Energy-fire experiences take us into ourselves only that we might reach outside of ourselves. Metanoia is a de-centering experience of connected-ness and community. It is not an exercise in reciting what Jesus has done for me lately. Energy-fire ecstasy, more a buzz than a binge, takes us out of ourselves, literally. That is the meaning of the word 'ecstatic.'
A billion homo sapiens are added every 11 years to the planet. The hypertrophy of a single species pushes other life-forms out of bed and into extinction. The decline of biological diversity is real and severe. The alarming loss of soil fertility, forest cover, and coral reef viability and the release of fossilized CO2 that nature put away 300 million years ago in its march toward greater diversity - all these "losses" and many others are the result of one life-form annihilating other life-forms in its immoral confusion of "dominion" with "domination."
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It would not do for the consumer to know that the hamburger she is eating came from a steer who spent much of his life standing deep in his own excrement in a feedlot, helping to pollute the local streams. Or that the calf that yielded the veal cutlet on her plate spent its life in a box in which it did not have room to turn around. Wendell Berry, "The Pleasures of Eating," What Are People For?, 1989 Jesus pioneered a relationship ethic based on compassion. Being a disciple means building relationships - with the Creator and with all creation and creatures.
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When I am engaging with people of other religious faiths, I find myself unable to commit to their conclusions or agree with their assessments. Yet at the same time I come away encouraged by spiritual truths found in their traditions, thrilled by new insights into my own faith, and more passionate than ever about being a disciple of Christ.
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One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna. A globalization of evangelism 'in connection' with others, and a globally 'in-formed' gospel, is capable of talking across the fence with Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Muslim - people from other so called 'new' religious traditions ('new' only to us) - without assumption of superiority and power
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No one "discovers" the future. The future is not a discovery. The future is not a destiny. The future is a decision, an intervention. Do nothing and we drift fatalistically into a future not driven by technology alone, but by other people's need, greed, and creed. The future is not some dim and distant region out there in time. The future is a reality that is coming to pass with each passing day, with each passing decision.
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Old Lights include the resurgent fundamentalists in every religion who put a freeze on history and fortify their adherents against the "new dark age" in which they are forced to live. "Back to the Bible," Old Lights shout; "back to the Koran," Old Lights thunder. But not everything Old Lights say is wrong. Much is right. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, the old adage reminds us.
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