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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Breaking Through: The Relationship Repair Game

The Relationship Repair Game is a collection of some of the most effective conflict resolution tools and relationship repair strategies used by Mediators, Counselors, Therapists, Social Workers, and Life Coaches.

Whether you are looking for couples communication exercises or workplace conflict tools, this game guides you through your current conflict while building valuable communication skills for all relationships.

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Family and Politics: Why I’m Against ‘Keeping the Peace’

There are times when we need to speak up.

We live in an age of sharp division. According to the Pew Research Center, an “overwhelming majority” of Americans (86%) believe the country is more politically divided than it has ever been before. These political and ideological differences aren’t merely a matter of red or blue states; these same sharp divisions exist within many families, potentially alienating parents from children, sisters from brothers. When we disagree with those we love about some of our most closely held beliefs, must keeping the peace always mean keeping quiet?

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Race in America

The removal of Confederate memorials from government properties and the racist tensions created by these decisions becomes an opportunity to have a serious conversation about America’s original sin of slavery and the lingering racism that still haunts this nation. Donald Trump’s failure to provide clear leadership in the midst of the current racial crisis also demands the serious consideration of everyone who hopes for a better America.

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Do Your Job – Part IV

Part 4 of a 4-Part Series

In his World Peace Day Message for 2017 Pope Francis states, “To be true followers of Jesus today also includes embracing his teaching about nonviolence.” This is a fine example of a bishop being what a bishop is commissioned to be by Jesus (Mt 28:19). He is teaching the disciples of Jesus “to obey all that I have commanded you.”

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Do Your Job – Part III

Part 3 of a 4-Part Series

An institution is a humanly created means to achieve an end. All the activities within it are designed by human beings to reach that end. An institution is like a hammer. It is a tool devised by humans to do a job. But, the hammer in order to do the job for which it was developed, e.g. put a nail in a piece of wood, must be employed according to its own intrinsic logic. The handle is held and the head of the hammer hits the top of the nail. To use a hammer contrary to its own logic, for example, to hold the head of the hammer and hit the side of the nail with the handle, is to misuse the tool and render it ineffective to achieve the end for which it was created. Once the tool is chosen its intrinsic logic must be obeyed. 

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Adios, “Dios” – Part I

Saying Goodbye to “God” in Sacred Text

What good is “God?” We know well how much violence is committed in the name of “God.” If we were to delete both our traditional Western word and notion of “god” from both our speech and thinking, what are the implications for such things we ourselves know and experience to be true in our own human experience? I’m talking about conceiving of such things as love, compassion, mercy, grace, reconciliation, forgiveness, even absolution, redemption, and salvation. Part one in this series considers a scripture text considered sacred, but noticeably absent is the presence of any deity.

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How can Progressive Humanism Counter Islamism’s Corrosive Divisiveness?

By George Suchett-Kaye

Islamist attacks on Western democracies pose a deep philosophical and moral problem to anyone sympathising with a progressive, humanist vision of society. The Islamic fundamentalists are targeting the very heart of our democracies and, more importantly, our entire way of life. They are trying to drive a wedge between the Islamic community, which they are supposed to be part of, and the rest of us. We, as a democracy, must not fall into the trap they have set. If we do succumb to their provocations, our entire society will change forever, if it survives at all. It is ironic that the civilisation that brought Greek philosophy and Islamic science to Europe, at the end of the Middle Ages, should now be so determined to bring down the very societies that it helped to create. Whether they succeed or not will depend on our response to their provocations.

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Deportee (aka. “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos”)

Words by Woody Guthrie, Music by Martin Hoffman

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract’s out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

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Aaron Hernandez’s Hail Mary Pass with John 3:16

Former Patriot tight-end Aaron Hernandez’s suicide leaves us with more questions than answer. Many wonder what were Hernandez’s last dying words expressed in the three handwritten notes to loved ones left next to a Bible in his cell. CBS Boston reports he conveyed “I love you and please don’t cry.”

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The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene

  Mary Magdalene was the first person, male or female, to witness the empty tomb…the first to see angels who reported the resurrection…the first to hear the voice of, and see, the risen Christ…and the first to …

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Good Friday Unison Prayer

O God, who grace feels abundant in our sunshine, but far removed in our shadows: We have come today to bear witness to Jesus’ suffering and death upon a cross. We are appalled at the injustice and inhumanity — not only of his last day, but of days in our lives when we hear about greed, corruption, discrimination, hatred, violence, and death.

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Living Abundance

I am a big proponent of gratitude.

Acknowledging that I am in favor of gratitude seems silly. Who isn’t in favor of gratitude? In case you were wondering, I also like fresh air, holding sleeping babies in my arms, and freshly-made pie. Of course I am a proponent of gratitude! Gratitude is the basis of every spiritual practice. I have written, made videos, and talked about gratitude for years.

Science can demonstrate positive correlations between gratitude and academic performance. And there are studies that show a link between gratitude and higher levels of immunity.

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People Don’t Change Much… But They Can

Nicodemus has understandable cynicism about the realistic expectation that an adult can really make any substantial chance, any more than that an adult could enter his or her mother’s womb a second time. This sermon takes that very real and practical question at face value. Beyond any concerns about life after death, can we, as adults, make a conscious decision to make substantive correction in the course of our lives? And if we can’t, why would anyone bother with religious faith at all?

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The Play’s the Thing: An Arches -n- Bells Conversation with Dan Maurer!

Mike Morrell Interviews Dan Maurer

​We got bells! We got arches! Well, really now . . . Arches ‘n Bells is a skit, play, dialogue, monologue, reader’s theater, and litany provider for churches and faith communities. Our writers focus on producing high-quality ​resources from a progressive, grace-centered angle. All the stuff is downloadable for you to print and use. Oh . . . and we’re about fun too. Anybody going to the site should be able to see that. What’s more is that these works are intergenerational—they work with kids, teens, adults, and various subsections of a faith community’s demographics.

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How to be loving …

  Question and Answer   Question:   Dear rB, You talk about loving and not being filled with hate. I remember this past summer you turned the racist, anti-Semitic graffiti outside your house into a teaching moment …

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A Preference for Blindness

A recent University of Michigan study looked into the curious fact that most people do not change their prejudices when confronted with contrary facts but rather double down on their mistaken beliefs. It seems that John uses blindness as a metaphor for choosing not to see in the account of the man born blind. Both then and now courageous faith asks us to love truth enough to reject prejudice, propaganda, and political lies.

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Resistance, Resilience & Revival | Wisdom from the Margins this Lent

As we seek to move beyond the tired binaries of Left and Right, let’s find ourselves in the fusion coalition that invites us to reconsider our prejudices and find common cause with our neighbors as we move forward together in doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God.

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