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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A Force of Love and Fury

“Because I was so vocal about my feelings and the things I had been through, a lot of girls in my cohort started coming to me and asking the same questions. And as I was working through my own stuff, I realized that there was this huge need out there for someone who understood what it was like to be a woman and be oppressed in a spiritual space.”

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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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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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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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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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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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Why we don’t embrace change (in our spiritual-religious-faith practice)

While we might work really hard to control reality and predict what will happen to keep us from having to deal with change, the bottom line is that we all have to deal with uncertainty and change.

This article will help you towards making positive changes in your spiritual-religious life.

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We Are the Resistance

Yes, Donald Trump is dangerously eroding the foundations of the US Constitution. And no, democracy would not be fully rescued if he were removed from office tomorrow, because he’s as much a symptom as a cause. Our resistance to the threat to democracy is not about just one man, but an active effort to heal the social ills that put him in office.

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Catholic church to make record divestment from fossil fuels

By Arthur Neslen for The Guardian

More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi.

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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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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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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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“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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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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