Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking Forward to the New Year

Spirit & Truth
Today is Thursday, December 31, 2009.

Looking Forward to the New Year

The seed of God is in us. Now the seed of a pear tree grows into a pear tree; and a hazel seed grows into a hazel tree. A seed of God grows into God.” - Meister Eckhart

The years, the months, the weeks, the days, the hours that have led up to this moment have served their purpose. I have been growing, moving forward, learning, and becoming more and more of what I am truly meant to be. I give thanks for the year now past and for all years that gave way to this one. And I look forward with joyful expectation to the blessings the New Year has in store.
I allow the presence of God in me to be more fully recognized, more completely trusted, more joyously expressed, and more powerfully demonstrated. God in me, as me is whole, perfect and full of joy and I expect health, hope, happiness, harmony, wisdom, success, and abundance to be made perfectly manifest in my daily experience throughout 2010. This is a moment of decision! I have decided that I am a person of sacred value and I am choosing to experience the best of life from this moment on. I now embrace a truly happy New Year. And so it is!



Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral, Ft. Lauderdale

"Spirit & Truth" is a daily devotional magazine published by Sunshine Cathedral

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Taking Christmas with Us

Spirit & Truth
On this day in 1984 India’s Indira Gandhi’s son, Rajiv Gandhi wins a landslide election victory.

Taking Christmas With Us
“When the song of angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone… when the shepherds are back with their flock, the work of Christmas begins:… to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace… to make music in the heart.” [Howard Thurman]

Zoroastrian priests from Persia (Magi) arrive bearing gifts for a child. Practicing their astrological arts, they discern this is a special child worthy of veneration. Practicing their own traditions, they find the child, bless him with gifts, and return to their home. In another story, shepherds come from their fields to find the newborn baby lying in a feeding trough in a barn. They see his sacred value and hear angel choirs rejoicing that the divine is so evident in the innocence of a beautiful baby. And then they return to their fields. Renewed by the holiday, we now return to our daily routines where we can make a difference, person by person, action by action, word by word, day by day.

I’m taking the magic of Christmas with me into the New Year!

Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral, Ft. Lauderdale

Spirit & Truth is a daily devotional magazine published by the Sunshine Cathedral

Monday, December 28, 2009

Why Affirmations?

Affirmations, positive statements, declarations that things are or are becoming a certain way, are a powerful way to pray. If we can say something positive often enough, we start to believe that it is true, or at least that it could be true. Believing that something positive is likely makes us feel good. When we feel good, we are more likely to notice opportunities and to make the most of them, and as we see and seize opportunities, things in life obviously will improve.

Affirmations are not by themselves magical. Using them is part of a process that helps us feel better, and when we FEEL better things start to get better. Affirmative self-talk is part of the process of feeling better. Once we feel better, our vibrations are higher and the blessings that are a vibrational match for our energy start to show up. Affirmations are a way of raising and focusing our energy, and what we consistently focus on we will create, attract, or move toward.

Rather than begging a remote deity for favors which we actually fear will not be granted, let's acknowledge the divine presence of Life within us and use the power of our own word to direct our thoughts and feelings in positive directions. Affirmative prayer is powerful prayer because it lets us take responsibility for our own lives.

Let's affirm: I am a wonderful expression of divine Life. I am filled with peace and power, hope and happiness. I am loving and wise. My life is richly blessed. And so it is!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Xmas Eve Reflection

Spirit & Truth
Today is Thursday, December 24, 2009.

On this day 2004 a huge snowstorm hits Texas. It was the most snow Texas had seen in over 100 years.

Christmas Eve
A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; it makes no noise at all, but softly gives itself away.” [Eva Logue]

Last-minute shopping. One more party. Travel. Church. The late cards that won’t arrive until New Year’s! Cooking for tomorrow’s dinner. And the traffic! For all the talk of “peace on earth, goodwill toward all” this sure can be a hectic season. And let’s not forget those who miss the merriment as they work, or sit in a hospital or lonely room. For them, the season may not be hectic, but it might not exactly be joyful either. Whatever our circumstances, let’s pause to be thankful for our turkey dinner or our simple sandwich. Let’s smile at a friend, relative, or even a stranger. A moment of holy kindness or simple gratitude will suddenly make the magic of Christmas real again.

May divine Light shine through me and upon me. However simply or extravagantly I celebrate this holiday, I allow it to be a peaceful, loving, holy experience. Amen.

Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral, Ft. Lauderdale

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Bible is NOT the Sole Basis for Christian Faith

Ridiculous Comment:
"...the Bible is a Christian's sole basis for belief and if it is flawed, so is the basis for your faith."

Snarky Response:
I would disagree that the bible is the Christian's sole basis for belief.

1. the Church is centuries older than the bible (sure most, but not all, of the texts are older than the Christian movement/s, but the collection of documents into one sacred book happened hundreds of years after Jesus).

