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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.

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Christians and Gun Ownership

What are your views about so many Christians being in favor of gun ownership? Doesn’t that completely contradict the Jesus of peace we read about in the Bible?

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Hate. No. Radical Love. Always.

The other side – no matter how vile, how much they hate me – are human beings. Stereotyping and dehumanizing them is wrong. Causing harm to them is wrong. Period.

No matter how wrong someone is, we must not treat them inhumanely.

They might be the problem. They might shout at us. They might threaten us. But hate is never the solution.

Hate is a narrowing; it makes the table more and more narrow, inviting fewer and fewer people to be with us. Love invites more people to join us.

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Meaningful Work AND Meaningful Salaries!

The weakness of the labor unions in our day has eroded the wages, health care benefits, job security, retirement programs, and even the safety of the workplace. When labor unions were growing, spiritual communities articulated the causes labor supported but in our era the church has been far too silent on labor issues. It isn’t just for union members that we need to find our prophetic voice, it is for the whole population because we all benefit when salaries are increased and the challenges of economic vulnerability in retirement, illness, and unemployment.

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Poems of Mourning and Healing Memory

The book begins with the author’s father—and the author himself— dealing with the death of wife and mother. It continues with the author’s powerful encounter with his dying father, then proceeds with poems mourning his father’s death and its aftermath.

The second half of the book contains poems which remember and honor significant people and experiences in the author’s life. As a pastoral psychotherapist, the author finds the Bible and spirituality to be major healing resources, along with memories of some key people he writes about who have helped him grow and heal in his life. What happens in writing is a mysterious and awesome thing, and the very process of remembering and writing these poems has helped the author mourn and find some healing.

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7 Forms of Recycling You Didn’t Realize Were Recycling

Going back to the yard sale example, it’s a shame when something is simply thrown away that could have much more life to give. Our retail consumer-driven economy has conditioned us to forget all the other ways that the economy functions outside of retail purchases. Given global environmental problems up to and including climate change, we are going to have to re-think how we acquire and dispose of what we consume.

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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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Attending and Beholding

Attending is something more than showing up – although, as they say, half of success is just that. To attend is to be all here: body and soul. To attend is to be present, for and to and with.

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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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To Be LOVE in the World: A sermon – John 4:1-42

We talk a great deal around here about embodying Christ in the world. Often in our prayers together we express our desire to “be LOVE in the world.” Our best selves want to be LOVE in the world. In our hearts and minds we know that if Christ is to be embodied in the world then somebody’s hands are going to have to reach out and touch some places that we would rather not touch.

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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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Why Do Americans Keep Saying “We Can’t”?

Why do we keep telling ourselves that we can’t do things?

I keep hearing it over and over again: We can’t have . . . Universal health care. Public education that includes college. Higher minimum wage. Sustainable energy. Humane immigration reform. Safe harboring of refugees.

We can’t. We can’t. We can’t.

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Adios, “Dios” – Part I

Saying Goodbye to “God” in Sacred Text

What good is “God?” We know well how much violence is committed in the name of “God.” If we were to delete both our traditional Western word and notion of “god” from both our speech and thinking, what are the implications for such things we ourselves know and experience to be true in our own human experience? I’m talking about conceiving of such things as love, compassion, mercy, grace, reconciliation, forgiveness, even absolution, redemption, and salvation. Part one in this series considers a scripture text considered sacred, but noticeably absent is the presence of any deity.

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Four tips on deepening engagement

It’s a long step from having one’s name on a church roster to being deeply engaged in that faith community.

An engagement rate of 100% is unreachable. But the current engagement rate of maybe 25% isn’t working out well – for constituents or for churches. Many people want more, but they find engagement elusive, especially when Sunday worship is the only avenue offered. They want significant relationships, or direct mission duty, or small group activity. Getting “fannies in the pew,” as one pastor put it, doesn’t accomplish such objectives, even over time.

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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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The Dalai Lama Continues to Push Secular Ethics Over Buddhism

by Justin Whitaker for Patheos

Last week the Tibetan spiritual leader offered talks to three groups of students at his residence in Dharamsala, India. The students came from the U.S., Canada, and 25 students from the Tong Len [Tibetan for ‘giving and taking’] charitable trust based in North India.
Rather than pushing traditional Tibetan teachings or verbatim scripture, the Dalai Lama urged students to pursue peace in the coming century. He emphasized the importance of cultivating reason and the basic human capacity for compassion in order to do this.

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The Divine Human

With our unprecedented longevity, aging has become a new developmental stage in the human life cycle. Conscious sacred aging now offers humanity profound opportunities for psychological, spiritual and mystical transformation, expanding not only our lifespan but our awareness of God as well. What if we discover in this awakening that we are already divine? What if this realization transforms our very nature and purpose in the world? The Divine Human answers these questions and more, revealing the ultimate meaning of the New Aging.

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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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