Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We Shouldn't Be Surprised...Progress Has Been Happening All Along

A Progressive's Reflection...
by Durrell Watkins

Yes, it's very exciting that DADT has been repealed, that there was an attempt to pass the DREAM Act, that largely because of US pressure sexual orientation is once again included in the UN Resolution against killing minorities, and an Arms Treaty has been ratified. These are significant accomplishments that have happened in a fairly brief amount of time (or so it would seem).
But it's unfair to act as if these progressive victories are rare, sudden, and only in response to the mid-term elections.

The truth is that in just two years we have seen:
- The appointment of more openly gay officials than occured in ANY previous administration in history
- Extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees
- Pell grants expanded to help low income students go to college
- Funding increased for the Violence Against Women Act
- Funding provided to improve services to US veterans
- Increased fuel economy standards
- The appointment of the first Latina (& 3rd woman ever) to the US Supreme Court
- The appointment of only the 3rd woman to the office of Secretary of State
- More private sector jobs created in 2 years than in the preceding 8 years
- An executive order to repeal the restrictions on federal funding for stem cell research
- The reduction of Rx drug costs for Medicare recipients by 50%
- The signing of the Children's Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, insuring 11 million children (4 million of which were previously uninsured)
- The signinig of Financial Reform Law
- The provision of $12.2 billion in new funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- Health Care Reform, preventing insurance companies from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions

AND there's more!!!
Visit http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com/ for a more comprehensive list.

I'm very proud of recent developments; but i'm not surprised...they are in line with what has been happening for the entire last two years.

We liberals need to acknowledge when people are trying to help us accomplish what we say we want (and our liberal leadership needs to do a MUCH better job of letting the world know what they have accomplished!!!).

I'm glad we've benefitted from two entire years of progressive legislation and executive leadership and I hope that such progress will continue even now that the Houses of Congress are no longer dominated by the same majority party.

It's been a productive couple of weeks...but in reality, it's been a productive couple of years!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy Yule

Spirit & Truth
Sunshine Cathedral's Daily Devotional Magazine
To subscribe by mail send inquiries to Durrell@Sunshinecathedral.net

December 21
On this day in 1958 Charles de Gaulle is elected president of France.

Love will not let us go
“…the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.” St. Paul, Romans 5.5
Winter begins today, and we’ll soon notice the nights getting progressively shorter on the way to Spring. This rhythm of the seasons reminds us that even when life seems cold, warmth will return; even when we seem to be stumbling around in darkness, the light will shine again. The cycle of seasons reminds us of the care, the abundant love that is the “stuff” of the universe. Divine Love is the fabric of our lives, and it is holding us in the evening and in the morning, in the Winter and in the Spring, in the times of blessing and the times of challenge. Divine Love is embracing us and now it will never let us go.

Prayer Treatment
Divine Love is the fabric of my life and so I rejoice. Amen.

--Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

Immortality

". . . the soul is immutable energy; it can never be destroyed; it can only be transformed." And through great cycles of evolution, we will inevitably realize that ". . . there is absolutely nothing to transcend, but only all of Creation to unite with." Jeffery Wolf Green

Holiday Services at Sunshine Cathedral

Join us on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 at 7:30 pm, 9:00 pm, or 10:30 pm for one of the most special celebrations of the entire year.Join us again on Sunday, Dec. 26 for the last worship service of the year. We meet, as we do every Sunday, at 9 am & 10:30am. On this Sunday, Spirit & Truth magazine is distributed with its many prayers, articles, lessons, and reflections to guide us in our daily prayer lives.

And start the New Year out with worship and celebration on January 2 at our 9 am & 10:30 am worship services.

If you would like to make a year end gift to Sunshine Cathedral (to help not only your church but also for your own tax purposes), you can give your gift in the offering plate in worship during the two remaining Sundays in 2010, at the Christmas Eve services, by mail (1480 SW Ninth Ave, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33315), or online.

Finally, there are some very interesting classes being offered in 2011 at The Samaritan Institute (Sunshine Cathedral's religious education program). Ask about our religious degree programs or our new Certificate programs meant to equip lay ministers. There is even a new Certificate just for those who want to become active in prayer ministry.

There is so much going on at your Sunshine Cathedral. Let's celebrate the holidays together and make 2011 a year of prayer, service, commitment, and miracles.

Best wishes for a joyous holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

Divine Science

‎"Omnipresence is Truth. This means that: God includes me now. God-Love is caring for me now. God-Wisdom is guiding me now...God-Abundance is supplying my present need. I can trust this Power and must not fear. I am thankful for the Truth that makes me free." Nona Brooks

Keeping the Dream Alive

Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Ruth, Mary & Joseph...In the name of our spiritual ancestors who were so often immigrants, wanderers, and guests in new places, I pray for a more hospitable attitude among all Americans toward those who wish to become Americans. May the dream of the DREAM Act live on...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Merry Xmas

it is just possible that those who write out "christmas" rather than the abbreviated "xmas" are simply less lazy than the rest of us, not necessarily more devout.

I often write "xmas" & have no guilt about it. i wouldn't in any case, but especially as x is the greek chi & actually represents "christ" (the x doesn't take christ out of anything), & christ is a title, not Jesus' name (Yeshua would come closer), & finally my devotion doesn't boil down to the quasi-short hand i use in december. That said, i'm wishing all who celebrate it a very happy xmas this year.

Fairness in Social Networking

It is just possible that even if I don't post on my Facebook page what you have posted on your FB page that I am still a reasonably good person. I appreciate everyone's passion for each important issue, but don't try to guilt me into reposting your post. Maybe I will; maybe I won't. Either way, I may actually contribute something meaningful to the world.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Prayer for Today

Divine Life, expressing as my life, is full of wonder, joy, peace, abundance, vitality, and love; and so it is that I expect and accept the very best gifts Today has to offer. Amen.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Sharing the Light

Sharing the Light
Watch these episodes (and others) of Sharing the Light on the Sunshine Cathedral You Tube channel. Sharing the Light is a 10 minute talk show where spiritual, theological, ethical, and social issues are discussed by Sunshine Cathedral ministers.

Can Progressive Churches Thrive?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/xRAgd84DEpU


Bullying & Gay Teen Suicides

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/1/LyaQCWPVN-I


Abuse of Power in Religion

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/2/s5qr-2pFINw


Can We Follow Jesus Without Worshiping Him?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/2HF5NcQZKVE


Anti-Muslim Violence Isn't Christian

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/7/I_UdnntER6k


Is There a Chance That Jesus Was Gay?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/8/xAbNMmpoSpo


Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il6TfgitYPY


Progressive, Positive, Practical Spirituality FAQs

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/1/1RZmyp5T5dY


Does God Like Gay People?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ajtkjj2wWQ


Why Talk About Sexuality?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/ia7dnT2K7zA


Is Jesus Relevant for LBGT People?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/GTWJLhc47Ro


Do Progressive Christians Believe in Jesus?

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


The Danger of Biblolatry

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/tnbtFgkwe-g


The Danger of the Closet

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/gdxKVYosB9Q


Why Isn't Everyone Healed by Prayer?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/7/dHRhNSJ-23E

Can We Agree to Disagree About Same-gender Love?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/16/PnhCZtdO8ls


Hate the Sin...Love the Sinner?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/12/UOWckl38qjw


Gay & Christian

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/5/jOesUDnJp7o


Why Does God Allow Evil?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/8/74p1k5cNTB4


Where Do We Go When We Die?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/13/3MHEolRsbWQ


Affirming Gay Outreach

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/37/QINPS3Y4Qa8


Queer Bible Study

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/40/JqzAGelxe_8

Gay Images of God

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/42/SOTfmPtRQW0


Integration of Sexuality & Spirituality

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/45/KTOsRSflKO4


Can Gays Pray?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/44/GPjsdnrC1NE


Why Healthy Religion Must Confront Heterosexism?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/48/J3nhm7sr6HY


Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/59/w_fGE05nzz8


Is the Bible the Word of God?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/57/RZEe0o2q4_E

Prayer for World AIDS Day

PRAYER FOR WORLD AIDS DAY
by Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins

Eternal Source of All Life,
On the occasion of World AIDS Day we pause to remember those who were taken from us too soon by a virus that has taken far too many.

