• Heaven Can Be This Moment Through Our Choices
    Psychologists tell us not to dwell on the past because it prevents the life of now from being embraced and utilized for best growth into our future. This theory is reflected on a grander scale also. What is oil/petroleum\coal? These are the remnants of creatures that lived long ago. Not only did the Eternal Source Creator destroy them but also buried the majority of it very deep and away from the living world. What has become of our collective thoughts in society when we have lived myopically embracing the past? We have become a culture of worshipping the dead, preventing others from embracing life. We saw it with the Buffalo, the Passenger Pigeon, the North Carolina Parakeet countless others and now in the midst of a 6th mass extinction. Species are dying at an average of 5000 times the normal rate.* How is this happening? Through the sense of entitlement. From 1950 fishing increased from 18 to 100 million metric tons per year, ¾ of fishing grounds are depleted most large fish gone and industry would rather let their carcasses rot than offer the protein at below market rate while still edible. Furthermore industry says that the decomposing lives must go in landfills where they create the gas methane up to 71% more toxic than carbon dioxide. When the creatures of our time and space are returned to the soils of now they fertilize the ground with their knowledge and love allowing the next generation to rise from the ground with a power built upon their foundation of being. It is in the human psyche to return things to the Mother Earth. It used to be seeds and peels and shells and other biodegradable waste that nourished the soil in many ways. Now we are feeding the death industry by spreading the gift of our hands as plastic waste. Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. It only takes about 14 plastic bags for the equivalent of the gas required to drive one mile. Target gives away enough plastic bags a year to wrap around the Earth 7 times. The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. According to Waste Management, only 1 percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling. That means that the average family only recycles 15 bags a year; the rest ends up in landfills as litter. Up to 80 percent of ocean plastic pollution enters the ocean from land. At least 267 different species have been affected by plastic pollution in the ocean. 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually. One in three leatherback sea turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs. Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes. It takes 500 (or more) years for a plastic bag to degrade in a landfill. Unfortunately the bags don't break down completely but instead photo-degrade, becoming microplastics that absorb toxins and continue to pollute the environment.* How is our immersion into clouding our beings any different; the news glorifies dyfunction, most tv programming also, video games affect the entire society as people retreat into a world of make believe. Grocery stores need to be returned Our waterways are in peril: Jordan river near dried up, 1 in 10 rivers around globe stop flowing through the year, Dead Sea shrinking at a meter per year and Western India has 30% of wells dried up and the Colorado River no longer reaches the sea. By 2025 2 billion people affected by water shortage. This is nothing short of affluent greed: 800-1000 liters of water per person per day in Las Vegas,Palm Springs has lush golf courses. We have used the living waters of this planet to feed the greed of animal exploitation where creatures that have no voice to protest in governments are trans-species raped, their children forcibly removed from their wombs, mutilated and violently assaulted through their lives and then sent to a slaughterhouse were they see, hear and smell the death of their breed and their own impending demise. We know that every entity on this planet has a portion of water within its being. Water does conduct electricity and emotions are electrical conductions. When we consume their pain, suffering, bewilderment of being so savagely attacked and sorrow for the loss of life experience ingrained in their psyche how can it not alter the thoughts of our own being? Is this a reflection of the oils of the past (death) integrating into our present and creating a new life in misery? www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/biodiversity/elements_of.../extinction_crisis/ http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/population_and_sustainability/expect_more_bag_less/facts.html https://www.google.com/search?q=water+footprint+of+meat&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=XTwZKw6DMGt7_M%253A%252Cf9zUaKyv5TPjKM%252C_&usg=__q5ioZJ9LKgmfXweHH0AvVNLBC3s%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiOj_Sa_P_ZAhVS0VMKHQsdAt4Q9QEIuAEwEg&biw=1164&bih=631#imgrc=UppEVqXtLVKfcM:
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  • We Condemn The Desecration Of An Apache Nation Sacred Site
    Under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) the U.S. government is required to protect the religious freedom of “Native Americans” (indigenous people), “including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.” We write as diverse people of this nation--black, brown, white, Apache, gay, straight, transgender, poor, young, old, able bodied and non-able bodied--to demand immediate action from the U.S. Forest Service Agency and federal law enforcement officials who have jurisdiction to investigate the desecrated crosses and feathers in Oak Flat/Tonto National Forest, which falls under the jurisdiction of AIRFA and the U.S. Forest Service Agency.
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  • White Supremacists Cannot Be Nominated To The Federal Bench: Senators Must Vote Against Thomas Farr!
