We’re All Mad Here

Suicide is now on the top ten list of causes of death in America. It is time for us to get honest about the social isolation that leads to a sense of worthlessness, of not being needed, of not belonging anywhere. While we do need to support mental health practitioners and access to appropriate medications but the most effective treatment for depression, the most effective way to prevent suicide is a combination of maintaining close friendships and the habit of exercising in sunlight for at least 30 minutes every day. Ultimately, we should be mature enough to accept that the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland was right: We are all mad here. Because we are all damaged in some way, we should be honest about the fact that we need one another (and we need to exercise in natural light).

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Journey to Liberation: The Legacy of Womanist Theology

By Filmmaker Anika Gibbons

In this film, filmmaker Anika Gibbons ’13 takes a deeper look at the radical spirituality and scholarship within the lives of the founding mothers of Womanist theology and Womanist ethics. She focuses on their significance as African-American theology and history, and on the role played by Union in that founding.

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The Free Press

The news media, traditionally called the “4th Estate,” is protected by the 1st Amendment because a free and uncensored press is vital to the health of a democracy. Through the years we have seen all manner of tyrants and dictators calling the media the “enemy of the people,” Stalin, Lenin, Mao, and now Trump all demonize journalists in order to make the state the only source of information given to the populace. In our day, the church and the media must step forward to give both trustworthy information and critical thinking about ethical decision making to protect the liberties and the safety of our nation.

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The Lotus & The Rose: A Conversation Between Tibetan Buddhism & Mystical Christianity

What happens when a Tibetan Buddhist lama and a Christian clergyman sit down to talk? And not just any lama and clergyman, but a renegade Catholic priest silenced by the Church for his progressive and inclusive beliefs and an American-born secular Jew who once embraced Tibetan Buddhism as a student, and now is embraced as a teacher.

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ProgressiveChristianity.org Robin Meyers Interview: What does Progressive Christianity mean to you?

Robin Meyers is Senior Minister of the Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!

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Is the Catholic Church unsalvageable?

While the two warring factions- conservative versus liberal wings – wrestle with the direction the Catholic Church needs to go in this modern era, the church, nonetheless, is still stymied and stained by continued unaddressed claims of sex abuse by unprosecuted sex offenders.

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Jesus the Christ? – BRUNCHtalks 8

Jesus is not some sort of cosmic bargain with a demanding, jealous, elsewhere god, sacrificing himself so that we can live happily ever after! Jesus of Nazareth was fully human. The Christ is the experiece of Jesus his followers encountered after his death. The Cosmic Christ is neither human nor divine, but rather a gateway into the MYSTERY’s presence among us. Our BRUNCHtalks continue to explore what it means to be Progressive in approach: Christ-like in action.

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O God, When Trust is Shattered

This new hymn is in response to the latest news of abuse by clergy; it was written with input from survivors and counselors. The hymn also references Pope Francis’ August 20th letter, using in particular: “If one member suffers, all suffer together with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). Please share the hymn with priests, pastors, church musicians, counselors, friends and others who might find it helpful. Permission is given for its free use. Prayers, including sung ones, and actions are needed to “Bring healing, love and mercy; Bring justice, God of truth.”

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What the Church Needs is Some Good Sex

It is a tough time to be a Catholic Christian. The current scandals of sexual abuse, by priests around the world, follow a nearly 20-year run of similar episodes. But the lack of transparency in the Catholic Church is no news. Two decades ago, I discussed the problem with my dear friends from Rome. They were shocked that Americans were so shocked. “What is the big deal? Why the fuss?” they asked, waving their hands above their heads. “We Italians have always known better than to leave our children alone with priests!” I found their response both hilarious and appalling. But can we expect any real change of behavior in the Catholic Church as long as it remains a male-dominated monarchy?

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Building Bridges: Letha Dawson Scanzoni and Friends

Building Bridges combines an exploration of the life and work of Letha Dawson Scanzoni with stories of people she continues to empower through her writing and the Evangelical & Ecumenical Women’s Caucus – Christian Feminism Today, an organization she cofounded.