2. anytime any single person/thing is the "sole basis" of one’s faith, isn't that person/thing an idol, and isn't idolatry frowned on in the 10 commandments?

3. Can i really not trust my thoughts and experiences until looking up a passage in an ancient book to validate them?

4. NO ONE really takes the bible in its entirety as literal, relevant truth for our lives...if we did, we'd sell our possessions and give all the money to the poor (Mark 10.21), men would not have these discussions with women (1 Timothy 2.12), we'd practice polygamy, we'd keep kosher and men would all be circumcised, we'd believe the entire world was created in a week and we'd go crazy trying to reconcile the very contradictory creation accounts of Gen 1 and 2.

Everyone knows that the bible is flawed as an accurate account of history, morals, and/or science...the difference is that some are willing to admit they know it, and others are not.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, MA, MDiv, DMin

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Truth About Santa

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/xcRxH9jA6_Y

Watch this episode of Sharing the Light.
"The Truth About Santa"

Protect the Deity!

Nothing is more precious than what one considers divine, which is why we tend to be so protective of our "gods"; but if Something were truly divine, would It need "our" protection?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What Sin?

What Sin?

I'm exhausted with the old, lame, feeble, "Hate the sin but love the sinner" malarkey! What does that even mean? Once you've judged me to be a sinner, you aren't open to getting to know me, understanding me, or allowing that my feelings may be genuine and my experiences may give me insights to my life that you could never have. You've judged and condemned me a sinner, so what part of me are you loving? What part of me are you bothering to get to know so that you can love me?

If what has boxed me into the "sinner" category is my same-gender love and attraction, then let me say clearly that I shall remain an unrepentant sinner. If my sin is the experience of human sexuality and my joyful expression of that with mutually consenting partners, then I'm not willing to be anything other than a sinner! If your religious view says that my love, attraction, and mutually beneficial relationships are wrong, then whatever might your religion call "Good"? And why would I be interested?

The divine Energy of Life couldn’t possible exclude or condemn me because the person I share my life with also has a Y chromosome!

Now, a far removed, human-looking deity who prefers one nation above all others, one religion above all others, and one gender over the other...that all too human deity (complete with human prejudices) may well also be a homophobe, but I would consider such a deity to be a false god, an idol to be tossed on the scrap heap of other deities who proved far too human and culturally limited to be of use beyond a limited amount of time.

Greed, hatred, violence, racism, misogyny, lack of concern for those who have been marginalized...these I am willing to call sins...these actions and attitudes aren't life giving, joy producing, or peace making. But covenantal fidelity, regardless of the genders involved in the relationship, could never be a sin in any spiritual system I would be wiling to emprace. Affection, attraction, relationship building, even consensual, adult love-making...any religion that sees these joyous expressions as sins rather than virtues (or at very least morally neutral activity) is heading toward its expiration date (though perhaps not fast enough).

If you want to love me, get to know me...and you can't do that by pre-judging me to be a sinner. Hey...you don't even have to love me; but please stop lying about it.


Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
Sunshine Cathedral

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

International Human Rights Day

MCC's Presiding Elder & Moderator, Rev. Nancy Wilson, has issued a call to prayer, saying, "On this day dedicated to the pursuit of universal human rights, that I ask all MCCers and people of faith around the globe to join me in praying for:
An end to the wars in Iraq, Afhanistan and Pakistan, and for the safety of all in harm's way.
An increase in justice and the extension of human rights for all people,
especially LGBT people, those living with HIV/AIDS, those living in poverty, refugees, and all whose lives have been torn apart by wars. May just and right relationships bring the world to peace.
...[pray] today that:
Every leader around the globe who is charged with making decisions that promise to impact all of us, will do so with the pursuit of peace as their ultimate goal.
Every person and nation trapped in the cycles of violence and counter- violence, from Israel to Palestine to the Congo and Uganda, will find a new way, a more promising path for sharing life together.
Every human being will use each moment as the moment to speak up for and take risks for, and live and act for peace."

In answer to our Moderator's call to prayer, I offer the following prayer:
Abiding Peace,
You long to be expressed in every human heart, in every relationship, and in all the world. We call upon you today to be known and to be experienced and to be shared. May conflicts be peacefully resolved. May leaders value justice and equal opportunity for all people. May human dignity be affirmed in every nation for every person. May the human family finally live together in peace, health, happiness, compassion, and goodwill. This prayer is offered for the sake of peace, for the benefit of all people, and in your many Names. Amen
.

Conscious Creation

Conscious Creation: Directing Energy to Get the Life you Want (iUniverse, 2008) is a very good book by actor Dee Wallace (Kujo, E.T.). Wallace understands there is One Power and we can consciously choose to cooperate with It to achieve our goals.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Let's Move Beyond the Worship of Violence

When the original followers of Jesus responded to the violent execution of Jesus by insisting that somehow he didn't stay dead, that was brilliant! It filled people with hope, with courage, and with a sense that even the most horrible injustices can't have the last word. What a powerful movement the Jesus Movement started out to be!

