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Reverence and Relevance – First Sunday of Advent

On this first Sunday of Advent, consider the new that is coming. Take some time to discover what you are most missing in your life – and then give that thing away. Where you long for a friend to support you, instead be the friend who calls another to find out if they are well. When you long to know peace, instead be the non-anxious presence during times of tension. Where you long for community and connection, be the heartbeat of whatever group you are with. When you long to feel less afraid, be the hand that reaches out with generosity. When you long to know your presence here matters, be the gift of welcoming.

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Thanksgiving as a Myth of Origin

Thanksgiving fits neatly into the “sacred feast” of the sort of the Hebrew Passover feast. Thanksgiving ties us to American history, family history, and religious devotion while denying actual history, especially as it relates to the relationship between Native Americans and the northern European invaders who stole their land and tried to extinguish their culture while killing off most of their population. Americans need to come to an honest awareness of our history, both the parts we can be proud of and the parts that call for confession and penance. The past does not have to be prelude. We can choose to help create a greater America.

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Wild Horses: The Last was First to Ride, Here Is What We Found

By Kimberly Stover for Patheos

  “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away Wild, wild horses we’ll ride them some day.” –The Rolling Stones I’ve always been in love with horses. The thought of riding a horse into the wild excites my spirit …

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Nevertheless, love.

My words in this article will implore you to live a life of love. My tone borders on zeal. You will hear echoes of the Buddha, Chasidic masters, Mother Teresa, 1 Corinthians 13, and what you know in your heart to be true. If you are not able to consider living your life in more love, please do not proceed. If you read this and do not like parts of what I write, please respond so we can both learn and grow.

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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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To Whom Shall We Go to Say Thank-you After We Move Beyond Personifying God?

Thanksgiving Sunday Sermons

Expressing gratitude is a skill that all tiny little people must learn in order to develop into well-rounded human beings. Indeed, scientists insist that being grateful is a prerequisite of happiness. Happy humans it seems, are humans who embody gratitude. But there is more to gratitude than simply saying thank-you. I remember learning that gratitude includes more than simply expressing our thanks. It happened when I was about sixteen and actually noticed the beauty of a sunset and for the first time I realized that I was part of something so much bigger than myself.

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Ways to Practice Thanks-giving

A gratitude practice for every day from Nov. 1 to Thanksgiving.

The Christian writer G. K. Chesterton had the right idea when he said we need to get in the habit of “taking things with gratitude and not taking things for granted.” Gratitude puts everything in a fresh perspective; it enables us to see the many blessings all around us. And the more ways we find to give thanks, the more things we find to be grateful for.

Giving thanks takes practice, however. We get better at it over time. Gratitude is one of the key markers of the spiritual life we include in the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy. It is essential if we are to read the sacred significance of our daily lives.

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All Saints – Giving thanks for the Divine in One-another!

All Saints’ Day is a day for remembering. The word saint simply means “holy”. In the New Testament, all those who believe and were baptized were referred to as saints. It wasn’t until round about the third century that the church began using the word saint to refer to those who had been martyred for the faith. Over time these martyred saints were held up for veneration and people used to pray to them to intercede on their behalf. I’m not going to go into all of the institutional abuses that led Martin Luther and the later reformers to abolish the veneration of the saints. Except to say, that while the Reformation put an end to the veneration of the saints in the protestant churches, it did not abolish the concept of sainthood.

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Christian and Spiritual Themed T-Shirts Supporting ProgressiveChristianity.org

ASF Appare’s Christian Theme-based T-Shirts manufactured adhering to the Fair Labor Organizations Code of Conduct

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What Will I Give Back? How to Discover What Your Soul Still Longs to Do

Conscious Aging organizations encourage elders to contribute their time, energy, wisdom, and experience in “giving back” to the world. So when I retired, I was surprised by how much resistance I felt to getting involved.

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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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Fear. (It’s ok to fear.)

I sent out an email a few weeks ago about fear.

I wrote that I was scared.

And I was when I wrote it.

I am not in that sharp place of re-surfaced terror today.

When I wrote, I wrote from a place of fear. My sense of alarm was apparent to those who read my words. (I am thankful to be a powerful enough writer to express my emotions in my words.)

Allowing myself to be scared made me feel I was not so alone. Support from so many allies followed, and that also made me feel I was not so alone.

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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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India.Arie Sings “I Am Light”

Watch as singer/songwriter India.Arie performs the song ‘I Am Light’ from her new album, ‘Songversation’

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Empowering your Spiritual life

A talk given by Rabbi Brian at the Embrace Festival produced by Progressive Christianity. Portland, Oregon. May 5, 2017.

What is empowering? What is the spiritual life?

The definition of the word empower is to give someone the authority to do something and to make them stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

I am Rabbi Brian – an ordained rabbi on a mission from God – a rabbi with John Lennon’s inclusivity and a Blues Brothers mission. My mission, to empower people in their spiritual lives – so that they can feel the seat of their religious authority within them.

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Communities of Hope

Practices to build hope include dialogues, just getting out there, prayer, and imagining a house of hope. We do what we can, and there is plenty to do.

On November 9, 2016, the United States concluded a blisteringly polarized, vicious political campaign cycle. The results — especially the surprise upset of Hillary Clinton by Donald J. Trump in the presidential election — stunned people as devastating or miraculous, depending on different standpoints.

Concerned about civil rights, immigration, international relations, civility, multiculturalism, and a host of other issues, many people found hope in short supply after the election results came in.

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Occupy Spirituality

This book is a call to action for a new era of spirituality-infused activism. Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world.

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