Even Eunuchs and Foreigners are Welcome!

Easter 5B – Acts 8:26-40

What follows is a sermon I preached on the 5th Sunday of Easter 2003. In the 18 years since I preached this sermon, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has come a long way. The debate about the full inclusion of LGBTQ folk in the full life of the church has been resolved and we can truly say: “All are welcome!” But rule changes don’t always change practices. Sadly, there are still places in our church were not everyone is welcome. So, I offer this sermon to cybersapce as both a reminder of where we have been and how far we need to travel. Shalom.

read more

Prophets and Martyrs

This week we mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Last month was the 50th anniversary of the My Lai Massacre and this June we will reach the 50th anniversary of the killing of Robert Kennedy. These events remembered within the martyr account in the gospel’s passion narrative give us reason to look more deeply into the meaning of Easter, beyond a childish hope for eternal life, there is the challenge to be a prophet who refuses to be afraid.

read more

Patience, Anger and Compassion

Patience is not a beast we can slay and master.
Rather, patience is an adversary ever rising to do battle with us again.
The universe seems to conspire to always test our mettle.
We level up, we have more patience than we ever have had, and, again, yet and assuredly again, there arises a new situation that will demand yet more and more of us. We cannot win against patience.
At best, we can keep our calm for longer and longer than ever before.

read more

Still Water – Trevor Hall

Trevor Hall plays an acoustic version of ‘Still Water’ on the lava field at Uncle Robert’s Kalapana Ohana on the Big Island of Hawaii.

read more

Engaging in Good Friday

Easter week can elicit many questions. Did Jesus physically rise in a miraculous resuscitation on the third day after his death? Was the holy temple curtain torn in two from top to bottom at the moment of his death? (Mt 27:51) After his death, did the bodies of many dead saints rise up from their tombs and flood Jerusalem appearing to many? (Mt 27:52) Let’s face it, progressives often come to very different conclusions on these topics than most conservative evangelical pastors do. But one thing that most tend to agree on is that Jesus was executed on a day that we recognize today as Good Friday.

read more

Will we make it to Spiritual Adulthood?

Question: I am a New Thought Minister who presents the Bible and the Christ in much the same manner as Bishop Spong does in his articles and books. Can the Christ and Christianity survive the adolescence period where all is in flux, change and turmoil and emerge as the loving empowering way of life that Jesus intended and that we so desperately need or will the Fundamentalists win the day? Will we make it to Spiritual Adulthood?

read more

New from Award-Winning Author Diana Butler Bass

Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks

The author of the multiple award-winning “Grounded” and leading trend spotter in contemporary Christianity explores why gratitude is missing as a modern spiritual practice, offers practical suggestions for reclaiming it, and illuminates how the shared practice of gratitude can lead to greater connection with God, our world, and our own souls.

read more

The End of Our Axial Age

We are approaching the end of an Age that began eight/six thousand years ago after our movement out of Africa and into Egypt and the Levant and beyond. We had moved out of Africa before that, but this time it was different. Something of positive import to human civilization was taking place. Looking back, there were a broad range of achievements. Yet, many of these “achievements” are now beginning to haunt us. Scientists today are giving us warning. They are telling us we are in many respects living in alienation of Planet earth’s Biosphere.

read more

Watching the Watchers: Mindful Mysticism and Social Change

It is no longer paranoid fantasy to say that we are being watched all the time.

GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon) are literally studying our every move. These corporate black holes, concentrating capital and power through their monopolistic legacy positions, silently observe our physical movements, purchases, clicks, and fine-grained preferences. Cambridge Analytica watched us during the last election cycle, snatching personal data about us from Facebook and targeting misleading messages to vulnerable subgroups for the benefit the Trump campaign. Russia’s ruling kleptocracy is watching us, refining strategies to manipulate our elections. The US government is watching us, sampling our mobile phone conversations, internet activity, and even our facial expressions in airports and other public places.

read more

Another Take on Blessing

Entrenched theists can go on believing that their God can interfere with the natural processes of existence by conveying her blessings on chosen individuals or groups. If you want to believe that God blesses America, you can, but be aware that it is an empty phrase.

read more

Easter Encouragement for the Journey

Remember that resurrection is more than mere resuscitation! It is life transformed!
It is faith in possibilities, when others are convinced of inevitability.

read more

On The Insidiousness of Racism, Sexism, Religious Bigotry, and Homophobia in American Culture

But when we ignore the fact that we are advantaged while others are disadvantaged, then as innocuous as it may seem we are part of the problem. Indeed, because our own prejudice and discrimination are so invisible to, and insidious within, us we are actually the biggest part of the problem. The overt racists will hopefully be dealt with by the law, but we law-abiding citizens who feel entitled to our advantaged social status while remaining ignorant or disinterested in the disadvantaged status of others can remain easily oblivious and thus conscience free.

read more

And the Children Shall Lead Us

I have no problem with people owning rifles and pistols, but I have a real hard time when I hear them talk about their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, which could theoretically include tanks, artillery, machine guns, and bazookas.

read more

Lent: Letting Go of our Tightly Held Piety to See Our Need of Confession

When we begin to see God as the One in whom we live and move and have our being, we are able to see God as the one who dwells in with and through us. As we open ourselves to a broader understanding of God we can begin to see that the power to forgive resides in us? For it is in with and through us that our God finds expression. By letting go of our carefully held piety, perhaps we can begin to see the magnitude of the power of confession to absolve us as we evolve into all that we are created to be.

read more

Prioritizing Our Values With Regard To Violence In Our Society

What is more violent than war? We are a country that is not only in perpetual war, but have successfully subverted opposition to war by diverting our attention to other things and brandishing anyone who objects to our violence-based methods and agendas as unpatriotic. Moreover, we have aggrandized militarism by countless monuments and memorials to war.

read more

The ONE sure way to stop future school killing atrocities – NOT with sissy promises of “thoughts and prayers”

As a spiritual theologian who has written at length on prayer and spirituality and on the mystics and prophets who know something about prayer, I am sick and tired of the insult that is hurled at prayer every time a politician stands up to shed tears over gun violence in schools (or night clubs or concerts or churches, etc. etc) while behind the scenes he is in bed with the NRA.

read more

After the MLK Assassination: Why “Oakland was not for burning!”

Major rioting broke out in many American cities after the April 4, 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King. There was significant rioting in 100 cities, with the worst taking place in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Kansas City. Property damage and loss of life were rampant and much of the land was engulfed in grief and fear.

But Oakland, with a large African-American population long in conflict with local police, had no significant rioting, despite a shootout between OPD and the Black Panther Party which resulted in the death of 18 year old Bobbie Hutton and the wounding of Eldridge Cleaver, BPP Minister of Information and the well known author of “Soul on Ice.”

read more

Prince Ea Video “Who Am I?”

Who am I?, An UPLIFT Talk with Prince EA

“Often letting go is the true showing of strength.”

Powerful words from poet, Prince Ea, on why we need to let go of who we think we are.

read more