    Amos 5:15 says, “Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.” To place someone who shows conspicuous contempt for equal protection under the law and a racist mindset is not only the wrong use of the judiciary, it is an offense of the moral law of God. “We will have to repent in this generation,” Dr. Martin Luther King wrote from an Alabama jail, “not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people… but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Add your voice and demand the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee reject this atrocious nominee!
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  • Trump's FCC voted to end the open Internet. Congress can still save it — if they hear from us.
    President Trump's FCC just held a 3-2 vote that tries to end the Internet as we know it. But the fight isn't over. Championing the vote were telecom giants who want more control over what happens on the Internet. On the other side of the debate is everyone else  —  start-ups, businesses, educators, artists, advocates, and people of all backgrounds who are defending net neutrality, the principle that keeps the Internet free of corporate control. They argue that net neutrality is necessary for American democracy and the economy. There’s also an unexpected voice in the chorus: America’s leaders of faith and moral conscience. Free speech, including moral and religious expression, depends on the open Internet. The Internet has already become a prophetic platform for faith in the United States. Faith groups are using the Internet as a medium for spiritual life, service, prophetic leadership, innovation, and social justice. This would not be possible without meaningful net neutrality protections. Losing these protections could be the end of the Internet as we know it. Net neutrality rules codify principles that have governed the Internet in the U.S. for decades. They ban carriers like Comcast and AT&T from blocking or slowing down websites at will — or charging websites money for access or a faster connection to their users. It keeps the Internet an open space for free speech and dissent, vital now more than ever. In this critical window, faith voices could help persuade Congress to protect net neutrality — not just as sound policy but as a moral imperative, but only if they hear from enough of us. We will press to use the Congressional Review Act to reverse this hasty and misguided FCC action. We have 60 legislative days (i.e. days when Congress is in session) to pressure Congress to act. Sign and share this to tell Congress that you oppose the FCC’s rollback and support full net neutrality protections for everyone.
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  • Carmela Libre: Stop the Deportation of Carmela and her 4 Children now!
    SANCTUARY/SANTUARIO On December 13th, 2017, Carmela, Fidel, Keyri, Yoselin and Edwin took the prophetic and bold step to enter into Sanctuary at Church of the Advocate, a member congregation of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia. “I am taking Sanctuary to fight for my family, to protest our deportation orders and the injustices of the immigration systems. Everybody deserves to live with dignity and safety,” said Carmela. El 13 de Diciembre del 2017, Carmela, Fidel, Keyri, Yoselin y Edwin tomaron el paso audaz y profético de tomar Santuario en la iglesia Church of the Advocate, miembro del Nuevo Movimiento Santuario. “Estoy tomando Santuario para luchar por mi familia, para protestar nuestras ordenes de deportacion y las injusticias de los sistemas de inmigracion. Todos merecemos vivir con dignidad y seguridad,” dijo Carmela. CHURCH OF THE ADVOCATE/IGLESIA CHURCH OF THE ADVOCATE Drawing on its long legacy of organizing for social justice, the Church of the Advocate is responding to the mounting attacks on immigrants and other communities of color by joining the movement to build Sanctuary for all. The Church is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a National Historic Landmark, and is well known for providing spiritual enrichment, social services, and community programming in Philadelphia. It is also the site of the ordination of the first female priests in the Episcopal Church in 1974. Basada en su largo legario de organizar por la justicia social, la iglesia Church of the Advocate está respondiendo a los ataques contra los inmigrantes y otras comunidades de color uniéndose al movimiento para construir Santuario para todxs. La Iglesia esta el en Registro Nacional de Lugares Históricos, es un Sitio Nacional Histórico, y es muy bien conocida por proveer enriquecimiento espiritual, servicios sociales, y programación comunitaria en Filadelfia. También es el sitio de ordenación de las primeras sacerdotisas en la Iglesia Episcopaliana en 1974. CONTEXT/CONTEXTO Deportations continue to wreak havoc in immigrant communities as the Trump Administration has increased immigration arrests by 45%. The federal administration explicitly targets “Sanctuary” cities such as Philadelphia, and it has stripped young people, refugees, asylees, and other populations from conditional relief programs like Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and DACA. Asylum law, even when applied to its full extent, does not protect the lives of people who have been displaced from their countries of origin by violence and poverty exacerbated by U.S. foreign policy. Las deportaciones continúan causando estragos en las comunidad inmigrantes mientras la Administración de Trump ha incrementado los arrestos de inmigrantes por el 45%. La administracion federal explicitamente ataca a las ciudades “Santuario” como Filadelfia, y ha robado a lxs jóvenes, refugiadxs, recipientes de asilo, y otras poblaciones de programas de relieve condicional como el TPS y DACA. Las leyes de asilo, aun cuando son bien aplicadas, no protegen las vidas de las personas que han sido desplazadas de sus países de origen por la violencia y la pobreza exacerbada por la política exterior de los Estados Unidos.
