Benefits of Adoption Versus Childbirth

In light of the many thousands of neglected, abandoned, and starving children in need of stable homes, there are palpable and important benefits of adoption. At risk of repeating a tired cliche, what do you think Jesus would do if faced with the choice of having his own children versus taking children in from the street and adopting them as his own? After all, according to Matthew 1:18, Jesus was adopted by Joseph and without him would have been raised fatherless and solely by Mary.

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Turning the Tables and Righteous Anger

Jesus courageously confronted injustice. He challenged the temple’s hierarchy against the backdrop of the ongoing economic and social oppression of his times. Jesus was a non-violent revolutionary, but he was not passive.

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Cory and the Seventh Story

The story we tell about the world shapes how we live. Along Cory’s journey, readers will discover six familiar stories that have repeated through history, teaching us all how to dominate, fear, or withdraw from the world and the beautiful people in it. The good news is that there is another story, a path of openheartedness toward others. Cory’s discovery of the Seventh Story will inspire children and adults alike.

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Lion of Rock – Gungor Video

I climbed up a lion of rock
There overlooking the swirls of the world
All the shifting of sands that I saw
Conflicting energy giving and taking,
The fluid grace of it all
Billowing shadows of clouds in the sand
While the waves lay down all stretched and taught
Folding and wrinkling back to the source of it all

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Locavore Gospel

Sermon by Rev. Elizabeth Durant

A Locavore is a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

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Podcasts: It’s About Time

From The Parliament of World's Religions

The Parliament of the World’s Religions is proud to distribute It’s About Time, a weekly podcast produced in partnership with our allies at Religica.org and Seattle University.

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Can God Stop Climate Change Singlehandedly?

The news is devastating. Our planet is on a crash course with wide-scale death and degradation. The poorest of people and the most vulnerable of species are getting hit the hardest. It isn’t a pretty picture! Does God care?

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Custom E-Courses

E-Courses and Online Retreats with Your Own Private Group

Many people these days have little time to participate in any kind of regular “in-person” spirituality group, and yet they know that studying and practicing with others can contribute signicantly to their spiritual growth. Now you can use the e-courses and online retreats already created for Spirituality & Practice as a program for your own group. Your group will receive the emailed lessons, links to any video and audio content in the e-course, and your own private “Practice Circle” (an online forum at SpiritualityandPractice.com) for your discussions.

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The MYSTERY Is LOVE

The embodiment of LOVE is achieved when we who are made of LOVE, recognize ourselves in the other, because LOVE is not something that we do, LOVE is who we are. LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, LOVE never ends. Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face. When we recognize ourselves in the other, we are the embodiment of LOVE. Now we know only in part, then we will know fully, even as we have been fully known. When we recognize ourselves in the other, faith, hope, and LOVE abide, these three; and the greatest of these is LOVE.

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Values to Build a Life On

Part IV: Dedication to Compassion for All Humanity

The 22nd chapter of Proverbs seems like a random list of statements that are right brain rather than left because they wander around a labyrinth rather than go straight to a clear point. Yet a message of compassion stands out that begins with how children are raised.

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Values to Build a Life On

Part III: Dedication to Citizenship in God’s World

n the 21st century, political campaigns appeal to American voters as taxpayers, as members of a party, religious or identity group, and sometimes as patriots. Citizenship and the obligations of public service that come with it are seldom mentioned. Success in the business or corporate world is admired because national prosperity is an important political goal. Self-interest that is at the heart of the Free Enterprise System and built into legal requirements for corporations is emphasized at the expense of non-profitable ideals of duty, honor, service.

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Freedom Through Defiance

During the Indian Wars, most Americans believed that killing Indians was patriotic, heroic, and some even felt it was Divinely ordained. But, at the Massacre at Sand Creek, two officers ordered their men not to participate. Captain Soule and Lt. Cramer refused to be silent about the murder of 150 men, women, and children, and their reports sparked a Congressional investigation that ended in removing their commanding officer, Col. John Chivington (a former pastor), from service and began to change the way our country viewed the Indian Wars. Sadly, soldiers who wake up to the illegal and immoral nature of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not being sympathetically heard by Congress, through the essay written by Kevin Tillman, the brother of slain serviceman, Pat Tillman, tells an unvarnished truth rarely seen in the media.

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Social Justice, the Good Samaritan and Outsourcing Charity

One of the most common arguments I hear against “social justice” is this:

Many Christians believe the Gospel calls us to get personally involved in doing charity. They argue that we shouldn’t work to improve economic and political systems because that would be outsourcing our Christian responsibilities to a third party, such as the government. For example, they would say Jesus calls us to personally feed the hungry (Matthew 25:31-46), not to pay taxes so that the government can do that for us.

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Future Facing Faith: From Overwhelm to Insight

Life is hard. If I want to relate to life’s spiritual dimension in a way that embraces—rather than evades—the human experience, generative spirituality unfolds for me along three axes:

Generative spirituality is rooted in the past. Those who have gone before: our ancestral legacy, faith lineage, families of origin.

Generative spirituality has a robust relationship with the present moment. Who am I if I’m radically present, being here now?

And… perhaps the least-understood element…generative spirituality anchors faith forward into tomorrow.

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St. Mary Oliver

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

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Perfecting Love

If God is love, then God is something we do, rather than somebody or something we try to believe in. If God is love, then God is a relationship, and not a Guy in the Sky or some other kind of supernatural entity. If God is love, God is nothing to fear. If God is love, when we really love someone – even of another religion, or of no religion at all – God is in that relationship, blessing it. So these three words wipe away all the theological debates about science and common sense versus religion. These three words sweep away the problem of evil, the perennial conundrum of how an all-powerful God could love people while allowing horrible things to happen to them. If God is love, then God is not in charge of the universe. Love is extremely powerful, but it is not directive. Love does not force anybody to do anything, nor to force anything to do anything to anybody. If God is love, then God is omni-attractive, not omni-potent.

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Values to Build a Life On

Part I: Introduction

Knowing the end of a career or life is approaching, one naturally looks over personal values, how they changed over the years, and what to share with those who follow. A “Last Lecture” has become a common way for academics to speak to posterity, even if the lecture is not given in public. Ministers sometimes deliver a “Last Sermon” at the end of their careers. Some of my friends in their 70s have shared drafts of their final thoughts with this fellow septuagenarian. The late Marcus Borg went even further upon reaching 70 by writing “Convictions”, a final book explaining his understanding of progressive Christianity and describing changes in his beliefs since a very Lutheran upbringing.

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America’s Original Sin

President George Washington owned about 120 slaves who worked on his plantation in Virginia but when he moved to Philadelphia to serve as president, he took a few household slaves with him. One of them, Oney Judge, escaped. She spent the rest of her life as a fugitive avoiding being captured by George Washington’s representatives who were under orders to return Oney to slavery. It turns out that George really could tell a lie, as he tried to publicly advocate for liberty and freedom while personally profiting from slave labor even when people all around him were working to bring slavery to an end. America’s original sin deserves reflection today because it still casts a shadow over our nation’s ethical thinking.

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