Insha’Allah

This is the text of the sermon I preached on November 11th about my trip for Arbaeen. The readings are attached.

Today’s gospel reading is from the lectionary. It appears once every three years right around stewardship time. I have heard a few sermons on this passage as encouragement to give like the widow. Give all you have. You cannot look at the total amount. It is about the gift as percentage of one’s wealth. The wealthy give a large amount, but for them it is not nearly as much as the two quarters given by the widow. For them, it is surplus. The widow, on the other hand, gave all she had. She is in 100%.

Sermons on this passage in relation to stewardship invite us to be mindful of our giving, disciplined in our giving, joyful in our giving, generous in our giving, and mostly aware, that as much as we think we might give, few of us, none of us, give like the widow. As generous as we may hope we are, the widow sets the bar.

Those are good sermons. It is probably the wrong text, however.

Jesus wasn’t praising the widow for her giving as he called the disciples to witness the activities at the temple. Jesus was making a comment on temples, and scholars, and money, and poverty. Why is this widow giving money to the temple in the first place? Does the temple need her money? Who convinced her that it did? Is the temple doing the work of God?

Jesus has just finished offering a scathing critique of the scribes and their pretentions. They prey on widows and their families. A sharp critique from Jesus. The scribes and the temple go together, all part of the same matrix. At other points in Mark’s gospel, Jesus overturned tables in the temple, criticizing those who used the temple as a cover for their profit-making, a den of robbers, a pious place to hide one’s sins. When the disciples ogle the temple and are impressed with its grandeur, Jesus doesn’t seem to care. He predicts its demise. It will come tumbling down, not one stone upon another. We can’t quite tell whether or not Jesus will be happy with that or not.

Jesus, at best, has an ambiguous relationship with the temple, on one hand a holy place to connect oneself with God, on the other hand, a building, a structure, a system, that has forgotten its purpose, that has become self-serving rather than people-serving, or God-serving.

In this reading of the text, Jesus is not praising the giving of the widow to the temple, he is criticizing the temple itself that would take the last widow’s quarters and leave her completely impoverished. There were other uses for those quarters one might think than keeping scholars in fancy robes.

The questions that Jesus raised among his disciples were those that would get them to think about systems such as temple systems and their function. Who is served by them? Who gets richer? Who gets poorer? Jesus is raising questions for us as well. What are the temples in our time? Who are they serving? Who is getting wealthy and at whose expense?

How can our temples, our holy places, our sacred sanctuaries, be places of justice? That question should always be in the forefront, because every institution needs to examine itself as to its message and function. That to me is the stewardship message of this text. Sure, a text about giving, but ultimately, about to what are we giving? We who are stewards of the sacred space, perhaps in our case, we might think about this church as that. How is our church a place of empowerment for the disempowered, a place of hope for hopeless, and a place of truth-telling in a time of false witness?

As we give to the work of our various temples, including Southminster, it is also our stewardship responsibility to reflect and engage in conversation with one another about our commitments as keepers of a temple, and what our temple is to be and do in the world.

I want to take a turn now and talk about the giving that I witnessed in Iraq. Talk about poor widows giving all they had. Karbala is a city of about a million residents. During the holy period of the 9th of Safar to the 20th of Safar, Arbaeen, the fortieth day of mourning for Imam Husayn, over 15 million people entered the holy city. They say the city itself expands.

This happens without any centralized organization. There is no concern about what the people will eat or where they will sleep. It just happens. It happens because the people of Iraq give of what they have, preparing all year to serve those who visit their imam. They do it for the love of Husayn. They are hosts to the Holy. Let me say that again: The people of Iraq are hosts to the Holy.

I have been changed by this experience. Exactly how or what that will mean, I don’t know, but I do know that something is working within me. I have been asked why I went on this trip. It wasn’t a planned thing. It fell into place. I don’t know how these things happen, how it is you meet people who end up pointing you to something else that makes you see something you hadn’t seen or feel something you hadn’t felt. And then you say, “OK, I will do that.” And then, you realize, you might not do that, because in the end, Insha-Allah.

How do you live by Insha-Allah? Insha-Allah is a word that means if Allah wills it. If God wills it. It is in the words of the poem by Danusha Lameris, about holding hope lightly, it is knowing that our plans may not be what happens, it is trusting (and oh is that hard) that Allah is the sea upon which we float.