We pause to honor those who have been living with HIV for decades and we give thanks that they are still with us; we also wish them many more years of good health and abundant happiness.

We pause to think of those who have been living with HIV for only a few years, months, weeks, or days. We pray for them to have access to the best possible health care, and we pray that they respond well to the treatments that are available.

We pause to consider those who are not HIV positive and to wish them well; may they take special care to keep themselves always safe.

We pause to bless those who have lost loved ones to HIV/AIDS or who have been in any way impacted by HIV; we give thanks for the ways that they may be comforted.

We pause to give thanks for those who continue to care for people with HIV, who work to find better treatments, vaccines, and even a cure, who work to make good health care more affordable and more accessible, and who work to educate the public about the issue.

We pause to recall that AIDS is still with us, and while it is with us we all have AIDS, if not in our bodies, in our compassionate hearts; and so we pray for healing and we commit to pray always for healing until the miraculous day that HIV/AIDS is only a memory.
Amen.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

God Is Not a Bully

Watch this video encouraging LBGT youth to believe in themselves and to hope for the future.

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/6/ZySBHFASRQE

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Can We Follow Jesus Without Worshiping Him (& other Sharing the Light programs)

Sharing the Light
Watch these episodes (and others) of Sharing the Light on the Sunshine Cathedral You Tube channel. Sharing the Light is a 10 minute talk show where spiritual, theological, ethical, and social issues are discussed by Sunshine Cathedral ministers.

Union Theological Seminary in NYC Responds to Gay Teen Suicides
(not a STL program; this was produced by UTS, but it so good it MUST be shared)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T5kVGae5ZU

Can We Follow Jesus Without Worshiping Him?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/2HF5NcQZKVE

Anti-Muslim Violence Isn't Christian
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/7/I_UdnntER6k

Is There a Chance That Jesus Was Gay?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/8/xAbNMmpoSpo

Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il6TfgitYPY

Progressive, Positive, Practical Spirituality FAQs
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/1/1RZmyp5T5dY

Does God Like Gay People?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ajtkjj2wWQ

Why Talk About Sexuality?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/ia7dnT2K7zA

Is Jesus Relevant for LBGT People?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/GTWJLhc47Ro

Do Progressive Christians Believe in Jesus?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/rQhosYQSroM

The Danger of Biblolatry
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/tnbtFgkwe-g

The Danger of the Closet
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/gdxKVYosB9Q

Why Isn't Everyone Healed by Prayer?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/7/dHRhNSJ-23E

Can We Agree to Disagree About Same-gender Love?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/16/PnhCZtdO8ls

Hate the Sin...Love the Sinner?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/12/UOWckl38qjw

Gay & Christianhttp://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/5/jOesUDnJp7o

Why Does God Allow Evil?http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/8/74p1k5cNTB4

Where Do We Go When We Die?http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/13/3MHEolRsbWQ

Affirming Gay Outreach
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/37/QINPS3Y4Qa8

Queer Bible Study
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/40/JqzAGelxe_8

Gay Images of God
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/42/SOTfmPtRQW0

Integration of Sexuality & Spirituality
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/45/KTOsRSflKO4

Can Gays Pray?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/44/GPjsdnrC1NE

Why Healthy Religion Must Confront Heterosexism?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/48/J3nhm7sr6HY

Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/59/w_fGE05nzz8

Is the Bible the Word of God?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/57/RZEe0o2q4_E

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Q&A: Will My Agnostic Husband Go to Heaven?

Question: I’m so glad I found you on your You Tube channel. Your program has been inspirational to me.
I have been a Christian my whole life and I do believe in Heaven. My husband doesn't really believe in God. He believes that there may be a God but he isn't sure. It honestly worries me that he doesn't have full faith in God, and that he may not make it into Heaven. I'm not really sure how that works, or what it will take to show him that God really does exist. Do you have any advice on this?
- W.M.

Answer: My first response to people of faith who want to convert their loved ones to a life of faith is: Would you appreciate your agnostic or atheist friends trying to take your faith away from you? People who don’t share our religious vocabulary still have values, and they cherish their values. They probably don’t appreciate having their values insulted anymore than we religious types do. So, in the spirit of the Golden Rule, if we wouldn’t want people to take our religion from us, then we might not want to take their contentment with a lack of religion from them.

Now, that being said, we certainly want to make our religious communities as relevant, as empowering, as optimistic, as loving, and as welcoming as possible. As we do that, people from all kinds of religious and philosophical backgrounds will find themselves attracted to us. And then if and when they embrace our kind of faith, it is a personal decision that was in no way coerced, and one that they can feel good about having made for themselves.

Finally, I have to admit my bias in all of this. I am a humanist and a universalist. By that I mean I have a high anthropology (I do not believe that people are innately depraved and can only be “saved” from their depravity by religious means) and I believe that the divine Spirit (“in which we live and move and have our being”) rejects no one for any reason. I can’t believe that anyone is eternally damned, especially for what their opinions in life happened to be!

My faith is in the universal power of divine Love which seeks to heal our loneliness, despair, and degradation (in this life) and which excludes none of us (in this life or beyond) for any reason. I’m sure your husband believes in beauty, in love, in hope, in compassion, in kindness, in justice, in joy…in all the Goodness that I believe God is. He may not call that Goodness God, but “what’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet” (Shakespeare). Whether or not your husband believes in God, I am certain that the infinite Love that I call God believes in your husband. And isn’t that enough?

--Rev. Durrell Watkins, MA, MDiv, DMin
Sunshine Cathedral

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thursday's Prayer

I am loveable.
I deserve love in my life.
I am loving.
I am loved.
I am love.
This truth brings me joy and all things are working together for my highest good.
Amen.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wednesday's Prayer

Angels are holding me, watching over me, smiling on me, wishing me well, seeing the best in me, sharing my sorrows and celebrating my joys. Whether angels are the better parts of my human nature, my highest ideals, my fondest imaginings, the ancestors, spirit guides, loving friends, or kind strangers, I give thanks for their presence in my life. I depend on and am grateful for the ministry of angels. I know that I am never really alone. Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tuesday's Prayer

God is my Source, and my Source is infinite and infinitely capable of meeting my every need. I am now asking my divine Source to comfort me, strengthen me, and fill me with wisdom and love. I am choosing to trust in this moment that blessings are flowing into my experience of life. In the name of Jesus and of all helpers of humanity, I declare that all is well in my life, and so it is. Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Monday's Prayer

This day has a gift for me.
Something good is mine to experience today.
I'm open to it.
I will recongnize it, receive it, and be grateful for it.
Nothing can keep my wonderful gift from me.
And so it is.


Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday's Prayer

The love I share is God’s love.
The love I give is healing love.
The love I offer is changing the world.
And the love I give is returned to me multiplied.
Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Friday, August 13, 2010

Saturday's Prayer

Mother-Father God,
You who are throughout the universe,
throughout the multiverse,
We ask you for blessings,
aware that to be blessed is to be happy.
Give us the courage to be happy!
Help us to love ourselves enough that we allow ourselves to be happy.
Give us the grace to wish all people lives of happiness and well-being.
Give us generosity so that we share freely of ourselves to help others be happy.
And as we sow seeds of joy, let us expect a bountiful harvest of the same;
it is in your many names that we pray.
Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Friday's Prayer

Deliverer of the despondent,
Friend of the forgotten,
Healer of hurting hearts,
Mender of mournful minds,
Savior of sorrowful souls,
Spirit of abundant life,
I pray for those who are feeling morose, troubled, sad, lonely, or discontent.
Lift them up.
Comfort and console them.
Let a gentle shower of blessings fall continuously into their lives.
May they know there is an everlasting Love that now holds them, fills them, flows through them, and is seeking always to bring them hope, health, and happiness.
May the gift of joy be renewed in their lives.
Amen.


Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thursday's Prayer

In the story of Jesus feeding a multitude in the desert, he had his disciples gather up the fragments of what was left. May the Lord of my life/Goddess of my being help me gather up any fragments of myself that I have left somewhere, so that I may reintegrate all parts into a renewed, healthy, and joyful whole. Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wednesday's Prayer

When the road is dark and the outcome is uncertain,
when the night seems as if morning may never come,
when the shadows present themselves as monsters,
and the winds sound like goblins at our backs,
when sleep won't come and food loses its taste,
when water fails to refresh and joy becomes a long lost friend,
remind us, O God, that Hope still dwells within us.
Give us the strength to hold up our heads,
the courage to move forward,
and the grace to believe that blessings are on the way.
And when we no longer can help ourselves, let your angels come to our aid.
Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Tuesday's Prayer

I affirm blessings today for my life and for all who are dear to me.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Monday, August 09, 2010

Monday's Prayer

With my thoughts and actions I am choosing from an infinite field of possibilities the experiences I will have today. I have the power to demonstrate well-being, harmony, success, and fulfillment, and so I choose to do so. For my Good, I am thankful. Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sunday's Prayer

Dear God,
I give thanks for the blessings that are mine today,
for peaceful rest that will come throughout the night,
and for your divine assistance with all I do tomorrow.
Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday's Prayer

Divine Love,
I am willing today to love myself more.
I am willing to allow love into my life more abundantly.
I am willing to believe that I deserve love,
and that I have love to share with my world.
I recognize now that I am enfolded in your embrace and wonderful blessings are mine to experience today;
and so I am thankful, receptive, and full of joy.
Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Thursday's Prayer

Let blessings pour into my life like a gentle and long lasting rain.
Let healing blow through my life like a strong and refreshing wind.
Let joy fill my life like a spring-fed pond.
Let peace fill my life like the miracle of the dawn.
Let wisdom guide my life like a bright, shining star.
Let me be my best self, enjoying true communion with my True Self, today and every day.
Amen.


Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Wednesday Prayer

Loving Source of peace and hope and joy,
I am trusting you today to guide me in the ways of blessing and to fill me with light. With your help, I will accomplish my goals with ease and I will know that there is always Good for me to have, to enjoy, and to share. In your embrace I am safe and secure and I can affirm that all is well. And so it is.


Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tuesday's Prayer

Goddess/God, Eternal Spirit,
Sometimes we don't know how to pray.
Sometimes we don't know what to ask for, what to hope for, what to work for.
Sometimes we need direction, or comfort, or the courage to simply not know.
Sometimes we need to know that it's all working out, even when we can't predict how, and we need to remember that the universe is unfolding exactly as it ought to.
And so, Holy One,
Let us trust in grace equal to every need today.
Let us trust that ultimately, all is well.
Let us know that we are on a journey that is right for us.
Let us have peace within, and moments of true joy that we cherish and share.
And may we dare to believe that our Good is always at hand. Amen.


Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Monday, August 02, 2010

Monday's Prayer

God of many names,
in this new moment of this new day of this new week,
may I be renewed and filled with hope and happiness and a sense of purpose.
May I know that I am one with all life.
May I remember that I am a person of sacred value.
May I be confident, courageous, self-realized and Self-realized.
May I be receptive to all the Good that is available to me.
May I live as one who is truly blessed, and
may I be a blessing to others.
Amen.


Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sunday's Prayer

God within us,
you offer all that is needed for a joyous and worthwhile life.
Harmonious relationships, peace, happiness, prosperity, good health and success are available to each of us.
Your heavenly will is for each of us to live abundantly and so we pray, "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," which is, let us experience the perfection that you are in every area of our lives.
And so it is with confidence, gratitude, and joyful expectation that we release this prayer treatment to the activity of the law of Mind and we trust that all is well.
Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday's Prayer

I use the power of my word today to focus my thoughts and intentions only on what is good and desirable. What I focus on, I will drift toward, create, or attract. By being intentional with the words I speak and the thoughts I entertain, I am choosing to feel good and I am creating the kind of day and the kind of life that I deserve and desire. I focus on what is good, hopeful, beautiful, loving, creative, joyous, and abundant and blessings flow freely into my experience today. I demand it! I allow it! I give thanks for it! And so it is.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday's Prayer

May this day bring us peace and joy. May this day bring us love and prosperity. May this day find our dear ones well. May this day see merciful justice prevail. May this day be a wonderful day filled with blessings. Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Heaven Is All There Is

Spirit & Truth

Heaven Is All There Is
“…what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.” A Course in Miracles

I don’t believe that God has a counterpart. God, as far as I can experience and discern, is the All-in-all. It is in God that we live and move and have our being (according to a Greek poet and later St. Paul). Because God has no opposite, Heaven (communion with God) has no opposite. Hell is simply the “feeling” of separation from God; but in reality, no such separation can exist. Whenever we feel like Hell, let’s remember that God is Good, God is omnipresent, and God, being omnipresent, can have no opposite. “There’s not a spot where God is not.” God, the Good, is right where we are, right now.
The illusion of separation from Good is now being dispelled. Divine Love is all-encompassing and can have no opposite. Alleluia! Amen.
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral
Spirit & Truth is Sunshine Cathedral's monthly magazine of daily devotionals and inspirational reading.

Thursday's Prayer

I abide in a consciousness of joy.
I abide in a consciousness of abundance.
I abide in a consciousness of health.
I abide in a consciousness of peace.
I choose this day to be happy and poised and grateful for all the Good that I see and even for unknown blessings that already on their way into my experience.
I declare this to be a divine order day and I allow it to be.
Divine energies are flowing through my life, leading me in the ways of wisdom, and drawing to me all that I need to feel accomplished, safe, and opulently prospered.
All is well in my world today, and so I am thankful and I am receptive to my Good.
Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

What is the Bible's Purpose?

Question: I watched a couple of the "Sharing the Light" messages on YouTube, and I was curious if you believe that the bible is the word of God. What is the purpose of the bible for Christians? (Steve, asked by email)

Answer: The writer of what we call John’s gospel said the “word” was an eternal Reality and that it was made “flesh.” The institutional Church has always interpreted that to mean Jesus was the word (voice, messenger) of divine truth. In the Hebrew scriptures, the “word of God” was the prophetic word spoken by the prophets to their particular communities. The bible that we have is a collection of sacred stories that the Church canonized hundreds of years after the writers of those stories had died. So, when we call the bible the “word of God,” it almost suggests that God dictated every word, or that God somehow channeled a heavenly message through human vessels…in other words, that God wrote the bible. I must say that I do not believe that. We find too many human prejudices in the bible that I could never attribute to God. And we find information that we now know to be scientifically inaccurate. We also find inconsistencies in the bible (like two contradictory creation accounts).
So, while we may euphemistically call the bible the world of God, we must not mistake that to mean the “words” of God. The bible is a collection of stories written, edited, translated, interpreted, and taught by humans. The bible covers multiple cultures and it covers about 1300 years of writing. The stories are wonderful in that they show people struggling to make meaning in their lives and they share their experiences, beliefs, hopes, disappointments, creativity, and growth. We aren’t meant to idolize their stories, but to courageously follow their example. We are meant to ask our own questions and share our own stories. As we follow the brave examples of the biblical characters, then the divine word comes alive in us. I find the bible to be very important, but only after we liberate it from the limitations of literalism that we have traditionally tried to place on it.


