Pope Francis to Remind Conservatives Again Foot Washing Is About Humility Not Piety, and Not Patriarchy

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The guideline of only washing the feet of men was invented in 1955. 1955! Before that, washing the feet of women was not uncommon. It was traditionalists who changed and politicized things, to underscore their point about women being ineligible for the priesthood. Pope Francis, who embraces the servant leadership model to his core, is reminding us that this tradition is supposed to be about humility, not piety, and not patriarchy. [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...]

Russell Brand and reality-based dialogue [VIDEO]

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Russell Brand is basically my favorite public person on the planet. If Russell Brand were running for office, or starting a political organization in the States, despite the fact that I’d probably disagree with half his preferred policies, I’d vote for him or join it in a second. Watch this BBC clip and tell me what you think about his diagnosis, not his prescription. The fundamental thing about Brand that excites me — which I believe is rooted in or at least highly complementary with his mystical faith practice — is his insistence on basing his thinking and his dialogue in reality. Not “reason” but reality. Totally different thing. [Read more...]

“Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake” — Pope Francis Calls for Day of Fasting

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There is no simple solution for the situation in Syria. Whether it is, as Fareed Zakaria says, an inevitable sectarian realignment period as the artificial structures of colonialism fall apart, or simply the drawn out violent death throws of a failing regime, the current civil war is ugly and brutal, and many many civilians are [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...]

Swearing on the Bible and picking pray-ers — arguments over inaugural symbolism

Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, will give the invocation, the opening prayer, at President Obama's inaugural.

Should inaugurals be free of religious symbols? Opportunities for inclusion of minority religions? Or just reflect the religion of the president being inaugurated? Navigating the competing views is a minefield in today’s heated world of religion and politics. [Read more...]

Britain’s Leading Evangelical Steve Chalke Endorses Same-sex Unions and More [VIDEO]

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Britain’s most prominent evangelical, Steve Chalke, has publicly thrown himself and his entire megachurch organization behind same-sex unions, and acceptance of homosexuals generally, insisting his view is compatible with his evangelical faith and scripturally sound. Watch the video and read excerpts of his statement here. [Read more...]

My first 100 posts

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My Patheos blog is only five months old, so a “Best of 2012″ would be a bit much, but I’ve done exactly 100 posts, which is a good reason to pause a moment and look back. [Read more...]

Joe Scarborough: “Let Newtown be the hour after which, in the words of the New Testament, we did all we could do to make all things new.”

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This morning conservative Republican Joe Scarborough — for whom I have always had great respect — made news when he offered his thoughts on the political issues related to the Sandy Hook tragedy, and for the moment, I can’t improve on them. Please watch the video and read excerpts here. [Read more...]

Will we finally have a national conversation about guns because of the the Newtown school shooting?

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Spiritual leaders can offer a distinct perspective on the Newtown shootings, free from the political framing. To start, we can say, simply: This is not OK. We cannot dismiss incidents like this as a cost of freedom. The human suffering is not acceptable. [Read more...]