Imagining Donald J. Trump as the Good Samaritan – reflecting on the bruised and battered church…Luke 10:25-37

It is my prayer that in her current vulnerability the church might finally realize Christ’s vision and begin a dialogue with the world God loves as we begin to articulate together our experiences of the Spirit of God active in our midst. This is an exciting time to be in the church. The church is battered and bruised and in need of healing. We don’t know if the church will survive. But we are a resurrection people and we know that out of our vulnerability new life will spring forth. So we need not fear, because through you and me, and all of those who are willing to recognize our neighbours, whoever they may be, healing will happen. Healing or death. Neither are to be feared. For even in death there is hope. For we are a resurrection people and Christ will live and breathe and have being in, with, through, and beyond us, now and forever.

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Beltway Poetry Slam – “American Dream”

Button Poetry

We seek to showcase the power and diversity of voices in our community. By encouraging and broadcasting the best and brightest performance poets of today, we hope to broaden poetry’s audience, to expand its reach and develop a greater level of cultural appreciation for the art form.

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Seeing Abuse

For 20 years, I went from one abusive situation to another. A small group, usually longtime members who resented my efforts toward growth and mission, believed they had the privilege and the duty to make my life miserable.

They left snide notes, sometimes anonymous, at my desk. They berated me in parish meetings and made sure I knew my salary was on the line. They started whispering campaigns and held secret meetings that they made sure I knew about. One warden sat in my office and said, “We are going to destroy you, Tom.”

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Celebrating 25 Years as Open & Affirming at IUCC

Irvine United Congregational Church is celebrating 25 years of welcoming people of all sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions into the full community and life of the church. The church was a pioneer in becoming the first Orange County congregation to adopt an Open and Affirming declaration and later became a leader in the fight for marriage equality. Irvine UCC will celebrate this monumental anniversary with an event featuring former IUCC pastor the Rev. Fred Plumer.

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Remain or Leave? Keep Faith or Give It Up?

The question of suffering leads many to leave their faith. Why didn't I?

World leaders are waiting anxiously before the British referendum on EU membership on 23 June 2016, while Remain and Leave campaigners bombard voters with facts, opinions, and threats, causing confusion about what is true and what is false, and who could be believed. Many like me are ‘Don’t knows’, between a rock and a hard place, with uncertainties on both sides.

Life is like that. It poses big questions and asks us to vote. To weigh the evidence, choose between not only competing facts but competing interpretations of facts, opinions, and risks, and reach a balanced judgement of what we think is right.

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Demons or Baggage: Stop and Listen – A Sermon for Pentecost 5C: Luke 8:26-39

Bobby wasn’t like any other 10-year-old boy. Bobby had the face of an angel but the temperament of a devil. Bobby was a beautiful child. His blond hair and blue eyes together with his alabaster skin, pointed toward his Scandinavian heritage. At first sight, Bobby appeared to be the kind of child that any congregation would be proud to count as a member. But, Bobby’s physical appearance was deceiving and Bobby’s presence in church was not welcome. Bobby didn’t go down to Sunday school classes with the other children. The Sunday school teachers had tried to include Bobby, but after several parents threatened to withdraw their children, they asked Bobby’s parents not to send Bobby anymore. So Bobby stayed in the sanctuary with the adults. Most of the adult members tried to tolerate Bobby’s presence but for some, Bobby’s presence was simply unnerving. Bobby is autistic. Sitting and behaving in church was impossible for him. As long as we were singing hymns, Bobby was happy. He would catch the rhythms of the music and rock back and forth and sing. He never sang the same words as the rest of the congregation. But it was clear from his movements and the sounds that emanated from his lips that Bobby was singing. The trouble was that Bobby never stopped singing when we did. When his parents would attempt to put an end to Bobby’s song, he would flail about and sometime throw himself on the floor.

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The Intoxication of Power – Sermon Video

There is a very distinct anti-government thread that runs through the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings of the Hebrew Bible. The story of how Ahab’s wife had a citizen killed so that the king could take his land represents the danger of how power corrupts an individual and destroys a society. As easy as it is to criticize the abuses of those in power, there is also a personal message in this to reflect on how much better we really are when given the power to abuse others.

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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as “black rage,?? historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post showing that this was, instead, “white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames,?? she writes, “everyone had ignored the kindling.??

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Marcus Borg@All Saints Church – Amos: A Case Study in “What I Wish Every Christian Knew”

Presentation by Marcus Borg at the All Saints Church Lent Event, on Monday, March 24, 2014

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United Methodist Church’s Inhospitality Toward Its LGBTQs

The United Methodist Church is in the need of prayer. And, one that emphasizes full inclusion of all its parishioners.

