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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The Determination Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr’s brother, H. Richard, argued for faithfulness to the example of Jesus’s nonviolence, while Reinhold believed this was naive and unrealistic in an imperfect world. H. Richard was the purist to the Christian faith, believing that following the Golden Rule, no matter the consequences, is what Jesus and God called us to do — the success of the mission being in God’s hands rather than our own. Reinhold, however, looked at the more practical side of things, substituting his or the world’s idea of what was possible and changing his ethics accordingly. H. Richard thus trusted more in the providential moral arc of history as M.L. King, Jr. , would call it rather than a realist’s version of what humans believe is attainable given their corrupt nature. In essence, H. Richard focused on the power of God’s grace to transform our spirits and the world for the better, while Reinhold accepted a more cynical view of our ability to be radically changed as a specie.

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Remember the Gift

Teilhard de Chardin (yes, I’m still reading him) writes, “However personal and incommunicable it may be at its root and origin, Reflection can only be developed in communion with others. It is essentially a social phenomenon.” I would add, a social phenomenon over time, a communion of saints over the ages. In another context, he writes, “Coherence and fecundity, the two criteria of truth.”*

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Join Us At Beloved Festival 2017, 10 year Anniversary

We’re celebrating 10 years this summer, and this stunning new video has us all sorts of sentimental. We are overwhelmed with gratitude for this family and can’t wait to reunite with you on August 11th-14th for the best Beloved yet.

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Mindful Christianity

Just now, mindfulness – defined in secular terms, studied scientifically, and practiced ubiquitously – has come fully into the cultural mainstream. Now is the time to rediscover it in the mainstream of Christian faith and practice, in the writings and practices of contemplatives throughout its history. Mindful prayer leads to fresh interpretation of Christian tradition, and reveals the Bible for what it is: not a book of facts, not a fixed set of prescriptions for behavior, but rather a collection of wisdom and poetry and myth made sacred by the ongoing human quest for intimate encounter with the Ultimate Reality.

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Finding God in the Body

That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with action, spiritual practice.
Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world’s traditions–Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve-Step spirituality–to present not a smorgasbord, but a synthesized, modern view of embodied spirituality. It turns inward to examine the human condition, meeting personal suffering with heartfelt insight and transformative practice. It steers clear of the wishful thinking, unfounded beliefs, and cynicism that define much of the spirituality genre.

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Mindful Christianity: A Practice for Lent – 2017

Lent is a kind of sabbatical: a break from the usual routines of our lives, over the forty-day period from Ash Wednesday until Easter. On the Sabbath, in the Jewish tradition, the prohibition from work is more precisely a break from doing things that interfere with Nature’s processes. According to the Torah, on the Sabbath you can pick up an apple that naturally falls from a tree onto the ground, but you can’t pick it from the tree. Mindful Christian meditative prayer practice is very similar. In it, we take time to see things as they are, without interfering with them or trying to fix or change them. Once we know what is, we can then think and act wisely on what ought to be.

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Embracing Diversity [A Prayer]

Good and gracious God,

We come before you today
lifting up those who,
because they are far too frequently
seen as different,
are far too frequently
treated differently.

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Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words

In the same way he revitalized our faith in A New Kind of Christianity, church leader Brian McLaren reinvigorates our approach to spiritual fulfillment in Naked Spirituality—by tearing down the old dogmatic practices that hamper our spiritual growth, and leading us toward the meaningful spiritual practices that can help transform our lives.

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A Taste of Embrace Festival, 2017

In May 2017, people from all over the world will gather in Portland, Oregon to share knowledge and wisdom, learn from each other, celebrate, be inspired, and find the tools needed to create and enliven local movements within our communities. Together we will explore sacred oneness, Christ consciousness, eco-spirituality, social justice and the way of universal and personal transformation that honors the Divine in all.

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The Peace of Wild Things

Last week, I sent my friend Alexis a poem. She sent this one back to me. I love it.