Best always,

Pastor Durrell

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Prayer for Well-being

Eternal Essence of Life within me,I acknowledge your presence expressing in, through, and as my life.I trust that you are guiding me always to wonderful opportunities, helping me to see and seize the possibilities around me.I allow you now to erase from me all fear, all regret, all belief in lack or limitation, all false notions of inadequacy, scarcity, or separation from you.In the place of these error thoughts, let me now be filled with hope and joyful expectation of Good. Let me now demand and accept the blessings of health, happiness, success, supply, peace, wisdom, and love. As I am blessed, let me be a blessing to others and may all people come to know of their unity with you.I feel your presence within me, and I am made whole, perfect, and complete. This is my truth and for it I rejoice. Alleluia! Amen.

Rev. Durrell Watkins, DMin

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wrestling With God Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il6TfgitYPY

Watch this video where I discuss my book, Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

INTA Congress (New Thought)

Click on the link below to learn about the upcoming International New Thought Alliance's annual Congress.

http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs003/1101614674562/archive/1103500474561.html


You can also visit www.youtube.com/newthoughtalliance to learn still more.

This promises to be an exciting conference and you'll definitely want to attend if possible.

Authors Series

Click on the link to learn about the Summer Authors Series at Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJGMuIskIt4&feature=autofb

Friday, June 11, 2010

Progressive Religious Discussions

Does God Like Gay People?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ajtkjj2wWQ

Why Talk About Sexuality?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/ia7dnT2K7zA

Is Jesus Relevant for LBGT People?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/GTWJLhc47Ro

Do Progressive Christians Believe in Jesus?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/rQhosYQSroM

The Danger of Biblolatry
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/tnbtFgkwe-g

The Danger of the Closet
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/gdxKVYosB9Q

Why Isn't Everyone Healed by Prayer?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/7/dHRhNSJ-23E

Can We Agree to Disagree About Same-gender Love?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/16/PnhCZtdO8ls

Hate the Sin...Love the Sinner?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/12/UOWckl38qjw

Gay & Christianhttp://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/5/jOesUDnJp7o

Why Does God Allow Evil?http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/8/74p1k5cNTB4

Where Do We Go When We Die?http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/13/3MHEolRsbWQ

Affirming Gay Outreach
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/37/QINPS3Y4Qa8

Queer Bible Study
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/40/JqzAGelxe_8

Gay Images of God
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/42/SOTfmPtRQW0

Integration of Sexuality & Spirituality
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/45/KTOsRSflKO4

Can Gays Pray?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/44/GPjsdnrC1NE

Why Healthy Religion Must Confront Heterosexism?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/48/J3nhm7sr6HY

Does the Bible Condemn Homosexuality?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/59/w_fGE05nzz8

Is the Bible the Word of God?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/57/RZEe0o2q4_E

Friday, May 14, 2010

Is Jesus Relevant for LBGT People?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/GTWJLhc47Ro

Is Jesus Relevant for LBGT People? Click the link above for a discussion that will show how Jesus can be a relevant symbol for Queer people today.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Hurt Feelings Game

Healing Rays: A Progressive, Positive, Practical Weekly Reflection
by Durrell Watkins
May 10, 2010
{Healing Rays is sent to an email subscription list each week and is published in the Sunshine Cathedral weekly newsletter, the Sun Burst}

The Hurt Feelings Game

Here's a game I (inexplicably) like to play: The Hurt Feelings Game

Round 1 -
Someone hurts my feelings (it happens). But instead of shaking it off and enjoying the zillion wonderful things that are happening in my life, I obsess about that one tiny, silly, moment in time when someone forgot that my feelings were the most important things in the universe. Advance to Round 2.

Round 2 -
Now, I start to remember the 15 other times this person has hurt my feelings. This is the bonus round where I suddenly win a bunch-o-self-pity! Lucky me.

Round 3 -
I start to remember when other people have hurt my feelings. Oh, I'm on a roll now!

Round 4 -
I'm now telling myself how insignificant I am, what I loser I've become, and how dreary the world is. Gloom, doom, the sky is falling. There is nothing left to do but rent myself out as a speed bump.

Fifth and Final Round -
I'm wallowing in misery, so depressed I can barely function, all the while the Philistine who has stepped on my emotional toes (in all likelihood unintentionally) is going merrily on with his or her life. Game over. I lose. Wasn't that fun? Shall we play again?

Then I remember...my happiness doesn't exist outside of myself, and if I ever pretend that it does, I'm bound to end up playing this %*&# losing game. I can desire anything, but when I become attached to my desire, I've invited disappointment into my life (and disappointment is an excellent guest, never refusing an invitation!).

So someone didn't notice I lost half an ounce this week? So a friend didn't send me a card for Asparagus month? So someone I once cared deeply for and I have drifted apart and might never be close again? So someone thinks Rev. Hellfire has better theology than my hero, Rev. Godzluv? So someone really likes a political candidate that I'm sure has an allergy to sunlight and holy water? So someone doesn't think I'm a good dancer or a good cook or a good Jacks player (they are wrong, by the way! I was the first grade Jacks champion...my Dad was so proud!)? Is any of that so important in the grand scheme of things?

The point is, if someone has been intentionally unkind or unfair, I can confront them or even choose to end my association with them. But what I shouldn't do is dwell on the past and choose to be miserable over something I can't change. While I'm playing the Hurt Feelings Game, I'm missing wonderful opportunities to enjoy life now. Maybe you're like me and could benefit from releasing the past to the past (and yes, breakfast is already the past!), refusing to play the unwinnable Hurt Feelings Game, and starting to enjoy all the blessings that are here for us right now.
.................................................................................................................................... .............................

Available at Amazon.com

Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned is an honest struggle to apply critical thinking and practical reason to the myths and metaphors of ancient scriptures. The author believes that creative writing can be true (and in fact can offer new truths as each reader approaches a text) without being factual. Wrestling With God...is an affirmation of truth that does not demand the literary symbols of scripture be taken literally. Rather than asking religion to redeem people, the writer is asking thinking people to redeem religion so that it can be relevant in the 21st century.

Should We Convert the Ones We Love?

Question: I am dating a non-Christian. I didn’t expect to fall in love with her, but I have. Now I’m concerned that our difference in religious outlook might become a problem. I grew up believing that Christians had the only true path to God. I don’t want to insult my girlfriend, but I feel like I should try to convert her too. What would you suggest?

Answer: Let’s consider the Golden Rule (treating others the way we would like to be treated). What if your girlfriend decided she needed to convert you to whatever her faith tradition is? Would you appreciate that? What if someone who claimed to love you had prejudged your entire faith experience as insufficient and tried to take it from you? You probably wouldn’t respond warmly to that.

Sometimes in our insecurity, we try to convince ourselves that we know all there is to know about the infinite, universal, eternal Principle of life (often referred to as “God”). We make ourselves feel better by pretending we are “in the club” and only people who agree with us can be in the club, too. This imaginary, exclusive club makes us feel “safe” or important or even superior to those who have different experiences and beliefs. We even find a proof-text or two from our scriptures (usually horribly out of context) to justify our “Christians are in and everyone else is out” attitudes. But the result is that those who don’t share our experience and views find us to be judgmental, unkind, arrogant, and sometimes even mean. Can that be the best way to honor the God that our tradition says is Love?

God, being omnipresent, is surely able to embrace us all. Our humanly constructed religions can help us feel and trust this closeness to the divine Reality, but the grace of God cannot be limited to our human understandings, scriptures, traditions, vocabularies, motives, or experiences. I would suggest that you continue being Christian because Christianity is the path that helped you believe in yourself and experience the goodness of God in your life; and allow your partner the joy of celebrating her tradition which has offered her the same gifts. And maybe, on occasion, you can even worship together…not as a way of changing the other, but as a way of sharing something important to someone you love.


