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If your holiday season feels to you to be more holidaze than holy days, ‘tis on you, my friend.

The only one who can make your holidays feel wonderful – holy – is you.

You can bring holiness to this time of year.

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Reverence and Relevance – First Sunday of Advent

On this first Sunday of Advent, consider the new that is coming. Take some time to discover what you are most missing in your life – and then give that thing away. Where you long for a friend to support you, instead be the friend who calls another to find out if they are well. When you long to know peace, instead be the non-anxious presence during times of tension. Where you long for community and connection, be the heartbeat of whatever group you are with. When you long to feel less afraid, be the hand that reaches out with generosity. When you long to know your presence here matters, be the gift of welcoming.

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Wild Horses: The Last was First to Ride, Here Is What We Found

By Kimberly Stover for Patheos

  “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day.” –The Rolling Stones I’ve always been in love with horses. The thought of riding a horse into the wild excites my spirit …

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Words I Don’t Want to Say Together: Active Shooter & Church

It seems horrifying to imagine that the places we have used for worship, sanctuary, community, fellowship, love and connection, places that for millennia have helped define our own identity are now having to be prepared for violence and death. I can’t even believe I am having to write these words. It pains me to know that shootings happen everywhere, every day, more frequently than you may realize, yet most go unreported in mainstream media.

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Worshiping the Gun God is Killing Us

By Leah D. Schade for Patheos

But we have allowed ourselves to become convinced that the sacrifice of our citizens – including children – is simply the price that must be paid to the GunGod. The GunGod is the only one who will provide. “The gun is my shepherd, I shall not want,” [from Jeff Hood’s provocative gun-hermeneutic of scripture, Apostasy: Guns, God, and Sutherland.] The gun is the answer to all of our fears, the release for all of our anger. Is the teenager’s music too loud? Shoot him. Is he wearing a hoodie that makes you feel threatened? Shoot him. Are you angry at the politician? At the ones who have mistreated you? The women who have spurned you? The family member or neighbor or motorist who piss you off? The answer is the gun, always the gun. It is the final solution.

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Why Interfaith (and Interspiritual) Studies and Awareness are Epically Important in Today’s World

When we ponder religion and faith, we often think of their more modern day manifestations and how much devastation and destruction has been done in the name of religion. It is hard to remember that most major religions were born out of a profound mystical experience, flowing from an inner realization, which was then attempted to be shared via language and action. My own feelings toward religion have been complicated, confusing and challenging. Growing up in a very liberal, progressive Christian church, I had a meaningful and positive experience of the community that gathers around an organized religion and yet it was impossible for me to forget the vast atrocities which have been done in the name of Christianity over the last 2000 years. I also felt tired of the same mistranslated, seemingly irrelevant book used week after week, the same teacher held up on the pedestal week after week, a man who had died fighting for his cause over 2000 years before, who while an amazing human, was no different than you or I, just a man. I looked around and saw many incredible human beings doing phenomenal work in the world, affecting positive change and expanding upon some of the great mystic teachers, and yet no one was singing about them each week.

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Moral Imperative vs. Moral Equivalency as a “Religious” Inquiry

A Commentary in the Aftermath of Recent Acts of Violence, Domestic Terrorism & Yet Another Culture War

Not long ago, I received a group email message from an acquaintance. A devout Muslim, he’d written to his circle of friends to tell us he was leaving the country in a few days to undertake a pilgrimage known as the Hajj. The purpose of Ejaz’ message – and as part of his required preparations for his pilgrimage — was to ask forgiveness for any wrong he may have intentionally or unintentionally committed with anyone in his circle of friends and acquaintances.

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The Church: A Fitness Center for Love

It’s not heavy lifting to love the children at church (unless they’re yours, squirming next to you in the pew). Everybody’s charmed by them as they scamper up to the altar for story time in worship.

But often it is heavy lifting to love the adults, particularly the prickly ones. The church can’t be the church without difficult people. They are among us – they are us – to remind us that we all have fallen short of the glory.

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What Will I Give Back? How to Discover What Your Soul Still Longs to Do

Conscious Aging organizations encourage elders to contribute their time, energy, wisdom, and experience in “giving back” to the world. So when I retired, I was surprised by how much resistance I felt to getting involved.

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We are living in a time of unprecedented evil

We are living in a time of unprecedented evil, yet we don’t see it; we can’t see it. Not only has industrial civilization lost the ability to distinguish good and evil, we typically confuse the two and casually treat things that are downright anti-future as good.

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How I Repented from My LGBTQI+ Stance

Recently, many in the LGBTQI+ community, as well as those who identify as allies, celebrated Coming Out Day. As most of us are probably aware, coming out can be a momentous occasion, but it can also be quite terrifying. And I can understand why; those who are more religiously-inclined tend to shun and scapegoat any and all who are not heterosexual—with God on their side of course—and even those who stand in solidarity with non-heterosexual folks. So needless to say, coming out can be quite the stress-inducing situation in our current culture (and most cultures that have preceded ours).

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An Open Letter to My Brothers (in light of #MeToo)

[Note: I realize that many of you who read my reflections aren’t ‘brothers,’ but sisters and non-binary siblings. But I’ve been encouraged to share these words – originally urgently written and shared on social media – more carefully and more widely, in hopes that we male-bodied types can do better. If you are not male, I beg your indulgence – and please feel free to share this with a man in your life who could use the challenge + encouragement.]

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“I Have Disarmed Myself” | The Wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan

Someone said to Murshid, “I heard them talk against you.”

“Did they?” said he. “Have you also heard anyone speak kindly of me?”

“Yes,” the person exclaimed.

“Then,” said Murshid, “this is the light and shade to life’s portrait, making the picture complete.”

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Who’s Listening?

By Andrew Forsthoefel for Garrison Institute

Andrew Forsthoefel on the gift of being deeply listened to during an eleven-month walk across the United States.

Where would you find yourself if your need to be right and your addiction to certainty dissolved into a willingness to listen? Who would you be, then? And who would we be together—as a country, as a planet—if each one of us actually knew what listening was and how to do it because we had, over the course of our lives, been deeply listened to? This kind of listening does have to be learned and that is the only way to learn it: to receive it.

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The LGBTQAlphabet – six letters will never be enough

For this year’s Pride, we collaborated with The LGBT Community Center, NYC’s home and hub for the LGBTQA community, to create a film celebrating the entire LGBTQA Alphabet—twenty-six ways to share who you are and how you love. Because all voices deserve to be heard.

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“How do your beliefs and spiritual values inspire you to do meaningful work in the world?

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Prayer of Confession

We stand today on blood soaked land we have inherited
From a centuries long heritage of violence
Which was born in the genocide of the indigenous
And whose industry was built by the forced labor of slaves.

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Taking One (Knee) for the Team

Race relations in the U.S.A. all too often play out like this:

African-American people: “We have a problem in this country with race, and it is important to us.”
White Americans: “Be quiet!”
African American people: “Lives are impacted both in the past and now.”
White Americans: “Get over it!”

I wish I could say this were an exaggeration. Sadly, I have seen these responses quite literally on the social media pages I manage and elsewhere.

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