Dr Roger Ray सार्वजनिक
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What makes some topics controversial is because you can make a rational defense of either side of the issue. For example, you can mount logical arguments in favor of either socialism or capitalism but you cannot have a reasonable debate about whether the Earth is round or flat. Unfortunately, we often fail to have the needed rational debates that h…
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The news has been uncommonly full of conversations about who lied and about what. Hunter Biden lied on his application to buy a hand gun. Michael Cohen lied about lots of things, specifically around the hush money payment made to an adult film actress to remain silent about her sexual encounter with Donald Trump. But it goes a lot deeper than that,…
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The gloves are off, at least in the left leaning media, as we now hear the Trump base regularly being referred to as a "cult." That's strong language that should not be used lightly but does the "shoe fit?" This message asks us to consider the diagnostic criteria for identifying any movement as a cult and to apply these criteria to ourselves.…
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Most progressive church goers have been exposed to academic criticism of the New Testament, especially as concerns the nature of the historical Jesus. After all, the Jesus Seminar has been around for 40 years, giving us those wonderful books by Marcus Borg, John Shelby Spong, Karen Armstrong, and Jon Dominic Crossan. Still, I have marveled at how c…
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When we watch a movie like Star Wars, we immediately know that it is fiction. No one tries to hitch a ride on the Millennium Falcon or tries to order a working light saber from Amazon. Sadly, however, many modern religious people read biblical myths as if talking with a snake in the Garden of Eden or following Moses through a divided Red Sea is som…
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Similar to the WWII generation, we are living in a time facing dramatic changes that may end up being good but which also have the potential of being catastrophically bad. As Eric Holder recently warned, there is no cavalry coming to save us. Storied institutions like the Supreme Court and the Congress have demonstrated their willingness to side wi…
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The claim that the coming election is "the most important election of our lifetime," has been sadly over used and possibly worn out to the point that people easily ignore those of us who are urgently crying "wolf" about the November 2024 election. This message attempts to state the stark reality of the risk to democracy and individual freedoms at s…
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Two great periods of revivals saved the Christian religion from extinction in the United States. The Great Awakening, near the birth of our nation, and The Second Great Awakening that came along with the western expansion, the Civil War, and the end of slavery. Much of what modern American Christians think is a biblical faith is actually the echos …
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Easter, as it has been taught to us through traditional modern sermons, is, as Bishop John Shelby Spong described it, simply "unbelievable." Stepping back from the "yippee, we're all gonna live forever" myth, this lecture tries to treat the first Easter in a historical context with a critical discussion of early Christian writing.…
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THIS IS NOT NORMAL! Cultural values we worked hard to correct over the past century are slipping back into what is being allowed to become normative language, thinking, and voting. North Carolina's GOP nominated candidate for governor, Mark Robinson, who enjoyed more than 60% of the vote in the primary, has publicly denied the holocaust, insisted t…
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The sad news of Alexey Navalny's death in prison brings to mind many who have chosen personal sacrifice as a way to raise awareness in the public's mind or to confront the evils of governments through the centuries. Navalny takes his place along side the likes of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and others whose names remain written…
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32 of the 33 developed nations in the world have universal healthcare. Why is the United States the only outlier? We spend more on healthcare than any of the other nations, why can't we get the distribution system to be more fair? We also have between five and ten times as many of our citizens in prison, than any of those other developed nations. W…
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Men and sometimes women confuse anger with a show of strength, or of being courageous when, in most cases, anger is simply a product of being afraid. As we try to understand the dangerous divisions within our American population, I think that we need to give careful consideration to the role of grievance, of irrational anger fueled by a paranoid le…
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For many congregations, the Bible is still the church's book but not many progressives find scripture to be either authoritative or even relevant in their lives. We have lost an anchor in our lives when we give up on sacred texts but the church of the 21st century has to find its truth to less clearly identified but indisputably more reliable sourc…
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The prophetic church has always advocated for human rights, civil rights, LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and has opposed the forces that create poverty, war, illness, and racism. As fascist language keeps rising in our current political environment, the prophetic church must find its voice again; before it is too late.…
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Time is not a material thing. Our units of time actually measure movement, i.e. if there was no movement the concept of time would be meaningless. Talk about going back in time is not merely science fiction, it is, in fact, more a matter of fantasy, of imagination disengaged from reality. Understanding science is increasingly important but to move …
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Americans have fewer annual vacation days than any other western government and more than that, we tend to tie retirement and healthcare to our employment. So, out of fear and anxiety, we work more than almost any other nation and yet have millions without healthcare, income, or housing. Our world obviously needs our involvement and action but it a…