Q&A with Pastor Durrell is a column in Sunshine Cathedral's newsletter, The Sun Burst.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A New Thought

Spirit & Truth
Today is Wednesday, May 5, 2010.

A New Thought
“...your mind is a center of divine operation.” Genevieve Behrend

So much of religious thinking seems to promote a sense of victimization. People are taught to believe they are innately sinful and can only be “saved” by believing that God required a violent, atoning sacrifice (which only seems to work if people believe the story). What if instead of being innately sinful, the truth is we are innately good? What if there is nothing to be saved from other than our own fears? What if God is as close as our breath and by focusing on God’s goodness expressing through us we find we are actually persons of great potential, dignity, and power? Maybe we can change how we understand religion and thereby change how we understand ourselves!

God’s goodness is my Truth. God’s unconditional love is my experience. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral
To subscribe to Spirit & Truth magazine, send your name and address along with a donation of any size to Spirit & Truth, c/o Sunshine Cathedral, 1480 SW Ninth Ave, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33315. S&T will then be mailed to you monthly for a year.

Power of Clear Intention



Healing Rays: A Progressive, Positive, Practical Weekly Reflection
by Durrell Watkins May 3, 2010

The Power of Clear Intention
Clear intention works. When I get really clear in my mind about something, it's like I'm saying to the Universe, "Let's do this!" And things begin to happen.

One New Year's Eve I wrote goals for the New Year. One of my goals was to write a book. The book didn't happen that year, but in years since, I have written one-act plays, vignettes, three graduate theses, and six books. I love writing, and now I write all the time. But it all began with the clear intention, "I want to accomplish X."

Once I was clear about wanting to be ordained, the path to ordination unfolded. Once I was clear about wanting a Master's degree, I found myself in graduate school, and actually earned both a Masters of Arts degree and a Master of Divinity degree. I said out loud once that I wanted a doctorate degree by a certain age, and within two years of that stated goal, I had my doctorate.

For years I imagined living in New York City, and in my 30s, I did in fact live for almost 5 years in the New York metropolitan area (including 3 years in Manhattan itself). I always wanted to travel, but finally decided to do so. I have now been to 12 countries so far. I even attribute the power of intention to finding the person with whom I now share my life. There are some goals still in the works, and there are new goals to be formed. There are even previous goals that turned out to be little more than wishes, and they did not turn out as well (it would seem a committed goal is far more powerful than a mere wish). Lesson learned.

Your goals are as achievable as mine. Maybe instead of degrees, you want a career that makes a lot of money (why didn't that ever occur to me?!). Maybe instead of living in a particular city, you want to stop smoking. Maybe travel doesn't appeal to you, but learning to play an instrument does. Whatever your goal, once your intention is clear, opportunities begin to show up in support of your goal.

Do you have a worthwhile goal? Write it down. Speak it in prayer. Affirm that it is possible. Once you set those powerful forces in motion, something good is bound to happen.

....................................................................................................................................

Watch "Do Progressive Christians Believe in Jesus?" on Sharing the Light, Sunshine Cathedral's Webcast Talk Show.
.......................................................................................................................................


Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned is an honest struggle to apply critical thinking and practical reason to the myths and metaphors of ancient scriptures. The author believes that creative writing can be true (and in fact can offer new truths as each reader approaches a text) without being factual. Wrestling With God...is an affirmation of truth that does not demand the literary symbols of scripture be taken literally. Rather than asking religion to redeem people, the writer is asking thinking people to redeem religion so that it can be relevant in the 21st century.


Available at Amazon.com

Monday, May 03, 2010

Sharing the Light: Progressive, Religious Webcast

Sharing the Light
Watch these episodes (and others) of Sharing the Light on the Sunshine Cathedral You Tube channel. Sharing the Light is a 10 minute talk show where spiritual, theological, ethical, and social issues are discussed by Sunshine Cathedral ministers.


Do Progressive Christians Believe in Jesus?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/rQhosYQSroM

The Danger of Biblolatry
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/tnbtFgkwe-g

The Danger of the Closet
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/0/gdxKVYosB9Q

Why Isn't Everyone Healed by Prayer?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/7/dHRhNSJ-23E

Can We Agree to Disagree About Same-gender Love?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/16/PnhCZtdO8ls

Hate the Sin...Love the Sinner?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/12/UOWckl38qjw

Gay & Christian
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/5/jOesUDnJp7o

Affirmative Prayer
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/6/q9SvRqRX-1U

Why Does God Allow Evil?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/8/74p1k5cNTB4

Does Positive Thinking Really Work?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/9/L5DjW2NhS9U

Where Do We Go When We Die?

http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/13/3MHEolRsbWQ

What Does Atonement Mean for Us?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/23/o1jN3GGVS3I

Why Healthy Religion Must Confront Heterosexism?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/48/J3nhm7sr6HY

Is the Bible the Word of God?
http://www.youtube.com/sunshinecathedral#p/u/57/RZEe0o2q4_E

Friday, April 30, 2010

Everlasting Omnipresence

Spirit & Truth

Everlasting Omnipresence
“You are connected to all that came before you and all that follows. Your essence is timeless.” Rev. Ian Lawton

Divine Life is omnipresent. It expressed in, through, and as Jesus and it is expressing in, through, and as us. Divine Life is always expressing, always shining, always unfolding. The divinity that Moses experienced, that Ezekiel experienced, that Mary experienced, that Paul experienced is the same divine Presence that enfolds, surrounds, and dwells within us. The spirit of life is endless, ubiquitous, and it is flowing through each of us now. Because the spirit is eternal, so are we!

The Source and Substance of all life is eternal and omnipresent. It is expressing through and as me and so I am one with all life, now and forever.
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral
Spirit & Truth is a daily devotional magazine published by Sunshine Cathedral's Light University Press

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We Are Creators

Spirit & Truth
{Spirit & Truth is a daily devotional magazine}

We Are Creators
“Knowing God comes through knowing ourselves.” Rev. Mary Mitchell

“In the beginning God created…” That’s how one of the two creation myths at the beginning of Genesis begins. Intuitively, the ancient story-teller knew that there must be a creative Intelligence behind the world of form and experience. In the beginning of creation, Something must be guiding the creative process. In the beginning of our endeavors there is a thought, a feeling, an idea, a desire that then is out-pictured as achievement, creativity, relationships, etc. When I remember that “I am the thinker who thinks the thought that creates the thing,” then I know myself to be a person of power, and I am responsible for how I use that power in my life.
We are always creating, and we get to choose how we use our creative energies.

With my words, thoughts, emotions, and intentions I am creating my world. As I realize my power and potential, I create wisely and wonderfully. And so it is.
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Our Pulpit

I'm so proud that at Sunshine Cathedral we have world class scholars, theologians, activists, and orators bless us with their wisdom from our pulpit.

Since I have been Senior Pastor at Sunshine Cathedral we have on Sunday mornings:
Rev. Elder Lillie Brock (twice), MCC's Elder for Region 7
Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson (annually), MCC's Presiding Elder & Moderator
Rev. Dr. Mona West (repeatedly), Hebrew Bible Scholar & MCC's Director of Leadership Development
Rev. Elder Troy Perry, MCC's Founder
Very Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, President & Dean of Episcopal Divinity School
Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney, Asso. Professor of Hebrew Bible at Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia
AND
Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris, retired Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts (Bishop Harris was first woman bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion...she is speaking at Sunshine Cathedral on April 25th, 2010).

