Is Bush Breaking the Law?

“Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.

Drawing On the Spirit of the Constitution
By Ian Lawton

The current US political era is an embarrassing blip in the life of a nation that has so much to offer its residents and the world. Many of the values being espoused by the nation’s leaders are staggeringly unjust. On the other hand, I grew up believing and I still hold to be true, that the Constitution of the US is a beacon of hope. It models for the global community a way of democracy that honors every person as equal and empowered. It captures beautifully the essence of progressive religion and politics where all people are a divine spark and every moment is sacred. It offers structure around which a progressive movement can see beyond the current darkness.

What defines a progressive religious and political movement? It has no particular end goal in view. It has no absolute dogma and once for all time answers. It models an integral journey rather than enforcing a preordained destination. It will most likely be transpartisan. That is, it will transcend an exclusive attachment to any one political party or social vision. Its ethics will be situational as opposed to either moralistic, the basic conservative ethic, or utilitarian, the basic liberal ethic. The progressive movement will be radically inclusive, affirming the humanity of all people including terrorists, while looking to democratic structures to maintain law and order.

Al Gore gave a powerful speech at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington on Monday. He savaged the president for “breaking the law repeatedly and persistently,” and suggested that the war on terror has “brought our republic to the brink of a dangerous breach in the fabric of the Constitution.”

He suggests that two main issues, illegal wiretapping and the torture of prisoners, point to the accumulation of too much power in the hands of one or a handful of people. Unconstitutional behavior can never be justified, even when done in the guise of fighting terrorism. This is too close to the tyrannical model of king that this country fought so hard to free itself from. As Thomas Paine said, “the law is king.”

The Dean of Yale Law School, Harold Koh, said “If the President has commander-in-chief power to commit torture, he has the power to commit genocide, to sanction slavery, to promote apartheid, to license summary execution.”

The issues of unconstitutional behavior are a spiritual challenge as much as they are political. One of the great global challenges at present is whether we can discern the divine spark in others, even in terrorists. The US Constitution was framed under the shadow of a similar question of inclusiveness. Were Native Americans human beings, divine manifestations, equal under the law, or were they soulless and not worthy of equal treatment under the law?

There were two contrasting responses to Native Americans in the exploration stage of US history. European exploration, beginning with Columbus, decimated the native population within 100 years on a scale that far exceeded even the tragic Holocaust of Jews in the Second World War. The genocide of Native Americans was justified theologically, as it was said that the natives had no souls.

On the other hand, there is increasing evidence that a Viking/ Templar influence had arrived in America well before Columbus. Their pattern of relationship with native people was starkly different. They discovered that natives were kindred spirits. There is solid evidence that the framers of the US Constitution were as much influenced by the Freemasonry of the Templar tradition as they were by the principle of power to the people that grew out of the Enlightenment period of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Progressives inherit much of this early spirituality as well as Enlightenment principles. The same spirit that respects the rights and privacy of all citizens connects people in a global partnership for justice. This transreligious spirituality, when combined with a balanced, transpartisan power structure sets the tone for social activism that adapts to the particular circumstances it faces.

Progressives are justified in feeling that this is a dark stage in the history of this country. It’s hard to be optimistic. However when taking the long view, progressives can find new energy by tracing its movements from the early history of this country and the Constitution. Drawing deeply from the well of native connection to the earth and built on the Templar pillars of respect, love and community service, a new spirit will emerge. The progressive movement is growing a head of steam. Bring it on, so that progressives can take their place in a nation to be proud of, a nation that leads the world in democratic and just values.

Don’t miss this Sunday when Ian will explore the role of the Knights Templar and Freemasonry in laying a philosophical foundation for the US Constitution.

Ian’s Bio

Bishop Spong To Speak at C3/CCC

Saturday, February 18th:
9:00 a.m. Lecture
10:30 a.m. Book Signing
11:00 a.m. Lecture
(cost- $25)

Sunday, February 19th:
9:30 am Bishop Spong speaks at our morning gathering
10:45 a.m. Q & A Session

For more information, call the church office at (616)842-1985.

