Ancestors – everyone has them, and (spoiler alert!) most of them are dead. Euro-American culture isn’t very good at death. We avoid talking about it; we literally kill ourselves trying to postpone it; we expect grief to have stages and then stop; we are so scared of death we’ve perverted the one day each year our ancestors set aside for remembering them, to instead focus on giving children candy and expressing our fear with giant inflatable spiders. JD shares his journey from judging his ancestors to questioning his fitness to be one. As always, science plays a leading role, along with several other faith traditions and cultures.
What are we, crazy?! Some aspects of our inherited cultural system are clearly harmful to our planet, our descendants, and our own humanity. How did this happen? The study of trauma and the science of epigenetics offer clues. In the context of our damaged and dysfunctional culture, acting with honor for our ancestors, respect for ourselves, and love for future generations often looks like rudeness or radical defiance. Sometimes, Love requires us to defy our own heritage.
Do you despise the question “What do you believe?” JD Stillwater gets real about his own personal beliefs, and discovers a scientific approach towards a New Agnosticism, one that fully embraces the mysteries and ambiguities inherent in natural reality. Along the way we meet a cryptic cat, a famous psychic, a woman with a problem, and a religious organization for atheists. The exclamation “Poppycock!” also makes a cameo appearance.
One of our culture’s foundational myths is about ownership, security, and permanence. JD offers a bit of science, some personal experiences, and a Talking Heads song as puzzle pieces toward a new, more vulnerable humility.
Death is a thief that steals our loved ones, breaks our hearts, and ravages our lives. One of life’s few guarantees, death will come for each of us in time. What good is it? Does the natural world offer hints at deeper purposes that might help us befriend Death? Mary Oliver’s poetry often touched on death as integral to life, and when enriched by understandings from science, her beautiful words inspire a new, friendlier relationship with it. (Our Outreach Offering this morning supports our 1st Principle Project.)
For millennia mystics and prophets have told us “All is one” and yet we feel ourselves surrounded by separation, antagonism, and isolation, plenty of reasons to conclude instead that “All is horribly splintered.” Recent advances from mainstream science reveal an underlying integrity, connectedness, and wholism in everything from human bodies to ecosystems to the fabric of space-time. Science agrees: “All is one.” New findings from science offer an interfaith, non-dual spirituality, grounded in Reality itself.