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Brian's Blog

  • February 10, 2016

    Q & R: Onward Christian ... what?

    Here's the Q:

    Did you re-write the lyrics to Onward Christian Soldiers and if so, are the lyrics available online?

    Here's the R:
    Yes - If you're interested in some fresh things happening in worship music, check out the Convergence Music Project here: https://www.facebook.com/convergencemusicproject/

    Here are the lyrics ...

    1. Onward, all disciples, in the path of peace,
    Just as Jesus taught us, love your enemies
    Walk on in the Spirit, seek God’s kingdom first,
    Let God’s peace and justice be your hunger and your thirst!
    Onward, all disciples, in humility
    Walk with God, do justice, love wholeheartedly
    .

    2. We now face our failures in remorse and tears.
    We must hammer plowshares from our swords and spears,
    Turn from the broad highway of prejudice and war
    To follow Jesus to a place we’ve never been before
    Onward, all disciples, in humility
    Walk with God, do justice, love wholeheartedly


    3. Feel a fresh wind stirring. Justice, flowing free,
    Makes our deserts bloom in Eden-like beauty.
    Seek the greatest treasure: let peace be your dream -
    Justice like a river and an ever flowing stream!
    Onward, all disciples, in humility
    Walk with God, do justice, love wholeheartedly


    4. All regimes of violence, dominating power,
    They will boast of victory for their fragile hour.
    But the way of Jesus, weaponless and meek,
    Will not be defeated, and so his way we seek.
    Onward, all disciples, in humility
    Walk with God, do justice, love wholeheartedly

    5. Onward arm in arm, then, onward hand in hand,
    March with joyful song so all can understand
    Nothing is impossible for our God above,
    Through the power of service and the gentle might of love.
    Onward, all disciples, in humility
    Walk with God, do justice, love wholeheartedly

    6. Boldly let us venture where Christ’s feet have trod
    Sharing the adventure of the living God
    Saving, not condemning, not casting a stone,
    Spreading a rich banquet for the outcast and alone.
    Onward, all disciples, in humility
    Walk with God, do justice, love wholeheartedly

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  • Faith Can Change the Climate: Rev. Amy Butler


    #FaithAndClimate

    In September 2015, I was honored to be among a group of multi-faith leaders who came together in Washington, DC, to amplify Pope Francis’ message to care for God’s creation.

    Videos of the gathering are now available, produced by Blessed Tomorrow. In sharing these materials through email and social media you will help keep the momentum moving throughout 2016.

    Faith can change the climate!

    I'll share more of the speaker videos in coming weeks. Please share widely!
    Here's how you can get involved:
    http://faithandclimate.org/initatives/

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  • Q & R: Kill the nonbelievers?

    Here's the Q:

    [Our] Men’s Study Group completed the study of your book “Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road” last Sunday. Most of us agreed with many of the concepts expressed while a few of us had varied opinions.

    I am writing this as in between the study, I read the ISBN 978-955-665-129-4 book titled “A 16th Century Clash of Civilizations” by Susantha Goonatilake. The author on pages 250 and 251 of his book quotes citations from the Bible that instructs us seven times, to kill the non-believers and ten times, to ignore or avoid associating with non-believers. These biblical instructions contradict the conclusion of your book that we should move away from the ‘We’ versus ‘They’ attitude ingrained in us.

    I am attaching a brief biography of the author of the book, copies of pages 250 and 251, and my analysis of the citations. The writer being a Buddhist did not realize that six of the citations that instructs us to kill are from the Old Testament and the ten instructions to ignore or avoid associating are from the New Testament. He simply listed them as quotations from the Holy Book and concluded “Strong stuff indeed”. This clearly shows how 2/3rd of the world population looks at us – the Christians.

    What is our response to such a conclusion?

    I am sure our study group would appreciate your views on how we should react to this “erroneous concept” that is prevalent in the minds of four billion Non-Christians.

    Here's the R:
    What an important question! First, I should say that the erroneous concept is also present in a few billion Christians too! I'll address this issue in the middle third of my upcoming book (September 2016), The Great Spiritual Migration. I hope you'll find it helpful.

