Here’s a piece from yesterday’s USA Today that explores more of the biology of religion. It’s by Andrew Newberg, associate professor of radiology and psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of the new book How God Changes Your Brain. His studies show thatspiritual practices, such as meditation and prayer … reveal significant improvements in memory, cognition and compassion while simultaneously reducing anxiety, depression, irritability and stress (even when done in a non-theological context). One might come to the… Read more

I’m not going to post everything I say as part of my President’s Welcome and Announcements on Sunday mornings, but sometimes I will. Here’s what I had to say this morning:Robert Wuthnow is Director of the Center for the Study of American Religion at Princeton University and author of the book Christianity in the 21st Century: Reflections on the Challenges Ahead. In that book, he said “Instead of being a reaction to fundamentalism, liberal religion needs to become a counterculture… Read more

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Our power went out Wednesday evening about 7:00 and didn’t come back on till a little before midnight last night. No major damage, but we’re going to have to throw out everything in the refrigerator. And I didn’t sleep much on Wednesday night.For all my good Pagan love of nature, I have NO romanticized dreams about living about living in a “simpler time.” I LIKE technology, and I have NO desire to live in Texas without air conditioning! Read more

Here’s another quote from A History of God:When the Greeks looked back to the golden age of their heroes, they felt that they had been closely in touch with the gods, who were, after all, of the same nature as human beings. These stories of epiphanies expressed the holistic pagan vision: when the divine was not essentially distinct from either or humanity, it could be experienced without great fanfare.“The holistic pagan vision” – that’s what our culture has lost over… Read more

I finally finished reading Karen Armstrong’s A History of God last weekend. This book is the history and development of the three great monotheistic religions of the West, the story of how a tribal god of the desert became the One True God. It is a powerful book that should be read by everyone who lives in a country where Judaism, Christianity, or Islam is a dominant or secondary religion. Which is to say, everyone should read it.While I found… Read more

Some photos from the CUUPS Camping Weekend at James Stevens’ place north of Decatur: Summerlin, a stone circle James is building on his land. You can already see his vision starting to manifest. Not trying to hide behind the sunglasses, but the sun was bright! A very young fawn on the edge of the camping area, alone. We were worried about it, but Ashley saw it with the mother later in the day. It wouldn’t be a camping trip without… Read more

Here’s the piece I did for yesterday’s “Story for All Ages”: Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston on May 25, 1803, the son of Ruth Haskins and the Rev. William Emerson, a Unitarian minister. After completing school, he was a teacher, then went to Harvard Divinity School. He was ordained in 1829 by the Second Church of Boston, and he served there for three years. But disagreements with church officials over the Communion service and questions about public prayer… Read more

This week’s “Texas Faith” question from the Dallas Morning News asks “What don’t most people understand about religious faith?” The panelists gave some good answers, but I have a particular thought that the experts only touched on briefly.In my mind, the biggest misconception about religious faith is the idea that faith consists of affirming a set of supernatural propositions, that faith = belief. This concept (which is accepted unquestioningly by most people I encounter) is unique to Christianity in general,… Read more

No, I’m not moving. At least I don’t think I am – if I’ve learned nothing else from three job-related cross-country moves it’s to never be too sure about these things.After a month of internal debate and wrestling with the not-insignificant cost of travel, I’ve registered for the Druid Gorsedd being held in California at Lughnasadh. It’s being organized by an collection of OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids – I’m a member, though there are no groups in… Read more

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