A few protesters gathered a few years ago when I first arrived at Southminster. They were yelling about a number of things. One of those was the minister who didn’t believe in God. I wonder what would be worse for them, a minister who doesn’t believe in God, or that the god the minister now discovered is called Allah?

No, I am not going to become a Muslim. Insha-Allah. Switching religions, trading one set of rituals for another set of rituals, exchanging one creed for another, is not of interest to me. But sometimes it takes another to find the depth of one’s own. To find, in another’s tongue, divine words.

You don’t make the ziyarat without an invitation. It is important that the Imam invites you and the Imam grants permission. So all of the visitors, all 15 million plus, are believed to have been invited. No visitor is unwelcome. No visitor is anything less than a blessed beloved of Allah. Of course, you feed them. Of course, you shelter them. Of course, you care for their needs. You love them, because they are on a divine mission, a sacred journey, in which they will be blessed, be a blessing to the world, and you will have a part in that, not because there is anything extra special about you, but because, Insha-Allah. You do it for the love of Husayn (alayhi s-salaam). The people of Iraq know this.

Whether you are making the ziyarat or serving those who do, it is a divine interplay, a unchoreographed dance of love.

But lest we get caught up in the romance of it, let us remember who is this Imam who invites visitors from all over the entire world. Imam Husayn (alayhi s-salaam) refused to submit to the authority of Yazid, who he believed to be unjust. Husayn refused to allow Islam to be directed by tyrants with small minds and large greed.

His brutal slaughter and the slaughter of his 72 companions on the plains of Karbala 1400 years ago was a tragedy—a tragedy of cosmic significance. But it was something else. It is a victory. It is a tragedy that repeats itself all over the world and it is a victory in the hearts of those who will not allow that tragedy to be the final word on the matter.

The invitation to visit Husayn (alayhi s-salaam), is the invitation from his own lips. As the battle ended, and Husayn faced his own end, he called out to the world, to future generations, “Is there anyone who will help me?” The response is from any in the world, regardless of religion, or culture or language, “Labbayk ya Husayn.” “Here I am, Husayn.”

And what is that response?

Well, that is your journey and mine.

“Here I am, Husayn,” can mean so many things in a world that is soaked in the blood of injustice. It can mean that I will bear witness to what I think is true, what I think is just, what I think is good, even if it means I will have to give up my own life. I will fight the Yazids of the world on behalf of the poor even if the odds are 30,000 to 72. Insha-Allah.

The victory is that the response to the call will not end. Arbaeen is the symbol of the path toward redemption for our world. What I learned is that I don’t lead it. The West will not lead this. The rich will not lead this. Empires will not lead this. It will be led by those who the so-called powers of this world ignore, suppress and distort.

A popular phrase is “Every day is Ashura and every place is Karbala.” Ashura is the day Imam Husayn (alahi s-salaam) and his companions were brutally murdered. Karbala is the place. Every day is Ashura and every place is Karbala means that every day we are called to take notice of our moral compass. To reset it. To recommit to it.

I discovered that my understanding of Jesus is not unlike that of Husayn. They are brothers. In fact, Shias believe that on the last day, the Imam Mahdi will return with Jesus. They are on the same team. They have the same goals. They live in the same love.

Finally, this experience was joy. The story of Karbala is a tragedy, but it is a story of joy. It is as our guide, Maulana Baig, said, a gift wrapped in grief. Mourning leads as it always must, to joy. The ultimate victor is not Yazid and his minions who make the world suffer. The ultimate victor is Husayn who lives in each of us, and who summons the world to love.

For that I am eternally grateful.

The people of Iraq have given me a glimpse of what that love looks like.

Amen.

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New York Grand Jury to Hear 9/11 Evidence

David Meiswinkle and Barbara Honegger of The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, and Richard Gage AIA, of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth speak with John Shuck about this development.

This is from a press release dated November 26th, 2018 from The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry:
 

The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, a nonprofit public interest organization, announces its receipt of a letter from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in response to the Lawyers’ Committee’s April 10, 2018 Petition and July 30, 2018 Amended Petition demanding that the U.S. Attorney present to a Special Grand Jury extensive evidence of yet-to-be-prosecuted federal crimes relating to the destruction of three World Trade Center Towers on 9/11 (WTC1, WTC2 and WTC7).  The U.S. Attorney, in his November 7, 2018 letter to the Lawyers’ Committee, stated: “We have received and reviewed The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry, Inc.’s submissions of April 10 and July 30, 2018. We will comply with the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3332 as they relate to your submissions.”

