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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

799 Let’s be honest: religion has probably never had such a bad name.

Day 799: Tuesday May 24, 2024

Let’s be honest: religion has probably never had such a bad name.

Struggling with Christianity: Rebuilding from the Bottom Up

Our religion is not working well: suffering, fear, violence, injustice, greed, and meaninglessness still abound. This is not even close to the reign of God that Jesus taught.

And we must be frank: in their behavior and impact upon the world, Christians are not much different than other people.

Many Christians are not highly transformed people; instead, they tend to reflect their own culture more than they operate as any kind of leaven within it. I speak especially of American Christians, because I am one. But if you are from another country, look at the Christians where you live and see if the same is true there.

Let’s be honest: religion has probably never had such a bad name.

Christianity is now seen as “irrelevant” by some, “toxic” by many, and often as a large part of the problem rather than any kind of solution. Some of us are almost embarrassed to say we are Christian because of the negative images that word conjures in others’ minds.

Young people especially are turned off by how judgmental, exclusionary, impractical, and ineffective Christian culture seems to be.

Most Christians have not been taught how to plug into the “mind of Christ”; thus, they often reflect the common mind of power, greed, and war instead. The dualistic mind reads reality in simple binaries—good and bad, right and wrong—and thinks itself smart because it chooses one side. This is getting us nowhere.

Throughout the history of Christianity, it would seem Jesus’ teaching has had little impact, except among people who surrendered to great love and great suffering. Could this be the real core of the Gospel? Such people experience God rather than merely have disconnected ideas about God.

We need to rely on the mind of mystics now to offer any kind of alternative—contemplative or nondual—consciousness. We need practice-based religion that teaches us how to connect with the Infinite in ways that actually change us from our finite perspectives.

We must rediscover what St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) called the “marrow of the Gospel.” [1] It’s time to rebuild from the bottom up.

If the foundation is not solid and sure, everything we try to build on top of it is weak and ineffective. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that so much is tumbling down around us. It’s time to begin again.

In the year 1205, Jesus spoke to Francis through the San Damiano cross: “Francis, rebuild my church, for you see it is falling into ruin.” If Jesus himself says the church is falling into ruin, I guess we can admit it also without being accused of being negative or unbelieving. Maybe we have to admit it for anything new and good to happen.

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations

From the Center for Action and Contemplation

Announcement #1: Thank you for signing up for our Women Erased series!

We gather again tonight, Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at 8pm ET, to hear Professor Shaily Patel present her research on female clerics in the Early Church.

Here is your zoom link:

Meeting ID: 881 4876 1758

Passcode: 948349

Professor Shaily Patel will share her research showing that in the early church, women served clerical roles as ordained ministers called deacons and presbyters, both subordinate to the higher-ranking bishops. By the second century CE, deacons functioned as liturgical assistants in the giving of the Eucharist and at baptisms, and could also be used to carry official letters and visit those in prison. The early Christian author Tertullian attests to women presbyters as well, clerics who directly taught, healed, offered the Eucharist, and gave baptisms. The image of solely men populating the clerical orders that stretch back to the time of Jesus and his disciples is an oft-repeated origin story, but one that should be questioned.

Amid the ongoing argument over women as clerics and historical precedent, new mosaics from the site of Ashdod in Israel have added to the evidence for female deacons in antiquity. The mosaic inscriptions reiterate that while most have viewed Francis’s appointments of women as a progressive and novel move, there is broad historical precedent for female clerics that goes later into the period of Late Antiquity than most realize. The mounting evidence from Ashdod and other sites across the Mediterranean together demonstrate that the origins of the early Christian church included women, even if not every church agreed upon their ordination.

Don't forget to read this important article about her work!

We look forward to learning with you all!

Russ Petrus and Deborah Rose

Co-Directors, FutureChurch

Announcement #2: An in-person retreat at St Columba's Inverness

RADICAL INCARNATION: Ecological Discipleship for Radical Times

An in-person retreat at St Columba's Inverness

June 24-26, 2022

Friday - Sunday


The Right Reverend Dr. Marc Handley Andrus

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California

Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll, Sr.

Founder of Green The Church, Oakland, California


Father Vincent Pizzuto, Ph.D.

Vicar of St. Columba's Church & Retreat House

The Christian doctrine of Incarnation affirms that in Jesus of Nazareth the eternal God is present not only alongside creation, but as creation. Without diminishing the significance of Jesus’ humanity, a number of insights from scripture and tradition insist on a more radical understanding of Christ who “is all and is in all” (Col. 3:11). “Radical Incarnation” then (from the Latin radix, root), implies a comprehensive embodiment of God extending to the deepest roots of the material universe. Our vicar, Fr. Vincent Pizzuto, and the St. Columba’s Council for Ecological Discipleship invite you to join us for an in-person retreat with Bishop Marc Andrus (Diocese of California) and The Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll (Founder of Green the Church), on Radical Incarnation designed for Christian contemplatives who seek to deepen their understanding of climate and racial justice in our world today.

Through our conferences, outdoor meditations, communal gatherings, and a Sunday celebration of our Celtic Rite Eucharist, we will explore the theme of ecological discipleship grounded in the scriptural, theological, and spiritual wisdom of the Christian contemplative tradition. Each of our conferences delivered by various speakers will examine the Four R’s of our mission and ministry:

Refugio: offering respite in a place of beauty, deep listening, and practices of stillness that allow for renewal and inspiration;

Resources: an exploration of contemplative, educational, and advocacy-based resources to assist in keeping retreatants informed, connected, supported and encouraged;

Resilience: engaging contemplative practice, personal action, and community collaboration that will help in building spiritual, personal, and collective responsiveness to the climate crisis;

Resistance: learning from methods of peaceful resistance against oppressive social structures embraced by marginalized people and how we might learn from these practices in resisting corporate greed, social apathy, and a lack of political will to address the climate crisis.

The retreat runs from 2pm June 24 through 2pm June 26, 2022.

A more specific retreat schedule will be published soon.

Cost ranges from $150 for a commuter with no food, no lodging to a full package $500 for a single occupancy room. Options are detailed in the registration form. A nonrefundable deposit of $100 is required, and participants will receive more information and confirmation of their reservation closer to the event. Questions may be directed to

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