Earth My Body- Music Video

Nicole Sangsuree Barrett

“Earth My Body” was written and performed by Nicole Sangsuree though the opening and closing chant is a very old song with an unknown author. The song was recorded and produced by Jeremy Davidson in Portland, Oregon, U.S.A., and the video was filmed at many locations in Thailand by producer and filmmaker Emma Carroll (Wee Earthlings). The experience of writing, recording and then filming this song has been part of a healing awakening for Nicole.

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A Conspiracy of Love: Following Jesus in a Postmodern World

Today, the churches of the Global North are in decline and younger generations no longer seek meaning there. Traditional “church Christianity” is gradually giving way to some new way of faithful living. From a Nazi prison cell, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer imagined a future “religionless Christianity” consisting of contemplative prayer and righteous action in the secular world.

A Conspiracy of Love presents the contours of such a faith based on the “way” of Jesus. It calls us to become troublemakers, revolutionaries, seekers of change, and agents of transformation engaged in conspiracies of love to establish justice and peace in a postmodern world. It offers many different people–those who remain in the church,those who have left, and those who have never ventured near–with a life of faith that is meaningful, intelligent, and passionate.

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Before European Christians Forced Gender Roles, Native Americans Acknowledged 5 Genders

Imagine a world where people allowed others to live freely as the people nature intended them to be..without harm..without persecution..without shame. Imagine a world where we are truly free.

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How to Love People But Hate It When They Say “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin”

“Love the sinner, but hate the sin.”

This phrase has been used countless times by some Christians to pretend to offer welcome to LGBT people while condemning the natural consequence of the way God made them. It speaks for a shallow kind of love at most: one that claims to be okay with a person’s same-sex orientation while stigmatizing its fulfillment. This noxious phrase also summarizes the underlying attitude of many people of other religions towards sexual minorities.

It is a phrase whose time has come – and gone. More than ever, it needs to be excised from the vocabulary of faith, once and for all, as it pertains to homosexuality.

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Gender-inclusive Bathroom Signs

Last month, PCU leadership discussed our need to respond to anti-transgender rhetoric and discrimination in our society. It’s easy to condemn bigotry but harder to think of creative ways to respond. We determined that we would find a way to promote gender-inclusive bathroom signs in progressive churches.

We found an organization making such signs, and they have agreed to sell them to any church who wants one at a discount of 40% from their regular price. Just go to their website, pick out the sign you want to purchase (can choose color, shape, and image) and put in the following code: PCU40. You can read more about the campaign here.

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Journey of Faith Sermon – Rev. Fred Plumer – IUCC on the 25th Anniversary of Open and Affirming

  View Video of Fred’s Sermon at IUCC on June 12th, 2016 My story starts 35 years ago when I entered seminary. Pacific School of Religion is the oldest seminary on the west coast and has always …

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‘Open and Affirming’: Irvine Church is a Haven for LGBT

On a hot day in June 1991, about 130 church members packed the Irvine United Congregational Church sanctuary. The air conditioner wasn’t working. At least, that’s how it felt. “It was tense,” said the Rev. Fred Plumer, the church’s founder and pastor at the time. “There was a lot of excitement and anticipation.” They’d all come to cast their votes. The issue? Should they become an “open and affirming church?” In other words, should the church welcome LGBT members?

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Find Your Orlando

At first I intended only to post this rainbow flag at half-mast in front of a church—so overwhelmed and silenced I was by the carnage at the LGBT nightclub in Orlando this past weekend.

May those who lost their lives rest in peace. May those who are injured heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. May those who lost loved ones find healing ways to grieve.

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The Intoxication of Power – Sermon Video

There is a very distinct anti-government thread that runs through the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings of the Hebrew Bible. The story of how Ahab’s wife had a citizen killed so that the king could take his land represents the danger of how power corrupts an individual and destroys a society. As easy as it is to criticize the abuses of those in power, there is also a personal message in this to reflect on how much better we really are when given the power to abuse others.

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The Tragedy of the Orlando, Florida Massacre

I grieve deeply over these attacks. I grieve even more when one of our candidates for the presidency of this nation seeks to use this tragedy to score political points. I am amazed to hear not only innuendo from one of them, but also actual hints that the president of the United States is either so weak and inept as to be helpless in the face of this threat, or is actually in collusion with these terrorists, thus revising the charges this candidate once made that our president was not born in the United States, but in Kenya, and is really a Muslim. As lawyer Joseph Welsh once said to Senator McCarthy of Wisconsin when he was on a witch hunt for communists: “Have you no sense of decency?” Those words are once more totally in order to be spoken in our national life at this time.

