The Profanity of ‘Thoughts and Prayers’

Offering our “thoughts and prayers” in a crisis can be an expression of sincere empathy but when you are capable of doing more and all you do is offer your thoughts and prayers then we quickly realize that such words are reflective of hollow hypocrisy. Prayer can be very helpful to our spiritual journey but as the African proverb teaches, “when you pray, move your feet.” We pray to change the one who prays so that we will do all that we can to meaningfully respond to the many crises we see happening all around us.

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Candlelight & Blessings: Symbols and Rituals for Death and Grieving

Death is inevitable, mysterious, and often confusing.

At the deathbed, patients and those gathered seek meaning, and many long for a sense of the Spiritual. Yet chaplains and spiritual caregivers have minimal information by which to determine how to provide support, limited time to develop rapport, and varying expectations from those they serve.

Regardless of the religious background of the patient and the loved ones gathered at the deathbed, there are elements of symbol and ritual that take on a pronounced role and a greater importance as one is facing the end of life.

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Prayer and God

Whether the person engaged in the act of prayer believes in a supernatural deity or force or the benevolence of the universe, we are the only answer we’ve got to the challenges facing our world. Some will work toward solutions compelled by the god in whom they believe. Others will work toward solutions compelled by theirs own sense of compassion and responsibility. Goodness comes into the world through our own hands, voices, and actions.

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Poems of Mourning and Healing Memory

The book begins with the author’s father—and the author himself— dealing with the death of wife and mother. It continues with the author’s powerful encounter with his dying father, then proceeds with poems mourning his father’s death and its aftermath.

The second half of the book contains poems which remember and honor significant people and experiences in the author’s life. As a pastoral psychotherapist, the author finds the Bible and spirituality to be major healing resources, along with memories of some key people he writes about who have helped him grow and heal in his life. What happens in writing is a mysterious and awesome thing, and the very process of remembering and writing these poems has helped the author mourn and find some healing.

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Interview with Toni Reynolds – “What message do you have for young people struggling through today’s world?”

These interviews were conducted by ProgressiveChristianity.org at a Westar meeting as part of a series on Christianity, spirituality, religion, church, God, Jesus, sacred community, social justice, youth, and social transformation. More to come soon!

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When theology unnerves

When theology unnerves
those who seek a mythic past,
are there echoes of the Christ
shaking faith that it might last?

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Reimagining God: An Interview with Lloyd Geering (part 5 of 5) with Ryan Bell

This week I speak with Sir Lloyd Geering, New Zealand theologian and pioneering Christian post-theist. In 1967, Geering was charged with heresy by the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand. He successfully withstood this challenge and has continued writing and speaking about religion and holy texts as a human constructions and words like “God” and “faith” as referents of human self-understanding and growth. He is the author of many books and articles, a few of which can be found in the links below.

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About “Markingsmass: A Liturgy for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation”

Dag Hammarskjold was Secretary General of the United Nations when he died in a plane crash in Africa in 1961 while on a peace-keeping mission. Widely admired for his performance in that role, he was rewarded posthumously with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Distinguished as his diplomatic career was, it has been equaled remarkably in public interest in a very different sphere—that of Christian spirituality–by the publication of Markings, a sort of diary or journal published after his death. It has remained in print since the 1960’s and is generally considered one of the great Christian devotional classics of the twentieth century, frequently compared with the works of St. Augustine, Pascal, Merton and other important Christian writers.

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Reimagining God: An Interview with Lloyd Geering (part 4 of 5) with Ryan Bell

This week I speak with Sir Lloyd Geering, New Zealand theologian and pioneering Christian post-theist. In 1967, Geering was charged with heresy by the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand. He successfully withstood this challenge and has continued writing and speaking about religion and holy texts as a human constructions and words like “God” and “faith” as referents of human self-understanding and growth. He is the author of many books and articles, a few of which can be found in the links below.

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Reimagining God: An Interview with Lloyd Geering (part 3 of 5) with Ryan Bell

This week I speak with Sir Lloyd Geering, New Zealand theologian and pioneering Christian post-theist. In 1967, Geering was charged with heresy by the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand. He successfully withstood this challenge and has continued writing and speaking about religion and holy texts as a human constructions and words like “God” and “faith” as referents of human self-understanding and growth. He is the author of many books and articles, a few of which can be found in the links below.

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MARKINGSMASS – A Liturgy for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation

Based on excerpts from Dag Hammarskjold’s Markings

Our work of peace must begin with the private world of each one of us. To build for man a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice we must be just. And how can we fight for liberty if we are not free in our own minds? Dag Hammarskjold

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Reimagining God: An Interview with Lloyd Geering (part 2 of 5) with Ryan Bell

This week I speak with Sir Lloyd Geering, New Zealand theologian and pioneering Christian post-theist. In 1967, Geering was charged with heresy by the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand. He successfully withstood this challenge and has continued writing and speaking about religion and holy texts as a human constructions and words like “God” and “faith” as referents of human self-understanding and growth. He is the author of many books and articles, a few of which can be found in the links below.

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Communion in a Time of Dread

We seek communion in a time of dread
Yearn for a table that for all is spread
Our broken hearts are blind to creed and caste
But burn for love to reconcile at last

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A Spectral Revelation

A Creator God revealed in a multitude of ways
A Divine Presence sensed, it often does amaze

God as the reason and the essence of all there is

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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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The picture, speaking of itself

The picture, speaking of itself,
not shaping something else we know;
imagines mystery makes it glow
beyond all earthly sight can show.

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A Call to Worship for Pentecost

  PENTECOST Here’s a call to worship, rooted in the Christian past, but open to the global voices, and celebrating an Earth-based liturgy. Three voices scattered in the worship space, perhaps one at the Table, another at …

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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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