All maps are subjective. They frame the selected information they offer to their viewers. By such framing, they tell stories, advance arguments. For those of us who study religion, necessarily concerned with how humans create and employ categories, maps serve as useful examples of that practice—maps on religion, doubly so.

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Just the Facts, Ma’am

Partisan hostility is not new but social media has certainly ratcheted up the rhetoric so that we quickly fall into hostile name calling of one another and asserting that every politician we don’t like is just like Hitler. In this time when so many important ethical issues are up in the air we cannot be silent but we should be exacting in our honesty. We need the courage to raise our voices in advocacy and even in protest but we must embrace the spiritual character that asks us to speak the truth in love so that we can persuade rather than alienate those with whom we communicate.

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A Taste of Embrace Festival, 2017

In May 2017, people from all over the world will gather in Portland, Oregon to share knowledge and wisdom, learn from each other, celebrate, be inspired, and find the tools needed to create and enliven local movements within our communities. Together we will explore sacred oneness, Christ consciousness, eco-spirituality, social justice and the way of universal and personal transformation that honors the Divine in all.

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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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Do the Math: The Movie – International Trailer

The Do the Math Movie is being screened at house-parties and screenings around the world. The movie tells the story of the rising movement to change the terrifying math of the climate crisis and fight the fossil fuel industry.

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Dance of the Honey Bee

Bill presents the short documentary “Dance of the Honey Bee.” Narrated by Bill McKibben, the film takes a look at the determined, beautiful, and vital role honey bees play in preserving life, as well as the threats bees face from a rapidly changing landscape.

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What an entrepreneur does as church leader

Can people who draw energy primarily from within themselves be effective as entrepreneurial church leaders?

In a word, yes. For the entrepreneurial role isn’t about extroversion or introversion. In fact, some of the most effective entrepreneurs in business are introverts. Bill Gates, of Microsoft, for example. Also Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook; Marissa Meyer, of Yahoo; investor Warren Buffett.

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350.org – Climate Change Is About Power

Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.

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Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist

Bestselling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben recounts the personal and global story of the fight to build and preserve a sustainable planet.

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Look Outward, Reach 3 Audiences

The work of the religious professional must look “beyond the walls” of the church, beyond the comfortable conversations we have with people we know, beyond in-house concerns, beyond the shared language of our years together.

To engage with the larger world beyond our walls, we can’t just send more people our latest in-house, inward-facing conversations. We need to address the needs, concerns, yearnings, questions and personalities of that larger world.

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Make Communications a Major Draw on Your Time

You should be spending as much as 50% of your time on communications, I told a group of clergy at the Kenyon Institute’s “Beyond Walls” writing seminar for religious professionals.

That means time spent blogging to the vast world outside your walls, engaging with prospects, and communicating with your flocks. It means email campaigns, as well as ad hoc emailing. It means creative use of social media, especially Facebook. It means messaging. But always, three audiences, and distinct messages tailored to the questions, hungers, issues, yearnings that actually occupy each audience.

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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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Let’s Talk About Scheduling

Let’s talk about scheduling. It’s the bane of any complex organization, and yet handling schedules poorly is guaranteed to hurt and offend constituents.

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Wellness Gift Giving Guide – Natural + Organic Gifts

By Katie at Wellness Mama

What is on your Christmas list this year? What are you getting for friends and family? Check out this great resource compiled by Katie at Wellness Mama of natural and organic gifts!

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Man vs Earth

by Prince Ea

Are these the final seconds of mankind?

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The View from Job’s Dung-heap: Peering Beyond the Heavens Toward a Theory of Everything?

Ruminating over this Sunday’s prescribed reading from Job 38, my mind harkens back to 2012, when I had the privilege of attending a series of lectures given by the great Phyllis Tickle who described the current reformation that the church is experiencing as part of a cultural phenomenon that happens about every 500 years, which she calls “The Great Emergence”. When asked what skills religious leaders will need to navigate the information age, Tickle insisted that the best advice we could give to anyone considering a religious vocation was that they should study physics.

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 The Paris Climate Conference: Last Chance for Planet Earth?

 By Mark Hertsgaard

Everything is coming together as everything is coming apart.” So said Jamie Henn, strategy and communications director at 350.org, after he and the other organizers of the People’s Climate March put hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of New York City in September 2014 for the largest climate demonstration in history. Henn’s observation has grown even more apt over the last 14 months, especially the “coming together” part. Interviewed in Germany during the final negotiating session before the Paris climate summit in December, Henn predicted that “Paris won’t deliver everything we need, but the dominoes that will take out the fossil-fuel industry have already started to fall.

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Lifeline for the End Times: Creating a New Humanity During the Apocalypse and Beyond

Part One of Lifeline for the End Times shows how the fundamental problem underlying the destruction of the earth is civilization and its inherent domination system based on violence. It begins by discussing the origin of the malignant fatal disease of our civilization; the domination/violence system. It looks at the foundation of civilization and how changing technologies have brought us to the end time. Today it is not a violent king who rules, but an oligarchy of predatory-capitalists. Part Two proposes a new humanity that is neither hierarchical nor violent and can be built on new memes of love and trust as the foundations of a new social structure.

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