John Shelby Spong, whose books have sold more than a million copies, was
the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his
retirement in 2001. His admirers acclaim his legacy as a teaching bishop
who makes contemporary theology accessible to the ordinary lay person—
he’s considered a champion of an inclusive faith by many both inside and
outside the Christian church.

In his latest book, The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of
Hate to Discover the God of Love (Harper San Francisco, April 2005), the
visionary thinker seeks to introduce people to a proper way to engage the
holy book of the Judeo-Christian tradition. A committed Christian who
has spent a lifetime studying the Bible and whose life has been deeply
shaped by it, Bishop Spong says he was not interested in Bible-bashing. “I
come to this interpretive task not as an enemy of Christianity,” he says.
“I am not even a disillusioned former Christian, as some of my scholar
friends identify themselves. I am a believer who knows and loves the Bible
deeply. But I also recognize that parts of it have been used to under gird
prejudices and to mask violence.”

A visiting lecturer at Harvard and at universities and churches worldwide,
Bishop Spong delivers more than 200 public lectures each year to
standing-room only crowds. His best selling books include Rescuing the
Bible from Fundamentalism, A New Christianity for a New World, Why
Christianity Must Change or Die, and Here I Stand.

His extensive media experience includes a profile segment on “60 Minutes” and other appearances on “Good Morning America,” “Fox News Live,” “Politically Incorrect,” “Larry King Live,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” William F. Buckley’s “Firing Line,” and “Extra.”

Bishop Spong and his wife, Christine Mary Spong, have five children and six
grandchildren. They live in New Jersey.

Can’t make it to Spring Lake for Bishop Spong’s appearance?

Purchase the complete Center for Religion and Life weekend on DVD.

The set will include both of Saturday’s lectures, Sunday’s sermon, the sermon talk back featuring Bishop Spong and Ian Lawton, plus a never before seen interview with Bishop Spong.

This Sunday: CRL Brunch on Intelligent Design

The Center for Religion and Life’s Sunday Brunch Lecture Series
Sunday February 12, 2006
Howard Van Till
Brunch begins at 11:45 a.m.
Presentation 12:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

The news industry has been busy recently with reports from Dover, Pennsylvania, and elsewhere regarding the efforts of some parents to get a perspective called “Intelligent Design” (ID) into the public school science classroom. In order to evaluate these efforts we need to get answers to several questions: Has ID earned the right to be presented in the biology classroom as an alternative to evolution? Has ID, as claimed by its proponents, stimulated a fruitful scientific controversy that students deserve to hear? Is ID even a scientific theory or, as many critics suggest, is ID a religious proposal masquerading as a scientific theory? These questions and the ones that you bring will be the subject of this Sunday Brunch discussion.

Check Out the Bulletin for This Sunday and the Bulletin Archive!

The C3 Bulletin Archive has turned into a great resource center for other progressive communities around the world. Check out our Bulletin Archive for more progressive Christian liturgies today!

May we join together as one community across divides of geography and time
to be united and inspired by these gathering words:

As we come together and feel the pulse of the life course among us, let us be thankful for this day and these people.

May we, gather here in mystery and unity, share an intention to live fully, breathing deeply into each moment, finding more love in ourselves and each other.

May we, gathered here in struggle and power, remember to listen for that voice still and small inside all of us that reminds us to look for more hope, everywhere.

Jesus said, “I have come that all people may have life, and have it in abundance.”

Are You Part of this Dynamic Community?

This Sunday following the 9:30 gathering we will be exploring our online
ministries in our Sermon Talk Back format. We will be examining issues
surrounding the use of technology. Is there a separation between our
local and global communities? Who benefits from our online ministries?
How does our online ministry coincide with our vision?

Come be a part of this dynamic conversation.

Can’t physically be here in Spring Lake on Sunday?

We would love to hear from YOU!

If you enjoy receiving the e-zine, surfing our website, and learning about progressive Christianity from C3/CCC please let us know.

Help us to put a human value on our online ministry.