What does this mean? Will the crimes of 9/11 finally be prosecuted? 

David Meiswinkle, Barbara Honegger, and Richard Gage join John Shuck live to discuss the latest developments.

Bios:

David R. Meiswinkle, Esq. is a criminal defense attorney, retired police officer of 23 years, and former U.S. Army veteran. David founded the New Brunswick Taxpayers and Tenants Association and the New Brunswick Reporter, a community newspaper. His activism and articles outlining municipal corruption brought federal authorities into New Brunswick New Jersey which led to major criminal investigations,and arrests, indictments and convictions of prominent local politicians. He is the president of The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry.

Barbara Honegger, M.S. has served as White House Policy Analyst and Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, Director of the Attorney General’s Law Review at the Dept. of Justice, and for more than a decade was the Senior Military Affairs Journalist at the Naval Postgraduate School, the premiere science, technology and national security affairs graduate research university of the Department of Defense. Barbara is an officer and board member of The Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry.

Richard Gage, AIA became interested in researching the destruction of the WTC high-rises after hearing the startling conclusions of a reluctant 9/11 researcher, David Ray Griffin, on the radio in 2006, which launched his own unyielding quest for the truth about 9/11. AE911Truth now numbers more than 3,000 architects and engineers demanding a new investigation into the destruction of all three World Trade Center high-rise buildings on 9/11.

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A Free Mind, Love, and Good Tunes


I thought I would post a sermon. Here is the audio. Sermon starts at 9:12.

I think our descendants will regard David Ray Griffin as the most important theologian of the early 21st century. Any theologian who tells the truth about the stuff that really matters gets my ear regarding religion. Damn if he isn’t good at that, too.

My mind is changing again.

Last week in her interview of me, Pam Gross, asked me about a number of things, and one topic we mentioned but didn’t elaborate upon was my view on God. I don’t like to talk about myself, as if I am the topic, but these questions arise about what the minister believes. I always try to deflect these questions. Who cares what I believe? It is my business. The question for you is what do you believe? Churches have a tendency to make the minister the “designated believer.” If the minister has his or her beliefs right, then everything is OK. If not, then things are not OK.

So when I first came to Southminster, the Friendly Atheist blog published an essay I wrote and titled it, “I’m a Presbyterian Minister Who Doesn’t Believe in God,” many people thought, “That can’t be OK.” Those who read past the title saw within the article itself that I wrote I didn’t believe in a supernatural God. You should spell that word Gawd G-A-W-D.

G-A-W-D was coined by David Ray Griffin in his book, God Exists But Gawd Does Not: From Evil to New Atheism to Fine Tuning. (review by Kevin Barrett). GAWD is the supernatural being that is the subject of most religious creeds. GAWD created the world from nothing, intervenes in the natural order of things, rewards and punishes, and so forth. This is the GAWD that I wrote is the product of myth-making.

I don’t find the existence of GAWD to be particularly persuasive. I think the new atheists like Dan Dennett and Richard Dawkins are right to poke holes in that Gawd. But does that mean that God G-O-D doesn’t exist at all? And what is at stake here either way?

When I first went to seminary, as part of the requirements for admission, I had to write an essay about my beliefs and questions. I wrote in the essay something along the lines of, “Is the universe meaningful?” Is the universe (and are humans) the products of randomness and natural law alone? The things that humans value, love, wisdom, good tunes, are they only things we care about or does the universe itself care about those things, too?

Martin Luther King said a number of times in his sermons and speeches a phrase that is often attributed to him but goes back earlier. The phrase is, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Unitarian minister, Theodore Parker, should be credited with that thought, though. In 1853 he said this in a sermon, titled “Of Justice and The Conscience:”

Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of the right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.

This question has been with me throughout my entire ministry, and I have never let it go. Are Parker and King right? Does the arc of the moral universe bend toward justice or is that just something humans like to think?

So, in seminary, I was introduced to the post-modernists. I still don’t know what the word, post-modern, means, but for my purpose here, this is how I used it. It meant that all of these things that humans care about such as love and justice and even God, didn’t arrive until humans arrived. The universe is like a bus. It stops and starts. Picks people up. Drops people off. The bus has no intelligence, no concern for the lives of the people it carries. The love and justice that the humans on the bus exhibit is the result of human interaction. They care about love and justice. The bus doesn’t. I wrote a poem about it, “Riding the Bus with Jesus.” Jesus is the human interaction, not the bus. “Indifference is the law of the universe,” I wrote.

