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Dark Souls: a button mashing video game that speaks to the spirit

Play ‘Dark Souls’ and you will die — again and again and again.

From Software’s latest game — released this month — is long. It’s hard. It can be almost painful to play. And it has absolutely enthralled videogamers.

Maybe that’s because, like a great spiritual teacher, this videogame challenges gamers to learn. Only then will a player be rewarded with the next challenge.

If you’re a certain sort of spiritual person all of this might sound familiar — and maybe a little insulting. No one is going to become enlightened by grinding away a this game on their XBox 360 or PlayStation 3.

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Killing Osama: Our joy reflects how afraid we really were

Killing Osama: Our joy reflects how afraid we really were

Two new movies, Seal Team 6, and Catherine Bigelow’s next hit, invite us to look in a mirror.

BY DAVID RICKEY — Yes, Bin Laden was a very evil individual who masterminded much and mentored many. However, his death will stop neither the consciousness that breeds terrorism nor the historic causes that feed that consciousness.

The decision to bury Bin Laden’s body at sea within hours of his death demonstrates, it seems to me, a level of sensitivity that counters much of the insensitivity that lies at the root of the present pandemic of terrorism (although already there is conflicting opinion and criticism for this action).

While there will always be people who express their selfish anger in acts of aggression against others, the “West” — that over-encompassing term describing what we might describe as the “more enlightened” people in Europe and America — would do well to reflect on our own actions over the past 3+ centuries that have contributed to the anger in Africa, the “Middle East” and southest Asia that underpin the terrorist argument.

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Religion’s overactive testosterone

Religion’s overactive testosterone

How religion came to be about who has the biggest kahunas

BY DAVID RICKEY – We’ve always gotten it wrong. The “religio” in religion means “to connect.” That’s what religion has always meant, but we’re connecting to the wrong things.

Early humans first came up with religion as a way of trying to understand the world and their place in it, and trying to control two things: survival and death. Humans had evolved enough to realize that existence was complex. We intuited meaning and systems such as cause and effect. The problem was that we had also developed an ego, and tended to interpret our intuitions in images that reflected that ego. So we developed the idea of a personal God, and attributed to it many of our own emerging attitudes: anger, jealousy, possessiveness and the need for power – all aspects of ego.

Another problem arose as civilizations evolved: man’s testosterone.

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Sara Miles’ radical conversion to a radical faith

Sara Miles’ conversion to Christianity not only opened her eyes to Christ, but opened the eyes of now fellow Christians

Sara Miles never expected to convert to a religion and worship a God she didn’t believe existed.  Strange as it may sound, but that’s conversion. Former atheist editor of Mother Jones magazine, Miles found herself mysteriously drawn to a mysterious God.

In an interview with David Ian Miller, Miles detailed her conversion beginning with receiving communion at an Episcopal Church. One day Miles spied St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, attended a liturgy, and took communion.

Miles’ meditated on what she had received, what appeared as simple bread and wine, and how this sacred banquet was a reception of faith. And what’s equally interesting is the way Miles’ — a lesbian — challenges ‘traditional’ ideas about faith and identity in the midst of the schism in the Episcopal Church over the status of same-sex relationships.

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Spiritual Surf: Haiti, a spiritual Rorschach

Voodoo shamanism turns to self-blame; Pat Robertson into the mix; Ditto, Danny Glover and Catholicism

Haiti’s voodoo turns against itself and into spiritual self-retribution

Haiti’s devastating earthquake has left thousands dead, injured and homeless, causing a psychic after-shock about suffering, poverty, international relations, death, and God. Amidst the pain and chaos, Haitians and the world are seeking to understand and respond to the consequences of this earth shattering event.  In light of Haiti’s turbulent history of colonization, rebellion, corrupt governments, and natural disasters, all people are prompted to ask “Why did this happen?” and “What can be done now?”

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Celebrating Halloween, every witch way but true

It might be about kinky costumes or eye candy for you. For me, it’s a sacred celebration that ”tricks” sweet little kids into “treating” all witches as ”wicked” stereotypes.

DANNY KENNY — Ah, to be an Irish Pagan at Halloween and witness apparently sane, God fearing people, joyously ridiculing a sacred tradition from an ancient  land of culture.

I refer of course to Ireland, those mythical shores that gave you Shaw and so much more than “Paddy’s Day” and the “Paddy Wagon” — a racist term still sadly used openly in these so called PC days.  Let’s not forget we also gave the world literary greats like Yeats and Wilde.

We gave you the Kennedy family, U2 and even “the Greatest” grandfathers of  all; Muhammed Ali and Obama’s. And what did you choose to celebrate from our culture: Halloween and St Patrick’s Day! Both of which do neither Irish culture nor Paganism any favors.

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Why Prop 8 is a spiritual issue

California’s anti-gay measure is a case study in what dictates change: Consciousness. Not politics

BY CYNDI INGLE — Why does mainstream media, and a mass-market audience, get off on public displays of homo-erotic affection in particular, “girl on girl” action? Madonna slipping Britney some tongue; Ellen marrying her beautiful blonde lover, Portia, and Lindsay Lohan’s fling with Samantha.

Does this mean that we are becoming more accepting of so-called “alternative” lifestyles?

Not likely, as the recent Proposition 8 victory in America’s most populace state, California, has exposed.

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Spiritual Surf: Michael Vick worse than the Taliban

Spiritual Surf: Michael Vick worse than the Taliban

Dogfighting quarterback: “In My Defense, I’ve Found God”

Multimillionaire NFL quarterback Michael Vick goes on record for staging dog fights. If you listen to the first three minutes of that clip, it sounds like an apology.

Then, Vick finds God: “In this situation I found Jesus and asked him for forgiveness, and just turned my life over to god. I think that’s the right thing to do as of right now.”

The religious rhetoric re-emerges toward the end when Vick says: “I will redeem myself. I have to.”

It’s great that Michael Vick apologized. Long overdue in fact. Dogfighting really isn’t in the pantheon of Christian activities. In fact, it’s not even cool. Even the Taliban banned dogfighting in Afganistan (You remember them –they were the guys who  hosted bin Ladn and the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheik Mohammed — and destroyed ancient Buddhist statues at Bamiyan.)

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Church Parking: When good people do bad things

Church Parking: When good people do bad things

23-year-old Thomas Kyle Nursey parked his Ford F-150 pickup truck inside a Catholic church Tuesday morning, according to news reports. The Floridian decided he wanted to go to church at 3 A.M. and drove his truck straight through the front doors to display his anger at God. Police booked him.

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My Hunting Bible

My Hunting Bible

A camouflaged bible may be hard for deer to see, but this product’s path to profitability certainly isn’t. The $50 publication is sold by Christian Outdoorsman, a site that caters to Bible-thumping hunters.

A big market, apparently. A survey of licensed hunters and anglers last year commissioned by the U.S. National Wildlife Federation found half of those polled identified themselves as evangelical Christians, as Reuters reports. Add that to the fact that profit margins on bibles are generally on the order of 90% since there are no royalties to pay an author or copyright issues.

But more than a lucrative business idea, the camo-bible is a reminder of how linked hunting and evangelism have become.

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