Scriptural Reasoning — a group-based interfaith study of sacred texts

Dear interfaith leaders around the world: Scriptural Reasoning is a process in which small groups of Jews, Christians and Muslims, and sometimes people of other faiths, gather to read and reflect upon short passages from their scriptures. “Opening our sacred texts to others for conversation from the heart, and modeling a fellowship that sees difference as rich and illuminating” fashions a relationship through the medium of sacred writings. Scriptural Reasoning’s well-constructed website includes a number of guides and rich resources, including 24 “Text Bundles” which offer brief scriptural readings from the three Abrahamic religions, with titles such as “Encountering God”, “Abrahamic Hospitality”, “Fasting” and “Refugees.”

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Be a great elderly church — address actual needs

If yours is a typical mainline church, your congregation’s average age is pushing past 60 and moving toward 70. Every Sunday, you see more “gray” in your pews and more empty spaces.

So what do you do? You have three choices:

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A Word to the Spiritual Seekers

Our question to the church is “How can we grow and evolve in our experience and understanding of the Mystery of the universe if we close our ears and minds to the creative voices that push us beyond the traditional views?”

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Three ways “the conventional wisdom” hurts churches

In 1958 – as, coincidentally, mainline Protestant churches were enjoying their happy heyday – economist John Kenneth Galbraith began to use a term to describe widely acceptable and comfortable ideas that might not actually be true but …

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Spanish Language Golden Rule Poster

Produced by Scarboro Missions, this Spanish-language multifaith poster features Golden Rule texts in 13 religions. It is estimated that there are 550 million Spanish-speaking people throughout the world, most of whom reside in Latin America. Approximately 46 million people live in Spain. To view or download the Spanish poster, free of charge, click on the below image.

Este afiche contiene textos de la Regla de Oro de acuerdo a 13 religiones del mundo. De los hablantes hispanos, aproximadamente 46 millones viven en España y otros 550 millones viven alrededor del mundo, con una gran mayoría en América Latina.

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Teens are suing the government over climate change

Teens like Kelsey Juliana have been trying to sue the state over climate change for years. Finally, Oregon is hearing their case.

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Experience a Single Faith Tradition

Offered each month of the year, these 5-day courses are designed to inspire and educate people who are called to serve in an Interfaith capacity in our increasingly diverse world or for those who are interested in learning more about a specific faith tradition. Participants immerse themselves in a deeply creative and nurturing environment to develop and deepen their personal theological perspectives, while also expanding their capacity to serve the spiritually and culturally diverse world in which we live; or simply to gain a greater understanding of those from different cultures or faith paths than theirs. Many individuals enroll in Thematic Module Intensives to discern their call to ministry or chaplaincy, prior to applying to our Interfaith Studies Certificate Course. Some attend because they have an interest in increasing their knowledge and understanding or particular faith tradition.

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Six ways for moving forward beyond our own dying

… the familiar point that mainline and evangelical congregations are weighted toward elderly constituents and have little appeal to younger cohorts.

Okay, okay. Old news to anyone who has been observing the changing shape of Christianity in America. But the question remains, what do we do about it?

I have six suggestions for moving on to a better future.

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Principles and guidelines for interfaith dialogue

Dear interfaith colleagues around the world: This compendium of concise and handy resources provides insight into the interfaith movement and its treasure chest of wisdom and learning opportunities. This collection explores the goals, types and stages of dialogue and touches on issues such as interfaith etiquette, listening, peace-building, hospitality, respectful presence and dialogue-versus-debate. These principles and guidelines are useful for those who are new to interfaith as well as for veterans of interfaith work.

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Pastor2Pew

A new and innovative ministry is now available exclusively to Progressive pastors and congregations: Pastor2Pew. Our mission is to produce timely materials to assist progressive preachers in sermon preparation, and generally inform congregations about progressive theology.

The centerpiece is a collection of video interviews with prominent pastors following their approach to the lectionary text of the week. We will be looking over their shoulders (as it were) as they move from meditating on the text to its final form.

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In So Many Ways, We Have Already Won

Colonization tragically forced many indigenous people to forget and forsake our innate connection to Earth. But many of us today are beginning to remember. What is taking place in Standing Rock is awakening what once lied dormant in so many of our people: the Earth is our Mother, and Water is Life.

It was late at night when I drove into the conjoined Oceti Sakowin and Red Warrior camp in Standing Rock. I set up camp in the rain with my sisters, crawled into bed, and eagerly anticipated waking up wrapped in the energy of unity that next morning. That is exactly what happened.

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What an entrepreneur does as church leader

Can people who draw energy primarily from within themselves be effective as entrepreneurial church leaders?

In a word, yes. For the entrepreneurial role isn’t about extroversion or introversion. In fact, some of the most effective entrepreneurs in business are introverts. Bill Gates, of Microsoft, for example. Also Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook; Marissa Meyer, of Yahoo; investor Warren Buffett.

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Look At The Unknown

Ever tried so hard to solve a problem that you thought your head would explode? You’re not alone. Sometimes our obsession to figure something out gets in our way of finding the answer.

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The Chaplaincy Institute offers education programs for those with a unique calling to spiritual service

About our Seminary Programs At The Chaplaincy Institute, we believe that the world is in need of the gifts and talents of every individual called to service. Our Interfaith seminary is dedicated to supporting the unique call …

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Learn New Things

The path forward is clearly marked: reach beyond our walls, communicate more aggressively, stop relying on Sunday worship, encourage clergy to be entrepreneurs and not chaplains, form small groups, turn our funds to mission work, seek to change people’s lives. Many congregations are trying it. But it’s like installing a swimming pool. Everything is new, and the new things that need to be done now are the hard ones.

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Look Outward, Reach 3 Audiences

The work of the religious professional must look “beyond the walls” of the church, beyond the comfortable conversations we have with people we know, beyond in-house concerns, beyond the shared language of our years together.

To engage with the larger world beyond our walls, we can’t just send more people our latest in-house, inward-facing conversations. We need to address the needs, concerns, yearnings, questions and personalities of that larger world.

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Make Communications a Major Draw on Your Time

You should be spending as much as 50% of your time on communications, I told a group of clergy at the Kenyon Institute’s “Beyond Walls” writing seminar for religious professionals.

That means time spent blogging to the vast world outside your walls, engaging with prospects, and communicating with your flocks. It means email campaigns, as well as ad hoc emailing. It means creative use of social media, especially Facebook. It means messaging. But always, three audiences, and distinct messages tailored to the questions, hungers, issues, yearnings that actually occupy each audience.

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Leadership Transition: A Time When Many Churches Go Astray

Let’s talk about leadership transition, namely, calling a new pastor. This is where many congregations go astray, because they make transition more difficult than it needs to be, because they infuse the process with “magical thinking,” and because they fail to complete the transition process.

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