River Current: The Physics of Prayer

Most religious traditions affirm the practice of prayer. But have you ever thought deeply about how prayer works?

Do we think there’s a man up in the clouds who hears our prayers and decides whether or not to grant them? Why do we need to pray over and over for something—why isn’t once enough? Why do we pray at all if God already knows our thoughts and desires? Do we think God will be more likely to grant our prayers if we pray for something fervently and repeatedly? Are we trying to prove to God how important something is to us by praying so hard? Are we trying to control God?

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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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Prayer and Prayings

I need to address this important subject because prayer is such a significant part of public church services and also it can be a vital part of one’s personal religious life.  Some people engage in praying very frequently and regularly.  Some people call it a time of meditation, a quiet time, time given to God, or something else.    For many people, they feel it is an important way in which they can grow in their personal relationship with God.  However many in the church have serious questions about prayer; how it works and if it does.

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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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The Matthew Shepard murder revisited

With October being LGBTQ History Month it allows the LGBTQ community to look back at historical events. And Matthew Shepard’s murder is one of them.

This October 12 marks twenty years since the death of Matthew Shepard. In October 1998, Shepard, then 21, was a first-year college student at University of Wyoming. Under the guise of friendship, two men (Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson) lured Shepard from a tavern, tortured and bludgeoned him with their rifles, and then tethered him to a rough-hewn wooden fence to die – simply because he was gay.

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 4 of 4)

Intergenerational White Victimhood

For my last installment on the topic of ‘Confronting the Denial of American White Racism’, I humbly submit a discussion on the pervasiveness of white victimhood through generations of American history; in fact, I call it: ‘Intergenerational White Victimhood’ (a psychological theory I’m developing). The basis for my research comes from a Newsweek/Gallup Survey, August 19, 1969, one year after the death of Dr. King, revealing that 44% of whites believed that black people had a better chance than they did at obtaining employment and earning a higher wage. 88%, in the same survey, outright stated that their chances were worse, insisting that they knew this to be true, not just a mere belief. Moreover, 80% of whites said that black people already possessed equal or better educational opportunities as well; only 17% of whites said otherwise (3% were indifferent). Remember, we are talking about 1969…

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 3 of 4)

The Protests will NOT Stop!

On Tuesday evening, I joined the distressed voices of many freedom fighters protesting the brutal murder of Stephon Clark by the Sacramento Police Department. We converged upon city hall to confront SacPD, the mayor, and the city council, letting them know, in a way that we (the people) deemed necessary, we will no longer stand for the intimidation, violation, brutalization, and killing of our neighbors, especially those of color. As has been well documented, America has a history of oppressing communities of color through city, county and state police units. The citizens of Sacramento, CA want to make it abundantly clear: NO ON OUR STREETS! This ain’t Alabama; this ain’t Mississippi, or any of those other good ole’ boy, backwoods, country, down home states; this is California, and we will act by any means necessary before we allow state executions in our streets—any means necessary!

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What Shall We Bring to Community?

What shall we bring to community?
A loaf, a fish, a voice for singing,
hands for baking, a heart for teaching,
wisdom for guiding our children and youth?

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Resisting With Our Feet

(and our hands and our hearts)

Bless the hands that vote. Ask people you meet: “With which hand will you be voting in November?” Grasp that hand, look the person in the eyes, and bless them, saying: “May love guide your hand to vote for the common good.” Voting is a ritual. By putting even more ritual into it, by getting people implicitly committing to vote, we engage them in the ritual and increase the likelihood that they’ll show up and do it.

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An Overdue Second Bill of Rights

F. D. Roosevelt recognized that the original bill of rights, that guaranteed certain political freedoms, would not be enough to make all American’s free with a similar bill of rights that would guarantee economic independence. Of the eight amendments he proposed in 1944, seven are still waiting to be implemented. The progressive movement is not dead but it has been too slow to gain ground. We really need to pick up FDR’s banner and run with it!

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OMEGA presents Terra – a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Animals are the refugees we often forget. In this documentary by GoodPlanet and OMEGA, directors Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot examine the human relationship with other species on Earth. With a global population of 7 billion people, let’s have the courage to change the way we share our planet. Available on Netflix.

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Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 2 of 4)

About five years ago, my best friends and I sat down at Leatherby’s Ice Cream one evening, and we began to discuss race relations in America. Three of us at the table recognized the fact that (systemic) racism was still a problem, while one of us was vehemently maintaining that it was not. We tried to have a conversation about this friend’s own white denial of racism, but this friend was NOT having any of that conversation. This friend became flustered, red, and angry at the entire discussion. Yes, this friend is a white male; one who in no way, shape, or form wanted to converse about American white racism. I knew, right then, this was not only a social issue, it was psychological. (It’s also spiritual, but that’s another post.)

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Albert Einstein’s Theory of Happiness – Prince Ea

DID YOU KNOW THAT ALBERT EINSTEIN HAD A SECRET THEORY ABOUT HAPPINESS? His theory written on a piece of paper just sold for 1.5 million dollars! But even he would have probably disapproved of this sale. Check out his theory here and choose happiness today!

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Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology

  Our Lives Matter uses the tenor of the 2014 national protests that emerged as a response to excessive police force against Black people to frame the book as following the discursive tradition of liberation theologies broadly …

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Jesus Matters – BRUNCHtalks 5

Jesus MATTERS – BRUNCHtalks 5
by Rev. Dawn Hutchings

Audio only click here

Moving beyond the sacrificial interpretation of the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth to explore a progressive way of following Jesus. Jesus’ way of being provides hope for 21st century christian communities who embrace the LOVE we meet in the stories about Jesus that have been handed down to us. Can christian communities provide a space where people can gather together to learn how to love?

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Out of Our Heart

Why do people shout? It has to do with our hearts.

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“It’s Really Hard to Be A Catholic”

“‘It’s Really Hard to Be a Catholic’: The Pain of Reading the Sex Abuse Report” is an eye-catching headline in the August 16, 2018, issue of the New York Times. The world has grappled with the issue of Roman Catholic clergy abusing children for decades. The problem never seems to be resolved, and maybe it even worsens as more skeletons come out of the closet.

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