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Beyond my Wants, Beyond my Fears: The Soul’s Journey into the Heartland

There is no one single way the soul travels into the deep heartland that is Being itself, yet her pilgrimage of realizing the truth of who she is is the Wisdom path itself, the way of being a Christic gem. We are being called home, but this calling is not to some outward sojourn. The calling is an invitation to commence the inner journey of the soul. The calling is a love-song of the heart, which is a harmonic chorus nuanced and enhanced by different times, cultures, and disciplines, intermingling in a continual counterpoint of completely whole, yet mutually enriching, melodic lines. This love-song leaves traces on our heart, like footprints on a path, which run like a golden thread through the history of spiritual seeking.

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Wisdom Does Not Change: Sages, Saints and Science Share the Way – Part 2

Part 2 of 6-Part Series: Conscious effort alone does not fulfill us

Our conscious thoughts seek to make sense of life, analyze problems and reach decisions. And they affect how we act: we transfer what we think to those around us. Angry thoughts, for example produce angry interactions. Peaceful minds, however develop peaceful attitudes; and these bring greater fulfillment. But peace cannot be achieved by its conscious pursuit; it is found in a Quiet Mind. Unlike conscious, intellectual thinking that asserts self-interest, the Quiet Mind is a source of ‘Not Self’. Not Self really means Not as Selfish; to think less of yourself and about yourself. And this can bring us fulfillment in ways that transcend intellectualization.

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Wisdom Does Not Change: Sages, Saints and Science Share the Way

Part 1 of a 6-Part Series: We are not as in control of our lives as we assume

We experience the sun differently each day; but its heat does not change. In the same way, we experience busy thoughts each day, but wisdom does not change. We use those thoughts to make sense of our various outlooks, but we need our quietude to find wisdom.

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Looking For, or Looking?

It’s an epiphany – the biblical Greek word for a sudden appearance or manifestation – to discover the difference between looking for and just looking. When I’m just looking, I see things I miss when I’m looking for.. like incarnations of God.

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Winter Solstice – December 21st

Getting in touch with the deeper meanings of the Winter Solstice through readings, practices, poems, and prayers.

As the Winter Solstice approaches in the north, we notice the changes: the days of light are shorter, the darkness is longer, the weather is cold, the trees are bare, and snow is often on the ground. John Matthews, who has lectured widely on Celtic and Arthurian traditions, has written this lyrical passage about Winter Solstice:

“The Solstice is a time of quietude, of firelight, and dreaming, when seeds germinate in the cold earth, and the cold notes of church bells mingle with the chimes of icicles. Rivers are stilled and the land lies waiting beneath a coverlet of snow. We watch the cold sunlight and the bright stars, maybe go for walks in the quiet land. . . . All around us the season seems to reach a standstill — a point of repose.”

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The Soul of Christmas

With a review by Frederic & MaryAnn Brussat, Spirituality & Practice

The Christ Child reminds us of the infinite possibilities of life available to us, and we celebrate that vitality in the season of good cheer, gift-giving, and community. Christmas also offers an opportunity to get in touch with our own mystical side, to recreate the Nativity in our hearts. “If we could but mix just a small measure of the child’s naïveté with an intelligent appreciation of the traditional Christmas symbols, myths, and images,” Moore asserts, “we might be surprised at the profundity.” The enchantment of Christmas is a taste of what is possible if human beings could really love each other. The infant in the manger symbolizes new life, the potential all human beings have to be a new kind of being dedicated to agape, a love of the other—whoever that “other” may be.

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Shamanic Voice by Istvan Sky – Divine Overtone

When you live in nature, in the scent of flowers, in the blessed light of the day and the sweet dew of the morning, you don’t have questions, you simply live and joy together with them. Your heart opens, you cry, cry, and your eyes are wet with dew. This is how this song was born, when your body, mind, and soul opens, God steps next to you in an unguarded moment, and pours her treasures into you.

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