Progressive Faith Sermons - Dr. Roger Ray

Mary’s song, the Magnificat, has been a favorite text from the Christian tradition for millennia. The exhilaration of hope and the certainty that “the arc of the moral universe” really does “bend toward justice" continue to inspire both faith and activism, especially in the face of all the terrible, and terribly unnecessary, suffering that fills our world. With a long road still ahead of us, it can be hard to keep up with the injustices that fill the news, let alone act on them. Sometimes, the best we can do is keep singing, insisting that justice and mercy have a place. And the more of us who are singing it out, with our words and with our lives, the easier it will be to listen, and change the world.

Direct download: 20201227_Sermon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

In her brilliant new book, Caste, Isabel Wilkerson speaks of racism in America as a caste system that is like the studs that form the frame of our house. We rarely see them or think of them, but they are there, holding the whole house up and if termites or mold get to them, the house will collapse. Racism establishes the social order so that even after the end of slavery, Jim Crow laws, lynching, segregated schools, restrictive real estate covenants, discrimination in hiring, and voter suppression kept much of our black population in the ranks of the “untouchables.” Ending racism will take a lot of work with many complicated steps but it must include closing the wealth gap, the employment gap, making education accessible, and dealing with the unequal distribution of healthcare, and correcting the current trends towards minority voter suppression.

Direct download: 20201220_Sermon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

I have two points to make today. The first is very practical and the second is deeply philosophical. The first is that by paying attention to science, especially in forest management, we can increase the profitability of our natural resources while sustaining our old growth forests which is good both for people in the construction business as well as for people who breath air. The philosophical point is more complicated but it questions our assumption that a Darwinian competition in nature and economics, which pits individuals and species in a life-or-death competition for resources that allows the victors to survive by killing off rivals, is not only not entirely true but is undermining the survival of both forests and civilizations.

Direct download: 20201213_Sermon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

The late Marcus Borg is credited with describing the historical Jesus as being the teacher of radical compassion. In this time when it appears, as Paul Krugman has recently published, our culture of selfishness is killing us, it is vital that we take up that mission of teaching radical compassion. We are all connected and our innate instincts validate our natural desire to care about the welfare of others. We just need to be reminded of the fact that we all really want to be good people.

Direct download: 20201206_SermonV2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:00am EDT