Progressive Faith Sermons - Dr. Roger Ray

Anyone actively involved in trying to make the world a better place has felt the pressures to push past our limitations, abandon boundaries, and sacrifice our well-being and aspirations in the name of a cause. While it is true that sometimes we may strategically and intentionally place our needs to the side to deal with a crisis, it is not sustainable or healthy to do so over the long-term – for ourselves or our movements. Jo Musker-Sherwood called this commitment to knowing and honoring our boundaries a “humble return to the natural rhythm of giving and receiving, of action and rest, that we can find healing personally and globally.” That return is an empowering, joyful, and hopeful invitation that I hope to encourage all of us to embrace.

Direct download: 20230730_Sermon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Tik Tok, Instagram, Twitter, and our very cell phones themselves have shortened our attention span to the point that we hard know how to talk to one another anymore and even worse, it seems that we are nearly incapable of listening to someone. We can never understand another person, especially not someone we are inclined to avoid or reject, unless we are willing to actively, patiently, and sincerely listen to them long enough for them to feel heard and for us to understand them, even if we still disagree. As Paul Tillich said, the first obligation of love is to listen.

Direct download: 20230723_Sermon.mp3
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We often reflect on how economic and social disparities are symptoms of an unhealthy society, associated with environmental degradation, poverty, violence, and oppression. However, we continue to hurtle headlong toward ever-increasing disparities. Examining the rise and role of consumerism can help us understand some of the reasons why this is so, and what we can do to encourage change.

Direct download: 20230716_Sermon.mp3
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Following up on my reflections in June, I share some of the ways that lovingkindness meditation has been helpful in my own life, especially with transforming self-hatred and anger into understanding and kindness. All of us who are committed to continually growing into compassionate, wise people can benefit from having these kinds of skills and resources available to us, our communities, and our movements for justice – increasing our wellbeing now and supporting us when we need them the most.

Direct download: 20230709_Sermon.mp3
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The most popular forms of philanthropy, in giving sandwiches and sleeping bags to the unhoused or sending goats to poor farmers in Central America are symbolic gestures. Handing out free meals is not a solution to poverty and sending goats to Central America rarely has the intended effect. (The goats I sent to Nicaragua a few years ago ended up eating all of the neighbors’ vegetable gardens and nearly started a village war!) But these gestures can be seen at teaching opportunities that help us to grow the kind of conscience the world needs to find the real solutions that can help to make serious inroads into environmental sanity and economic justice.

Direct download: 20230702_Sermon.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am EDT