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A Prayer For Orlando

Fifty.
Today, a number of tragedy
symbol of guns drawn, shots fired, sheer horror.
I prayed that it was not religious extremism.
But it was.
Again.
Once more, lives lost senselessly invoking the name of God.
And so I grieve.
I let myself feel the grief and the tears.

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Mary and Elizabeth: Visitation or Escape?

May 31st is the day the Church commemorates “The Visitation” the story of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth as it is recorded in the Gospel According to Luke 1:39-56. Since reading Jane Schalberg’s “The Illegitimacy of Jesus”, I can’t help but wonder if Mary’s visited her cousin Elizabeth or escaped to her cousin Elizabeth seeking protection for the crime of being raped in a culture that all too often blamed the victim. Historians estimate that Mary may have been all of twelve years old when she became pregnant. There is ample evidence in the New Testament accounts of Mary’s story that suggest that she may indeed have been raped. So rather than sweep the possibility under the rug, on this the Feast of the Visitation, I’m reposting a sermon I preached a few years ago during Advent. I do so because women young and old continue to be raped and to this day, are forced to flee from the accusations and persecutions of cultures that continue to blame the victim. What follows is a written approximation of the sermon which in addition to Jane Schalberg is also indebted to John Shelby Spong’s “Born of a Woman” and “Jesus for the Non Religious” along with John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg’s “The First Christmas”.

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The Transgender Body of Christ

As a minister, I am disheartened by the misunderstanding and hate displayed against transgender persons in many states across our country. According to a recent report by the Human Rights Campaign, there are 44 anti-transgender bills being considered in 16 states. Within the last week, 11 states sued the Obama administration in an effort to oppose federal guidelines concerning transgender students use of restrooms and other facilities. Opponents to the equitable inclusion of transgender persons couch their arguments as simple common sense. In doing so, they reveal their dismissal of gender identity at call, by purposely misgendering trans boys and girls. For all the fear-mongering and anti-trans rhetoric that is out there regarding transgender use of public restrooms and in schools—including death threats that are being espoused by so-called “Christians”— people should take a look at how inclusive transgender laws have played out here in California.

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Violence Divine: Overcoming the Bible’s Betrayal of Its Non-Violent God

One of the world’s foremost historical Jesus scholars helps the church and its alumni/ae rise above the greatest of Christian treasons: that everlasting peace can only be achieved through the onslaught of divine violence.

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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

As Ferguson, Missouri, erupted in August 2014, and media commentators across the ideological spectrum referred to the angry response of African Americans as “black rage,?? historian Carol Anderson wrote a remarkable op-ed in the Washington Post showing that this was, instead, “white rage at work. With so much attention on the flames,?? she writes, “everyone had ignored the kindling.??

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Marcus Borg@All Saints Church – Amos: A Case Study in “What I Wish Every Christian Knew”

Presentation by Marcus Borg at the All Saints Church Lent Event, on Monday, March 24, 2014

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United Methodist Church’s Inhospitality Toward Its LGBTQs

The United Methodist Church is in the need of prayer. And, one that emphasizes full inclusion of all its parishioners.

At General Conference this month in Portland the struggle to move the church’s moral compass against its anti-LGBTQ policies was courageously demonstrated when over 100 United Methodist Church(UMC) ministers and faith leaders came out to their churches – with Rev. Jay Williams of Union United Methodist Church in Boston’s South End as one of them.

While these ministers and faith leaders undoubtedly moved the hearts of many the church’s policies remain unmoved.

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Looking Back on the Anniversaries of May 17th Through the Years

When you reside at the intersections of multiple identities anniversaries of your civil rights struggles can be both bitter and sweet. And this May 17th was a reminder.

At 12:01 a.m. on May 17, 2004, the city of Cambridge was the first to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. At 9:15 a.m. the first couple was married. Then Cambridge City Clerk Margaret Drury said to Tanya McCluskey,52, and Marcia Kadish,56, of Malden, Massachusetts, “I now pronounce you married under the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
Also, on that day was the 50th anniversary of the historic U.S. Supreme Court case of “Brown v. Board of Education,” a ruling that upended this country’s “separate but equal” doctrine, adopted in the “Plessy v. Ferguson” decision of 1896.
While joy washed over me that day knowing my partner and I could now follow McCluskey’s and Kadish”s footsteps and be legally married, we could not rejoice over the limited success, huge failures, and ongoing resistance of Brown that allowed a few of us entry into some of the top universities of this country, as it naggingly continues to be challenged as a form of reverse discrimination.

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