The “S” Word

We don’t use the word “sin” very often at NRCC because it has gotten kind of encrusted with toxic meanings over the centuries. However, it is an important spiritual concept. In this lesson we look at the double nature we tend to carry inside ourselves — we don’t want to deceive ourselves, but we are prone to […]

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Community Meeting (a pretty important one)

A lot has happened to our community recently. Our minister (me) got the boot from the denomination we were part of. Our community voted to keep the minister (again, me), which meant our vote was to both leave the denomination, and since the denomination owns the building, to find a new home. It’s been a lot. And while all that […]

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Our Brains: A Blessing . . . And A Curse (2)

Last week, we saw how our brains have a built-in motivation system to get us up, out of bed, eating, drinking, procreating, and doing the things we need to further our lives and the species. The whole system is a real blessing. But it’s also a curse. It sucks us into a time-focus that is anything but […]

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Our Brains: A Blessing . . . And a Curse (1)

There are some chemicals in our brains that create a motivation cycle which really helps us. These chemicals get us out of bed, and motivate us to eat, and work, and make babies — all the stuff we need to do to sustain life. What a relief! When something goes wrong with these motivating chemicals in […]

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This lesson is about staying engaged in the present moment. It is about not borrowing regrets from the past — or anxiety from the future. But sometimes we don’t borrow regret or anxiety — we borrow relief, or respite. In our painful moments, it is much easier NOT to live in the present moment. So […]

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I’m a Future-Fixate-er. You?

“Staying present to the moment.” It’s a buzz-phrase in contemplative circles these days. But what does it mean? Does it mean we don’t plan our futures? Does it mean we don’t interpret our pasts? If so, we’re pretty much out of luck. Who can do that? I don’t think it means either of those things. […]

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Staying Current with the Present Moment

We took a break in August, from our lesson series on rethinking prayer (lots of change going on in our community). Today we return. In this lesson, we rehearse some context — why prayers of detachment are so valuable on the spiritual journey. We give this review, as context for one remaining prayer in this lesson — […]

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OK . . . Now What?

Last week we had a community vote to leave our denomination. It was a gutsy thing for the community to do, because in the denomination we were part, the local church doesn’t own the church building. We will be renting back the building for a while, but we’re searching for a new home. As you […]

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Damned if we do . . . Damned if we don’t

Jesus gave us a handful of really straightforward things to do… Love God. Love people. But as long as false identities define the “me” that I think I am, I’ll take off to follow those straightforward things — and screw them up badly. All we have to do, is do the right thing, but do […]

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Some Principles Before We Vote

If you’re part of our community, you know that our denomination is deciding if they will ask us to leave. I (Doug) wrote a book that raised some red flags for them, so they’ll decide soon whether my credentials will be revoked. If that happens, our community will vote to stay or remain in the denomination. […]

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Seriously?! “Sacerdotal?” Come on!

Organized religion has a bad name these days. And religious jargon has an even worse one. So when we hear religious words, we tend to glaze over and shut down. Unless we dig deeply enough to understand what they mean — and where the life and vitality was when the words were first used. So […]

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Penance: It’s Not What You Think

We conclude this rather lengthy lesson on the prayer of confession — the prayer of self-awareness and self-disclosure with this epilogue. If you’ve seen a movie where the the priest finishes confession with an assignment, “say ten hail-Mary’s,” or some such thing, you might have an idea about what penance is. But that’s not really […]

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Making it Safe

We can’t practice the prayer of self-awareness and self-disclosure we’ve been talking about these many weeks — without creating an environment that is safe for doing it. Today’s lesson is about the practical things we must have in place before this transformative prayer practice can work. Have a listen, Doug  

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