The Ghost Community (the one everyone talks about, but no one has ever seen)

The author of Acts describes (in the form of early church propaganda) an almost utopian beginning of the church. Of course, Luke was not there, and his musings are more imagination than history, but he gives voice to a vision that many of us have shared: the good community where everyone shares their belongings, and everyone has what they need. Like ghosts, everyone talks about an egalitarian society but few of us have ever seen it work for more than a flash in history. Still, we know that our present economic system is doomed to failure and something much more fair must emerge.

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Will we make it to Spiritual Adulthood?

Question: I am a New Thought Minister who presents the Bible and the Christ in much the same manner as Bishop Spong does in his articles and books. Can the Christ and Christianity survive the adolescence period where all is in flux, change and turmoil and emerge as the loving empowering way of life that Jesus intended and that we so desperately need or will the Fundamentalists win the day? Will we make it to Spiritual Adulthood?

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Watching the Watchers: Mindful Mysticism and Social Change

It is no longer paranoid fantasy to say that we are being watched all the time.

GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon) are literally studying our every move. These corporate black holes, concentrating capital and power through their monopolistic legacy positions, silently observe our physical movements, purchases, clicks, and fine-grained preferences. Cambridge Analytica watched us during the last election cycle, snatching personal data about us from Facebook and targeting misleading messages to vulnerable subgroups for the benefit the Trump campaign. Russia’s ruling kleptocracy is watching us, refining strategies to manipulate our elections. The US government is watching us, sampling our mobile phone conversations, internet activity, and even our facial expressions in airports and other public places.

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Easter Encouragement for the Journey

Remember that resurrection is more than mere resuscitation! It is life transformed!
It is faith in possibilities, when others are convinced of inevitability.

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Richer Thinking (and Praying) About Poverty

Americans think poorly about the poor. The corollary to the American dream of economic and social advancement by hard work has been the false assumption that the poor have only themselves to blame. In his seminal book, “The Undeserving Poor”, the author, Michael Katz, explains why Americans have tended not to understand poverty as the product of systematic forces of political economy. The labor movement in the US was co-opted by the capitalist elite into denying the existence of social and economic classes. Religion played a perverse part, as well.

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The Political Role of Forgiveness: Amnesty, Mulligans, and Enabling

Eleven million is a significant number. In a week when we remember six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, let us not forget there were eleven million victims altogether because five million non-Jewish victims were also exterminated by the Nazis. This should also be a week for remembering another eleven million terrorized people – the undocumented immigrants living under an American-style terror.

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Do Good, and Lend: International Service Ideas

Donating your time and energy to causes that benefit others is the ultimate way of practicing servitude. Working within your community to create change is just as important as contributing to well-being on a global scale. Practicing selfless servitude can provide a lifetime of rewards. The increasing importance of international outreach and global travel contributes to helping maintain health, peace, and prosperity for all people — not just in this country, but abroad and in other parts of the Americas as well. From medical and mental health professionals contributing to natural disaster relief to volunteers educating in rural areas — there are a number of ways to to practice the Christian act of giving that also allows you to travel and experience other cultures.

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Tillich’s Challenge: The Search for New Vocabulary

Part Three

Part one of this endeavor to find a language that progressive Christians and secular humanists can share spoke of replacing the word god with the word love. Part two involved replacing the word sin with the word egotism, a human trait that is inevitable and inescapable. We each create a reality unique to us, and we believe it to be Reality with a capital R. That’s the human problem: our reality is always distorted.

Now we ask: what’s the cure?

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Stop Telling Me about the “Lazy” and “Entitled” Poor

By Jayson D. Bradley for Patheos

Years ago I led my small-group discussion on Christ’s troubling parable about Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19–30). It’s a harrowing story about a poor man named Lazarus who’s ignored every day by a very wealthy man. When they both die, they experience a biblical Freaky Friday. It’s the rich man who suffers torments while Lazarus is comforted. The message is clear. We can make sacrifices for others today, or have the choice made for us later.

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God Is Radical Love

Radical love stops a stranger on the street
and invites her to God’s eternal banquet.

Radical love stays up all night,
plotting ways to make you laugh.

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The Arts of Ritual

  Recently, my daughter, Liz Burklo, invited me to speak with a group of the social work student interns she supervises. She wanted me to equip them with skills in conducting rituals that can serve the communities …

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The American Empire

In a speech Robert Gates gave as Secretary of Defense in the second Bush administration, he let on that the United States’ navy is larger than the next thirteen navies combined. Again, eleven of those thirteen countries are our allies. The U.S. currently has 800 military bases around the world in eighty-five countries. 250,000 military personnel staff those bases for an annual cost of 156 billion dollars.

This global military presence is unique in history, and its existence speaks louder than the hypocritical words of American exceptionalism that we seek no advantage for ourselves, that our military presence throughout the world is only there for the good of others. As recent history suggests, we use this unprecedented military power to move from enemy to enemy in an attempt to shape the world in our interests.

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Nevertheless, love.

My words in this article will implore you to live a life of love. My tone borders on zeal. You will hear echoes of the Buddha, Chasidic masters, Mother Teresa, 1 Corinthians 13, and what you know in your heart to be true. If you are not able to consider living your life in more love, please do not proceed. If you read this and do not like parts of what I write, please respond so we can both learn and grow.

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From Ancient Times to the Present: Transferring Guilt Makes a Mockery of Justice

  One of the foundations of modern ethics is crumbling. Having rights is about being respected as a human individual who shapes his life through choices. Whether with respect to original sin, honour based violence, modesty dress …

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What Will I Give Back? How to Discover What Your Soul Still Longs to Do

Conscious Aging organizations encourage elders to contribute their time, energy, wisdom, and experience in “giving back” to the world. So when I retired, I was surprised by how much resistance I felt to getting involved.

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We are living in a time of unprecedented evil

We are living in a time of unprecedented evil, yet we don’t see it; we can’t see it. Not only has industrial civilization lost the ability to distinguish good and evil, we typically confuse the two and casually treat things that are downright anti-future as good.

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Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you have a message for progressive Christians?

Interview with Robin Meyers: Do you have a message for progressive Christians?

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The word “God”

In religious as well as other history, when we don’t know our own history, we are condemned to repeat it. Condemned not by anyone else, not even “God”, but by ourselves and the consequences of our own willful ignorance.

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