At General Conference this month in Portland the struggle to move the church’s moral compass against its anti-LGBTQ policies was courageously demonstrated when over 100 United Methodist Church(UMC) ministers and faith leaders came out to their churches – with Rev. Jay Williams of Union United Methodist Church in Boston’s South End as one of them.

While these ministers and faith leaders undoubtedly moved the hearts of many the church’s policies remain unmoved.

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Faith in the Face of Terrorism

  The word “faith” in early Christianity was more synonymous with “courage” than it was with “belief.” Perhaps the most faithful response to terrorism is to refuse to be terrified. In Brussels on Easter they held a …

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Looking Back on the Anniversaries of May 17th Through the Years

When you reside at the intersections of multiple identities anniversaries of your civil rights struggles can be both bitter and sweet. And this May 17th was a reminder.

At 12:01 a.m. on May 17, 2004, the city of Cambridge was the first to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. At 9:15 a.m. the first couple was married. Then Cambridge City Clerk Margaret Drury said to Tanya McCluskey,52, and Marcia Kadish,56, of Malden, Massachusetts, “I now pronounce you married under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
Also, on that day was the 50th anniversary of the historic U.S. Supreme Court case of “Brown v. Board of Education,” a ruling that upended this country’s “separate but equal” doctrine, adopted in the “Plessy v. Ferguson” decision of 1896.
While joy washed over me that day knowing my partner and I could now follow McCluskey’s and Kadish”s footsteps and be legally married, we could not rejoice over the limited success, huge failures, and ongoing resistance of Brown that allowed a few of us entry into some of the top universities of this country, as it naggingly continues to be challenged as a form of reverse discrimination.

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Physical Water, Living Water

Samaritan’s Purse is providing clean, safe water for 100,000 people in two refugee camps in South Sudan. Not only are we meeting vast physical needs, we’re also proclaiming Jesus Christ as the Living Water, who alone can meet people’s spiritual needs.

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Xavier Rudd @ LEAF Spring 2015 (full show) Music Video

Xavier Rudd and The United Nations perform @ LEAF Spring 2015. Since the very beginning, Xavier Rudd’s ability to connect with people has been his most powerful gift. The more he has toured the world, the more hearts he has touched and the more of the world he has put back into his music.

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A Two-Letter Word Changes the World

This is the message sent out to the world by a well-known spiritual leader. “Life without God is like a non-sharpened pencil. It has no point.” If you are triggered, first start by noticing your trigger, and breathe. At least that’s what I had to do.

Seriously? Please tell me I did not just read that? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! My thoughts focused on how divisive the statement is. You just alienated atheists, secular humanists, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and God knows how many millions of others! (Pun intended!) I don’t know about you, but I am in no position to tell an atheist, or anyone else for that matter, their life is pointless. I feel confident that brilliant and compassionate atheists like Bill Gates, Simone de Beauvoir, Butterfly McQueen, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mark Twain, to name a few, would disagree as well. Not to mention, I see their atheist lives as anything BUT pointless!

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Crystal Valentine – “And the News Reporter Says Jesus Is White” – Button Poetry Video

Button Poetry is committed to developing a coherent and effective system of production, distribution, promotion and fundraising for spoken word and performance poetry.

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The Bell of Liberty and the Price of Freedom – Part 3

Part 3 of 3-Part Series

If we give up our rights to peaceably gather, protest and to question the motives of our elected officials under the cowardly fear of being labeled unpatriotic, then clearly, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, we deserve neither liberty nor safety. We appear to be on track, as planned, to succumb to the paranoiac and insistent boil of fear and terrorism as feed through the media and those who pull at the strings of power. If this happens and we do not move quickly, then like a frog placed in a pan of cool water on a stovetop…we will not discern the change in the water’s temperature as it is steeped to a boil. Jump, as it (or we) could out of the pan at any time, the frog never does, and thus dies as a result of confusion while in the boiling water.

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The Bell of Liberty and the Price of Freedom – Part 2

Part 2 of 3-Part Series

Once we had known, with clear conviction, the difference between right and wrong. As a people we were taught to protect the weak, right the wronged and fight for freedom. Now however, the moral compass of our heart had been turned, and with this, our minds rebuffed into submission. Values of goodness, which once defined our great nation, were now being defined by powers, we were told, were more wise than ourselves. They knew better and had our best interests at heart. They would protect us from what we were told to fear and what was beyond our capability to understand. We willingly allowed ourselves to be guided into a cauldron of water which was quickly being brought to a boil by flames of fears and fascism.

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