“After the Flood”  by Erin Wathen - a lament for the Church

“After the Flood”  by Erin Wathen - a lament for the Church

this crumbling ark of a thing that we’ve half-worshipped and over-mortgaged

After the Flood by Erin Wathen - published on Patheos

this rusty relic

when it has finally good and washed away

on the waves of its children leaving

its last hope of resurrection spent on

an overhead projector and a damned outside consultant

with a damned good vision plan …

we will remember the big churchy words

wrapped around the marching orders.

we will remember the days when we loved being right

more than we loved loving.

this crumbling ark of a thing

that we’ve half-worshipped and over-mortgaged

finally goes down.

there is no hating God for this one.

no blaming that sad divine for the

wreck of our own creation.

maybe it was bound to end this way.

after the fire, the storm, the wandering.

after the flood,

the astounding rainbow of a promise

a love so vast and colorful that

we could never possibly keep up our end of the bargain.

Making God Necessary?” - a post-Theism view

Making God Necessary?” - a post-Theism view

A Response to Deepak Chopra by John Bennison on February 17, 2019 |

I. Prefatory Context for this Commentary

“Making God Necessary” is the chosen title to one of the chapters in a newly released book, “how I found GOD in everyone and everything,” contributed by Deepak Chopra.

Deepak Chopra is a 73-yr old Indian-born American author, public speaker, alternative medicine advocate, and a prominent guru-type in the New Age movement. Through his books and videos, he has become one of the best-known and wealthiest figures in alternative medicine. (Check out the website!)

With regards to spirituality and religion, Chopra has likened the universe to a “reality sandwich” which has three layers: the “material” world, a “quantum” zone of matter and energy, and a “virtual” zone outside of time and space, which is the domain of God, and from which God can direct the other layers. (Wikipedia) Wow.

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A Zen Priest Reflects on the Origin of Religion

A Zen Priest Reflects on the Origin of Religion

The Origin of Religion - A Sermon Delivered at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fullerton 10th February, 2019 James Ishmael Ford

A couple of years ago I was in Connecticut to co-lead a Zen retreat. As the retreat ended one of my co-leaders, Mary Gates, who is both a fully authorized Zen teacher and an Episcopal priest excused herself. Mary explained she had to say mass for the small congregation she served as vicar. Being me, I asked if I could tag along.

The service was held in a tiny stone chapel in West Cornwall. The town is a Norman Rockwell image of old New England. It even has a covered bridge. The chapel, well, built in New England or picked up and moved from some bucolic English countryside, it was picture perfect. There were eighteen of us in that little chapel, and we pretty much filled it.

The service itself was Prayer Book Rite II with all that means for those familiar with the history of Episcopalian religious services. For me as a progressive it’s filled with awkward masculine by preference language and as a Buddhist with a full-on dualistic God out there and you and me, down here theology. Not my cup of tea. And.

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What Can We Do Now That There Is No God?  - 2019 is the centennial of Iris Murdoch’s birth

What Can We Do Now That There Is No God?  - 2019 is the centennial of Iris Murdoch’s birth

Vance Morgan writing for "Freelance Christianity" observes that writing in the decades after the Second World War, Murdoch assumes that human beings are required to grapple with a difficult world lacking the tools provided by traditional Christianity

Several weeks into the new year, I am for the first time getting to teach three of my favorite courses in the same semester. One of these courses involves an in-depth investigation of the work of three of the most important writers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, all of them women. One of these women is Iris Murdoch. When constructing the syllabus last summer, it did not even occur to me that 2019 is a particularly appropriate year to be introducing a dozen very bright students to Murdoch’s philosophical and literary work. 2019 is the centennial of Iris’s birth, with various celebrations planned in the U.K. and beyond to honor the work and life of this extraordinary woman. Last Friday was the 20th anniversary of her death in 1999 after several years of advancing Alzheimer’s disease.

Iris came into my life a number of years ago when I discovered that Simone Weil—a thinker so influential on my intellectual and spiritual development that my wife Jeanne calls her my “mistress”—was similarly influential for Iris Murdoch (Simone is another of the thinkers on the syllabus in my current course). In her last completed work, Murdoch asks a question that is arguably the central issue explored in both her fiction and her philosophical work—What can we do now that there is no God?

Writing in the decades after the Second World War, Murdoch assumes that human beings are required to grapple with a difficult world lacking the tools provided by traditional Christianity (or any other traditional religious framework). Yet she is by no means a happy atheist along the lines of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris or Daniel Dennett. Murdoch believes that traditional conceptions of the divine, along with the various frameworks that have traditionally surrounded those conceptions, are meaningless, yet points out that while it is easy to say that there is no God, it is not so easy to believe it and to draw the consequences.

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Maya Angelou On Being Christian

Maya Angelou On Being Christian

Two bite-sized pieces of wisdom from the late, great literary genius, Maya Angelou. Like gems, these are ideas you can put in your pocket, and take them out whenever you need them

Gem #1: Angelou didn’t call herself a Christian – not exactly. In an interview on the occasion of being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she put it this way: “I’m always amazed when people walk up to me and say, ‘I’m a Christian.’ I think, ‘Already? You already got it?’ I’m working at it, which means that I try to be as kind and fair and generous and respectful and courteous to every human being.”

Gem #2: In another interview, Angelou said that while she was taught to believe in God, she became courageous when she made that belief her own. “I dared to do anything that was a good thing. I dared to do things distant from what seemed to be in my future. When I was asked to do something good, I often say yes, I’ll try, yes, I’ll do my best. And part of that is believing, if God loves me, if God made everything from leaves to seals and oak trees, then what is it I can’t do?”

So in Angelou’s honour, let’s keep these gems close and remember that being Christian is always a work in progress – and that God’s creative love makes all things possible!

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on a Church which has failed to address clericalism

on a Church which has failed to address clericalism

The late 60’s was a time of great hope for reform. Nothing we then thought would be quite the same again.

In the 1960’s bishops gathered to consider the great issues affecting the church. I was a student at Salamanca in the late 60’s at a time of great hope for reform. Nothing we then thought would be quite the same again. For a young student it was extraordinarily exciting. It was a good time to be alive. The illustration for this blog is the front cover of a slim volume showing a priest reading a book, published by Propaganda Popular Catolica, entitled “15 days to understand the Council” – it was a time of humour alongside the hopes.

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