    I recently was sent a link to a sermon by a pastor who quoted some violent passages of the Quran, and then held up his Bible and said, "The only way we can beat this book (holding up Quran) is through this book (holding up Bible)!" But I thought to myself - is this fellow intentionally hiding the violent passages from the Bible, or is he sincerely blind to them?

    The fact is that there are more violent passages in the Bible than in the Quran. Verses in both Old and New Testaments lie like loaded guns in our bedside tables, easily used to harm and kill if we don't disarm them quickly. The current presidential primary season tells us that there are many Christians happy to quote those verses to justify carpet bombing, torture, exclusion, and other expressions of hate and violence. It makes me sick.

    Thank God, writers and speakers like Derek Flood, Peter Enns, Brian Zahnd, Michael Hardin, Shane Claiborne, and many others (including yours truly) are challenging Christians to face these passages and to change our approach to the Bible so that it can never again be used for violent purposes. We are part of a "Great Spiritual Migration" away from violence and toward peace, justice, love, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

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  • February 9, 2016

    Faith Vs. Climate Change ...

    “If we shall suppose that human-caused global warming is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through God's appointed time, God now wills to remove, and that God gives catastrophe to China and America, Russia and India, the Maldives and Indonesia alike as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray that this mighty scourge of catastrophic climate change may speedily pass away….. With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the wounds wrought by global warming, to care for those who have borne its disastrous effects, to do all which may achieve and cherish a healthy planet for ourselves and all nations.”
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  • February 8, 2016

    Faith Can Change the Climate: Melissa Rogers


    #FaithAndClimate

    In September 2015, I was honored to be among a group of multi-faith leaders who came together in Washington, DC, to amplify Pope Francis’ message to care for God’s creation.
    Videos of the gathering are now available, produced by Blessed Tomorrow. In sharing these materials through email and social media you will help keep the momentum moving throughout 2016.

    Faith can change the climate!

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  • February 7, 2016

    A Beautiful Sermon from ...

    President Barack Obama - his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast provide a powerful reflection on 2 Timothy 1:7. (below)

    Continue reading A Beautiful Sermon from ......

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  • February 5, 2016

    Faith Can Change the Climate

    In September 2015, I was honored to be among a group of multi-faith leaders who came together in Washington, DC, to amplify Pope Francis’ message to care for God’s creation.

    Videos of the gathering are now available, produced by Blessed Tomorrow. In sharing these materials through email and social media you will help keep the momentum moving throughout 2016.

    Faith can change the climate!

    I'll share more of the speaker videos in coming weeks. Please share widely! #FaithAndClimate

    Here's how you can get involved:
    http://faithandclimate.org/initatives/

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  • Lent begins next week ...

    And Christine Sine and friends are once again providing beautiful resources to help you and your family, group, or congregation make the most of the season. Here.

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  • February 1, 2016

    Would you please join me ...

    Back in 2009, in the face of rising Islamophobic rhetoric (especially disturbing rhetoric coming from my fellow Christians), I felt the Spirit calling me to express my solidarity for my Muslim friends by participating in the Ramadan fast. It was a profound spiritual challenge and a meaningful experience on many levels, which you can read about here.

    Because of my 2009 experience I was especially moved when I heard the story of Dr. Larycia Hawkins who engaged in a similar prophetic action late last year, in deciding to wear a hijab as a professor at an Evangelical college in Chicago.

    And that's why I ask you to ...