Within a couple of centuries of Jesus' execution, the movement was becoming an institution, and by the 4th century CE, it was blended completely with the very state that had executed the Wayshower. Rather than using faith, imagination, ritual and story-telling to overcome violence, the institutional church had started to worship the very violence done to Jesus.

As Emerson said, what we are worshiping, we are becoming. As Christians have worshiped the violence of the cross rather than celebrating victory over the violence of the cross (symbolized by the resurrection narratives), racism, sexism, war, capitol punishment, homophobia, conquest, environmental destruction, and all manner of intolerance have been fueled in the name of the Prince of Peace.

Today, same-gender loving people are killed in Jamaica while churches and politicans refuse to speak out against the violence...as they venerate the violence done to Jesus as being somehow salvific. Today, same-gender loving people are dehumanized and threatened in Nigeria while much of the Church remains silent. Today, same-gender loving people in Uganda face possible legislation that will cost them life and liberty and will also hurt people who make any attempt to defend them. And again, Christians, violent followers of the killing cross, remain silent.

When we worship killing, its no surprise that we become killers and those who remain silent as killing happens. When the most horrific act of violence is our most celebrated act of "grace"...of course wars, torture, state executions, child abuse, and violent language against the "Other" fail to move us.

One day, I hope and pray, Christianity will be defined not by who we hate, who we deny rights and liberty, and how intolerant we are of difference, but rather by Jesus' Golden Rule...to treat others as we would wish to be treated.

Jesus spoke truth to power, and when abusive power killed him, he continued to live in the hearts of the people he had touched with his message of hope and love. They triumphed over violence by insisting that Life had and would always win out over violence. May those who still claim to follow Jesus return to that early message of Life and Hope and Compassion and Justice...a message so unlike what is so often now called "Christianity." May Christianity become (once again) the way beyond, not of, the cross.

- Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
Sunshine Cathedral

View These Discussions on You Tube

Gay & Christian
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/jOesUDnJp7o

Affirmative Prayer
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/1/q9SvRqRX-1U

What Does Atonement Mean for Us?
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/2/o1jN3GGVS3I

Why Does God Allow Evil?
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/3/74p1k5cNTB4

Does Positive Thinking Really Work?
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/4/L5DjW2NhS9U

The Authority of Scripture
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/7/mC4lsnuSfds

Where Do We Go When We Die?
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/8/3MHEolRsbWQ

How Can I Be Good Enough?
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/9/qgzWdXmk71w

Affirming Gay Outreach
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/13/QINPS3Y4Qa8

Queer Bible Study
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/16/JqzAGelxe_8

Can Gays Pray?
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/20/GPjsdnrC1NE

The Integration of Sexuality & Spirituality
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/21/KTOsRSflKO4

What is Progressive Christianity?
www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/32/Kb-ctsKbvPw

Redeeming Jesus

Redeeming Jesus: A Progressive Christianity Mini-Conference

It is a joy and a pleasure to welcome you to the Redeeming Jesus Mini-Conference to be held at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

This Progressive Mini-Conference will bring together a diverse and ecumenical group of people to discuss a variety of ways to approach, experience, consider, and follow Jesus.

This isn't a homogenous or dogmatic conference, but an open and honest sharing of a variety of Christologies to show how Christ remains a relevant figure for 21st century progressive Christians and our friends. All presentations will demonstrate faithfulness to the liberating Good News that many different kinds of people have found in the Jesus story.

The conference will include dinner on Friday evening, continental breakfast on Saturday morning, and a box lunch on Saturday. There will be break out sessions for interactive discussion. There will be dinner and lunch speakers, a Key Note Address, multiple plenary sessions, time for networking, and a devotional time during Saturday breakfast. Conference registrants are invited to worship at Sunshine Cathedral on Sunday, January 24th as well.

Please visit www.sunshinecathedral.org to learn about the workshops and presenters that will make the Redeeming Jesus: A Progressive Christianity Mini-Conference a progressive, positive, and practical experience!

Also at www.sunshinecathedral.org you can learn about nearby lodging options if you need to spend a night or two in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The Late (& GREAT) Charles Ludlam to be a Theatre Hall of Famer

Everyone who knows me knows my real religion is diva worship - Mae West, Sophie Tucker, Bea Arthur...among the living Bette Midler, Lynn Redgrave, Judi Dench, Jim Bailey, Charles Busch (gender is relative in my world) - Well, one of the chief deities in that pantheon is Charles Ludlam! And he's being inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

I remember food

Weight Watchers muffin & coffee with skim milk for breakfast...something green and leafy for lunch...another workout tonight with the 20something bundle of energy before the Healthy Choice frozen dinner to end the day...is this really my life?