On the 50th Anniversary of Thomas Merton’s Death

Monday, December 10th marks the 50th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death—which has now been confirmed as a martyr’s death by the recent solid and important investigative study, The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton by Hugh Turley and David Marin (as well as by my own encounters over the years with three CIA agents who were in Southeast Asia at the time).

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Indubious Video – See Sharp

“We call upon the tonal vibration of the Earth to bring us clarity, vision, and a broadened perspective. We humble ourselves to the power of the planet and ask for guidance through these trying times. As we gather in greater numbers as gentle shepherds of the Earth, and cultivate of our birthright of inner magic, we heal our ancestral wounds and usher in a brand new way to See Sharp.”

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The New Science of Natural Spirituality

Lisa Miller, professor at Columbia University, is a leading researcher into the new scientific field of “natural spirituality”, which she describes in her 2015 book, The Spiritual Child. There are now separate neurophysiological metrics for the human relationship with the transcendent, a realm that until recently was folded into psychology and sociology. Miller has popularized awareness of spirituality as a distinct developmental process, to be taken as seriously by parents and scientists as physical and psychological growth.

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Mysticism and Social Action: The Spirituality of Howard Thurman

Activism is at the heart of progressive theology. The way of Jesus is both personal and social. Jesus’ embodiment of prophetic spirituality was reflected in his welcome of the marginalized, affirmation of women, expansion of the scope of salvation and ethical concern to include foreigners and the disinherited, and challenge to narrow purity codes which promoted exclusion. Jesus proclaimed that the “spirit of the Lord” was upon him, and this meant the healing of the social order as well as people’s religious lives.

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Gratitude in a Time of Grief

A sparrow was in her tree singing to the dawn. But before the song was complete, a spark somewhere flashed and a tree somewhere ignited. Because the forest was dry, the fire spread from tree to tree faster than though. The whole forest seemed to explode in flame.

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Understanding 500 Years of Colonization, With Thanksgiving

It was our Indigenous compassion for the suffering of other human beings that led to what is today called Thanksgiving Day. After a brief interlude of 54 years of peace with the Pilgrims, the rest of the 500-year colonization process of the Indigenous peoples across the Americas included physical and cultural genocide, and were vicious, cruel, violent, and deliberately carried out to “kill the Indian and save the child.” This phrase refers to the process of completely assimilating Indigenous children so that no trace of the “Indian” was left. This was the purpose of the “Indian” boarding schools in both Canada and the United States.

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Nature, Destiny, and the Garden in Eden

A central problem in Christianity is represented by opposing views of the Genesis account of the origin of humanity in a special garden. One set of voices looks at the opening chapters of Genesis and shouts “Believe it!” They go so far as rejecting modern science and constructing museums to display early life on earth the “way it must have been.” Another set of voices calls out “Unbelievable!” This extreme often considers Genesis irrelevant and needing serious revision.

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Haud Ignota Loquor (Speak not of what is not known)

Generations before the birth of Jesus, Virgil wrote in the Aeneid the solemn advice that we should not speak of what cannot be or what is not known. We would all be a lot better off if religions of all stripes had followed that advice. The world’s great faiths offer moral insight and direction (though even that should be critically received) but this wisdom is encrusted with magical thinking and unsubstantiated truth claims that have little or no bearing on the real world. Progressives seek to reveal the wisdom of faith without passing along the neurotic or false claims of our traditional faith.

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Meeting God in our Pain: My video conversation with ‘Science Mike’ McHargue!

A few days ago, before the sold-out Evolving Faith Conference kicked off at Montreat, ‘Science’ Mike McHargue and I were able to grab an hour together to talk about some of our most vulnerable experiences with God, and how these encounters have impacted our approaches to life.

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Spiritual Experience Located in the Brain

Since the rise of neuroscience, various studies have sought the connection, if any, between the brain and spiritual experience. Sometimes the news headline reads “God spot found in brain”, and sometimes “Whoops, no God spot”. Sometimes it is located in right hemisphere, sometimes the left, sometimes nowhere in particular. The conclusion seems to be that studies are inconclusive and that we need more studies.

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #8

We continue the presentation we began in the last column, here offering:

Thesis #8 – The entire array of individual and collective defense mechanisms are regularly employed to maintain individual and social/cultural equanimity in reaction to actual threats of injury, death, and annihilation, and also in reaction to imaginative or symbolic threats of injury, death, and annihilation. Such defense mechanisms probably originated in, but certainly were strategically contoured in their contemporary form by the need for anxiety control in the face of mortality awareness. In short, our highly developed intelligence caused the anxiety problem in the first place, and also comes forth with at least the provisional solution to the anxiety problem.

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Overcoming the Threat to Our Future

This is a book about the social, political, philosophical, religious, and economic presuppositions we have believed to be inherent truths that we are now discovering were built on geo-ecological flaws.

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Consciousness

The belief that humankind, created in the image of god, is the center and purpose of the universe, has been smacked down over the last 500 years by three revolutions in human self-awareness. The first was the Copernican discovery that the earth is not the center of the universe. Prior to Copernicus publishing his theory in 1543, the medieval worldview imagined that all the heavenly bodies revolved around earth and humanity, while god pushed them in their orbits through the sky. Today, thanks to Hubble, we gaze in fascination at photos of galaxies in outer space. We are not the center of the universe.

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OMEGA presents Terra – a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Animals are the refugees we often forget. In this documentary by GoodPlanet and OMEGA, directors Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot examine the human relationship with other species on Earth. With a global population of 7 billion people, let’s have the courage to change the way we share our planet. Available on Netflix.

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“Florence” voter apathy in the American Carolinas

The state governments of the Carolinas have in the past ignored scientific evidence relating to climate change. In spite of warnings even coming from their own universities, they have refused to recognize the damage Carolinians are inflicting on our planet.

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How to Foster a Healthy Relationship Between You, Money, and Spirituality

Navigating the relationship between money and spirituality can be difficult, but it’s no secret that in order to survive in this world, you need to afford those crucial resources like food, water, heat, and shelter. And while not always a given, having money can also afford you fun activities in life that help you destress and enjoy your days on Earth. However, how do you find a healthy relationship between your debts, wealth, and spirituality?

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Theses Toward a Theory of Generative Death Anxiety: Thesis #7

Thesis #7: Just as there are individual defense mechanisms, likewise, there are collective defense mechanisms, habitual patterns of collective behavior aimed at defending against threats to established social formations. Each of these mechanisms may manifest itself in both creative and destructive forms.

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Beyondering Podcast – Ep 2.8 Phillip Clayton/Deshna Ubeda

EPISODE 2.8 – EMERGENCE – SEE?

What’s emerging? What forms and shapes of sacred community are in the process of being birthed but are not yet? Emergent thinkers are those with such a lens that they walk into this future with optimism and without fear. Deshna Ubeda and Phillip Clayton are two such people. Matt and Lucas speak with them and consider what forms, practices and approaches of sacred community will emerge in the coming years.

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