With The Zimzum of Love and his new Oprah Network TV show, Rob Bell broadens his focus but it’s all spiritual

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As Rob and Kristen Bell’s book, “The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage”, blankets the country and Rob’s new TV show premieres on Oprah’s network tonight, has Rob Bell become a self-help guru and abandoned his evangelical mission of preaching the gospel? I have been asking myself variations of this question for years, while writing in the space between spirituality and self-help. The answer is that there is no separation. Talking about how to live life fully and honestly and helpfully and robustly and ethically is talking about the gospel. And talking about faith without concern for how to live life is to some extent empty words. [Read more...]

Sybil MacBeth’s The Season of the Nativity is a trove of ideas for fellow Advent extremists

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I’ve always loved Christmas. Growing up in an atheist ex-Christian household, though, the religious aspects of it were limited to: a small crèche on a side table which was never referenced or examined; a star ornament on the top of the Christmas tree; my mother’s occasional mentioning that Jesus was a Jew; and listening on [Read More...]

The Giver brings the timely dystopian novel fully and compellingly to life on screen

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What The Giver says, emphatically, is that emotions are part of our humanness, and that we cannot suppress the bad without also suppressing the good, and that the result of that suppression — living while asleep, being dead while alive — is no life at all. The movie is enjoyable on every level — its message, acting, cinematography, action. The differences from the novel are reasonable, and the film version expands on and perhaps exceeds the original in places. [Read more...]

From Dinner Church to Neighborhood Hub, Building Community Through Working Side by Side

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Working side by side making a meal, breaking bread, eating and sharing conversation around the dinner table, then cleaning up together creates community in a very real way. You get to know about each other, but there’s something much more profound going on. Deeply connected to the Judeo-Christian tradition is the idea of the sacred [Read More...]

Religious Freedom in America Isn’t Threatened — Not Even Close

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This month’s topic in the Patheos Public Square is: “Is Religious Freedom Threatened?” Please read and comment on my opinion, and read the others too. Here’s my response: No. Not even close. There are two dynamics at play in this idea that religious freedom (that is, Christian religious freedom) is under siege in America. The [Read More...]

Young Nun Singing on The Voice; Says “God Doesn’t Take Anything Away from Us” [VIDEO]

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A cute young nun, Sister Cristina, auditions for the Italian version of The Voice, singing an Alicia Keys song. Of course comes the stupid question, “What does the Vatican have to say about your auditioning for The Voice?” Her perfect response (translated into English): “[Pope Francis] always says we should go out and evangelize telling people that God doesn’t take anything away from us but will give us more.” Watch the video… [Read more...]

Hurricane Sandy, the relative nature of suffering, and the fragility of urban community

Looking uptown from within the downtown New York blackout caused by Hurricane Sandy.

A reflection, at the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy’s landfall in New York, on experiencing the downtown Manhattan blackout, on how I did not feel the deprivation that many experienced, and about the isolation and anonymity of city life which makes urban community fragile. [Read more...]

Amanda Palmer nails what’s wrong with Sinead O’Conner’s comments on Miley Cyrus

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Sinead O’Conner “open letter” to Miley Cyrus bothered me with its assertion that the world is a dark dangerous place where women should hide their sexuality. The great Amanda Palmer puts words to my unease and as a currently-relevant female musician and a brilliant articulate pro-sex feminist, has a right and a standing that I could never have on the subject. [Read more...]

Join Me at Wild Goose This Week! — spirituality, great music, social justice and amazing fellowship

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I’ll be presenting a session at Wild Goose near Asheville, North Carolina this Saturday on meditation for Christians. Join me and take part in this amazing festival “at the intersection of justice, spirituality, music, and art.” In other words, great music, inspiring presentations and amazing fellowship. Discount tickets here. [Read more...]

5 Ways to Get Outdoors More This Summer

© 2013 Phil Fox RoseView from a hike just an hour's train ride from New York City. Panorama photo from Breakneck Ridge outside Cold Spring, NY.

You can add serenity to your life and connect more closely with God’s creation by getting little doses of nature whenever you can; and then, once in a while, really break away for a restorative vacation. Here are 5 ways of getting back to nature. [Read more...]


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