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  • Boston Declaration
    Choose Life: This is a time of heightened racist and patriarchal empire where wealth is concentrated at the top. The Living God asks us to make a decision: "Today I offer you the choice of life and good, or death and evil. ... Choose life." (Deuteronomy 31). Following Jesus today means choosing life, joining the Spirit-led struggle to fight the death-dealing powers of sin wherever they erupt. Whenever one of God’s children is being oppressed, we will fight with them for liberation with the power of the Holy and Life-Giving Spirit. And yet, we live in a moment when death and evil seem to reign supreme in the United States, when those with the power of a uniform or the president’s pen or a position of authority or fame or economic tricks of capitalization and interest or sheer brute force… again and again choose death rather than life. In a moment when too many who confess Christ advocate evil, we believe followers of the Jesus Way are called to renounce, denounce, and resist these death-dealing powers which organize and oppress our world, not to embrace or promulgate them. We acknowledge the manifold and complicated ways we participate in these systems, even as we are often complicit in them. We confess that the Church, in a variety of forms, has too often failed to follow the way of Jesus and perform the good news. We are people who are still discovering the ways we participate with death and evil, even while continue seek the good, to choose life again and again. This declaration is such a choice, hoping and clinging to the God of life and seeking to bear witness to that life in our present moment. Acknowledging our own failures and embracing an appropriate sense of humility should not, however, silence us. While we do not have ready-made answers for all the problems we face, we know something about the pathway we must follow if we are to find those answers, and this is the pathway of Jesus. Who is our God and What is the Jesus Way? We believe in a God who holds all difference within God’s own life and in whom there is no one or no people who are distant from God’s justice, merciful love, and presence (Micah 6:8; Acts 10:34-35). We affirm the beauty and humanity of all people in their manifold difference--race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion--as reflecting God’s image through lives of love and hope. We believe the Jesus Way calls us to the possibility of living in a world where all can love and be loved, and live into joy. The Jesus Way continues through our best prayerful, honest, and empirical attempts to understand why and how the world has come to be in the shape it is today. This pathway calls us to act in ways that are Spirit-led and strategic in confronting evil wherever evil exists, to combat ignorance wherever ignorance has led people astray and to place our lives and our bodies on the line with whoever is being threatened, beat down, or oppressed in any way, anywhere. Read the full Boston Declaration Here: https://thebostondeclaration.com/blog/2017/11/18/the-boston-declaration
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  • Theological Declaration on Christian Faith and White Supremacy
    When the city council of Charlottesville, Virginia, decided to remove the Robert E. Lee memorial, a scourge of white supremacy, terrorism, and nationalism ignited that resulted in the violent death of Heather Heyer. 33 other people were beaten and injured. White nationalism and white supremacy are neither new nor rare in our time. Violent attempts to declare white male supremacy on U.S. soil date to before African captivity and the Pequot Massacre. While the abolitionist movement declared the right of all humanity to be free, since The Civil War there have been few occasions more significant to counter the religious and social mindsets that laid the foundations of white supremacy and to proclaim the right of all humanity to receive equal protection and provision of the law. Thus, this declaration was inspired by the events in Charlottesville, but it was equally inspired by the events of Tulsa, OK — and Wounded Knee, and Manzanar, and Birmingham, and Delano, and Laramie, and Ferguson, and Oak Creek, and Standing Rock. Our task here is twofold–to acknowledge and repent of the Church’s complicity in perpetuating white male supremacy in all of its forms and to hear and to heed the call to return to the truth of Scripture, fully revealed in the person of Jesus. In the Spirit of the Declaration of Barmen, as people of Christian faith today, please “Test the spirits to see if they are of God” and “If you find that we are speaking contrary to Scripture, then do not listen to us! But if you find that we are taking our stand upon Scripture, then let no fear or temptation keep you from treading with us the path of faith and obedience.” Since ancient times, Christianity has lived in the intersection of conquest and religion. It was counterculture religion that set them on the right path. The church has always stumbled toward the promise of scripture. At times it has done well. Other times it has suffered under the weight of white nationalism. Our greatest hope is that as we aspire to grow into these Scriptures, we will reject the hatred and violence prevalent in this hour and work toward the renewal of the Church and society. Read the Full Declaration Here: https://www.thedeclaration.net/read/
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  • National Call to Conscience
