That Time a Woman Stood up in Church and Called Me a Muslim

By Bert Montgomery for Patheos

When my friend Sue first met Tom, whom she would eventually marry, he was introduced to her as a Sunday School teacher at a Baptist church. Her immediate response was, “you don’t look like a Baptist Sunday School teacher!”

Sue had a mental template, a way of categorizing what Baptist Sunday School teachers should look, dress, and act like. Tom didn’t fit any of those things. Her mind scrambled to categorize him so she could know how she should speak to him, how she should relate to him. But, in her mind’s filing system, Tom was not anywhere close to her “Sunday School teacher” box. (By the way, Tom was, and still is, a Sunday School teacher at a Baptist church; and he still doesn’t look the part).

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Urdu-language Multifaith Golden Rule Poster

This Urdu-language multifaith poster featuring Golden Rule texts in 13 religions is published by Scarboro Missions with support from members of the Urdu-speaking community in Canada and around the world. The Urdu language originated in India in the thirteenth century as a blending of languages – chiefly Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit along with many local dialects. Urdu eventually developed as a language of culture, poetry and song. Upon the partition of India in 1947, Urdu became the official language of Pakistan and remains prevalent in India due to its linguistic similarity to Hindi and the immense popularity of Bollywood films. Today, nearly one billion people understand spoken Urdu, not only in South Asia but also in the Middle East, Europe, North America and other parts of the world as a result of large-scale migration from the Indian subcontinent.

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Civil Rights Memories 1963-64

Three years ago many classmates gathered for a fifty year reunion. It was reassuring to hear many of them tell how this civil rights involvement shaped their later careers, where in different forms and contexts they became involved in many efforts to fight the results of bigotry, injustice, poverty and ignorance. Over a dozen went to Selma in ’65. One, as a rookie pastor, founded the first integrated day care in Louisiana, shortly after finishing seminary in ’68. Many are involved these days in welcoming immigrants, fighting for health, housing and nutrition and opposing injustice and discrimination in many forms.

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Interview with Toni Renolds – “What is the story of your faith journey?”

Toni Reynolds, a Union Theological Seminary student and “Young Leader in Religion”, shares her thoughts on what it means to be a Christian.

These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!

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God as manifestation or separate from Creation

Buddhists tend to think of God as a manifestation of creation; Christians think of God as separate from creation. Do you understand that distinction?

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Yes, Trump is a white nationalist but remembering he is screwing us all

This is the week where many Trump supporters are realizing the evils Trump represent. But let’s not take our eyes off of the ball. While it is clear that by his actions Trump must be considered a white nationalist, it is only a tool to achieve his destructive agenda. So as we cover all the Alt-Right stories, let’s not forget to expose all the sabotage on many fronts effected by the Trump administration and the Republicans.

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Fear

Fear can transform our rational, mammalian brains into reptilian, fight-flight-flee, us-versus-them brains.

Fear – as many are experiencing right now – paralyzes us and robs us of our very humanity.

Fear makes us scattered.

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“They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our . . .”

The other day a friend sent me a good story that has been around a long time, but it’s still as relevant as it was the first time I heard it.

I have no idea if this really happened, but every time I hear this story, I take a self-inventory. I ask myself: Could anyone tell that I am a faith-based person by my actions? What are my prejudices? Do they control me, or do I control them? Would folks know that I am a faith-based person without me telling them?

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Interview with Robin Meyers: “Do you see Progressive Christianity as distinct from Unitarians, or the Unity Church?”

These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!

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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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Videos featuring four pioneers in Jewish-Christian dialogue

These short videos chronicle the contributions of four pioneers in Jewish-Christian dialogue efforts of the last several decades. Featured here are Dr. Edward Kessler (England), Sr. Charlotte Klein NDS (Germany), Dr. Victor Goldbloom (Canada) and Sr. Mary Boys SNJM (USA).

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Science Mike Building a “Christian Science” Liturgy for the Nones

“We’re iPhone carrying apes from Mars,” Mike McHargue said to a crowded church auditorium in Denver on a warm September evening. The sweaty crowd laughed, and McHargue smiled from beneath his red beard.

In the past two years, McHargue has emerged as an unlikely pied piper for young Christians questioning their faith. An evangelical-turned-atheist-turned-Christian-once-again, McHargue, better known as Science Mike, has turned reconciling science and faith into a career. He hosts two podcasts, Ask Science Mike and The Liturgists, which together have hundreds of thousands of followers. His new memoir, Finding God in the Waves, outlines how he went from devout Christianity to atheism to something you might describe as scientific faith.

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Spirituality Beyond Theism

All religions combine belief with behaviors but the crucial divide between traditionalists and progressives comes down to this: Traditionalists emphasize right belief while progressives emphasize ethical behavior. Many of us have given up on orthodoxy to become entirely devoted to orthopraxy.

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An Online Course to Create Deep Dialogue

By way of this self-paced course, one can improve one’s capacity to:
Define dialogue, and apply it to one’s daily life.
Use critical thinking about an issue of importance.
Demonstrate increased knowledge of one’s own worldview and that of another person.
Recognize the difference between a stereotype and a generalization and learn to deconstruct a stereotype to defuse prejudice and construct useful, respectful generalizations.
Act with creativity and compassion.

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I See You

Video by Spoken Word Propaganda

    Christian artist “Propaganda” is paying it back in spoken word. How will you change the world? The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) gives a clear picture of God’s desire for us to help …

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Practical pointers for interfaith dialogue – the United Kingdom experience

This handy interfaith toolkit is full of useful resources and provides a bird’s eye view of interfaith activity in the United Kingdom. Themes touched on include why dialogue?, dialogue practicalities, dialogue on difficult issues, dialogue over food, limits to dialogue and bi-lateral, tri-lateral & multi-lateral dialogue.

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The Prodigal Pig

You can call me Wilbur. No, you are not hallucinating: I can talk. And yes, as you can see if you look carefully, I have been circumcised. And no, I do not recommend having it done unless you are an infant who won’t be able to remember.

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We Need More Iftars

I can hear many of you asking, “What in the world is an iftar?” This Arabic word means “a meal that breaks the fast” that occurs after sunset each day during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. Ramadan occurs in the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. Here you can see how Ramadan’s dates move from year to year, since the Muslim calendar is based on the moon and the Western (Julian) calendar is based on the sun.

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