Haud Ignota Loquor (Speak not of what is not known)

Generations before the birth of Jesus, Virgil wrote in the Aeneid the solemn advice that we should not speak of what cannot be or what is not known. We would all be a lot better off if religions of all stripes had followed that advice. The world’s great faiths offer moral insight and direction (though even that should be critically received) but this wisdom is encrusted with magical thinking and unsubstantiated truth claims that have little or no bearing on the real world. Progressives seek to reveal the wisdom of faith without passing along the neurotic or false claims of our traditional faith.

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Meeting God in our Pain: My video conversation with ‘Science Mike’ McHargue!

A few days ago, before the sold-out Evolving Faith Conference kicked off at Montreat, ‘Science’ Mike McHargue and I were able to grab an hour together to talk about some of our most vulnerable experiences with God, and how these encounters have impacted our approaches to life.

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #8

We continue the presentation we began in the last column, here offering:

Thesis #8 – The entire array of individual and collective defense mechanisms are regularly employed to maintain individual and social/cultural equanimity in reaction to actual threats of injury, death, and annihilation, and also in reaction to imaginative or symbolic threats of injury, death, and annihilation. Such defense mechanisms probably originated in, but certainly were strategically contoured in their contemporary form by the need for anxiety control in the face of mortality awareness. In short, our highly developed intelligence caused the anxiety problem in the first place, and also comes forth with at least the provisional solution to the anxiety problem.

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Progressive Mysticism?

A number of years ago, I did a consultation for a progressive congregation in which the relationship between contemplation and social action was a source of friendly debate. On one side, several congregational leaders asserted that the task of the church is to change the world.  The way of Jesus compels us to be activists, they contended, challenging anything that threatens human and nonhuman well-being. We must provide meals for the soup kitchen and volunteer in the local schools, but we must also challenge our leaders to “let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24). 

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The Mystic in You

Discovering a God-filled World

What is a mystic? Bruce Epperly defines mystics as people who see holiness in everyday life. We can be mystics without leaving our families, disengaging from daily responsibilities, becoming a priest, or joining a monastic order. Epperly shows how we can experience the living God in the midst of daily life and never again take everyday events for granted.

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The View from Job’s Dung-heap: Peering Beyond the Heavens Toward a Theory of Everything?

When our ancestors looked into the heavens they had no way of knowing the wonders of the cosmos that we are beginning to discover. While physicists can ignore theology, theologians who ignore physics will find themselves stuck atop Job’s dung-heap impotently shaking their fists at the Divine.

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Consciousness

The belief that humankind, created in the image of god, is the center and purpose of the universe, has been smacked down over the last 500 years by three revolutions in human self-awareness. The first was the Copernican discovery that the earth is not the center of the universe. Prior to Copernicus publishing his theory in 1543, the medieval worldview imagined that all the heavenly bodies revolved around earth and humanity, while god pushed them in their orbits through the sky. Today, thanks to Hubble, we gaze in fascination at photos of galaxies in outer space. We are not the center of the universe.

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This Rabbi On That Rabbi

A modern Portland, Oregon rabbi explains Jesus’s messages

An outside-the-box, modern rabbi from Portland, Oregon explains the Jewish messages of Jesus. Rabbi Brian’s style is approachable, warm, honest and quirky. He quotes Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy to help explain the intent of the phrase “I am the way the truth and the life. No one gets to the Father except through me.”

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Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God …Including the Unnameable God

What do we mean by “God” in today’s world? Do we even need “God” anymore?

How many names for Divinity are there? Do the names for God change as we mature as individuals, evolve as a species, and face a critical “turning time” in human and planetary history?”

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Revolutionary Mysticism

This is a good time to reconsider the outlandish words of Ken Kesey and Tim Leary. What would America be like – what would the world be like – if everyone had psychedelic experiences? More specifically, had them with a healthy, positive “set” and “setting”, and with a sensitive guide? What if everyone got it, viscerally, with all their senses convicting them unassailably, that Love is God, and that every grain of sand and every ant crawling on the ground is suffused with this Divine Love, and that everything and everybody are crowns of creation to be encountered with reverent awe?

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In Pursuit of Silence

This award-winning film is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound, and the impact of noise on our lives. Be inspired to experience silence and celebrate the wonders of our world.

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The Galilean Sandals

FREE! Children's eBook

It starts with a fifth grade field trip, and a pair of magic sandals. Arthur and Rosa can somehow “become” Ben and Rachel who lived around the time of Jesus. As they figure out how their sandal traveling experiences are interconnected, they hear Jesus’ message through the eyes and ears of his followers.

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Consciousness or Collapse? The Choice is ours.

What’s really happening? Where are we headed? Is human civilization really coming apart? Will we all come together as never before? What does this mean for us personally? What can we do? How can we ‘be the change we want to see in the world’?

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What Is Mysticism?

We encounter the word mysticism more often these days as if we were collectively searching for its renewed significance in today’s world. Though long misunderstood in secular and even spiritual circles, mysticism – and the mystical experience – has an essential and profound place in the history of the world’s religions. More importantly, the mystical experience itself opens the door into the direct experience of the divine itself. With these comments in mind, I want to offer a modern explanation of mysticism and its relation to religion and spirituality.

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A New Understanding of Soul

As you probably know, the higher cognitive functions in humans are divided between the two cerebral hemispheres of the brain. The left side deals with speech, language, logic, reasoning, and storytelling – all the processes that we conventionally call mind. The right hemisphere deals with non-conceptual, non-language here-and-now sensory and spatial awareness and thought-free consciousness (I’m intentionally leaving out perceptual-motor functions that are largely irrelevant to my argument). Now here is where it gets really interesting. Do you know about the split-brain research?

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Cain in the Land of Nod


The Judeo-Christian story of creation is assumed by biblical literalists to be an accurate, historical representation of the beginning of the universe, with Adam and Eve firmly ensconced as the first human beings to inhabit the earth, and the Garden of Eden as the first habitat. Those who accept this as literal fact are faced with numerous challenges, and in this essay I will focus on one of the most common… the origin of Cain’s wife, whom he meets in a foreign land known as “Nod,” to which he is banished for the crime of killing his brother. To address this issue, I will focus on Genesis 4: 9- 17 (RSV):

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The Power of a Daily Practice

We all know yoga is good for us, but what are the real benefits of having a daily practice? From dealing with stress to spiritual transformation, Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., explains the profound changes that come from a regular yoga practice.

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Time And A Created Universe

I am speculating that few people would argue with the concept that all life forms exist as developing entities that are superimposed on an intangible flow we call time. As self-conscious humans, we seem to have an innate awareness of the advance of “something” where change can be perceived as rather sudden and dramatic or almost imperceptible. Our lives are lived with this backdrop of measured, forward advance in units ranging from nanoseconds to eons. We are all familiar with our time-reckoning devices such as clocks and calendars as everyday aids to help govern our daily behaviors through the passage of our lives.

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