Responding to the Trauma of the Presidential Election in Four Dimensions

The 2016 presidential election triggered an unexpected and nearly unbearable trauma for over half of the American people. For many, it felt like the death of a loved one, or the assassinations of John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy, or the nightmare of 9/11. It felt like a wrecking ball shattering our nation’s fragile architecture of decent human values, urgent climate plans, and steadily expanding civil rights. Like many, I shared my distress wherever I went – in my men’s group, spirituality group, conscious aging circle, and conversations with loved ones, and knew that this threat to our way of life was magnitudes worse for vulnerable peoples – immigrants, religious and racial minorities, and the poor. We discussed protests, marches, political action and civil disobedience. I imagine that many of you had similar conversations in your communities as disbelief, shock, grief, tears, fear, insomnia, and horror fragmented psyches all across our land.

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Gifts of the Season

What if we spent a good part of one day filling our chest cavity with a vision of love at every deep breath? What if the 25th was spent sending light and love outward to unsuspecting people. People we lived with daily. They might not guess we were doing it. Or people we thought about that day. What if we consciously directed what we know of God toward them? What if we did nothing more than nurture our sacred flame in the remembrance of a single soul lit in Bethlehem so long ago? Would Christmas be big enough to hold such a thing, or would it spill out into 12 days, or ordinary days, or 365 days?

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Index to all of William L. Wallace’s Celebrating Mystery Worship Material with Hymns

Index to all of William L. Wallace’s Celebrating Mystery Hymns

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Index to William L. Wallace’s Boundless Life Hymns

Index to all of William L Wallace’s Boundless Life Hymns

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8 ways to use technology to grow your church

ny church can grow. It won’t happen just by opening the doors on Sunday and welcoming whoever shows up. Growth isn’t that easy or passive. But growth can happen if leaders are willing to work at it, to use best practices and best tools, and to change whatever gets in their way.

That’s a tall order, of course, because most established institutions struggle with change and resist doing more than the known and the minimum.

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The INTRAfaith Conversation: How Do Christians Talk Among Ourselves About INTERfaith Matters

“A unique and valuable; resource for Christians (and others) engaged in interfaith dialogue” – reviewed by D. Anderw Kille, May 27, 2016

“Inevitably, profound questions arise out of respectful encounters with people of religions other than our own. Many who have been involved in cooperative engagements with people of other faith traditions discover that it is often easier to talk with people of a different religion than it is with the person sitting next to you in your own congregation. For others, the struggle is within, as in the case of Elsie L., a parishioner in Buffalo. After a church session in which a Hindu woman active in interfaith activities had spoken to the group, Elsie spoke to Pastor Strouse. “If I accept the Hindu path as equal to Christianity,” she said, “I’m worried that I’m betraying Jesus.”

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Living Spiritual Teachers Project

The twenty-first century has been dubbed the “age of interspirituality” by Brother Wayne Teasdale and others who are impressed by the increased sharing of wisdom and practices among people coming from different spiritual traditions. It acknowledges that beneath the diversity of our faith and life experiences lies a deeper unity of spirituality.

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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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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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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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The Spiritual Child

The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving

In “The Spiritual Child”, psychologist Lisa Miller presents the next big idea in psychology: the science and the power of spirituality. She explains the clear, scientific link between spirituality and health and shows that children who have a positive, active relationship to spirituality:

* are 40% less likely to use and abuse substances
* are 60% less likely to be depressed as teenagers
* are 80% less likely to have dangerous or unprotected sex
* have significantly more positive markers for thriving including an increased sense of meaning and purpose, and high levels of academic success.

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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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Moses

Moses is THE most important figure in Judaism. Not only did he lead the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, he is credited with receiving the Torah from God.

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Study Guide for Bishop Spong’s Book “Eternal Life – A New Vision”

Free Study Guide -

Marianne of First Congregational Church, UCC, Ocala, Florida created the Study Guide for her church discussion group and has made it available to our readers as a free download.

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How Do You Pray?

Inspiring Responses from Religious Leaders, Spiritual Guides, Healers, Activists & Other Lovers of Humanity

This groundbreaking and moving book gathers responses from leaders of diverse spiritual and religious traditions ranging from Buddhism to Islam to Christianity, as well as those who do not claim one or any particular walk of faith. Contributors include Brother David Steindl-Rast, Matthew Fox, James O’Dea, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Tessa Bielecki, Lama Surya Das, Hank Wesselman, Father Bede Griffiths, Byron Katie, Joan Halifax, Normandi Ellis, Andrew Harvey, Dan Millman, Kristena Prater, Nicki Scully, Mirabai Starr, and more.

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Issue Isn’t “Graying,” It’s Not Enough New Folks

  Beware the “graying” of the church – says the common wisdom. And I confess that I have contributed to that concern. My reasoning has been: as the average age of mainline congregants surges past 60, attracting …

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SPECIAL REPORT: Usable Technology

A reader asked for tech guidance.

“I know you make tech choices thoughtfully and from experience,” he said. “So, I’m always happy when you share your knowledge of particular software/apps, including the pros and cons of each.”

I am happy to oblige, for technology is a critical tool in our respective work. For me, the key is usability.

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3 Markers of Healthy and Unhealthy Churches

The healthy church sees its role as transformational: helping God to transform the lives of God’s beloved. And then helping them to transform their families, neighborhoods and workplaces, and daring to dream of transforming entire communities. The unhealthy church, by contrast, places ultimate value on sameness, consistency, not challenging people, and not making waves in the community.

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