    The nation’s response to events here in Charlottesville makes clear that we need moral leadership in every community. As followers of God we call all people to admit that white supremacy is a structure of evil, injustice, and oppression. We as people of faith must engage in the long, deep work of dismantling white supremacy in all of its forms. We must confront and counteract white supremacy within ourselves, within our communities, and within legal, political and religious systems. White supremacy is a systemic sin that is not unique to Charlottesville or to the South. It is woven into the DNA of the United States. We call upon you to partner with us in the holy task of renouncing and confronting white supremacy and dismantling the white nationalist agenda in your own community. Together, with God, we can restore God’s vision of a world where all are welcomed and affirmed in their full humanity. Let us be clear that we will not allow our leaders to condemn hate while they continue to condone the policies and practices of white nationalism. Opposing white supremacy is not a partisan issue. All people of faith and conscience must commit to the deep work of justice. All elected leaders at local, state, and national levels have the power and moral obligation to enact policies which uplift, protect, and provide for the most marginalized in our society. As an act of choosing love over fear we call upon all people, especially our faith and public leaders to: Choose to stop racist voter suppression and gerrymandering by fully reinstating the Voting Rights Act. Choose to oppose the RAISE Act, defend DACA, and refuse funding for a border wall. Choose to work for comprehensive criminal justice reform and reject the “law and order” culture which has cast black and brown people as the enemy of America. Choose to condemn political rhetoric and policies that target the LGBTQ, Jewish, Immigrant, and Islamic communities. Choose to support access to health care, affordable housing, jobs, and equal access to goods and services for all people. Signed in solidarity, Brittany Caine-Conley, Congregate C’Ville Lead Organizer, Charlottesville Rev. Seth Wispelwey, Directing Minister, Restoration Village Arts, Charlottesville Rabbi Rachel Schmelkin, Congregation Beth Israel, Charlottesville Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas, St. Paul’s Memorial Church, Charlottesville Rev. Dr. Brenda Brown-Grooms, New Beginnings Christian Community, Charlottesville Rev. Liz Forney, First Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville Deacon Don Gathers, First Baptist Church, Charlottesville Rev. Phil Woodson, First United Methodist Church, Charlottesville Rev. Robert Lewis, Hinton Avenue United Methodist Church, Charlottesville Rev. Dr. Jeanita Richardson, Charlottesville Rev. Tracy Howe Wispelwey, Justice and Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ, Charlottesville Ann Marie Smith, Grace Church Red Hill and New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care-Charlottesville Rev. Diana Brawley, Counseling Ministry of Charlottesville Rev. Dr. Jan Rivero, Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, Charlottesville Sharon Beckman-Brindley, Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville Adam Slate, President, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church-Unitarian Universalist, Charlottesville Rev. Dr. Harry Kennon, First United Methodist Church, Charlottesville Sheikha Latifa Till, Sufi Ruhaniat International, Charlottesville Rev. Dr. Michael Cheuk, Charlottesville Elizabeth Shillue, Charlottesville Friends Meeting Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, President & Sr. Lecturer, Repairers of the Breach Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, School for Conversion
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  • Faith Leaders Remain Vigilant After Cancellation of Anti-Muslim Rallies
    WE STAND TOGETHER AGAINST HATE While some right-wing extremists seek to take the kind of hate we saw in Charlottesville and target Americans who are Muslim, people of faith and good conscience must consistently and forcefully reject bigotry and defend our values. We, the undersigned clergy and faith leaders from diverse communities and traditions, reject the white supremacist and nationalist ideology driving far-right extremists. We applaud the fact that ACT for America's rallies that were scheduled to take place on September 9 have been cancelled. While the rallies have been cancelled, ACT for America is still planning a day of online action. Hateful rhetoric has dire consequences, and we will continue to speak out against hatred and bigotry, whether it is enacted in public or online. These events make a mockery of our Constitution’s religious freedom protections. We are stronger when we come together as Americans of diverse faith backgrounds, and weaker when we let politicians and hate groups divide us. Americans who are Muslim deserve the same dignity, fairness and respect as all Americans. We continue to stand together, shoulder to shoulder, to uphold and further our nation's highest ideals. Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director, National Religious Campaign Against Torture; Chair, Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign Kathryn Lohre, Assistant to the Presiding Bishop; Executive, Ecumenical & Inter-Religious Relations, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Dr. Tony Kireopoulos, Associate General Secretary, National Council of Churches Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer, PhD, Director, Department of Multifaith Studies and Initiatives; Associate Professor of Religious Studies Reconstructionist Rabbinical College Rev. Shannon Jammal-Hollemans, Racial Justice Team Leader, Christian Reformed Church in North America Rev. Dr. Reginald Smith, Director, Offices of Race Relations and Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America Rev. Dr. Steven Timmermans, Director, Christian Reformed Church in North America Rev. Richard Killmer, Special Representative, Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America; Co-Founder, Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign
