iOS app Android app

Jim Burklo
Jim Burklo is the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. He is an Adjunct Professor at USC’s School of Social Work, and is a Faculty Mentor at the USC Keck School of Medicine. He's an ordained United Church of Christ pastor. He has pastored churches, served as a campus minister at Stanford, and headed a homeless services agency. Rev. Burklo is the author of three books: "Open Christianity: Home by Another Road" (2000); "Birdlike and Barnless: Meditations, Prayers, Poems, and Songs for Progressive Christians" (2008); and "Hitchhiking to Alaska: The Way of Soulful Service" (2013).

Entries by Jim Burklo

Dearly Beloved

(0) Comments | Posted June 29, 2015 | 7:32 PM

"If faith communities lead the way in honoring the reality of same-sex marriage, the law will eventually follow."  -- Jim Burklo, BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS, 2008

 Oh happy day, Friday, June 26, 2015!  -- when our dearly beloved gay and lesbian...

Read Post

We're All Connected

(2) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 5:54 PM

Read Post

Ideas Matter: Toward an Ecological Civilization

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2015 | 1:25 PM

Starting today, I'll be at a conference nearby at Pomona College called Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization, which will draw about 1,500 participants from around the world, including many from China. I got involved in it because, for my whole career as a pastor, I've been...

Read Post

What Harm Would Jesus Reduce?

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 3:09 PM

It is now 141 years since the founding of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, which preached total abstinence from alcohol and mounted the campaign that resulted in Prohibition in the United States. It's 44 years since President Nixon declared a "war on drugs". Both of these crusades resulted in disaster....

Read Post

The Invisible Hand of God

(2) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 1:36 PM

"When the happiness or misery of others depends in any respect upon our conduct, we dare not, as self-love might suggest to us, prefer the interest of one to the interest of many." Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Book 3, Sec. 1, Chapter 3.


Read Post

Wrestling With God

(2) Comments | Posted April 21, 2015 | 12:36 PM

For the last couple of months, I've been studying the book of Genesis with a group of very bright young USC students.  I'm the adviser for our "Church of the Broken Bread" progressive Christian student fellowship here.  Our weekly gatherings are simple.  First, each of us takes a piece and...

Read Post

Mindfulness: A Short Course

(1) Comments | Posted February 25, 2015 | 11:13 AM

Read Post

Waking to the Light

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 3:22 PM

"... remain here, and stay awake with me."  Jesus, Matthew 26: 38

One night of our dog's life lasted for just a few minutes.
Our yellow Labrador, Kai, was playing in our front yard on a sunny afternoon, years ago. ...
Read Post

Who or What Is God?

(424) Comments | Posted January 30, 2015 | 5:34 PM

As you may have noticed from my recent "musings", I've been spending a lot of time with professed atheists lately.  In particular, this week I found myself engaged in a rich email dialogue with Gretta Vosper, pastor of West Hills United, a congregation of the...

Read Post

Vivekananda's Contribution to Christian Religious Pluralism

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2015 | 11:15 AM

(This is the speech I gave at a commemoration of the birthday of Swami Vivekananda at the Vedanta Society in Hollywood on 1-11-15.)
Dear Vedanta...
Read Post

Some Assembly Required: A Church Without God

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 4:24 PM

On 1/11, I drove down the hill to the Musicians Union hall at 817 Vine Street to attend the monthly Sunday Assembly Los Angeles, described at its website as "a godless community that meets monthly to hear great talks, connect for...
Read Post

Images and the Sacred

(0) Comments | Posted January 14, 2015 | 11:44 AM

In the last several years, I've been making art using found objects.  One day I looked in my boxes of raw materials in my workshop and found a rusted toy pickup truck, a corroded CO2 canister, a broken spring, and what looks like a gasket.  I put them...
Read Post

Hollywood Christmas

(0) Comments | Posted December 19, 2014 | 8:12 AM

It's the last place on Planet Earth we thought we'd ever be. Neither my wife Roberta nor myself has any particular interest in celebrities, nor in celebrity itself. Our house is situated below the Hollywood sign, and on my way to and from the subway station, I'm sure I pass...

Read Post

A Church Without God

(5) Comments | Posted December 2, 2014 | 11:12 AM

I now have the privilege of watching a remarkable experiment unfold -- up-close and personal.

And where better to observe an experiment than at a research university?

My new colleague and friend, Bart Campolo, is the principal investigator. Bart is the new Humanist Chaplain at the University of Southern California....

Read Post

The Politics of Love

(1) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 10:12 AM

For a long period in the history of the United States, Christians understood that progressive political action for structural social change was a necessary means toward the end of living out the gospel.  They understood that charity would never solve the nation's social ills.  Their religious faith...
Read Post

World Religion in America: The Second Generation

(3) Comments | Posted November 6, 2014 | 9:58 AM

She looked the part of a fine arts major, with the gold spangle in her nostril, the streak of purple in her jet-black hair, and her bespoke clothing.  Her diminutive form and high voice gave no hint of the feisty energy that would pour forth whenever she spoke up in...

Read Post

Mindful Christianity

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2014 | 7:22 PM

I invite you to join me in an experience of mindful Christianity.

Let us begin with a time of silence with eyes closed. In the quiet, observe whatever arises to take your attention. Just watch it, letting it be. Don't try to change it or fix it. But...

Read Post

Incarceration or Redemption?

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2014 | 11:56 AM

Today, over 2,000,000 Americans are in jail or in prison. We've got five percent of the world's population, but 25 percent of its prisoners. More black men are under the control of the criminal justice system in America today than were enslaved before the Civil War...

Read Post

Intimate Silence: Spirituality of Desert Preservation

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 7:34 PM

Desert Stewardship Project event, 9/6/14, Joshua Tree National Monument

A young Muslim woman student at the University of Southern California once told me that the reason she fasts at Ramadan is to manifest an essential human quality. Human beings, she said, are the only creatures that are able to restrain...

Read Post

Coffee Hour -- America's True Religion

(1) Comments | Posted August 13, 2014 | 10:47 AM

(Here's one from the vault!  from 1984... it ran in CoEvolution/Whole Earth Review, which was a journal of countercultural thought and technology produced by Stewart Brand and the folks at the Whole Earth Catalog.  Shortly after my article appeared, I went to worship at a Gnostic church in Palo Alto,...

Read Post