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The war in Ukraine shows no signs of coming to an end and now the war in Gaza is escalating to an unthinkable death toll and seems only to get worse daily. What are we to make of these tragic wars that remind us so much of the way that WWII started? And as Americans, since our tax dollars and military hardware are deeply involved in both wars, what…
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The United States has perpetuated compromises in our constitution which were originally written to give slave holding states assurances that the institution of slavery would not be immediately wiped out by larger and more populous industrial states. What gave some citizens a larger voice in managing our government at the end of the 18th century has…
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The familiar image of Lady Justice, blindfolded, holding up balanced scales in one hand and a sword in the other (a little frightening if she can’t see) suggests our desire that we will be a nation of laws and that there is only one standard of justice in the nation. We hope that the rich and the poor, people of all races, nations of origin, and pu…
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Most of us have given an uncommon amount of time and energy to the news in the past weeks as Israel mounts a military response to the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks launched by Hamas. Just as the USA did after 9-11, it is only human to want to strike back against such a horrible act of war with an overpowering military response. But Hamas is like Isis, t…
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Does our support for Ukraine in their defensive war against Russia’s invasion qualify as a “just war?” Thomas Aquinas insisted that for a war to be just it must be conducted by a sovereign government, and the war must be for a just cause, and it must be fought by soldiers who fight to accomplish something that is good. Of course, innocent people di…
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Church attendance, especially among progressives is in decline, and financial support of these struggling congregations is going down even faster. Do we have a way of forming spiritual communities without churches, pastors, and budgets or do we need to redouble our efforts to save the ones we still have?…
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More than a year away from the next presidential election, it appears that we may have the same candidates that we had in 2020, in spite of multiple criminal charges against Donald Trump that range from insurrection to theft of nuclear secrets and classified documents. Why are his supporters so loyal when he doesn't seem to feel any obligation to b…
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Today is my last sermon as co-pastor and so, this week, I’ve been looking back as a way of looking forward, thinking about and learning from the years we’ve spent together. I am grateful for all the ways that our community has helped transform the stories that dominate our society and to turn it around: offering kindness instead of condemnation, an…
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While shame and humiliation are part of the human experience, we should not promote them or build our communities and movements around them. Instead, let’s focus on becoming places where we learn to care for ourselves and one another, with healing for when we hurt and celebration for when we thrive. Wisdom and compassion as a “way of knowing” will …
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The suicide of a 40 year old scientist (and athlete and musician) raises two crucial issues with modern day America. 1) While we have possibly the most advanced medical science in the world, our distribution of health care and our priorities in research are based on profit and not health and that is killing us. 2) The government (and the police) in…
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The authors of America's Declaration of Independence acknowledged that people seem to be willing to suffer the abuses of their government until such time that the liberties the government gives to itself become unbearable. With the loss of voter protection, the license given to corporations to make political donations (bribes), taking away affirmat…
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Anyone actively involved in trying to make the world a better place has felt the pressures to push past our limitations, abandon boundaries, and sacrifice our well-being and aspirations in the name of a cause. While it is true that sometimes we may strategically and intentionally place our needs to the side to deal with a crisis, it is not sustaina…
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Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitter, and our very cell phones themselves have shortened our attention span to the point that we hard know how to talk to one another anymore and even worse, it seems that we are nearly incapable of listening to someone. We can never understand another person, especially not someone we are inclined to avoid or reject, unless …
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We often reflect on how economic and social disparities are symptoms of an unhealthy society, associated with environmental degradation, poverty, violence, and oppression. However, we continue to hurtle headlong toward ever-increasing disparities. Examining the rise and role of consumerism can help us understand some of the reasons why this is so, …
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Following up on my reflections in June, I share some of the ways that lovingkindness meditation has been helpful in my own life, especially with transforming self-hatred and anger into understanding and kindness. All of us who are committed to continually growing into compassionate, wise people can benefit from having these kinds of skills and reso…
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The most popular forms of philanthropy, in giving sandwiches and sleeping bags to the unhoused or sending goats to poor farmers in Central America are symbolic gestures. Handing out free meals is not a solution to poverty and sending goats to Central America rarely has the intended effect. (The goats I sent to Nicaragua a few years ago ended up eat…
