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Brian's Blog

  • December 22, 2014

    Love Movies?

    My friend Gareth Higgins is doing something wonderful and I'm eager to tell you about it - it's a film festival-peacemaking-all singing, all dancing-extravaganza next May, and I think it's going to be amazing. Here's Gareth to tell you about it:

    "Movies and Meaning: A Dream Space is a new kind of festival for everyone who loves stories and light.

    Part of the growing global movement for nonviolent transformation, Movies and Meaning is a long weekend away in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, featuring films, workshops, very special guests, dancing, magic and YOU.

    From May 28th-31st, 2015, we’ll gather in Albuquerque, NM, building a temporary community dedicated to experiencing how the ideas and images we project can make everything better or worse, for ourselves, our communities, and the planet. We’ll watch some of the most transcendent films ever made - old and new - on a magnificent silver screen with fantastic sound. Films will be curated by Gareth Higgins, founding director of the Wild Goose Festival; most of the films will be surprises until we screen them, but we can tell you that the restored version of 2001: A Space Odyssey will be screened in all its glory, as well as a special preview of an unreleased film.

    We’ll participate in conversations at the intersection of contemplation and activism with the internationally renowned spiritual teacher Richard Rohr. We’ll explore how cinema can help increase or reduce real-world violence, take a field trip in the wonderful New Mexican landscape, honor local and indigenous traditions, and, because it’s not your typical film festival, every night we will DANCE. Our aim is nothing less than transcending the myth of redemptive violence. So we’ll create a dream space of new friends, extraordinary food, and the joy of story and light combining to create something we haven’t known before.

    Want to be part of creating something amazing with this inaugural experience of bringing together lovers of cinema, life, and the pursuit of a better world? Then we want you to join us."

    Tickets for the four day event are $299, BUT the first ten are available for only $99, and after they sell out, until December 24th they are discounted to $149. More information and tickets available at www.moviesandmeaning.com

    If you love cinema, life, and want to be part of a transformative community at the intersection of art and peace, we think this festival might just be your new home.

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  • Last Minute Shopping?

    Several of my friends have produced gifts that you would be happy to give … and others would be happy to receive … Most are downloadable:

    For young adults, especially horse-lovers, check this out:

    For a beautiful devotional by Steve Bell, and for amazing music, plus an excellent video about Steve's life and music, check this out.

    For an important theological read, this by Derek Flood and this by Peter Enns.

    If you have yoga practitioners in your life, check out this DVD project I was involved in with Suzanne Jackson.

    If you have a friend or relative who is unemployed, this should be a great gift:
    Here's the blurb and link--

    Life doesn’t stop when you’re unemployed. But what do the days look like in between leaving and finding a job? How do you keep your spirits up? And could it be that this time might actually be an opportunity for growth? WORKING WHEN YOU’RE NOT considers these questions and more with a series of short chapters that speak to those who are in between as well as their friends and family. Written by someone who’s been there and done that, WWYN explores this 'in between' space with humor, faith, and compassion.

    Also ...

    If you have people on your list who would rather listen than read, you'll find lots of resources here.

    And, of course, I think friends and relatives would benefit by my books, especially We Make the Road by Walking, which could be their companion all through 2015.

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  • Marriage in Florida

    "Marriage is important enough and strong enough to include gay couples as well as straight couples." - More here:

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  • December 21, 2014

    a Christmas season sermon ...

    from Cornerstone UMC, Naples, FL

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  • December 20, 2014

  • December 19, 2014

  • December 18, 2014

    Q & R: Finding fellow thinkers, strugglers

    Here's the Q:

    I appreciate the work that you and others in the emergent movement are doing. You're helping to fill a hole that has been present in the church for a long time. I often wonder if my faith would still stand if not for you and others who are willing to struggle with the hard questions, showing me that it's OK to have them.

    My problem is that I live in the Bible belt, and I'm finding that as I become more open in my theology, I feel more alienated from my faith community. I have a wonderful small group that for the most part shows love, but anytime I hint at questioning some traditional Scriptural interpretations, multiple people seem to jump in to play defense. I've experienced this with some of my pastors as well -- they want to provide easy answers rather than being present with me in my struggle. I feel alone and need someone to come alongside me as I wrestle with my questions. I am usually one to encourage others to find a community where they fit in, but I'm at a loss to know where to find this for myself this time. I am also a professional in the area, and I'm afraid to advertise some of my more "liberal" theology, knowing that it would be likely to hurt my business. Any thoughts on how to find people to partner with me in my journey?