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Love Beyond Belief: Finding the Access Point to Spiritual Awareness

By Rev.Dr. Thandeka

Using insights from the brain science of emotions, Love Beyond Belief: Finding the Access Point to Spiritual Awareness narrates two millennia of lost-and-found stories about love beyond belief as the access point to the heart and soul of spiritual life. Many of today’s “spiritual but not religious” people – one in four US adults – have found the access point to spiritual experience that Western Christianity lost: unconditional love. Love Beyond Belief tracks the history of this lost emotion.

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A Universal Basic Income

The UBI (Universal Basic Income) is an idea that is growing in favor among economists as well as philosophers. The world is changing and as automation decreases the demand for labor our economic system must also change so that we are not squeezing human beings out of the equation as we make a few people super rich and leave millions to live in the violence of poverty. We must change our priorities so that we do not continue to push all of our real wealth into the hands of fewer and fewer people.

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ProgressiveChristianity.org Robin Meyers Interview: What social justice issues matter most to you?

Robin Meyers is Senior Minister of the Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ in Oklahoma City.

These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!

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As Labour Day Weekend approaches: some thoughts about Work: a job? a profession? or LOVE made visible!

Labour Day weekend marks a milestone in my life. You see 24 years ago, after a driving about 4,000 kilometres, all the way from Vancouver, I arrived in Waterloo, Ontario, just in time for the long Labour Day weekend. I didn’t know anyone in Waterloo. I didn’t have a place to live. But on the Tuesday after Labour Day, I was scheduled to report to Waterloo Lutheran Seminary to begin orientation for what would be a four year masters of Divinity program. In the course of that long ago Labour Day weekend, I found a place to live, unpacked all the belongings that I’d been able to stuff in to my old 84 Oldsmobile, and discovered that in Ontario, milk comes out of in plastic bags. You have no idea how mystified I was wondering just how those plastic bags functioned as an appropriate container for milk. I actually remember standing in the grocery store wondering what people here in Ontario did once they’d opened the plastic bag. Visions of milk spilling everywhere caused me to well up with such a feeling of homesickness. Since then, Labour Day Weekends have been strange combination of nostalgia for what once was and excitement for what is yet to be.

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Ego and Other Barriers to Community

The obvious obscenity of narcissism or bloated egos among politicians (and preachers) makes us want to turn our heads and avoid contact. However, it deserves to be considered that some of the most mean and egotistical people are simply starving for attention and affirmation. What if we chose to give others attention and approval in advance? If we all need air, water, food, and sleep, and we also need positive social contact, then it would be foolish to deprive anyone of air, water, food, or sleep and it is equally foolish to fail to give others attention and approval. We all need meaningful connections and we should have the courage to reach out and make those connections.

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True Inclusion: Creating Communities of Radical Embrace

In True Inclusion, public theologian and pastor Brandan Robertson shares how to move your church from mere welcome to radical embrace. Pointing to a clear biblical imperative for radical inclusivity in the sanctuary and in the public square, Robertson presents a paradigm-shifting vision of community, “where nothing is simple, nothing is easy, but everything is beautiful.” Learn practical, step-by-step approaches to becoming deeply, robustly, and richly inclusive of all people regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and socioeconomic status.

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Sage Advice

We are exhausted with reports of corruption in government, a judicial system that is bereft of justice, and a penal system that seems to institutionalize social revenge rather than reform. While we will never acquiesce to the injustices of our judicial and penal systems, we will not surrender to corruption in business or government, we do recognize a need to live as wisely as possible to avoid turning our fate, or the fate of our children, over to a system that has shown itself to be rife with racism, classism, and corruption. The Proverbs call to us to love wisdom and reject the temptations of a foolish and dangerous life.

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The Power and Paradox of Forgiveness

Sermon by Rev. Robin Meyers, Mayflower Congregational Church

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