Please send us your name and city/country that you live in. Also we would love to hear what you like about this community, and how we could better serve you. Reply to this ezine or

Donate to C3/CCC with Meijer Community Rewards

Shop at Meijer and earn money for Christ Community Church. Meijer Community Rewards program donates up to 4% of purchases to the organization of your choice. Sign up is easy! Pick up an application at your local Meijer store, at the Growing Place at C3/CCC, or you can sign up online by following the link below. You will receive your Meijer Rewards Card in the mail within two weeks and then just swipe your card at the check out. It is that easy! You can have your contribution split among multiple organizations, so if you already have an account, please add Christ Community Church (organization # 533101) to your account today!

Meijer Community Rewards

Don’t Miss The I-WET in Chicago!

Experience the power of integral thought and practice first-hand! Join the folks of Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute for a two-day immersion into the next wave of human evolution — and discover a compelling new approach to personal growth.

A team of ILP experts from Integral Institute will lead the Integral WET weekends, two powerful days of presentation, participation and media, facilitated with both individual and group processes. You’ll be introduced to the foundations of Integral Life Practice (ILP), and learn through direct, engaged experience the principles for carrying your practice forward. You’ll also connect with local practitioners in your area who are committed to this emergent approach to human transformation.

If you would be interested in attending the I-WET in Chicago March 25-26 with a group from C3/CCC please contact Allison Rockey for more information.

“Call Me Malcolm” Movie Premiere

Don’t miss “Call Me Malcolm”, a documentary feature about a transgender seminary student, and his struggle with faith, love and gender identity.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 at 5:00 p.m.

At Extended Grace: 17234 Robbins Rd. Grand Haven (behind Pizza Hut)

This event is Free!

Michigan Premiere with refreshments to follow and an interactive discussion with Joseph Parlagreco, producer.

Join us March 12th for a Presentation by ANSWER

Sunday March 12th come check out the presentation of ANSWER’s (American Nepali Students & Women Education Relief) Display of Needy Children in Nepal in the Narthex, between and after the services.

These students are currently enrolled in schools in Nepal, but are in need of sponsors to continue their studies. Unlike many such programs, these children have been selectively screened from destitute, low caste families and are enrolled on college prep pathways in excellent native schools, taught in English, and with a high success rate. Besides being tax-deductible, the administration is self-supporting, so that all of your donation goes towards the child’s education which costs just 50-60 cents a day. Letters to the children will be going out soon, so now is the perfect time to begin a sponsorship and your correspondence.

Also check out two powerful, short films smuggled out of Nepal and Two young, local filmmakers just back from Nepal after the 9:30 a.m. gathering.

One film is a local award winner; the other is still in production. Tulsi Bhandari and David Ruck will answer questions about the civil war and their recent experiences there. Unbeknownst to most, this war is now 10 years in the running, the bloodiest war in Asia, and one of the most complex and enigmatic political fronts anywhere. What is at stake?: Nepal is a 500 mile buffer state between the two most populous, and rapidly developing nations in the world. Paradoxically, China has now supplanted the USA in arming the King’s forces against the Maoist insurgents! Please come and gain the insights of these two daring young men.

Explore Your Options to Donate to C3/CCC

We now have two options for online giving.

The Network For Good is a secure online donations collection website for non profit organizations. Through the Network for Good you will have the option of either making a one time donation or signing up for automatic monthly recurring donations. You must be a U.S. resident to donate through the Network for Good.

Donations can also be made now through Paypal. By accessing the support c3 page on our website you can make a one time donation, or a recurring donation of $10 through Paypal. You do not have to have or create a Paypal account to use this service. Paypal accepts International payments.

As explored in our recent community financial meeting donating through The Network for Good or Paypal is more efficient than using the merchant account that Christ Community Church has set up. With both The Network for Good and Paypal there is no flat service fees. Both services retain 3% of the donation amount to cover their processing fees.

You will need to enter your own information into either Paypal or The Network For Good we cannot transfer that information for you. If you would like to stop into the church office we will be happy to assist you.

Donations made to Christ Community Church are tax deductible. Please consult your tax advisor if you have any questions.

We cannot thank you enough for your support of Christ Community Church.

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