I would call this my post-modern phase. Language about God, about meaning, love, justice, is a human construct. It is an attempt at making meaning of an essentially meaningless universe. All the attempts to insert GAWD into this universe really have not been persuasive to me. The thing is, I talk about that. For many people, that is not OK. I on the other hand, think it is OK. Not only OK, but I think important and necessary for a free mind.

Our minds are not free if they don’t take us where our doubts take us. They are not free if we allow others to set the boundaries of what we can and cannot explore. We should search for what we think is true even if doing so challenges conventional wisdom.

I defend the way I think and the things I believe or do not believe because I come about them honestly and we all should have the freedom and encouragement to do the same. Hearing the views and the thoughts of those that are different from ours, challenging to us, can only make us wiser. That is how we learn. That is how we grow. That is what I do in my ministry. I don’t think being a minister is about rigidly sticking to a set of creedal statements about GAWD. I think being a minister is about challenging those statements and creating new statements that reflect the actual journey we are taking.

All that said, I find myself changing again. Moving not back to the GAWD of creed but answering affirmatively, even if tentatively the question, “Is there a GOD of meaning within the universe itself?” Yes. Is the love Paul writes about in I Corinthians 13 only a human expression, a human invention, or does it reflect something within the fabric of the universe itself? I am leaning toward the latter.

The only thing I really care about is the world my granddaughter, Pippa, will inherit. What are we leaving? What are we doing about it now? I personally find those questions to be very hard, discouraging, even despairing. I don’t back away from the via negativa, to use Matthew Fox’s phrase for the dark path. I don’t shy away from looking at the trajectories we are on in regards to our future. I don’t back away from the truths about ourselves and about our nation that are hard to take. I don’t think church is about hiding from that.

However, it is hard for me to muster up enough hope to be an honorable ancestor by myself. It isn’t enough, I am coming to realize, to have love and justice and God be human constructs in an otherwise meaningless, indifferent universe. I need to know that the universe in some sense cares that we do this well. The universe is somehow cheering us on. Love, morality, truth, goodness are not quirks of human evolution, but built within the fabric of the universe itself. I am starting possibly to embrace that again. I am changing. Perhaps I can embrace what Martin Luther King, Jr. and Theodore Parker said that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

These changes that I experience in my reflections on GAWD and GOD do not come from a vacuum, from me sitting on a rock thinking day and night. They come from my life experience and my interactions. They come from a delight in observing the stars to learning about evolution to witnessing disease and death, and grief, and violence, and forgiveness and none of these are abstractions; they are flesh and blood experiences of life. They come from losing my son. They come from having a granddaughter. They come from lies, war and stupidity. They come from courageous peacemakers. They come from learning about species extinction. They come from learning about the vastness and the creativity of life.

These thoughts, beliefs, hopes, dreams, ideas are ours. We all have them. We should never have to be made to feel guilty or wrong or bad for having whatever thoughts we have about life and about God. We have earned them. We need to be able to go to whatever place we need to go even if it is a walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Even if it is a long journey of doubt. Sometimes we need to go there. Sometimes we need to go through it to glimpse a light on the other end.

What I am trying to say this morning is don’t settle for a sound bite. Don’t settle for an evaluation of someone based on a sentence or phrase or label. We are all far more complicated than that. We don’t stay the same. It is OK to change. We don’t have to make others believe or not believe like we do. Instead, I prefer to give people space to make their own honest discoveries.

This is what I think Paul was talking about in this beautiful passage from I Corinthians about love. This translation is due in large part to Art Dewey, who has the ear of a poet.

love takes its time
makes itself good and useful
love doesn’t envy
it doesn’t boast
it doesn’t bluster

it doesn’t make a scene
it doesn’t look after its own interests
it doesn’t throw fits
it doesn’t dwell on the negative
it takes no pleasure in injustice
but is delighted by the truth

love upholds everything
trusts in everything
hopes for everything
endures everything

love never falls way

That Love, I am coming to trust now, is the very fabric of the universe. Love is pulling, enticing, encouraging all of us to become more alive than we were yesterday, and as Love upholds, trusts, and endures, Love pulls us to be even more alive tomorrow.

Amen.