On Sunday evenings we've had:
Rev. BK Hipsher
Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney
Rev. Delores Berry, beloved singing evangelist

For our 2010 "Redeeming Jesus" Conference we had the following speakers:
Rev. Dr. Mona West
Rev. BK Hipsher
Ms. Celene Lillie, PhD student in New Testament at Union Theological Seminary in NYC
Rev. Dr. Tom Bohache, MCC Christ the Liberator (Centeral New Jersey)
Rev. Gay Lynne Williamson-Grigas
As well as Cathedral clergy, Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Rev. Robert Griffin, & Rev. Michael Diaz

A special evening seminar was conducted in March, 2010 by Aramaic Bible Scholar, Rev. Dr. Rocco Errico

What a joy to have some of the best theological minds of our time share with us at Sunshine Cathedral. There are more world class speakers coming in the near future.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spiritual Lineage

My spiritual lineage...what mixed heritage!

New Thought Lineage:

Ralph Waldo Emerson (Unitarian, Transcendentalist...many of his spiritual ideas have been embraced by the New Thought movement)

Phineas P. Quimby (Mesmerism, spiritual healer, considered by many to be the "Father" of the New Thought Movement)

Mary Baker Eddy (Quimby's patient, founder of Christian Science)

Emma Curtis Hopkins (student/colleague of Mary Baker Eddy's who left Christian Science
to begin her own independent ministry...she taught many people who became the leaders of
the New Thought Movement, e.g. "Mrs. Bingham" who taught Nona Brooks, Ernest Holmes, Malinda Cramer, Annie Rix Militz, the Fillmores, etc....Hopkins ordained Malinda Cramer and Unity founders Charles & Myrtle Fillmore)

Malinda Cramer (Quaker, E. C. Hopkins' student, founder of Divine Science)

Nona Brooks (student of one of E. C. Hopkins' students, ordained by Cramer, Brooks
ordained Religious Science/Science of Mind founder Ernest Holmes)

Christopher Bazemore (former Roman Catholic, studied Christian Science & Science of Mind, ordained Church of Brotherhood, ordained Church of the Holy Spirit/Rose Cross, finally ordained Divine Science. Dean of United Divine Science Ministerial School)

Durrell Watkins (confirmed Episcopal, ordained Metropolitan Community Churches, certified Reiki Master, studying for ordination in United Divine Science)
New Thought Education: A Course in Miracles and Spiritual Direction (Kay Hunter, Cathedral of Light, Carrollton, TX), Science of Mind 101 (Center for Spiritual Living, Fort Lauderdale, FL), Certificate of Achievement & Fellowship (College of Divine Metaphysics), studies for Divine Science ordination (United Divine Science Ministerial School with Dr. Christopher Bazemore)
Member: International New Thought Alliance

Reiki Lineage:
Mikao Usui (founder of the non-invasive energy healing technique called Reiki, which is Universal Life-force Energy)

Nancy Langmead (minister, teacher, and Reiki Master-Teacher attuned me to the Reiki Master level)
Studies for Reiki attunement and certification: Hagerstown Community College

Christian Lineage:
My family was a mixture of Protestants, Evangelicals, and Roman Catholics.
I was baptized in the evangelical tradition, but studied Catholicism and came to identify with Catholic part of the family.
In college, I became Episcopalian and was confirmed by Bishop Donis Patterson (sponsored by Christianne McKee, the fourth woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Dallas and the first woman in the Dallas to lead her own parish as a Vicar/Rector/Priest-in-charge)
I was then ordained in Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC was founded by former Pentecostal minister Troy Perry; I was approved for ordination at a District Conference and then commissioned and blessed by Nancy Wilson - a former Methodist, Elijah Nealy - formerly Baptist & Salvation Army, & Ken Martin - a former Baptist minister; my actual ordination was performed by Shelly Hamilton - formerly of the Pentecostal tradition).
I was later "incardinated" into Apostolic Succession by Old Catholic Bishop Grant Lynn Ford - a Pentecostal minister turned Old Catholic Abbot/Bishop (Arnold Matthew lineage) who also became an MCC minister and a member of the International New Thought Alliance.
Ministerial Education: study for MCC ordination, Samaritan Institute for Religious Studies; MDiv, Union Theological Seminary; DMin, Episcopal Divinity School
Other education: BA, Henderson State University; MA, Goddard College

Other Traditions:
Studied/practiced at various times - Wicca, Charismatic Christianity, and Buddhism (Zen & Nicherin)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Breakup with Jen Lancaster


Here’s the thing…because of a trusted friend’s recommendation, I purchased Such A Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. I was struggling with weight loss, and her chubby girl memoir was like a mirror’s reflection of my life, and, was maybe the funniest thing I’ve ever read. So, now I adore me some Jen Lancaster!


Down the road, I decide I must read Ms Lancaster’s previous works, so that I can fully appreciate her other books as they are released. Cut to me purchasing Bright Lights, Big Ass and Bitter Is the New Black (great titles, right?).


So, after putting off my reading for pleasure for some now totally forgotten reason, I finally pick up Bright Lights…and begin to read. Once again, I find Jen L. to be hilarious. I scream. I cry. I cough. I moisten furniture. AND THEN…


Out of the blue, like a kick in the shin or a slap in the face, she declares that she is not merely a casual watcher of Fox News, but is in fact FNC’s BIGGEST fan! She lovingly invokes Sean Hannity’s name. Really???!! How can this be? How can the new love of my life be one of THOSE people???


Now, before you judge me too harshly, I remember in the earliest days of Emperor Ron Reagan’s reign when it was super cool to be a young Repub (or so the brilliant marketing campaign would have had us believe). And, my grandmother (and her father before her) were Republicans (and quite horrified by my Chief Union Steward, workers’ rights, Democrat father).
And I remember before the Right Wing takeover of the world (you remember when Pope JPII, Ayatollah Khomeni, Maggie Thatcher, and Ronnie Reagan all swept into power, practically on the same day) when there were actually moderate (and even a few liberal) Republicans. Betty Ford was all about the ERA, and the once liberal Supreme Court was almost single handedly created by Richard Nixon. So, one might have disagreed with a few points of the “other” party, but neither party was the face of evil.


So, one might have one’s reasons for being Republican...those reasons might be valid, even excellent. But we aren’t talking sane political philosophies now…we’re talking friggin’ Fox so-called News!!! My heart breaks. My soul shrivels. Somewhere, a unicorn dies. The baby Jesus weeps.


I decide to forgive her…maybe she likes Fox the way I like vampire fiction. Maybe the gore is allegorical for her; maybe the hate and venom are comedic for her. Maybe they remind her of unfortunate, cave-dwelling relatives who still beat their food to death with clubs, and that is a way she copes with/laughs at said relatives. I read on…


A chapter or two later, she now admits to not only reading Ann Coulter (hey, reading is good; I’m not at all the censorship guy), but to LOVING her and of fantasizing about them having sleepovers together and being best pals. I vomit. I seize. The room goes white. I’m certain when I regain my composure I’ll find that I’m in a straight jacket being spoon fed jello.
I loved her! I thought Jen Lancaster was super-groovy. She’s smart. She’s witty. She doesn’t seem to be racist or homophobic. I even forgave her (about 83% anyway) for Fox.


But Fox and Coulter (and, BTW, making fun of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Kennedy, AND defending George “Dubbya” Bush…the man who with Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin decided to make mediocrity, meanness, and stupidity cool???!!!!!!!) is just too darn much. I may now hate her. I certainly will hate me for once loving her. Republican? My sainted grandmother was Republican…that’s not the issue. But part of the Far Right Cult of Bile and Buffoonery, that is something else.


