Progressive Faith Sermons - Dr. Roger Ray

Rabindranath Tagore once wrote to a friend: “Whatever we understand and enjoy in human products instantly becomes ours, wherever they might have their origin… Let me feel with unalloyed gladness that all the great glories of [humanity] are mine.” This openness is a fitting aspiration for the pluralism that has often characterized Hinduism, the Sanatana Dharma (“eternal law/way”), over its long history. But, like all cultural and religious traditions, Hinduism has also struggled with religious nationalism and violence. Today, that violence again threatens the wellbeing of India and Hindus around the world. So against “all forms of bigotry and oppression,” from caste to Hindu supremacy, many Hindus are organizing to build a society free from hate, and free to feel that unalloyed gladness and peace.

Direct download: 20220327_Sermon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

Buddhism has been subject to the same limitations as any other cultural or religious system, including fundamentalist violence. However, various Buddhist traditions also contain important insights and practices for “learning and practicing non-attachment to views and being open to others’ experiences and insights in order to benefit from the collective wisdom.” Using the first three of “The Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings” from the Plum Village tradition as a reference point and guide, we’ll explore one Buddhist pathway that helps us “transform dogmatism and violence in ourselves and the world.”

Direct download: 20220320_Sermon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT

We too easily think of modern Judaism as being an ancient religion that hails from Abraham and Moses. The truth is that Judaism began as a polytheistic faith rooted in a priestly cult that practiced animal sacrifice. A religion that bears very little resemblance to what we would encounter in any modern synagogue. Religions are always fluid, changing, growing, and, frankly, they are almost always in need of review, evolution, or reform. Judaism is not exception to this rule. Especially as we consider the unique relationship between the Jewish faith and the state of Israel.
Direct download: 20220313_Sermon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

The world's major religions have roots in antiquity when historical literacy was not highly valued and when it was common to "personify" aspects of nature, turning the world into a place full of gods and spirits. In the 21st century, it is important for us to be able to demythologize all of the world's religions to mine them for moral insights and instruction while leaving behind much of the magical and mythic thinking which has led to so much prejudice and abuse.

Direct download: 20220306_Sermon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am EDT