Cramming for the Finals: New Ways of Looking at Old Church Ideas

How can a fourth-century theology be relevant today? Is the Bible meant to be taken literally? Can Jesus be stripped of some of his titles? These are just a few of the questions that the author, a Progressive Christian Episcopal clergy person, answers in this provocative book.

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Healing Earth – Free Digital Textbook

International Jesuit Ecology Project

Loyola University Chicago and the International Jesuit Ecology Project (IJEP) have launched Healing Earth, a free digital environmental science textbook. The textbook is intended for fourth-year secondary school students, first-year university students, adult learners, and independent learners worldwide. Unlike any other environmental science textbook, Healing Earth presents an integrated, global, and living approach to the ecological challenges we face on our extraordinary planet.

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When a Pride March Means Owning the Shame of Racial and Economic Injustice

By Peter Laarman

OK, you say, but this is all changing now, right? The Trump phenomenon is bringing us together in a united front for the freedom and dignity of all persons, right?

I wish I could believe it.

We will see how it goes. I will certainly be marching in Los Angeles on June 11. But somehow I can’t envision West Hollywood’s powerful gay white men doing a whole lot of sustained resisting when their unacknowledged core values—white supremacy and the rule of wealth—align so comfortably with those of the Trumpians.

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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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While Preachers Dutifully Ponder the Doctrine of the Trinity, Our Congregations Shrink???

On Trinity Sundays, mindful of the fact that trying to explain the doctrine of the Trinity usually leads to heresy: dusty theological books that have not seen the light of day since last Trinity Sunday have been poured over to ensure that the formula’s learned in seminary are repeated correctly and heresy scrupulously avoided.

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Bibles in Public Schools

Question:
Why is it that our children can’t read a Bible in school, but they can in prison?

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What term of endearment do you use when you whisper sweet nothings in the ear of this God that you love?

a sermon on John 3:1-17 – Lent 2A

If you find yourself, where I have been so many times, wondering, questioning, doubting, do not be afraid to go into the darkness and gestate. In the womb-like love of our Creator re-birth happens over and over and over again. Whether it’s El Shaddai, the Breasted ONE, El Shekinah, God the all powerful, God Beyond Knowing, God the MYSTERY that Allures, Jesus who walks with us, and talks with us, along life’s narrow ways, LOVER of us ALL, God Almighty, the ONE who IS, Was, and EVER more shall be, LOVE, Beloved, and LOVE itself, all our terms of endearment pale in comparison to the reality that is BEYOND words.

May the ONE who continues to beckon us with the steadfast dedication of a lover, continue inspire passion in you. NOW and ALWAYS, Amen.

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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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Interview with Toni Renolds – “What interests do you have in other religions or spiritual practices?”

Interview with Toni Renolds – “What interests do you have in other religions or spiritual practices?”

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If There Were To Be A Bible Disclaimer

I am venturing to guess that very few theologically progressive Christians would say that all Bible passages are to be taken literally and viewed strictly as the inerrant and infallible word of God. Some Christians who are already experienced with scripture and those people reading the Bible for the first time may interpret all of what they read as literal concrete fact, ignoring literary nuances related to styles of ancient story telling, metaphor, symbolism, depth of meaning, etc.

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How to Lead a Mindful Christianity Group

Using the book as a text, you can form a Mindful Christianity group in your home, church, or other setting. I recommend that the group have a “host” – a person designated to convene the group and keep it on schedule. The “host” need not be a trained mindfulness teacher or highly experienced meditator. Hosting is not formal teaching. I recommend that your group have a limit of fifteen people in order to ensure that participants feel able and willing to share their experiences. I suggest that the group maintain confidentiality about what goes on within it. I suggest that the group agree that should anyone in the group experience acute distress as a result of experiences that well up in the course of practice, the group will urge the person to seek professional therapeutic help, and then be welcomed back to the group when the acute disturbance has passed. (This is not an unusual consequence of beginning mindful prayer practice.)

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Garden Table Apocalypse | Diana Butler-Bass

  Mike’s note: The following reflection from Diana Butler Bass – an excerpt from her book Grounded: Finding God in the World – is part of a special guest-post series anticipating this November’s Gospel of Peace Conference …

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KBOO Podcast with Matthew Fox

Matthew Fox is a theologian and activist who has written over 30 books. He has introduced millions of people to Creation Spirituality.

His latest book, published in 2016 is called A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey. According to Fox, Merton was assassinated by the CIA. We will talk more about that as well as have a candid conversation about ecology, human rights, capitalism, and resistance.

– See more at: http://kboo.fm/media/53757-matthew-fox-way-god-thomas-mertons-creation-spirituality-journey#sthash.SLJTH8x5.dpuf

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KBOO Podcast with Bishop John Shelby Spong

A pioneer of the progressive Christian movement, John Shelby Spong, returns for the third time to Progressive Spirit. We discuss his 25th book, Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy.

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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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Church, Inside Out: Tabor Space

Most churches invite people to their church programs in their buildings, and with the space and time they don’t use, they rent to outside groups.

The people of Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church in Portland decided to turn that model on its head – and they created a vibrant community in the process.

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What is the Bible?

How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything

New York Times bestselling author Rob Bell provides surprising insights and answers about how the Bible actually works as a source of inspiration, showcasing a brand new way of reading this sacred text.

Diving deep into scripture, Bell explains the worst question we can ask of a text (“Why did God…?”) and the best question to ask (“Why did people find this important to write down?”) to discover how the Good Book can best guide us today.

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