Meanwhile, I’ve got to finish this book (it’s a rule by which I live), AND read the other one (which, please gods, let it be as apolitical as the first one I read)…but I’m afraid there will be no new Jen Lancaster purchases. She may not be homophobic, but if she supports and endorses those who want to write homophobia into the constitution, then for my own safety, I can’t put any more of my queer money into her designer purse. I did once love her…but as it turns out, I love me more.


Still, she is very funny.


Durrell Watkins

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Get Full of the Feeling

Healing Rays: A Progressive, Positive, Practical Weekly Reflection
by Durrell Watkins April 21, 2010

Get Full of the Feeling
"Whatever Good you want, get full of the feeling." Rev. Ike

When I was about 20 years old, I said to a friend, "I want to have my doctorate degree by the time I'm 40." I don't know why I said it out loud at that time, or why I chose that age, but I said it with such conviction, I knew that my words had power. Well, I was actually 42 when got my doctorate, but I earned a bachelor's degree, completed requirements of ordination, and then finished two master's degrees along the way! I did earn my doctorate degree, and other degrees as well, and all within two years of the originally stated goal.

When I was 36, my partner and I were visiting Florida. One day while biking and canoeing we turned to each other and said with strange determination, "We'll live here when we're 40." We actually moved to Florida when I was 39 and he was 38, this time ahead of the stated goal.

The point is there have been times in my life when I declared something with such authority and conviction that I knew it would come true; indeed, I knew it was already true and only the details had to be sorted out. Whenever I have allowed myself to "get full of the feeling," dynamic forces have consistently flowed toward me to assist me in the achievement of the clearly stated and fully felt goal. I had to do my part, of course, but the achievement actually began by saying and feeling that "such-and-such" was true or was becoming true for me.

Do you have a dream? Is there a goal you hope to achieve? Imagine it. Intend it. Feel it. Declare it. Allow it. I bet amazing things will happen for you.


Healing Rays is a weekly email reflection. To subscribe to Healing Rays, simply email Durrell@sunshinecathedral.net and ask to be added to the subscription list (it's absolutely free!).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Eternity

Spirit & Truth

Eternity
“Are you not from eternity, O my holy and immortal God?” Habakkuk 1.12

Eternity isn’t something that begins at point A and just never quite reaches point Z. Eternity is like a circle…it has no beginning and no ending. It is infinite is-ness, all-ness. It not only lasts forever, it is from forever. Eternity is the All-in-all, perfect Wholeness, Infinity. It is divine. And we are part of It. We are made in the divine (infinite, eternal) image, which means we not only always will be, but we’ve always been! If there is a beginning, there is an end. But eternity has no ending, which means it had no beginning. And we are eternal beings because we are one with Eternity Itself. Isn’t this one of the messages of Eastertide?

I am one of the perfect ways Eternity is expressing Itself!
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral
Spirit & Truth is Sunshine Cathedral's daily devotional magazine.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

We See What We Are

Spirit & Truth

We See What We Are
“The ignorant believe that what they see is how it is. The wise understand that what they see is how they are.” Rev. Ellen Grace O’Brian

On Easter morning, who found Jesus’ tomb empty? Mark 16 says Mary Magdalene, another Mary, and Salome found the tomb empty. Matthew 28 says Mary Magdalene and “the other” Mary were the first Easter witnesses. John 20 says Mary Magdalene was the first. And Luke says the “women” from Galilee were the first ones to experience Easter. People who loved Jesus experienced his resurrection. Not everyone had their experience, but as they continued to love Jesus, he remained alive to them. Some people saw Golgotha and thought that was the end of the story. Jesus’ friends saw the impact he had on their lives, and that impact could not be killed. We see things as we are, and as we allow ourselves to be uplifted, uplift (resurrection) is what we’ll see more and more in our world.

I am uplifted and I am an uplifting presence in the world.

Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral

Friday, April 16, 2010

Life

Spirit & Truth
Today is Saturday, April 17, 2010.

Life
“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” Rev. Dr. King, Jr.


In the spirit of justice and liberation, Dr. King spoke out often, powerfully, and prophetically against the Vietnam war. As a minister and activist, he used the power of the pulpit to lift people up, and to name and resist whatever might hold people back or down. Of course waging war for political or financial interests would be something he would question. God is Peace, not conflict. In this season of Resurrection where we focus on the victory of Life over death, shouldn’t we do all we can to always support what lifts up and enhances life rather than what might needlessly harm it?


Prayer: Let Life be abundant for all people! Amen.

Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral
Spirit & Truth is Sunshine Cathedral's daily devotional magazine.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Dance of Life

Spirit & Truth
Today is Thursday, April 15, 2010.

The Dance of Life
“In the darkness of your deepest prayers, know that with you [God] is playing Hide-and-seek. And in the midst of the dance of life… if you keep calling… undepressed by [God’s] seeming silence, you will receive [God’s] answer.” - Paramahansa Yogananda

We waited for centuries for a messiah. We thought we had found him. But he was cut down in his prime. Some people say that somehow he did not stay dead! And some say in some way he may return. Such tenacious faith! No matter how circumstances appear, some dare to hope! Some dare to believe there is more to come. Some dare to affirm that miracles are still possible. The on-going, miraculous, indefatigable dance of life… that’s what Eastertide promises.

Affirmation: I look beyond appearances to the Truth that Good is always possible.

Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins, Sunshine Cathedral

'Spirit & Truth' is a daily devotional magazine published by Sunshine Cathedral's Light University Press

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Get Wrestling With God...


Hello! I want to make sure that you've heard about my new book, Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned: Old Stories, New Thoughts, & Progressive Spirituality. It's available at www.amazon.com and you can find out more about it at my website, http://www.kweerspirit.com/ (there's something about it on all 5 pages of the site).


Whereas my other books have been devotional in nature, 'Wrestling With God...' looks at bible stories and applies critical thinking, snarky humor, and a genuine attempt to reclaim the ancient myths in a meaningful way for 21st century spiritual seekers. In the book, I try to demonstrate that creative literature can be "true" without being factual; in fact, because readers make meaning, new truths can be discovered every time a creative text is read! 'Wrestling With God...' is an affirmation of truth that does not demand the literary symbols of scripture be taken literally.


Rather than asking religion to redeem people, I'm asking thinking people to redeem religion so that it can be relevant in the 21st century.


If you haven't already, I hope you will get a copy of my book and I hope you enjoy it. If you like it, I also hope you will post a positive review of the book on Amazon and recommend the book to your friends.


Thanks and best wishes!


Durrell Watkins, MA, MDiv, DMin


Friday, April 09, 2010

In Defense of the Laramie Project

The Tyler Civic Theatre of Tyler, TX apparently planned to produce The Laramie Project, inspired by the life and death of gay university student Matthew Shepherd from information gathered in interviews after Shepherd's death.

Of course, as is too often the case, Religion proves to be the enemy of tolerance and compassion, and the nasty voices of homophobia have been raised in protest against the production, and the theatre's board has reportedly been considering pulling their support for the production.

In response, I sent TCT the following letter today -


To the leadership of Tyler Civic Theatre:

I am originally from Texarkana, AR. I earned my BA from a small, liberal arts university in Arkadelphia, AR. I lived for 10 years in Dallas, and while living in Dallas worked in Dallas, Waco, Longview, and Fort Worth. I spent a total of 34 years in Arkansas and Texas, about 20 of those years in the “ArkLaTex” area (which includes Tyler). So, I am familiar with the area, the attitudes, the social location. I write not as a judgmental outsider, but as a native of the area (though for some 9 years now I have lived on the East Coast…Maryland, New York, Florida).

I want to say as a Gay man, I found Southwest Arkansas/Northeast Texas to be, well, unfriendly. It was a place where prejudices (religious prejudices, racism, sexism, homophobia, distrust of immigrants, etc.) were abundant and often lifted to the level of civic pride and religious values! Hatred and fear of the “Other” is normative in the rural South and Midwest and while that may make those in the majority feel a bit safer or even superior, it can make the “Other” feel quite unwelcome and unsafe.