Apocalypse Now

I suspect that after this post gets sent, the number of people who follow me via email (currently 2174–see sidebar) will decrease substantially. The Progressive Spirit radio show has ended and I am taking a different turn in regards to the things that I view as important and worthy of my time and hopefully yours. Yet I hope you will be curious enough to stay with me and pass this blog on to others.

We are in an apocalyptic time. Apocalypse means revelation. This is a time of revealing, of making manifest that which has been shrouded. Apocalypse in the popular sense means massive destruction. This time could be that as well especially if we decide as a human species to ignore the revelatory aspect of apocalypse.

But I am hopeful because I believe in God (not Gawd) to use David Ray Griffin’s distinction. To believe in God means to believe that morality and purpose are more than human social constructs. Morality and purpose are as real as atoms and supernovas, beetles and Bohemians. The very fabric of the universe is moral and we are a part of it, participating in it, being guided by and, to a degree participating, in its unfolding.

That belief is important, according to Griffin, because without it, without a belief and hope that the universe in some way “cares” we will not be able to face the task before us that is immense beyond measure. That task has come to us in the form of Global Warming or Climate Catastrophe. Monumental in itself, our situation is far worse than a problem to solve. Our destruction (apocalypse in the popular sense of the word) is enabled by the evil in high places that temporarily profits by our impending demise. The work of this evil is to shroud our true situation. Evil works in darkness as our wisdom traditions remind us. None of our institutions is capable of dismantling this evil or even capable of naming it. All of the institutions associated with education, religion, politics, commerce, justice, military, and media are held by the grip of this evil, unable to see in the darkness their own complicity.

The only thing that can save us is apocalypse in the precise meaning of that word, which is revelation. We need an unveiling, a de-shrouding, an unfolding, and an awakening. This is not simply an intellectual activity. It is a deeply spiritual event. I use the word ‘event’ because apocalypse is an event in which we participate. This event is happening now. This time is apocalypse now.

All around us the shroud of evil is tearing. Glimpses of light are piercing it. These glimpses are truth-revealing glimpses into the reality of our imprisonment. What exactly happened on September 11th, 2001 is a question related to this apocalypse. We know that we have been deceived but at the same time we are not allowed to know. I am not supposed to be writing about this. You are not supposed to be reading it. It is taboo. Yet here you are. You are still with me. The apocalypse event unfolds as more and more people see what they are not allowed to see, say what they are not allowed to say, and do what they are not allowed to do. Apocalypse now is rendering the taboo powerless. I need not convince you of anything. You already know it. I don’t need to show you Building 7. You know the official myth is a sham. You only need to trust what you know. Find your heart (courage) and act. When you are ready, you will.

Arbaeen is Apocalypse Now. It is not apocalypse (revelation) in the sense of a religious ritual by a sectarian group of Muslims. Arbaeen as revelation is an unfolding of truth and courage so profound that Christian bishops prostrate before it and American Christian ministers (yours truly) return home and preach sermons about its transformative effects.

At first glance, Global Warming, 9/11, and Arbaeen are not related. But of course they are intimately connected. Global Warming negatively effects the poor first. It results from unbridled fossil fuel extraction that is linked to unsustainable economic growth that results in global resource war which is justified by demonizing the “Muslim enemy” that was created by the false flag of 9/11 who resists via Arbaeen.

Evil trembles before Arbaeen. American media cannot even report on it. But 15 million bear witness. Arbaeen (Apocalypse Now) is when the oppressed of the world lead the march toward justice.

Apocalypse Now (revelation) is a divine, redemptive event that uncovers the evil that is hell-bent on the popular version of apocalypse (destruction). Apocalypse Now is our summons to participate in our collective salvation.


Nutritional Wisdom with Fred Provenza

This is the final episode of Progressive Spirit. I say my goodbyes after seven years of weekly programs that always have been available for free to the public. 

In this final episode, I speak with professor emeritus Fred Provenza of Utah State University. We talk about nutrition, our bodies, the falsness of factory farming and the nutrition industry, and the importance of love on this unique journey to Earth.

Pretty much what Progressive Spirit has always been about…

Thanks for listening!

BIO:

Fred Provenza is originally from Colorado where he worked on a ranch near Salida while earning a B.S. Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. Upon receiving a B.S. degree in 1973 he became ranch manager. In total, he and his wife Sue spent 7 years working on the ranch.He and Sue left the ranch in Colorado in 1975 so he could work as a research assistant and technician at Utah State University, where he earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Range Science. He was a faculty member in the Department of Range Science from 1982 to 2009. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University.

