One of the reasons young adults feel disconnected from church or from faith is the tension they feel between Christianity and science. The most common of the perceptions in this arena is “Christians are too confident they know all the answers” (35%). Three out of ten young adults with a Christian background feel that “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in” (29%). Another one-quarter embrace the perception that “Christianity is anti-science” (25%). And nearly the same proportion (23%) said they have “been turned off by the creation-versus-evolution debate.”read more
How easily my calm was shattered as I started to write this post! My mouse stopped working, and I had to figure out once again how to open it, and then find a fresh battery. Still, …read more
Celebrating the recent announcements of the new legal personhood status of two rivers in India and one in New Zealand. Thomas Berry called for a new Earth Jurisprudence that would allow for the rights of nature, not just humans. His vision is coming to pass with these legal decisions. How wonderful to celebrate World Water Day with this special message sent out by Miriam MacGillis at Genesis Farm in New Jersey near the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.read more
Our pluralistic world invites multifaith and multispiritual perspectives. But, for me in this moment, in my own week of observations of Good Friday to Easter, I plan on resisting. I will not bear this cross of a carbon economy willingly. I will resist the crosses that ravage the beauty of the earth until my dying breath.read more
I hope that the WooDyne Teapot Satellite makes it into space, in order to stimulate a public conversation about the natural nature of God. As Russell’s teapot moves from the invisible to the visible, so may our concept of God move from empirically-unsupportable supernaturalism to the undeniable reality of reality itself.read more
Each year as Lent approaches, I find myself flirting with the idea of giving up Lent for Lent. Lent is just too much work. For centuries, during Lent the church has emphasized so many concepts that seem alien to the 21st century mind. Each year during Lent preachers are required to undertake the unenviable task of unpacking unpopular, seemingly antiquated concepts in an effort to encourage the contemporary churchgoer to entertain the equally antiquated rituals of Lent. I mean Christmas and Easter might attract a few more people to our sanctuary, but how do you attract people with talk about repentance or fasting? Just look at our readings for this morning. Temptation is the order for toady. Eve and Adam succumbing to temptation, the Apostle Paul prattling on, heaping condemnation upon the first parents for having given in to temptation, and then Jesus himself resisting temptation from non-other than the Devil. Not exactly cheery stuff designed to bring comfort on a cold damp winter morning, where apart from the time change, there are very few signs of a longed for spring.read more
What’s on TV Tonight?
Posted: 05 Jan 2017 09:17 AM PST
A scene depicting an American heartland barn dance
by William Medcalf
I didn’t intend to write a series on smart phones and social media. This is a blog about spirituality, religious harmony and related topics, after all. I try to keep on topic. However, given the tumultuous 2016 presidential election, many people have been rethinking how we use these new technologies. Does it serve our faith life? Does it improve our culture and society? Is this really the best way to evangelize? One thing led to another.
I stumbled upon some thoughts that have been sitting with me a long time.read more
Sermon for Seekers Church for November 6th, 2016 The Call Statement of Seekers says that citizenship matters. This is a sermon concerning Christian faith grounding for citizenship. This is the worst presidential campaign I remember …read more
First a quote from the January 20, 1961 Inaugural address of John F. Kennedy.
He ended it with the words:
“…. asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”
They were prescient words: “here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” Was the new President aware the moment he was speaking of the need for an American response to the ecological challenges facing the Nation? We do not know. However, it all became clear one year later when Rachel Carson published her seminal book Silent Spring. Along with many other Americans, the President too read the book. It had become an instant best-seller and the most provocative book in decades. It began the environmental movement in America.read more
Sometimes our greatest breach with Scripture is not when we outright contradict it–it’s what we choose to prioritize, diminish or outright ignore. There is a time for everything under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We need to put first things first and second things second.
Much of Christianity focuses on salvation plans and doctrinal ideas.read more
Communications Strategy isn’t the only thing a church does, but it has a way of revealing what a congregation values – and where its future lies.
Churches also engage with new members, train their people in spiritual disciplines, raise up effective leaders, pay special attention to young adults, and do mission. They worship, they extend pastoral care, they educate, and they transform lives.
In other words, a church has a full plate. Communications Strategy tends to shape what gets on that plate.read more
That we all want to live meaningful, happy lives is self-evident. The question is, how? Finding God in the Body answers this question with action, spiritual practice.
Finding God in the Body draws from the wisdom of the world’s traditions–Buddhism, contemplative Christianity, Judaism, and Twelve-Step spirituality–to present not a smorgasbord, but a synthesized, modern view of embodied spirituality. It turns inward to examine the human condition, meeting personal suffering with heartfelt insight and transformative practice. It steers clear of the wishful thinking, unfounded beliefs, and cynicism that define much of the spirituality genre.
Tall. Long, light brown hair. Blue eyes. A calming gaze with an outstretched teaching arm. More likely than not, this is how westerners imagine Jesus. Contrast that with the reality. Jesus, like most men of his time, probably weighed about 110 pounds, stood little over 5 feet tall, and would not have lived much past 40. Popular Mechanics recently offered us an image of a swarthy Jesus with curly Afro type hair and a facial appearance that to me seems much like a Neanderthal. Google it and have a look. That, most likely, is the real Jesus. Whatever doctrinal belief you may hold about the man, he was a man, and that’s what he looked like. Personally, it brings a smile to my face to understand that when I talk to or about Jesus, it’s this little Jewish guy that I have in mind.read more
In every waking moment we make choices: mostly with sensible decisions based on coherent information with due consideration for consequences. But intellect alone does not control thinking. Neuroscientists point out that our actual ‘brainpower’ lies in signals between 86 billion unique neurons. Their intricate networks communicate, relay, and integrate signals within and between regions of the brain. These regions function with changing strengths and different information for various purposes. Their electrochemical impulses act and react with a barrage of rational, emotional, social, cultural, environmental, and physiological influences. Galaxies of neural forces evaluate risks and benefits in every choice.read more
Like a cosmic singularity, the jam was so tight and strong, so energetic and energizing, that it ended with a Big Bang. The movement really began when the marchlesss marches ended, after the long waits at crowded subway stations. We got home, turned on our screens and gazed awestruck at the images of ourselves standing shoulder-to-shoulder, filling squares and boulevards and bridges, spilling into side-streets. Now we move from protest into organized, long-term activism to stop the inhumane, immoral, and unpopular agenda of Trump and the Republicans.read more