one or two Sundays a month, not three or four.

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We’re All Connected

In my pocket, all my waking day, I carry a device that enables me to communicate instantly with practically anyone around the globe. I’m a cog in a vast international system of manufacturing, trade, and consumption. Sure, we’re all connected in these ways. But in our face-to-face encounters with other people, or when we walk in wilderness and commune personally with other living beings, we sense this connection in a much deeper way.

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Pope Francis Slams GMOs and Pesticides for Environmental and Social Damage

On the subject of GMOs Pope Francis states; “It is difficult to give an overall judgment on the development of genetically modified organisms (GMO), plant or animal, for medical purposes or in agriculture, since they can be …

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The Chicken and the Egg

I have always suspected it is a chicken and egg phenomenon. What comes first? Personal transformation leads to the desire, or need even, to transform something in the world. Or do our efforts to change something that is unjust, something that causes suffering in the world lead to a personal and spiritual transformation?

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Love Gives Growth

Lao Tzu is attributed to have (but probably never did) said: Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Teachers see this in classrooms frequently. Students really need love to blossom. You can’t learn unless you feel loved – you can’t learn unless it is alright to make mistakes. We only grow when we are in a supportive environment.

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Fred Plumer’s Review and Forward for “Crazy Wisdom” by Tom Thresher

This book … is about doing something new and it is not going to be simple for a lot of people. It is about changing the way we learn, the way we think and the way we relate. It is about going deeper than most people are used to going in our competitive, goal driven society. The book is designed for those in small groups who sincerely want to dive more deeply into the profound wisdom of their traditions to make essential personal changes in their lives through a growing awareness.

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Conscience and Consciousness

A Spiritual Path for Personal Transformation

An aging Vietnam vet suffering from PTSD returns to Da Nang after 50 years in order to try to do something for those still afflicted generations later by the lingering toxic affects of Agent Orange. His nagging conscience leads to a redemptive act of self-healing and a common good.

Spirituality is often an amorphous and bandied about term that too often connotes the merely religious type, as somehow distinct from those who are not. Instead, I appreciate something as equally shared as it is often neglected, namely the human conscience and our sometimes-belated conscious awareness of it.

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More Love

So, here’s a question: how do we train kids to have compassion? How do we get kids to understand that the right response is the loving, honest response? I don’t know the answer. But I promise I’m working on it. All I know how to do is to model it. The only way I can think of is we can bring more love into the world by the act of love. We need to act lovingly. We need to BE LOVE for there to be more love in the world.

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God Without Religion

Disillusioned with organized religion, some people escape into New Age movements, and others retreat from spirituality altogether. A more satisfying and transformative option is to embark on a quest to discover God on your own. Using time-tested tools of spiritual investigation, you can examine your present beliefs, explore the nature of God and your sense of self and ultimately expand your identity.

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Kindness is Contagious

Kindness Is Contagious is a feel-good documentary by David Gaz, narrated by Catherine Ryan Hyde, the best selling author of the novel (and film) Pay It Forward. It’s a film all about being nice and the benefits of being nice. Kindness Is Contagious profiles cutting-edge scientists and best-selling authors from Berkeley to Harvard and everywhere in between as well as real life people from all walks of life whose lives illustrate their incredible discovery: NICE GUYS FINISH FIRST!

We are in the midst of a revolution. We’ve had 20 years of massive self interest that’s gotten us into a lot of deep trouble. The revolution is about reorienting toward kindness as a way to make a difference. Will you join us?

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Book Review: “Crazy Wisdom: Tools for Evolving Consciousness”

What I love about the book is that Thresher writes it with a mystic’s consciousness. At times you can practically catch the twinkle in his eye as he writes. But make no mistake, he has attained a mastery, and the accompanying sense of humor, that only somebody who has tasted Spirit directly and knows in heart that all manner of things shall be well. The book is full of wisdom, insight, and most importantly very practical tools for transformation. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.”

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Enough Is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources

We’re overusing the earth’s finite resources, and yet excessive consumption is failing to improve our lives. In Enough Is Enough, Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill lay out a visionary but realistic alternative to the perpetual pursuit of economic growth—an economy where the goal is not more but enough.

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Touch Management

No longer can congregations focus all of their energies on Sunday morning worship. They can’t just open the door on Sunday and expect people to walk through. The flow of visitors isn’t enough to compensate for attrition, and people’s needs are too varied.

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Get With It, Boards

Yes, both transparency and engagement add to the board’s work. But resolving the issues won’t mean a thing unless these two steps are taken. Keeping constituents in trusting mode and engaged is the board’s primary work.

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Reality Check

Although our denials, evasions and minimizations sometimes delude us, we are basically rational, mostly moral and often reasonable; and we remain lovable, capable and forgivable. We seek to improve, and strive for what is right. But it bodes us well to acknowledge that our limited minds are too partial to supply objective views about ourselves, others or situations. Our self-justifications, personalized preferences and subjective notions can always benefit from a candid reality check.

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Faith Fight – Fountain Hills, Arizona

“Faith Fight”—that’s what the local news is calling it. Eight churches in Fountain Hills, Arizona, led by the Rev. Bill Good, pastor of Fountain Hills Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), have posted banners announcing a sermon series called “‘Progressive’ …

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Crazy Wisdom

Tom makes the audacious claim here that faith communities are uniquely situated to lead the evolution of human consciousness to help create a more just, caring and sustainable world. Crazy Wisdom is dedicated to answering how we just might go about doing that.

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Ideas Matter

Starting today, 5/4/15, I’ll be at a conference nearby at Pomona College called Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization, which will draw about 1,500 participants from around the world, including many from China. I got involved …

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