    Here's the R:
    Thanks for your note. Your words remind me of Parker Palmer's term "divided no more," which you can read about here.

    In movement theory, groups that gather to ask, struggle, and think freely are called "critical communities." They are critical in both sense of the word!

    When such circles don't exist, I think people like you can form them. It really just takes two or three … a convener and a friend or two. I would hope my books and others like them could provide a good framework for needed conversation. I offer some "guidelines for learning circles" in my new book which are available for free download here.

    I hope you will create for others what you need for yourself … In doing so, I think you'll discover it's even more blessed to give than receive!

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  • December 17, 2014

    Q & R: Schedule … in California?

    Here's the Q:

    Hello, I live in Arroyo Grande, California, and was wondering if you could tell me California events Brian McLaren is participating in. I looked online, but his schedule was blank for 2015. Thank you for your help.

    Here's the R:
    Sorry for the delay. The 2015 schedule is now available here.

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  • December 16, 2014

    Food Chains - if you eat, see this documentary!

    You can rent or buy it from iTunes.
    I'm honored to be a volunteer with and ally of the group (CIW) profiled in this documentary. Highly, highly recommended.

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  • December 15, 2014

    Thoughts on American Racism ...

    from some white folks.

    Melanie. Quotable:

    One white girlfriend calls in tears, partly hopeful because there are people demonstrating in the streets all over the country, and partly distraught because of “what has happened to our country.” She has made a sign for her window that says simply, ERIC.

    Another white friend who teaches at an elite private school struggles “to justify teaching the structure of a sonnet when there seems to be no structure in the world —or when it seems that the structures that do exist appall and offend you.” I wish more people had his soft heart, where “simply falling asleep in secure comfort feels viciously calloused, knowing there are people dying wrongfully at the hands of others while the world looks on and declares No harm, No foul.”

    Tony B. Quotable:

    The U.S. runs on violence. Best guesses of how many guns there are in private ownership is one for every man, woman and child. Roughly 350 million. The US has been continually at war from year one of the 21st century, on top of the ongoing trauma from the 20th century’s two world wars, plus Korea and Vietnam, and prior to that the prolonged war against the Native American peoples across the continent. There are well over 200 U.S. military bases in foreign countries across the world, to say nothing of those on home soil. There are fabulously wealthy people in this country who do not feel they have any responsibility to the poor and marginal, unless perhaps it comes as largesse not justice. (See estimate of the Economist, that 160, 000 families, 0.1 % of the nation, own 22% of the wealth, an average of $73 million each, almost equal to the bottom 90% entire, the disparity between rich and poor a little shy of the all-time gulf immediately before the 1929 crash.) The central narrative of our time is controlled by a media which cannot step back an instant from the constant back-answering of argument and hostility between polarized commentators. The despairing assertion that the truth somehow lies in the middle is itself an illusion: the resolution of the antagonisms displayed between so-called right and left is so off the charts of the existential reality of either side, on whatever issue, as to be another kind of world altogether. It is the antagonism itself which motivates our news cycle of information and meaning, and it is this condition which is now the specific character of the 21st century. If “the war to end all wars” kicked off the 20th, permanent war grips the 21st.

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  • December 11, 2014

    Joke of the Day

    A pastor who was badly overworked went to the local medical center and was able to have a clone made.

    The clone was like the pastor in every respect-- except the clone used extraordinarily foul language.

    The cloned pastor was exceptionally gifted in so many other areas of pastoral work, but finally the complaints about the dirty language were too much.

    The pastor was not too sure how to get rid of the clone so that it didn’t look like murder. The best thing, it seemed, was to make the clone’s death look like an accident. So the pastor lured the clone onto a bridge in the middle of the night and pushed the clone off the bridge.

    Unfortunately there was a police officer who happened by at that very moment and arrested the pastor for (after the jump) ...

    Continue reading Joke of the Day...

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  • December 10, 2014

  • December 9, 2014

  • The Future is Calling Us to Greatness

    I was invited by my friend Michael Dowd to be one of several dozen presenters/participants in an important online Symposium entitled, “The Future Is Calling Us to Greatness”. The 55 Skype interviews that make up this series can be freely viewed or listened to for two weeks, beginning January 26, or you can purchase the entire set of 55 audios, videos, and transcripts for $25. (Scholarships are available for those anywhere in the world for whom this is a hardship.) Sign up here to receive the full schedule, or for more information. I think you'll find these presentations stimulating - the differences interesting, and the common themes deeply inspiring. I'm looking forward to taking these in myself ...

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  • December 8, 2014