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This part 1 of a two-part series on philanthropy. Today we consider the ways that charitable foundations can be twisted into being tax loopholes for the super-rich while still allowing the wealthy to use 95% of the foundation’s holdings to invest in stocks that profit them personally. Part 2 will be about the benefits of philanthropy which can be h…
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We get lots of cultural signals that our personal worth goes down with each birthday. Many feel pressured to choose extreme measures to deny the reality of the passing of time, but rather than grieving over what age takes away from us, maybe we can spend some time considering what gifts can come with old age? The British philosopher, Bertrand Russe…
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Week after week, we turn our attention to injustice, violence, and oppression, so that we can encourage one another to not stand idly by. But as we face all this suffering, there is also that nagging question: How can we humans be so wonderful and horrible at the same time? So generous and compassionate on the one hand and so cruel and violent on t…
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In May, the Biden Administration announced a new border plan, which turns out to be more of the same, including recycling failed and dangerous policies. Even Federal asylum officers have called the new plan “inconsistent with the asylum law enacted by Congress, the treaties the United States has ratified, and our country’s moral fabric and longstan…
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Our deeply divided nation will not become unified by learning to either deny or accept the racism and prejudice that is inherent in American culture. We should be kind and patient but we must not fail to be honest and factual about our history of institutional racism and religious prejudice and to chart a higher path towards unity by dispelling the…
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Humanity’s collective hubris has led us to the edge of catastrophe, as we have collectively ignored the reality of climate change and wreaked destruction on the environment for decades and centuries. Yet not all is lost. We have the science, data, technology, and practices we need to nourish cultures and communities where this kind of hubris, wheth…
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t is Mother's Day but rather than deliver a solipsistic sermon in praise of mothers, I am going to talk about influential female mentors who never gave birth. This is a personal message, naming the wise women who guided me in hope that you will remember the childless mothers in your life. I can’t copy it all here but I encourage you to look up and …
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With the release of the final section of the IPCC’s sixth report last month, humans are without excuse. There is no time left to value short-term profits over long term health. It took billions of years for all this earthly beauty to blossom, a vibrant and interconnected web of living and dying. If humanity is to have a future here, it is imperativ…
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Without absolutes, without a God given set of rules in holy writ or a supernatural theistic judge in the clouds, how do we determine right from wrong or even sensibly talk about what it means to be good? Are these arbitrary value judgements in a toothless religious debate? Progressives tend to elevate the value of compassion as a primary spiritual …
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In the ancient Persian slave ghetto, Zoroastrian religion evolved an expression of ethics and eternity that influenced what became modern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Their succinct description of how to be a good person was the three fold injunction to think good thought, speak good words, and do good actions. I tell my world religion student…
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This last week, trans folks in Missouri have been living in the thick of the intentional, ongoing attacks against transgender lives. On Thursday, April 13, 2023, Missouri’s Attorney General, Andrew Bailey, issued expanded emergency regulations that effectively restrict and, in many cases, make impossible life-saving, life-giving care that many tran…
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When we begin to give up the formal, creedal faith of our youth, accepting that no religion is entirely true and no sacred text was actually written by God, many people will abandon the journey of faith entirely. But for those of us who find value in a spiritual life, we are inclined to turn away from the false certainty of formal religion and turn…
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Walter Brueggemann posed the challenge of Easter as deciding to be “a part of the Easter movement of civil disobedience that contradicts the empire,” to “see if life is longer than death.” Each day, we face a litany of suffering born of oppression, mirroring the crucifixion, that we must match with the determination to keep going, mirroring the res…
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This is Palm Sunday so I am going to take my speaking time this week to demythologize the gospel narrative a bit. Judas was not a historical character. Mark created a literary fiction and named him Judas, which is spelled "Judah" in Greek, and means "Jew." Judas represented the faith community, nation, and family of Jesus. Mark set's the execution …
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Not many of us got to enjoy the luxury of growing up in a "woke" environment. A great deal of growing us has involved overcoming the prejudices and too comfortable peace we had with the status quo. Being progressive often means that we are giving ourselves to give voice to our own stories, detailing how and why we felt compelled to change. We can b…
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Elsa Tamez wrote that “The situation of oppression and pain tends to make people feel depressed, to dehumanize them, to destroy not only their bodies but also their spirit, to make them see their oppression as normal and natural.” These words will be recognizable to anyone who belongs to a marginalized community. Unmasking the lie that change is no…
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2023 has been unprecedented in the barrage of attacks on gender and sexuality minorities by both public commentators and lawmakers across the USA. From calls to “eradicate transgenderism” to the continued insistence to “Don’t Say Gay,” we are witnessing a cultural and legislative movement that specifically aims to make it more difficult for LGBTQIA…
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