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Margaret Placentra Johnston
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As a practicing Optometrist, Margaret Placentra Johhston has spent over thirty years helping people see better in the physical world. Now, as the author of a new book, 'Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind' (Quest Books, October, 2012) and through occasional articles and her blog at Patheos, Margaret writes to promote clearer vision of a different sort. She is certain that if only people were more aware of the implications of the spiritual development stages, there would be no need for the divisiveness about religion that plagues our society.

Margaret is the proud mother of two grown sons, and lives with her husband in the Washington, D.C. area.

Entries by Margaret Placentra Johnston

Why Trump Is Bad for America - One Reason I Bet You Never Thought Of

(9) Comments | Posted December 23, 2015 | 9:08 AM

While many may not have noticed, our collective spiritual understandings have been undergoing change over the decades. Leading edge philosophers and open-minded theologians have noted an evolutionary shift toward a broader, more comprehensive existential understanding than that put forth by our traditional religions, and beyond that which is recognized in...

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Religion vs Science: A Call to a Higher Standard

(4) Comments | Posted December 2, 2015 | 9:32 AM

In my inbox a few days ago was a report from Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture on whether young people are losing their faith because of science. The report starts by mentioning a young college student named Jesse who had been brought up in a devout...

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Are We Still Blaming Muslims?

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 2:10 PM

Just after last week's attacks in Paris, I entered into a chance conversation with an educated and otherwise fairly aware person who should have known better. He described a feeling of fear toward a certain group of people about whom he knew nothing more than that they are known to...

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Postdenominationalism: An Imperative for Awakened People in Our Times.

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 7:29 AM

After eighteen years, the bold, but controversial spiritual leader Matthew Fox has updated his autobiography, Confessions. In 1996, when the first version was published, I doubt very many people saw the significance of his subtitle: The Makings of a Postdenominational Priest. But Matthew Fox was a man before his time,...

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Perspectives on Oprah's BELIEF series

(3) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 7:02 AM

Kudos to Oprah for her monumental effort to open our eyes to the beauty in the diversity of beliefs, customs and perspectives held by people from various cultures. It has been four weeks since the original airings of her BELIEF series appeared on Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). We know that...

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More "Nones?" No Surprise There!

(1) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 11:57 AM

Pew Research recently reported their findings that religious "nones" are not only growing, they are becoming more secular. This should come as no surprise.

There are good reasons why the very term "religious" is developing a negative connotation in our society. We have the divisiveness of hard line, literal...

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From Religions of Exclusion Toward a Spirituality of Inclusion

(81) Comments | Posted February 10, 2013 | 2:50 PM

The concept of being spiritual but not religious suffers from a lot of confusion. One reason is that spirituality fails to elucidate specific guidelines on how to "do it right." Unlike religion, which often errs on the other side with too many rules, or too rigid of rules, a generalized...

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Is Your Belief System the Result of Choice -- or Epiphany?

(24) Comments | Posted January 9, 2013 | 12:04 PM

In his 2006 book, "The Audacity of Hope," Barack Obama described the reason he had originally joined the Trinity United Church of Christ . He said "It came about as a choice and not an epiphany." Why would he mention this? Why would it matter?

Up to 12

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Non-Attachment as a Spiritual Goal

(44) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 1:07 PM

The spiritual literature tells us that an attitude of non-attachment is a goal in spiritual development, or an endpoint on the road to enlightenment. What does this mean?

First we want to clarify what is meant by attachment before we consider its opposite. If we have our hopes set...

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Globalization vs. Traditional Religion

(8) Comments | Posted November 26, 2012 | 2:16 PM

We may as well face some facts. Back in the old days people would be born, live and die in the same village. Everyone they knew was of the same nationality, ate the same kinds of food, wore similar clothes and, most likely, was of the same religion. Some may...

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The Self vs. Spiritual Growth

(13) Comments | Posted November 12, 2012 | 3:56 PM

Growth to spiritual maturity can be defined as an ever-enlarging circle of concern. The first growth step, which typically happens in a healthy childhood, is to move from being concerned only with oneself (egocentric) to including people in one's own group: one's family, community, religion and nation (ethnocentric). The next...

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