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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Pastoral Thoughts on Decades of the Abotion Debate

At least from my perspective as a pastor, I think the abortion issue is one of the more complex moral problems of our age. It pits the rights of the mother against those of the child, such that if one takes one side over the other, one is perceived as compassionless by the other side.

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The Ghost Community (the one everyone talks about, but no one has ever seen)

The author of Acts describes (in the form of early church propaganda) an almost utopian beginning of the church. Of course, Luke was not there, and his musings are more imagination than history, but he gives voice to a vision that many of us have shared: the good community where everyone shares their belongings, and everyone has what they need. Like ghosts, everyone talks about an egalitarian society but few of us have ever seen it work for more than a flash in history. Still, we know that our present economic system is doomed to failure and something much more fair must emerge.

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Waging a War on Poverty

No Progressive Christian and very few others for that matter need convincing that poverty in America is a Christian issue. The focus of Old Testament Law, the preaching of the prophets, and the teachings of Jesus all speak to the importance of economic justice for the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable. This theme plays a dominant role in the Bible from Genesis 1 through the Book of Revelation.

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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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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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Prophets and Martyrs

This week we mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Last month was the 50th anniversary of the My Lai Massacre and this June we will reach the 50th anniversary of the killing of Robert Kennedy. These events remembered within the martyr account in the gospel’s passion narrative give us reason to look more deeply into the meaning of Easter, beyond a childish hope for eternal life, there is the challenge to be a prophet who refuses to be afraid.

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Will we make it to Spiritual Adulthood?

Question: I am a New Thought Minister who presents the Bible and the Christ in much the same manner as Bishop Spong does in his articles and books. Can the Christ and Christianity survive the adolescence period where all is in flux, change and turmoil and emerge as the loving empowering way of life that Jesus intended and that we so desperately need or will the Fundamentalists win the day? Will we make it to Spiritual Adulthood?

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Watching the Watchers: Mindful Mysticism and Social Change

It is no longer paranoid fantasy to say that we are being watched all the time.

GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon) are literally studying our every move. These corporate black holes, concentrating capital and power through their monopolistic legacy positions, silently observe our physical movements, purchases, clicks, and fine-grained preferences. Cambridge Analytica watched us during the last election cycle, snatching personal data about us from Facebook and targeting misleading messages to vulnerable subgroups for the benefit the Trump campaign. Russia’s ruling kleptocracy is watching us, refining strategies to manipulate our elections. The US government is watching us, sampling our mobile phone conversations, internet activity, and even our facial expressions in airports and other public places.

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On The Insidiousness of Racism, Sexism, Religious Bigotry, and Homophobia in American Culture

But when we ignore the fact that we are advantaged while others are disadvantaged, then as innocuous as it may seem we are part of the problem. Indeed, because our own prejudice and discrimination are so invisible to, and insidious within, us we are actually the biggest part of the problem. The overt racists will hopefully be dealt with by the law, but we law-abiding citizens who feel entitled to our advantaged social status while remaining ignorant or disinterested in the disadvantaged status of others can remain easily oblivious and thus conscience free.

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Those Who Are Christ in Our Midst

I understand the very essence of Christ through the suffering of people. For example, twenty years ago this June, the remote east Texas town of Jasper consumed the nation’s attention because of a heinous crime against a forty-nine-year-old vacuum cleaner salesman named James Byrd, Jr. Walking home after a party one night, Byrd was offered a ride by some passersby. Little did he know that he would soon be chained by his ankles to the back of a pick-up truck and dragged to his death – because he was black.

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Finding the Voice of God in the Abortion Debate

Donald Trump won the Presidential election of 2016 because he campaigned as strongly pro-life. Roy Moore, despite allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers, came close to winning the recent Senate election in Alabama because he was also right on this issue among Evangelical Christians. The sacredness of human life is a fundamental conviction of millions of Christians—Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and mainline Christians alike. Finding the right answer to the agonizing question of when to allow for a legal abortion has done more to divide Christians than any other political issue.

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The End of Neo-Liberal American Exceptionalism

Human survival on this planet has now become a battle between two systems of thought and governance; one the American under President Trump based on vestiges of Western Neo-Liberalism and the other the Chinese under President Xi Jinping based on a restating of Marxist Socialism.

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And the Children Shall Lead Us

I have no problem with people owning rifles and pistols, but I have a real hard time when I hear them talk about their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, which could theoretically include tanks, artillery, machine guns, and bazookas.

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Billy Graham’s ministry of LGBTQ intolerance

While Graham’s inarguably the most influential minister of the 20th Century his ministry -which provided pastoral counseling to U.S. presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama -lived at the crossroads of fear and intolerance as the wrath of God.

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Some Lessons Learned from Employing the “S” Word

I received two negative comments about employing the S word in my recent article on gun control, both from gay men. One was truly fiery and somewhat over the top; the other was more gentle and went like this: “Oh man I got called sissy a LOT growing up as a gay kid in the south. I wish the reverend – whom I love – had chosen a different word. (Since this is social media please let me add that I am not “outraged” or “offended” – it just stings a little).” My response was this: “My effort is to turn the tables on uber macho gun ideologues.  It’s irony.  Don’t take it personally but as satire.  People who need guns to strut their ego are the sissies, not gays.”

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