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Spirituality Trees

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After our discussions about postmodernism and cultural relativism, I’ve been thinking about the roots of faith, both my own and in general. What I am discovering is that personally, a few core beliefs form the roots of my current spirituality tree, the trunk of which is simply love my neighbor. 

Over the decades I have also pruned many ideas to make space for new growth. That’s a pretty natural part of any spiritual journey, I think, but it’s occurred to me that postmodern faith is like a spirituality tree.

Subjectively (see what I did there?), trees are one of the coolest lifeforms in the universe. From a tiny seed, these majestic beings spend their very long lives constantly embracing the sky. Yet, the boughs of leaves we see outstretched to a welcoming firmament only exist because of the root structure mostly hidden underground.

Without a secured root system, the tree might wither and die. At the very least, an insufficient root system will stunt the tree’s growth, because roots not o…

Progressive, Postmodern Christianity Part 3: Unconditional Love

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Progressive, Postmodern Christianity Part 2: "Progressive" Christianity

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Last week, we began discussing postmodernism, which demands a more subjective approach to the overarching stories that connect us as human beings. These epic tales—think the creation of the universe in the Enuma ElishGenesisThe Gospel of John, Big Bang or String theories—are called metanarratives. For postmodern religion, this means a more accepting, pluralistic tone. I’m not sure that postmodern religion’s demand for subjectivity and the idea that non-Christians are eternally tormented in Hell are compatible.

So, people of postmodern faith are not typically “my way or the highway to Hell.” (See what I did there?) There are a diversity of beliefs at work in postmodern religions. For example, within postmodern Christianity, which I think is somewhat inappropriately called “progressive” Christianity, some people believe in the need for “salvation,” and others don’t. Living with, accepting, even while we do not understand, each other’s belief systems should be the goal. I’ll also add …

Progressive, Postmodern Christianity Part 1: I Remain Incredulous

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31JAN “There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.” ― Harold Pinter

“Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.” 
― Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge

My mom was a terrific cook. She started sharing her skills with me when I was very young and she began simply, with scrambled eggs. Throw some eggs in a dish, beat them up, cook them and voilá, delicious food! 

Of course, a couple of cooked eggs isn’t that exciting. Once I got the hang of not overcooking them, Mom taught me how to add seasoning. Salt and pepper always make a dish more interesting. Then, I started to add chives, salmon, different types of cheeses. I still add a little milk and then beat them fluffy. As I gained experience, I took ideas from different recipes I discovered and mashed them up into some…

The Divine Journey

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Matthew 2.1-12 (CEB)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. 2 They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.” 

When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. 4 He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote: 
You, Bethlehem, land of Judah, 
by no means are you least 
among the rulers of Judah, 
because from you will come 
one who governs, 
who will shepherd my people Israel.”

Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.” 9 When they heard the king, they …