The Profanity of ‘Thoughts and Prayers’

Offering our “thoughts and prayers” in a crisis can be an expression of sincere empathy but when you are capable of doing more and all you do is offer your thoughts and prayers then we quickly realize that such words are reflective of hollow hypocrisy. Prayer can be very helpful to our spiritual journey but as the African proverb teaches, “when you pray, move your feet.” We pray to change the one who prays so that we will do all that we can to meaningfully respond to the many crises we see happening all around us.

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Contemporary Theology that doesn’t alienate our elders

  Question & Answer Roland from Sydney, writes: Question: How can the clergy educate its members into contemporary theology and attract back the church alumni without alienating the aging conservatives that finance the local church? Answer: By …

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To Whom Shall We Go to Say Thank-you After We Move Beyond Personifying God?

Thanksgiving Sunday Sermons

Expressing gratitude is a skill that all tiny little people must learn in order to develop into well-rounded human beings. Indeed, scientists insist that being grateful is a prerequisite of happiness. Happy humans it seems, are humans who embody gratitude. But there is more to gratitude than simply saying thank-you. I remember learning that gratitude includes more than simply expressing our thanks. It happened when I was about sixteen and actually noticed the beauty of a sunset and for the first time I realized that I was part of something so much bigger than myself.

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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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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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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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Dedication to Reality and Balancing

Scott Peck identified four tools of discipline that are crucial to meaningful living. This sermon addresses the last two of those four: Dedication to reality, and balancing. In our time of both religious duplicity and political “alternative truth” a firm reminder of the importance of being devoted to reality is a timely and helpful message.

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Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you have a message for progressive Christians?

Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you have a message for progressive Christians?

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Prayer and God

Whether the person engaged in the act of prayer believes in a supernatural deity or force or the benevolence of the universe, we are the only answer we’ve got to the challenges facing our world. Some will work toward solutions compelled by the god in whom they believe. Others will work toward solutions compelled by theirs own sense of compassion and responsibility. Goodness comes into the world through our own hands, voices, and actions.

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The word “God”

In religious as well as other history, when we don’t know our own history, we are condemned to repeat it. Condemned not by anyone else, not even “God”, but by ourselves and the consequences of our own willful ignorance.

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Living a Life Worth Living

M. Scott Peck writes in the Road Less Traveled that there are four basic tools of discipline that allow a person to live a problem solving life rather than a life problem avoiding (which argues leads not only to sorrow but also to mental illness). This sermon addresses the first two of those four: the ability to delay gratification and acceptance of responsibility. While most of this channel’s material addresses systemic injustice this sermon and the one that will follow next week are more personally focused on how we avoid “renting space in our skull” to the painful challenges of life.

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Interview with Robin Meyers: Is there a future for church?

Interview with Robin Meyers: Is there a future for church?”

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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How do you recognize a spiritual abuser?

By Inas Younis for Patheos

  Sometimes a quest for truth is really just a quest for the self-esteem that’s lost every time the inconsistencies of life bulldoze our metaphysical house of cards. Like when we realized that that woman dressed in …

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Long Overdue Reform of Gun Control

Not because of Vegas (or Columbine, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Orlando, Dallas, or even Sandy Hook) and not because of the 50 women who are murdered by their significant other every month, but because a predictable 32,000 Americans die every year from gunshot wounds and another 100,000 are wounded. No other western democracy comes anywhere close to our astonishingly high numbers and we cannot just nibble at the edges of this issue any longer. It isn’t “bump stocks” or semi-automatic weapons that gives us this annual bloodbath. It is primarily hand guns but on the whole, the USA is holding nearly half of the guns in the world and we just have to move in the direction of more sane and effective gun laws.

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Why We Stay: What The History Of Mormonism Reveals About The Origins Of “Rae”

By Max Mueller for Religion Dispatches

Americans cannot understand our race past and present without grappling with the power of religion—in particular religious writings—to unify and divide. If race is primarily a construction of culture, then the original construction site was on the page, in particular, as I mentioned before, on the pages of our religious writings. And I’m not just talking about sacred scriptures. I’m talking about all the writings that America’s religious people produce in relationship (intertextually) with their religious scriptures. From public writings like sermons and legal codes, to private writings like journals and letters, these writings all make up what I call the “Mormon archive,” which is a smaller part of the “American archive.” The archive, I argue, is not just a physical and metaphorical space where (race) history is preserved. It is also where (race) history is made.

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Sometimes You Just Have to Be a Bitch!

Sometimes, we have to erase the boundaries that we have drawn and let some really annoying people in. Sometimes, we have to be a bitch so that we can push people beyond the boundaries. When push comes to shove, this being human requires that we live in community and life in community is messy and it is annoying, but life in community can also shape us in ways that open us to new ways of being human.

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Fear. (It’s ok to fear.)

I sent out an email a few weeks ago about fear.

I wrote that I was scared.

And I was when I wrote it.

I am not in that sharp place of re-surfaced terror today.

When I wrote, I wrote from a place of fear. My sense of alarm was apparent to those who read my words. (I am thankful to be a powerful enough writer to express my emotions in my words.)

Allowing myself to be scared made me feel I was not so alone. Support from so many allies followed, and that also made me feel I was not so alone.

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