The Just War Tradition: A Useful Tool for Limiting American Militarism

Since the dawn of the Cold War in the late 1940s, American citizens have lived, with few exceptions, on a permanent war footing. We have spent trillions of dollars preparing for war and trillions more fighting them. These wars have led to huge costs in terms of soldiers killed and wounded, massive civilian casualties, and millions of people displaced. American citizens who are poor have also suffered because of domestic program cuts, and our children will be paying the debt incurred from this fighting for years to come.

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Hyper Change and Religious Trauma

After retiring as bishop, John Shelby Spong told us Why Christianity Must Change or Die, speaking as someone in exile from a church that was alienated from modern reality. I would like to add “Why is change so difficult?” and answer from the perspective of history in combination with science.

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Another Take On Blessing

Entrenched theists can go on believing that their God can interfere with the natural processes of existence by conveying her blessings on chosen individuals or groups. If you want to believe that God blesses America, you can, but be aware that it is an empty phrase.

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The Jesus Family Rift

As I suggested in last week’s blog, when Jesus went to preach in his hometown of Nazareth, he said or did something that made his fellow townies “filled with rage” (Luke 4:28). Whatever it was, they wanted to kill him. That’s when Jesus said that no prophet is welcomed on his home turf. Nothing more is said in Matthew, Mark, or Luke (called the Synoptic or similar Gospels) about Jesus’s family until many chapters later, when all three writers tell an almost identical story.

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The Most Overlooked Reason for Universal Healthcare

We are the richest, most productive nation on earth. Why shouldn’t we enjoy that? Why shouldn’t we make life better for both ourselves as well as fellow members of society? Health care is something everyone wants, and at some point or another everyone will need it. Let’s do it! We have public parks, public schools and public roads. Why not have public access to health care?

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The World is Going Through a Powerful Shift

The world is in the midst of what Joan Halifax believes will be one of the most important and powerful phase shifts in her lifetime.

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I’m Not With Stupid Anymore

Fascism, A Warning, Madeline Albright’s new book, asks us to seriously consider how many familiar elements of the growth of fascism in 20th century Europe are now evident in 21st century America. This is a sobering matter that demands that spiritual people to take it seriously. Bonhoeffer wrote in his letters from prison that stupidity made it possible for fascism to rise in Germany but isn’t it really complacency? And though Russia meddle in the American election in 2016, they did not hack our voting machines, they just appealed to our fear and racism and that was enough to alter the course of an election and of history. It is time for us to decide that we are “not with stupid anymore.”

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Meeting hate with love.

Be like the peacemakers. Be like those who do not fight violence with violence. Find common humanity and celebrate it. Talk with people. Love people. Because hate does not dispel hate. Darkness cannot take darkness away. Only light can do that. Only love can cure what ails us.

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Evangelicals join interfaith leaders in Washington to promote religious tolerance

As hundreds of Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith leaders from the United States and abroad descended on Washington for a conference on religious tolerance this week, attendees were quick to note an unexpectedly large delegation from one particular religious group: evangelical Christians.

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The Two-Way Mirror Analogy of Aging

The Two-Way Mirror was part of my early clinical psychology training in graduate school. Therapy rooms in our training clinic had been constructed with see-through mirrors. You’ve probably seen similar arrangements on television crime shows where those behind a mirror watch a suspect’s interview. What you see through a two-way mirror depends on which side is dark and which side is lit. In my clinical training, therapists and their clients sat in the lit side observed by faculty and other students from the unseen dark side. After the session, teacher and students would discuss how things went.

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The Body Still Loves to Dance

I discovered that though gay sex may be verboten, some things never change. Camp humor abounded. People were caring and sensitive and carefully huggy. Haircuts and clothing, though not overly provocative, were still stylish and colorful; in a workshop on masculinity, I heard rumblings of discontent at a suggestion that they rid themselves of their wardrobes and patronize barbers rather than hair stylists. En route to a session, two ex-lesbians were kvetching about one’s lack of punctuality and the other’s lack of patience. And two ex-gay boys next to me in the opening worship were thrilled to find someone with a car: “We need to go to a mall really bad!” one emoted while in the next breath telling his friend, “I really want to be here; I’m longing to be closer to God.”

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Can the human species really understand its source?

Has the latest telescopic view of the universe (universes?) had any effect on liberal thinking concepts of a creator, intelligent design OR ESPECIALLY on the capability of the human species to really understand its source? Are we attempting a task greater than our human intelligence is capable of?

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #3 (part A)

Thesis #3: Human beings have the intelligence to think abstractly, and to use symbols (esp. complex language, which eventually allows a human person to think of himself/herself in the third person.) This is in essence what sets human psychology apart from animal psychology.

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Samaritan Care

A study guide for churches on health care policy in America

Here I offer a church “adult study” that can be completed in one after-worship program, or expanded to multiple sessions. It focuses on one of the most important issues facing voters in the upcoming midterm elections. Use as you wish! And please give me feedback on how you use it and how it is received.

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The Brave New World

When science fiction writers describe the future, they tend to see the world going in one of two directions: one possibility is a life made easier through technology and the other sees a growing gulf between the super-rich and the majority of the world living with poverty, hunger, illness, and ignorance. The truth is that it could go either way, but unbridled capitalism will almost certainly lead to a horrible dystopian future that no sane person would want. To avoid that path, people of conscience must organize, unionize, network and collaborate to shape a moral universe for our coming generations.

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On the Dangers of Not Giving a Fig  

Watching the NBC broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE” on Easter night was jarring. Not because it was bad. The New York Times called it “thoughtful, challenging,” and a “conceptual and artistic triumph.”[i] What was jarring was what I already knew was there: the anti-Semitism inherent in the story. A review by Jeffrey Salkin reflected on the ominous portrayal of priests Caiphas and Annas: “The Jews look like they might have been Darth Vader’s homeys. Pure evil.”[ii]  But who’s to blame for that? Certainly not the producers. And certainly not Webber or Rice. They were just working with the “source material” – and that would be our anti-Semitic gospels.

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Modern Novelists Spread Unorthodox Christian Ideas – Part 7

Thief on the Cross

Lawyer and historian Cameron Thorne found an ancient Templar scroll that referred to Jesus as “The Thief on the Cross.” He and his fiancée, Amanda Spencer, try to uncover several secrets of early Christianity before a splinter group of Mormon zealots finds them and destroys them.

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Prayer and Progressive Christianity

I am puzzled about prayer in the context of Progressive Christianity which has replaced the interventionist God “up there” (or “out there”) with the God within. The typical conventional church service liturgy invariably includes an intercessions segment. What meaning does this segment have in the context of progressive thinking? Should it be abandoned?

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