    Join #AuburnFellows to stand w/ Dr. @LaryciaHawkins & call on @WheatonCollege to #ReinstateDocHawk: http://bit.ly/1SOEzyS

    Would you please join me and the Auburn Senior Fellows in signing this Groundswell Petition calling on President Ryken at Wheaton College to reinstate Prof. Hawkins, the first tenured African American woman at Wheaton since 1860, and the only full-time African American woman on the faculty? During a time of anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence in our country, Professor Hawkins demonstrated moral courage by standing in embodied solidarity with our Muslim sisters and brothers. Now we stand with her. ‪#‎ReinstateDocHawk‬

    http://action.groundswell-mvmt.org/petitions/multifaith-sign-on-reinstate-wheaton-professor-hawkins?bucket&source=facebook-share-button&time=1454098273

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  • January 21, 2016

    Christian Higher Education

    "Christian higher education must exist in a genuine cosmology. The word ‘university’ is derived from the idea of universe; that is, a university is a microcosm of the larger world–or it should be. For a few years, people of all kinds should live and learn together, so that they can continue to do so for the rest of their lives. This is the relational mandate in education.

    When a school truncates its educational cosmology, it diminishes its students’ ability to develop the integrative capacity to co-exist in society, which is already diverse and global. It creates graduates who only know how to get along with those who are like them–a problem in its own right, but one that has the seeds to sow suspicion of “the other” who is unlike them." - Steve Harper

    More here: https://oboedire.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/christianity-culture-wheaton-hawkins-4/

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  • January 20, 2016

    Jazz & Justice

    “Movements teach you to make plans and then remake them on the go…the art of improvisation is about negotiating the unexpected.” - Rev. Wm. F. Barber

    Read about Rev. Barber's new book in Peter Heltzel's interview here:
    http://religiondispatches.org/rev-william-barber-jazzman-for-justice/

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  • January 19, 2016

    Islamophobia and Antisemitism

    "Interestingly, a Gallup study based on major polling found that a significant number of those who were biased towards Muslims were also anti-Semitic. Major studies have shown that if you compare anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim rhetoric, dehumanisation, cartoons and caricatures there are striking parallels.

    ...The good news, though, is that in countries like America, Australia and in Europe, increasing numbers of the younger generation attend schools and universities that are multi-ethnic and multi-religious. Where that occurs, one finds that polls show that the younger generation is less biased than the older generation, who were raised and educated in different times and circumstances." - John Esposito

    More here:
    https://en.qantara.de/content/interview-with-the-islam-scholar-john-louis-esposito-islams-image-problem

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  • January 18, 2016

    Race and Misuse of Power ...

    "The problem is always the misuse of power..." Fr. Richard Rohr.

    A great meditation for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day - See Romal Tune's interview with Richard on white privilege ... here:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/romal-tune/richard-rohr-on-white-pri_b_8985742.html

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  • January 12, 2016

    Another response to Jerry Falwell, Jr.

    "... let us agree to work together to end all acts of violence and build a safer world.

    That will not happen by calling students to arms. It will come by having the courage to create spaces where persons from different faiths, nationalities and races feel respected and safe enough to risk seeing the humanity in the other. It will come by being humble enough to recognize our own contributions to the world’s conflicts. It will come by training our students with analytical tools and skills to address the root causes of violence.

    Let us offer hope to the world, instead of more reasons for others to hate us.

    Daryl Byler's op-ed is so worth reading, here:
    http://www.richmond.com/opinion/their-opinion/guest-columnists/article_d0a38d60-13d2-58bd-a0ae-fa77d040e531.html
    You may also be interested in my response from several weeks back.

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  • January 11, 2016

    Contrast this: Oregon v. Israel

    The standoff going on in Oregon vs. the action of Tair Kaminer in Israel. What's similar? What's different?

    Quotable from Tair:

    Even if I must pay a personal price for my refusal, this price will be worthwhile if it to helps place the occupation on the agenda of Israeli public discourse. Far too many Israelis don’t directly feel the occupation, and they tend to forget about it in their daily lives - lives that are eminently safe in comparison with those of Palestinians, or even of the Israelis who live in the Western Negev (Gaza border area) . We are told that there is no way other than the violent military way. But I believe that this is the most destructive way, and that there are others. I wish to remind all of us that there does exist an alternative: negotiations, peace, optimism, a true will to live in equality, safety and freedom. We are told that the military is not a political institution - but the decision to serve in the military is a highly political one, no less so than the decision to refuse.
    ... I am not scared of the military prison - what truly frightens me is our society losing its humanity.

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