The Mythologies of Science and Religion

I’ve written before that I am at “that age” when you look for connections, a time late in life indicated by recent studies. Regular readers will know that, during my morning prayers these days, I’ve been slowly absorbing Fritjof Capra’s 1975 book, The Tao of Physics. I find physicist Capra’s writing more accessible than that of Stephen Hawking, though I wonder how dated his science may be today, even as he demonstrates a pretty thorough understanding of Eastern spirituality.

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Elfbert, Santa’s Reluctant Helper

Elfbert, Santa’s Reluctant Helper is a charming illustrated story told in rhyme about a devoted little elf who persuades Santa Claus to give children “qualities” for Christmas instead of toys with surprising and delightful results. The illustrations are rendered in an antique wood block style.

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Meeting the Holy Spirit: A Review of “The Desire for Mutual Recognition”

All good Christians know there are three aspects to the traditional belief in a Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The one part of the Trinity I have paid little attention to is the Holy Spirit. Peter Gabel’s new book, The Desire for Mutual Recognition, makes that impossible. Although meeting the Holy Spirit is not the central focus of Gabel’s book, this manifestation of the Triune God jumps out at you with important implications for political theology.

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Meeting God in our Pain: My video conversation with ‘Science Mike’ McHargue!

A few days ago, before the sold-out Evolving Faith Conference kicked off at Montreat, ‘Science’ Mike McHargue and I were able to grab an hour together to talk about some of our most vulnerable experiences with God, and how these encounters have impacted our approaches to life.

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Hymn: Where the seeds of love are sown

Where the seeds of love are sown
Where compassion leaves its mark
There amid life’s many trials
Light will shine within the dark.
When the seeds of justice flourish
Growing into liberty
People suffering in oppression
Will at last then be set free.

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All Christians are Asylum-Seekers

  A Christian IS an asylum-seeker. All of us. Each of us. By definition. As refugees, don’t we need to flee from the sin of this world? Don’t we come to the proverbial Gates of God’s Kingdom …

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The Work of Christmas: The Twelve Days of Christmas with Howard Thurman

This book is a celebration of the twelve days of Christmas, offering us a chance to dwell on the meaning of the season in dialog with the wisdom of one of America’s greatest mystics and activists, Howard Thurman.

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Progressive Mysticism?

A number of years ago, I did a consultation for a progressive congregation in which the relationship between contemplation and social action was a source of friendly debate. On one side, several congregational leaders asserted that the task of the church is to change the world.  The way of Jesus compels us to be activists, they contended, challenging anything that threatens human and nonhuman well-being. We must provide meals for the soup kitchen and volunteer in the local schools, but we must also challenge our leaders to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). 

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The Words of Jesus We Ignore

Imagine a person praying at bedtime. He is confused. Unsure of what to do in life. What are his next steps, he wonders? He prays fervently to God for direction.

Amazingly enough, God answers!

Love God
Love one another

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Courageous Faith: How to Rise and Resist in a Time of Fear

by Emily C Heath

For Christians, resistance is written right into our baptismal vows. Following Christ means resisting oppression and evil wherever we might find it. Doing that work requires us to first rise up, face our fears, and cultivate courage that can sustain us for the journey. Weaving together wisdom from sources as diverse as Reformed theology, recovery communities, social justice visionaries, and Twentieth Century history, Heath creates a way forward for those who wish to live lives of faithful, sustained, courageous resistance.

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Grief and belief.

When anti-Semitic violence occurs, Brian and I are surrounded by lots of love and support. Many non-Jewish friends are horrified and they tell us they have our backs as an interfaith/intercultural family. On Saturday afternoon, a neighbor with tears in his eyes handed me a piece of paper with a scratched out message on kitchen notepaper: “My heart is breaking for you.” Our wonderful, loving contractor from years ago sent me a text late last night: “I love you guys. I have your back.” Many clergy friends and newly made Baptist-identified friends called Brian when they heard. We heard over and over: We love you. We do not stand for this. We are so sorry.

People feel so helpless in the face of tragedy. People want to have an impact; they want to help change what is so wrong. The love we have received is beautiful.

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Aunt Helen, Nelson Mandela, and Donald Trump

How differently Aunt Helen, Nelson Mandela, and Donald Trump have applied the powers of positive thinking! Maybe we need a corrective text entitled, The Power of Magnanimous Thinking.

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The Matthew Shepard murder revisited

With October being LGBTQ History Month it allows the LGBTQ community to look back at historical events. And Matthew Shepard’s murder is one of them.

This October 12 marks twenty years since the death of Matthew Shepard. In October 1998, Shepard, then 21, was a first-year college student at University of Wyoming. Under the guise of friendship, two men (Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson) lured Shepard from a tavern, tortured and bludgeoned him with their rifles, and then tethered him to a rough-hewn wooden fence to die – simply because he was gay.

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 4 of 4)

Intergenerational White Victimhood

For my last installment on the topic of ‘Confronting the Denial of American White Racism’, I humbly submit a discussion on the pervasiveness of white victimhood through generations of American history; in fact, I call it: ‘Intergenerational White Victimhood’ (a psychological theory I’m developing). The basis for my research comes from a Newsweek/Gallup Survey, August 19, 1969, one year after the death of Dr. King, revealing that 44% of whites believed that black people had a better chance than they did at obtaining employment and earning a higher wage. 88%, in the same survey, outright stated that their chances were worse, insisting that they knew this to be true, not just a mere belief. Moreover, 80% of whites said that black people already possessed equal or better educational opportunities as well; only 17% of whites said otherwise (3% were indifferent). Remember, we are talking about 1969…

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 3 of 4)

The Protests will NOT Stop!

On Tuesday evening, I joined the distressed voices of many freedom fighters protesting the brutal murder of Stephon Clark by the Sacramento Police Department. We converged upon city hall to confront SacPD, the mayor, and the city council, letting them know, in a way that we (the people) deemed necessary, we will no longer stand for the intimidation, violation, brutalization, and killing of our neighbors, especially those of color. As has been well documented, America has a history of oppressing communities of color through city, county and state police units. The citizens of Sacramento, CA want to make it abundantly clear: NO ON OUR STREETS! This ain’t Alabama; this ain’t Mississippi, or any of those other good ole’ boy, backwoods, country, down home states; this is California, and we will act by any means necessary before we allow state executions in our streets—any means necessary!

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What It Means to Be a Christian

To live by the virtues and values of Christ (i.e., love/compassion, peace/nonviolence, and justice/egalitarianism) as summed up in “The Great Commandment” and “Golden Rule

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 2 of 4)

About five years ago, my best friends and I sat down at Leatherby’s Ice Cream one evening, and we began to discuss race relations in America. Three of us at the table recognized the fact that (systemic) racism was still a problem, while one of us was vehemently maintaining that it was not. We tried to have a conversation about this friend’s own white denial of racism, but this friend was NOT having any of that conversation. This friend became flustered, red, and angry at the entire discussion. Yes, this friend is a white male; one who in no way, shape, or form wanted to converse about American white racism. I knew, right then, this was not only a social issue, it was psychological. (It’s also spiritual, but that’s another post.)

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Ecumenism: The Narrow Path that Avoids Cheap Grace

In working toward better relationships–and ultimately unity–among followers of Christ, I often find people who hold two extremes views. Both of them can be guilty of fostering a kind of cheap grace.

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