Candlelight & Blessings: Symbols and Rituals for Death and Grieving

Death is inevitable, mysterious, and often confusing.

At the deathbed, patients and those gathered seek meaning, and many long for a sense of the Spiritual. Yet chaplains and spiritual caregivers have minimal information by which to determine how to provide support, limited time to develop rapport, and varying expectations from those they serve.

Regardless of the religious background of the patient and the loved ones gathered at the deathbed, there are elements of symbol and ritual that take on a pronounced role and a greater importance as one is facing the end of life.

read more

Preserving Democracy

The real fraud in the voter fraud discussion in the USA is the unsubstantiated claim that it is a problem. There are no more than three or four instances of voter fraud in any election cycle so the new state laws requiring a government issued photo ID at polling places is a shameless attempt at suppressing the vote of 20 million poor, disabled, or recent immigrant voters. This attempt at reversing the gains made in the civil rights movement must be rejected by progressive citizens.

read more

From Ancient Times to the Present: Transferring Guilt Makes a Mockery of Justice

  One of the foundations of modern ethics is crumbling. Having rights is about being respected as a human individual who shapes his life through choices. Whether with respect to original sin, honour based violence, modesty dress …

read more

Working With God to Create the Education State

Part 2 of 2

A central theme of the Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign was growing income inequality. Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook published data that supports Senator Sanders’ claim. They recently reported that at the end of 2013 the United States was the most unequal in terms of wealth distribution among the top twenty developed nations. Seventy-five percent of all wealth in this country is held by the top ten percent of its people. Comparative figures for Canada, 57%; Australia, 50%; Japan, 49%; the United Kingdom, 53%; and Germany 61%.The United States also ranks lowest for economic mobility among the twenty wealthiest nations. It is almost impossible for those living in the bottom 20% to move into the middle class.

read more

How to respond to homophobic preachers

What can we do about a preacher in our state whose website is “Godhatesfags.com” and who is constantly harassing churches that seek to be open to new knowledge about homosexuality?

read more

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.

read more

“Bulk of Christians Seek Salvation”—Not Me!

A friend emailed me this statement from a seminary professor: “The bulk of Christians seek salvation.” My friend likes to bait me, and he did so again. In a return email, I used a form of teaching that Jesus used often called didactics, which means one answers a question by asking a question. My questions to him were “What’s salvation?” and “Who is ‘the bulk’?” The truth is, I have no idea what people mean when they talk about salvation because there are so many concepts. Let’s look at a few:

read more

Why I give racists 2nd, 3rd, and more chances and it’s about sexism

Like most men, I grew up sexist, (and homophobic). It did not help that It was the culture of the Latin American country I am from. My path away from homophobia deserves a whole article of its own. Most importantly, my path to becoming a feminist (and gay rights activist) makes me a much more empathetic person towards racists and others I am diametrically and morally opposed to for what they represent. This may sound strange, but hear me out.

read more

Freedom of Will

I no longer believe that we have as much freedom of will as I initially thought. And I’m ok with that.

While it runs counter to our normative North American Protestant work ethic, I want to suggest that we are not as autonomous as we might believe ourselves to be. For example, we know that our environment has a very strong influence on us. In fact, it’s so strong that it affects our choices, even when we think we’re choosing freely.

read more

Christian Unity: Warts and All

I’ve noticed a generational divide in the quest for Christian unity. People of different ages often articulate different priorities.

Many veterans of the work for Christian unity focus on what Christians have in common. Younger ecumenists often talk of finding peace in the midst of real differences.

This divide follows a natural pattern of healing and reconciliation. It reflects more than just two sides of the same coin.

read more

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.

read more

The Church: A Fitness Center for Love

It’s not heavy lifting to love the children at church (unless they’re yours, squirming next to you in the pew). Everybody’s charmed by them as they scamper up to the altar for story time in worship.

But often it is heavy lifting to love the adults, particularly the prickly ones. The church can’t be the church without difficult people. They are among us – they are us – to remind us that we all have fallen short of the glory.

read more

Robin Myers Interview – What message do you have for young people struggling through today’s world?

Robin Myers Interview – What message do you have for young people struggling through today’s world?

read more

UN International Day of Peace inspires 2017 Global Peace Song Awards to announce contest Winners

GPSA Founder Steve Robertson stated, “We’ve had so many amazing music and video submittals. What an honor its been to be exposed to such music and videos and then be able to share this music with our world.

Therefore, it is with great pleasure that we announce the 2017 GPSA WINNERS

read more

Joining With God to Create a Better World

Part 1 of 2

The starting point for understanding how religion relates to politics is to determine how God functions in the world. Like many of you, I attribute the word God to experiences of beauty, love, and goodness that have no logical explanation. These encounters have depth. The reality of the experience is so much greater than the parts making it up.

read more

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.

read more

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 marks nineteen 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.

read more

Spiritual but not Religious…

Winston Churchill said that it takes courage to stand up and speak but it also takes courage to listen. Now, in the wake of a cascade of sexual predator and harassment cases involving powerful and wealthy men, we must have the courage to listen to victims without judgment. Truth does depend upon perspective and we should never assume that our own perspective is either universal or normative. Only through generous listening can we really understand other races, genders, and faiths in a way that fosters honest community.

read more