On the 50th Anniversary of Thomas Merton’s Death

Monday, December 10th marks the 50th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death—which has now been confirmed as a martyr’s death by the recent solid and important investigative study, The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton by Hugh Turley and David Marin (as well as by my own encounters over the years with three CIA agents who were in Southeast Asia at the time).

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New Creation with Matthew Fox (Video) + A Community Offering for You This Holiday Season

Hi friend,Are you looking for community on the way to Christmas?

Make Advent Great Again just might be what you’re looking for.

We’re back to compassionately struggle – not against some fabricated ‘war on Christmas,’ but against the steady dehumanization that attempt to desecrate God’s image in the face of each other – the war on Advent.

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Mysticism and Social Action: The Spirituality of Howard Thurman

Activism is at the heart of progressive theology. The way of Jesus is both personal and social. Jesus’ embodiment of prophetic spirituality was reflected in his welcome of the marginalized, affirmation of women, expansion of the scope of salvation and ethical concern to include foreigners and the disinherited, and challenge to narrow purity codes which promoted exclusion. Jesus proclaimed that the “spirit of the Lord” was upon him, and this meant the healing of the social order as well as people’s religious lives.

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The End of Providence

While much of traditional Judaism, Christianity, and Islam profess a belief in a God who is a person, a person with a will, emotions, and preferences and that God is in control of history. Progressive people of faith tend to eschew this kind of supernatural theism. As St Teresa said, God has no hands in this world but our hands, no feet but our feet. The universe is capricious but we are moral actors. Meaning, love, purpose, happen when we make them happen.

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Why Faithful Christians Do Not Believe

Despite a Christian family background, I have never managed to be a Christian in the way defined by most churches. I am not a ‘believer’, and could recite no creed without a sense of hypocrisy and conflict. But after many years of engagement with other traditions – Buddhist, philosophical and psychological – it has become increasingly clear to me that ‘belief’ is not what Christianity is most importantly about. It is quite possible to drink deeply of what Christianity has to offer, indeed to be ‘Christian’ in all the ways that matter – morally, spiritually and intellectually – without ‘believing’ such absolute propositions as that God exists, or that Jesus is the Son of God, or that Jesus saves believers from sin. Indeed, I will go further. Such beliefs have no positive practical effects on the lives of Christians, beyond being shortcuts to group conformity which may also have many negative effects.

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Meeting the Holy Spirit: A Review of “The Desire for Mutual Recognition”

All good Christians know there are three aspects to the traditional belief in a Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The one part of the Trinity I have paid little attention to is the Holy Spirit. Peter Gabel’s new book, The Desire for Mutual Recognition, makes that impossible. Although meeting the Holy Spirit is not the central focus of Gabel’s book, this manifestation of the Triune God jumps out at you with important implications for political theology.

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Meeting God in our Pain: My video conversation with ‘Science Mike’ McHargue!

A few days ago, before the sold-out Evolving Faith Conference kicked off at Montreat, ‘Science’ Mike McHargue and I were able to grab an hour together to talk about some of our most vulnerable experiences with God, and how these encounters have impacted our approaches to life.

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God is too big for just one religion

Joseph Campbell taught that all religions are true as long as they are taken poetically and metaphorically. However, when we try to take a religious text as being historically or factually “true,” then they all become false. God doesn’t write books. While we may wish for absolute truths, the fact of our spiritual lives is that we have to think critically and morally interrogate our beliefs constantly as we navigate our way between truth and “fake news.”

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The Mystic in You

Discovering a God-filled World

What is a mystic? Bruce Epperly defines mystics as people who see holiness in everyday life. We can be mystics without leaving our families, disengaging from daily responsibilities, becoming a priest, or joining a monastic order. Epperly shows how we can experience the living God in the midst of daily life and never again take everyday events for granted.

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How I Found God in Everyone and Everywhere: An Anthology of Spiritual Memoirs

How I Found God in Everyone and Everywhere captures for a general audience the spiritual shift away from a God “up there” and “out there” and towards an immanent divine right here. It’s built around the personal journeys of a close-knit group of prominent contributors. Their spiritual visions of immanence, sometimes called “panentheism,” are serving as a path of spiritual return for a growing number of seekers today. Contributors include Deepak Chopra, Richard Rohr, Rupert Sheldrake, Matthew Fox, and Cynthia Bourgeault.

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Demanding Answers from the Universe

Telling ourselves that “everything happens for a reason” may be comforting but there is a minority voice in the Bible that screams out that it “just ain’t so!” In Job, Ecclesiastes, and much of the Proverbs, we find a rational counter argument to other witnesses that insist that God is active in human history and that there is a divine plan that justifies human suffering. This progressive church chooses to accept that Job got it right. Things don’t happen for a reason unless we can choose to bring meaning to the events.

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Consciousness

The belief that humankind, created in the image of god, is the center and purpose of the universe, has been smacked down over the last 500 years by three revolutions in human self-awareness. The first was the Copernican discovery that the earth is not the center of the universe. Prior to Copernicus publishing his theory in 1543, the medieval worldview imagined that all the heavenly bodies revolved around earth and humanity, while god pushed them in their orbits through the sky. Today, thanks to Hubble, we gaze in fascination at photos of galaxies in outer space. We are not the center of the universe.

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“Perfection” In The Thought Of Jesus

What we we think is perfection, and what Jesus and the ancients meant by it, are different. When he said, “Be perfect, even as God is perfect,” he did not mean without error; or, as some have assumed, as merely complete in who you are (as if one’s own uniqueness is different from another’s, and that everyone needs to only be true to their own selves).

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A Progressive Christian Near Death Experience. An interview with Josh Grisetti about The God in His Head.

Today I am talking with author Josh Grisetti about his very unorthodox near death experience. He uniquely terms his event as an hallucination with the God in his head, which occurred after a nearly lethal drug interaction while undergoing a dental procedure.

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Nevertheless, She Persisted

In a late night session on February 7, 2017, during Jeff Session’s confirmation hearing for U.S. Attorney General, just weeks after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the United States Senate voted to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren after she read comments made decades earlier by Edward Kennedy and Coretta Scott King that criticized the civil rights record of Senator Sessions. Warren was censured because Senate Rule XIX prohibits ascribing “to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.” To silence her, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell led a party-line vote that forced Senator Warren to take her seat and refrain from speaking. McConnell later said “Senator Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

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Why God Would Not Require A Human Sacrifice For The Sins Of Humanity

And other thoughts on the religion of Jesus

If God is love, if love is an integral part of God’s essence, then God must act with and by love — no exceptions. If God does not condone violence, injustice, hatred, and vengefulness in humanity, then God would need to live up to at least as high of a standard.

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The Ethics of Our Conception of God

Our conception of God needs to be revised if it does not lead us to emphasize the virtues of compassion, peacefulness, justice, mercy and love in God and in ourselves.

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A new hymn for the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation

God, you made your good creation and you hold it in your care —
From each starry constellation to each forest under-layer.
Tiny creatures, mountain splendor, rivers, lakes and ocean floors —
You are loving, kind and tender in your care for what is yours.

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