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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Pope Francis Calls For ‘Revolution Of Tenderness’

Pope Francis delivered a stern warning to the world’s powerful, saying they need to be more humble or face ruin, and he called on the masses to join him in a “revolution of tenderness.”
In a surprise appearance via video at the TED 2017 conference in Vancouver, Canada, on Tuesday evening, the pontiff said that tenderness is “the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women.”

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Complex Trauma and Spiritual Healing Power of Sufism

by Daliah Merzaban for Patheos

I’d long presumed the excessive lack of confidence that lurked just beneath the surface was an inherent flaw in me; until, that is, I became aware several months ago that I suffer from a condition known as Complex trauma.

Complex trauma is a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, only rather than resulting from a one-off psychological shock, it arises due to repeated, prolonged exposure to different forms of abuse, usually beginning in childhood. In researching the condition, I’ve learned how common it is. Wounds are often inflicted unwittingly and it’s easy to be oblivious to the toll they’ve taken on our psychological and spiritual health.

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Ancient Hospitality: A Lost Religious Practice

Hospitality to strangers was a very big deal throughout the ancient world. I am not sure if any of us in the modern era have any appreciation for just how important it was. There were no hotels, no GPS systems, few restaurants. Being in a tough spot away from home was a life or death situation!

Hospitality was not only a cultural practice, but it also had serious religious significance.

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Sacred Activism

Andrew Harvey, Oxford scholar and visionary, believes that our survival depends on Sacred Activism, a fusion of profound mystical awareness, passion, clarity and sacred practice with wise, dedicated, radical action.

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On Being Cool

I want the coolness that comes from staring at what I call a juniper tree until it stops fitting my definitions and begins to reveal itself to me on its own terms. I want the coolness that comes from taking time to stare at a little desert flower crystallizing into existence out of volcanic sand. I want the kind of coolness that comes from taking the time to appreciate my cool siblings and my cool 88-year-old Dad here in Oregon. Letting them be who they are, as they are, and not just as I might categorize them based on our family history.

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Resurrection is not a reality but it is a potential

Featuring “Purpose in the Pain” by David GreathouseToday’s Easter message consists of 4 vignettes coupled with 4 original musical compositions of David Greathouse.

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Rev. Bruce Sanguin Sermon: Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart

Reverend Bruce Sanguin talks about Blessed Are The Pure of Heart at Unity of Vancouver. See UnityOfVancouver.org for information and more talks.

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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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Beatitudes for the 21st Century

Marching with thousands of joyful, passionate people at the Women’s March in Seattle last weekend and seeing all the causes their signs supported – health care for all, diversity, respect and equal rights for all people, I realized the ultimate expression of all the things we were marching for would look, to me anyway, very much like the Culture of God; like the “Kingdom of Heaven” described by Jesus in the beatitudes. At the march in Seattle and marches around the world, people were intent on creating what they might call a better world, or a world of peace and justice. And if Jesus is right, if the excluded will be blessed by inclusion in the culture of God; if those who take action to make this world more like the culture of God will be blessed for their efforts, then with all due respect to Jesus and the original recorders of his words, I’d like to offer some beatitudes for the 21st century.

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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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The False Promise of Personal Charity

This is an especially difficult concept for us in the United States. Many of the people who helped form this country tried to solve their problems by simply moving away from people they had difficulties with. This method of dealing with problems is deeply embedded in the American psyche. When people get on your nerves, you can simply “go west” to get a little peace and quiet, a little piece of your own ground, and live with minimal interactions with neighbors. You don’t have to learn to live with difficult people, rather you can just pick the people you want to be with. People first left the problems of Europe behind. When life here got too tense, many continued pioneering westward to get away from everyone. Part of the American Dream is the illusion that you can create and control the bubble you live in. Perhaps this method worked for a couple hundred years until the empty spaces ran out and we were stuck staring eyeball to eyeball with our neighbors, again. Still, the fantasy remains that the individual acting alone is the most advanced and enlightened form of human activity. Yet Christianity has always held that life is about “we” not about “me.”

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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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Embrace Festival – Deshna Ubeda Interview on KBOO

Listen to ProgressiveChristianity.org’s Director Deshna Ubeda talk about their exciting Embrace Festival coming to Portland, OR May 4-6th, 2017.

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