For the past 30 years, his group has produced ground-breaking research that laid the foundations for what is now known as behavior-based management of landscapes. That work inspired researchers in disciplines as diverse as chemical ecology, ruminant nutrition, human nutrition and biopsychology, animal welfare, landscape restoration ecology, wildlife damage management, pasture and rangeland science and management, and rural sociology and eco-development. Along with colleagues and graduate students, he has been author or co-author of 250 publications in peer-reviewed journals and books, and he has been an invited speaker at over 325 international meetings.

Their efforts led to the formation in 2001 of an international network of scientists and land managers from five continents. That consortium, known as BEHAVE (Behavioral Education for Human, Animal, Vegetation and Ecosystem Management http://www.behave.net), is committed to integrating behavioral principles and processes with local knowledge to enhance ecological, economic and social values of rural and urban communities and landscapes.They seek to inspire and enable people to understand behavior, ours and other creatures, to fashion environmentally friendly solutions that reconcile differences of opinion about how to manage landscapes. In this process, everyone involved is a student attempting to better understand behavior at all levels from genes to landscapes and to use understanding of behavior to help people learn to appreciate that our differences are our collective strength in sustaining communities and landscapes that integrate diverse ecological, economic and social values and services. 

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The End of An Era

The reason is numerical.

I realized the other day, counting on my fingers, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018…that I have completed seven years of radio shows with Progressive Spirit, formerly, Religion For Life.

Seven years. Seven complete seasons. Seven is the number of completion. Obviously, it is a wrap.

My last two interviews with Brad Gregory (Rebel in the Ranks) and Fred Provenza (Nourishment), will be my final interviews. The show is ending.

I am keeping my once per month show, The Beloved Community, on KBOO from nine to ten a.m. every second Friday. The weekly show, Progressive Spirit, however, will end after seven years.

I started the show thanks to encouragement by Teresa Keller of WEHC in Emory, Virginia. She wanted a progressive religious voice to counter the fundamentalist religious voice so prevalent on the radio in Appalachia. Emory was a bit of a drive for me and I needed a station a little closer to home. So I approached Wayne Winkler of WETS in Johnson City about the idea of an educational program about religion.

Wayne warmed up to the idea, taught me how to produce a show, and encouraged me all along. The show survived the death of my son, a move to Portland, and a format change from a half-hour to an hour-long program. In addition to WETS and WEHC, the show airs on about fifteen to twenty stations on a weekly basis and is available through the Pacifica Radio Network and Global Community Radio.

The show will remain on-line and available for anyone to access for free. The show has always been free of course with no advertising, subscriptions, or donations to keep it going. It was supported by my two congregations, First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tennessee and Southminster Presbyterian Church of Beaverton, Oregon.

The show ended up taking time. Preparation, production, and promotion, all took time. It got to the point where it was tiring. Also, my interests are changing. I am interested in issues of war and peace, truth and goodness that mainstream media, including much of the so-called alternative media, are not allowed to address. I am talking about the so-called Global War on Terror, and the false flags, lies, and Islamophobia that fuel it. Progressive Spirit isn’t big enough for that.

Ending the show is my decision. I never like to keep things beyond their expiration date. Progressive Spirit has expired. What will be next? I don’t know. Of course, I have my personal studio. I have my monthly show on KBOO. A documentary film, For Love of Husayn (as) is in the production stages now. I will now have more time to write my own ideas.

For the time being, I need to focus on my congregation and its needs. This trip to Iraq and the connections that I have made since are very exciting. This is an inter-faith and inter-cultural opportunity beyond my wildest dreams. I need to spend time with Southminster and see if this adventure is for the both us.

Whatever happens, it is all good and it has been good.

Stay with me. I will be writing and posting stuff on this space.

There is more to come.

Insha’Allah.

Rebel in the Ranks: A Conversation with Brad Gregory

Martin Luther may very well turn over in his grave if he was able to see what happened to what he started 500 years ago. The Reformation. Studying its effects is not just for religious people. According to Notre Dame Professor of European History, Brad Gregory, the very way we conceive of private and public spheres today was an ironic result of the effects of the Reformation Era and its wars.  

Professor Brad Gregory has won numerous awards for his books. He is the author of Salvation at stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europeand The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.

In 2017 for the 500thanniversary of the Reformation he published Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts that Continue to Shape Our World.

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