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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Arise and Walk

And to those who say God’s work can only be done
by following certain rules, the rabbi says,
What if the compassion you show to your pets,
even the care you give to your cars, were given also
to your sisters and brothers on earth?

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Hiking Through Lent

Today marks the first Sunday of Lent, a time of self-reflection and lament. It is often considered a season of darkness. Something I am all too familiar with. The season of Lent reminds me of walking a labyrinth. A labyrinth is a path that requires you to go in and come out the same way in which you entered. It is a journey towards the center, then back out again, into the world to which you came. You cannot skip the part you did not like, or go around a difficult feeling, you must return the exact way you entered. But, even though the path does not change, you have, and in this we find new life.

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Rage to Ecstasy: Praying the Psalms

That’s a gift of the Psalms, that praying them, we feel less alone. Those who wrote the psalms were imperfect, much like us. They didn’t know everything, but they had feelings about everything. And, like us, they had multiple situations and events to have feelings about, some good, even great, some bad, even evil. They reflect the human range of experiences and emotions.

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My Journey with “A Beautiful Silence”

Inspired by the films of Terrence Malick and the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, the film tells the story of a young woman who is dealing with an intense case of spiritual doubt that has been building within her for quite some time. Plagued with nightmares, she arises early one morning, says a prayer by candlelight, and goes downstairs for a cup of tea and to quietly reflect on recent events. At this moment, we flashback to a worship service at her church. In a moment of frustration, she storms out, and is followed by a friend who confronts her and reminds her that doubt, in and of itself, is not a bad thing.

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Resistance, Resilience & Revival | Wisdom from the Margins this Lent

As we seek to move beyond the tired binaries of Left and Right, let’s find ourselves in the fusion coalition that invites us to reconsider our prejudices and find common cause with our neighbors as we move forward together in doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God.

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The Unbearable Whiteness of American Lent

By Anita Little

  During one of the airless afternoons I spent in St. Rita Sunday school, our teacher gave us the exercise of drawing the indulgences that we would give up for the upcoming Lenten season. Peering at the …

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OMG: God Is Beyond Cause and Effect – a sermon for Lent 4A – John 9:1-41

When I was a child, the word God was one of those words that adults either used in vain or in hushed tones. Outbursts of anger always included the word God. Strange and mysterious circumstances often resulted in the word God being used in hushed tones. I remember the very first movie I was ever taken to see. Bambi may have been a Disney movie, but when the shot that killed Bambi’s mother rang out, as far as my mother was concerned, I broke one of the ten commandments when I shouted, “Oh my God.” Mom warned me that when we got home there would be dire consequences for this offence which confused me to no end, because before the movie began, they did what they always did in back in the 1960’s, they played, “God save the Queen” as we all stood to attention. God’s name being sung out incurred no dire consequences.

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An unwelcoming competition between black Brits and African Americans for movie roles

There are differences within diversity. This issue scratches below the superficial veneer of diversity and is an eerie reminder of how minority groups are often pitted against one another.

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Rev. Madison Shockley’s Speech at Women’s March, Palomar College

Over 3,000 people joined the #womensmarch in North County San Diego from the San Marcos Civic Center to Palomar College. The Rev. Madison Shockley is the pastor of the Pilgrim United Church of Christ.

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The Tree of Life

An analysis of The Tree of Life as it relates to the Book of Job. Why do the righteous suffer?

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A Trail of Thorns

Each spring break, I lead a group of University of Southern California students down to “baja Arizona” for a week to experience the humanitarian realities along the US side of the border with Mexico. We meet with progressive Christian activists – many of whom have been working for decades to prevent migrant deaths, assist migrants with practical help and legal representation, and advocate for legislative and administrative reform of our broken US immigration system.

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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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“Arrogant Autonomy (or) Loving Excentration”

I recently read that longer lived people tend to challenge themselves physically or mentally, and reading the first essay, “A Note on Progress,” tells me that this book will surely extend my life by a year. As I read and re-read the chapter, I confess my broken knowledge. Yet Teilhard’s erudition is made tenable by exquisite phrasing and enlarging metaphors. It is from this chapter that I take the title of this post.

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French Language Golden Rule Poster

Produced by Scarboro Missions, this French-language multifaith poster features Golden Rule texts in 13 religions.  To view or download the French poster, free of charge, click on the below image.

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Courage in a Dark Time

Dear God, help us to welcome our fears and respond with caring and courage as individuals and as a community. Dear Jesus, we would like to be a community you would be proud of as we struggle to live up to your inspiration and follow your guidance. Dear Spirit, help us build the heart to heart bonds so that we can trust our way into being in this together.

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