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  • VP Pence: Publicly Declare That White Supremacy Has No Place in the White House
    I write to you as a person of faith who has given my life to serve my Lord Jesus Christ. I know you also proclaim a deep Christian faith and it is in the spirit of our shared faith that I call upon you to act with the courage of your convictions in this moment. You are well aware of the horrific events in Charlottesville that injured dozens and killed one young woman, Heather Heyer. Her death is the direct result of the rallying of people who call themselves the Alt Right but who are in fact the modern day manifestations of the Ku Klux Klan, Nazis and white supremacists. As you are also aware, President Trump has equivocated in his condemnation of the events of Charlottesville, saying that there are 'good people on both sides'. These organized groups of men bearing torches chanted Nazi slogans from World War II. These are not good people who share American values, and this false moral equivalency has emboldened and encouraged the leaders of the Alt Right who are planning more rallies and threatening more communities in the coming days. While you have condemned the violence you have refused to specifically denounce President Trump and even recently confirmed that you "Stand with the President" and his "both sides" argument. Your position is extremely hurtful to all those who have felt the brutal effects of Nazis, the Klan and white supremacy and betrays the American values and Christian values of dignity, justice and equality that I believe you hold dear. There can be only one moral position when it comes to condemning racism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy. Take the moral convictions of your Christian faith and publicly declare that white supremacy is repulsive, counter to all this country stands for, and has no place in the White House; condemn and affix blame solely on the shoulders of these white supremacy ideologues for inciting hate. You must be clear that there can be no moral ambiguity when it comes to these groups and their fixation on white Christian supremacy in America. We stand by to make faith leaders available to you from around the country to provide counsel. Rev. Dr. Noel Castellanos President, Christian Community Development Association Board Member: National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) and World Vision Auburn Senior Fellow
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  • An open letter to clergy who prayed with Donald Trump
    I asked your Lord and mine this question as I was jailed last week for preaching the gospel that every life is precious to God. I had to ask: where are my fellow evangelicals now? And I heard the prophet Amos, echoing through the valley of history: For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. (Amos 5:12) The pay that you withheld from the workers who reaped your fields cries out, and the outcry of the harvesters has reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. (James 5:4) I remembered what Frederick Douglass said about our faith after our denominations splintered over the moral question of slavery and the nation stood on the brink of Civil War: Between the Christianity of this land and the Christianity of Christ, I recognize the widest possible difference. My brothers and sister, I do not single you out because your position is unique. You inherited a heresy, and you are not alone in perpetuating its cruel errors. But in our present crisis, you have publicly embraced a president and a party that embody the abuses of power that the Biblical prophets decried. Millions of people have been led astray by your error, and the whole world is now reaping the consequences. I single you out because the people I know and serve literally cannot afford the cost of your willful blindness. I pen this letter as I stand in support of another group of clergy called to nonviolent direct action against the cruel attempt to withdraw healthcare from the poor and others. I also write to you in faith and in love because I know that redemption is possible — we all raise our voices and sing the words penned by a reformed slave trader, “I once was lost but now am found / Was blind but now I see.” I have watched the sons and daughters of slaveholders work alongside the daughters and sons of enslaved people to build a new and vibrant moral movement. I have prayed with people who decided to follow Jesus when they heard you preach years ago but are now following Jesus to jail because they know this is what faithfulness requires. I write because you have celebrated your unprecedented influence in this administration and the time has come to use it. In prayer and hope, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II Senior Pastor, Greeleaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) President, Repairers of the Breach
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  • #StandWithBearsEars: Stand with Tribes.
    Our national monuments, parks, and other public lands serve as the storytellers of our country. Yet, only in recent decades have they include the stories of communities of color. Bears Ears National Monument is the first and only National Monument primarily devoted to highlighting the spiritual, cultural, and natural heritage of tribes. Yet, it is the first national monument being threatened by the Trump Administration, followed by threats to dozens of others designated after 1996.
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