As a gay person growing up in that area, I found my salvation in the arts (no surprise there!). The freedom of the stage and screen allowed me to be exposed to ideas beyond the provincialism of my small town. I learned from film, television, and theatre (and glorious books) that the world was bigger than my limited experience of it and that somewhere in the world there was a place for people like me. I am so thankful for the entertainment media that provided me knowledge of a life and a world beyond the fears and prejudices and limited experiences of my community. Because of courageous artists, even in local and often repressive environments, I have spent almost 2 decades living in urban areas, I have earned two masters degrees and a doctorate degree, I am now a published writer, and I even have a profoundly spiritual life (in fact, my “job” is as the spiritual leader of a 600+ member progressive church).

Why do I imagine that you would care in the slightest about my personal biography? Because I find it heart-breaking that your theatre has both demonstrated the courage to produce the Laramie Project and the cowardice to consider changing those plans.

What if you actually do go through with the production?
Will self-righteous, narrow-minded, fearful people object? Almost certainly.
Will they refuse to come? Probably.
Will they boycott and protest? Possibly.
Will you emerge with your courage and integrity in tact, a strong voice for artistic freedom and the diversity of ideas and experiences? Yes indeed!!!

And what’s more…I can promise you that somewhere in your audience there will be a struggling same-gender loving person, or a parent of a gay or lesbian person who is also struggling against the fears and hatreds of local society, who will be strengthened and encouraged because of your production. Isn’t that worth more than all the hate-speech that will come your way? In fact, such hate speech is what dehumanizes gay people to the point that a Matthew Shepherd can be brutally slain in his youth. Such fear and hatred of the Other is why poor Matthew only lives in story, film, and stage productions today. You have a chance to stand up to the very forces that killed Matthew Shepherd…by simply not letting them dictate your decisions.

It is my hope that you will produce this play, that it will be well attended, that at least one life will be positively changed as a result, and that I can say with pride that I come from an area where at least the arts are willing to pay tribute to the beauty of all souls and the power of the indomitable human spirit.


Sincerely,
Rev. Durrell Watkins, MA, MDiv, DMin
http://www.kweerspirit.com/

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Don't Blame Homophobia on God

Don't Blame Homophobia on God
(a rant by Durrell Watkins, M.A., M.Div., D.Min.)

A fundamentalist defender of homophobia recently quoted the bible verses below and added the rhetorical question, “How much clearer could the bible be?”

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 6.9-10 (NIV)

1. 1 Corinthians 6.9-10 is not “the bible.” It is a statement, made by the Apostle Paul in mid-first century in a letter he wrote to a particular church about particular issues in that community. That letter, MUCH later, was included in the bible. We are talking about one sentence from an ancient letter from a man who assumed the world was flat to a community other than one any of us find ourselves today. This is hardly a council of the gods of Olympus voting unanimously to dehumanize all same-gender loving people for all time!

2. Regardless of what Paul believed, are we not (even as faithful people) free to disagree with him? We (surely!) disagree with the biblical statement, “slaves obey your masters.” Many (though sadly not all) disagree with the statements, “women remain silent in church” and “wives submit to your husbands.” One of the commandments (about which the bible could not be much clearer) is to avoid idolatry. I won’t make an idol of Paul or of the bible or of homophobia. I won’t confuse Paul’s culturally shaped opinions with God’s own prejudices! To do so would be to try to limit God to the words of Paul, and that would be idolatry (and by the way, idolaters are in the list that someone believed to be so “clear”).

3. The passage, or rather the fragment from a much larger missive, in question was written in an ancient language that has been translated (after being hand copied many times). Translations always involve the choices and even biases of the translator (which isn’t a criticism; it’s just how it works).
For example, the translators of the version of the bible quoted above chose to use the words “homosexual offenders” to translate the ancient Greek word in the text. However, the world “homosexual” is rather new (coined in the 19th century), so it would not have been Paul’s choice in any language!

Moreover, even given the translation used above, the text doesn’t say “same gender loving people.” It doesn’t even say, “those who experience same-gender attraction.” It definitely doesn’t say, “those who find themselves in consensual, adult relationships.” It says, “homosexual offenders”. What is an “offender”? Does that mean “rapist”? Does it mean a heterosexual person who “offends” his wife by cheating on her with a man? Or, given the context of the passage (“male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders”), does it mean male prostitutes and those men who pay for their services? The passage is ambiguous, not clear. There are many possible understandings other than blanket condemnation of LBGT people.

There are only about 6 biblical proof-texts (which prove almost nothing) to which homophobic religionists cling to justify their fear of same-gender love and attraction. And yet, fear (and the hatred that results) seems so inconsistent with the God that is said to be “Love.” In fact, even St. Paul said, “Those who love their fellow human-beings have fulfilled the law” (Romans 13). Judging, condemning, hating, vilifying in the name of God…that seems to me to be using God’s name in vain (whoops! There goes another commandment). In the end, I suppose everyone has a right to his or her prejudices. But own them; don’t try to blame them on God.

--Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
http://www.kweerspirit.com/

Walk for Tolerance in Jamaica Today

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/AIDS-support-march-for-Montego-Bay-today

http://www.iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/article/takeaction/partners/1108.html

http://go-jamaica.com/news/read_article.php?id=18249

http://madikazemi.blogspot.com/2010/04/jamaica-to-hold-walk-for-tolerance.html

Old Stories, New Thoughts, & Progressive Spirituality


Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned is an honest struggle to apply critical thinking and practical reason to the myths and metaphors of ancient scriptures. The author believes that creative writing can be true (and in fact can offer new truths as each reader approaches a text) without being factual. Wrestling With God...is an affirmation of truth that does not demand the literary symbols of scripture be taken literally. Rather than asking religion to redeem people, the writer is asking thinking people to redeem religion so that it can be relevant in the 21st century.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

My New Book: Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned

Can a Skeptic Enjoy the Bible?

Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned is an honest struggle to apply critical thinking and practical reason to the myths and metaphors of ancient scriptures. The author believes that creative writing can be true (and in fact can offer new truths as each reader approaches a text) without being factual. Wrestling With God...is an affirmation of truth that does not demand the literary symbols of scripture be taken literally. Rather than asking religion to redeem people, the writer is asking thinking people to redeem religion so that it can be relevant in the 21st century.


Wrestling With God Without Getting Pinned: Old Stories, New Thoughts, & Progressive Spirituality offers reflections in 36 chapters on various biblical texts. For those who believed anti-intellectual literalsim (which is always selective literalism) or a complete rejection of scripture were the only two ways to deal with scripture, Wrestling With God...offers a third, honest, courageous, and often humorous way of reclaiming (and de-fanging) the bible.



"Through his commentaries on bible stories, some obscure and some Sunday School classics, Watkins teases out logical lessons from what can be rather fantastic narratives." S. Kennedy, Dallas


"Dr. Watkins uses contemporary situations and experiences to illustrate the messages of particular verses. With a level of humor that is thoroughly engaging, he breathes life into ancient texts, cutting to the heart of the true meaning, effortlessly dismantling the myths of a vengeful and angry deity and of a humanity that is considered inferior and imperfect." A. Lambert, Austin


"It has been a pleasure to read Wrestling With God...because the author has the perfect combination of wit, intellect and poetic brilliance. I am moved at one moment and laughing hysterically in another. I'm impressed by the author's scholarly but approachable analysis and writing." B. Hall, Little Rock


To purchase a copy of Wrestling With God...go to www.amazon.com and search for "Durrell Watkins"

There is also a hyper-link that will take you to the exact Amazon page at www.kweerspirit.com