The Practicing Democracy Project

What kind of spiritual practices help us build a robust and healthy society, where citizens are united, at a deep level that transcends ideology, race, and class, around a shared spiritual and moral vision of what America should be? That’s what The Practicing Democracy Project strives to answer, by bringing you thought-provoking and inspiring articles, books, excerpts, quotes, topics, and spiritual practices, with more to come.

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Catholic church to make record divestment from fossil fuels

By Arthur Neslen for The Guardian

More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi.

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The word “God”

In religious as well as other history, when we don’t know our own history, we are condemned to repeat it. Condemned not by anyone else, not even “God”, but by ourselves and the consequences of our own willful ignorance.

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Tribalism, Narcissism, Nationalism, and their Offspring

The religious left often finds itself at odds with the marketplace but when it comes to refugees and the undocumented, there is a purely profit driven approach that can give spiritual people a reason to cheer. There is more than a moral reason not to deport the 80,000 DACA youth living in the USA, looked at purely for their law-abiding, tax-paying potential, we need for them to stay here! A similarly strong economic argument can be made in favor of granting citizenship to foreign students who come here to earn advanced STEM degrees. Looked at from either a spiritual/compassionate perspective, or from an economic viewpoint: we do not need a Muslim ban, we don’t need a wall on the Mexican border, and we need to be much more welcoming of refugees.

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Broken for Good

BROKEN FOR GOOD takes the general public on a wild ride into the upside down world of nonprofit management. Hailed as both provocative and uplifting BFG uses an “emperor has no clothes” approach to confront the “crazy-making” that’s paralyzed the charitable sector for the past fifty years. Relying on vivid story-telling BROKEN FOR GOOD “challenges the existing order of things” inspiring society to solve global problems by first transforming the nonprofits in whom they invest.

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Documentary Film Reveals Why Charities Are Poor

BROKEN FOR GOOD: The Way Charity Works in the United States

  “Foundations and philanthropists MUST WATCH “BROKEN FOR GOOD: The Way Charity Works In The United States of America” and give non-profits the freedom to implement what they really need, “new best practices that respond to the …

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Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World

For two hundred years, scholars have been analyzing one of the most important books ever written—the Bible—and overturning much of what we once thought we knew. Everyday Christians, however, are not privy to this deeper conversation. It is for these people that renowned bishop and author John Shelby Spong presents Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World, a book designed to take readers into the contemporary academic debate about the Bible.

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A New Reformation: Creation Spirituality and the Transformation of Christianity

Like Luther, I present 95 theses or in my case, 95 faith observations drawn from my 64 years of living and practicing religion and spirituality. I trust I am not alone in recognizing these truths. For me they represent a return to our origins, a return to the spirit and the teaching of Jesus and his prophetic ancestors, and of the Christ which was a spirit that Jesus’ presence and teaching unleashed.

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Global Ministries University

Global Ministries University is an online international contemporary theological learning platform which is inclusive, supportive of creative thinking and honors the sacred in all religions and spiritual traditions.

Global Ministries University (GMU) offers contemporary interfaith and nondenominational ministerial and theology degree and certificate programs that are ideal for ministry training and ordination. GMU students have the opportunity to custom-design the Master of Theology Degree, Doctor of Ministry Degree, and Doctor of Theology Degree to meet their academic and ministerial training needs.

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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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Refugee Ship art manifestation and Manifesto on the Artist’s role in a globalized world

The world is in disarray. The changing climate sets a course towards catastrophe for the future of our children. Social inequality is growing. Populists and notorious liars are closing in on democracy’and racism creeps forward from all corners.

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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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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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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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A Hatred of Science Is Killing the Church: Why Young Adults Leave or Never Show Up

By Kurt Willems for Patheos

One of the reasons young adults feel disconnected from church or from faith is the tension they feel between Christianity and science. The most common of the perceptions in this arena is “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” (35%). Three out of ten young adults with a Christian background feel that “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in” (29%). Another one-quarter embrace the perception that “Christianity is anti-science” (25%). And nearly the same proportion (23%) said they have “been turned off by the creation-versus-evolution debate.”

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The WHY of looking outward

The HOW of effective communications strategy can be figured out, maybe with outside help, and implemented without great expense.

The WHY, however, might be the hardest sell I have ever had to make as a church consultant. Church leaders find it difficult to imagine any audience beyond the members they know.

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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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Dealing with Anger

As we know from church conflicts, anger can destabilize a system.

When an angry voice erupts at a gathering, some other voices get angry, too, either because they share the angry person’s anger or because they find the anger repellant and having to deal with it makes them angry.

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