MUSINGS by Jim Burklo - weblog See the GUIDE to Jim Burklo_s Musings

JIM BURKLO writes and speaks about the progressive Christian movement, religious literacy, and interfaith understanding. He is the Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. He is also Adjunct Professor of Public Policy in the USC graduate School of Social Work. He served as the minister of Sausalito Presbyterian Church, Sausalito, CA, of College Heights Church of San Mateo, CA and was campus minister of United Campus Christian Ministry at Stanford University. His community organizing work led to the founding of the Urban Ministry of Palo Alto (now part of InnVision Shelter Network), which he later served as its executive director. BOOKS BY JIM BURKLO @

Jim Burklo’s new novel, SOULJOURN, invites readers on a journey of spiritual and religious exploration. While on a hike near his deep southwestern home one morning, a quirky teenager named Joshua T. Stoneburner experiences an apparition in a cholla cactus. Inspired, disturbed, and curious, Joshua goes on a quest to visit every religious community he can find to try to uncover the meaning of his vision. Did he see the mother of God in that cactus? Something else? Joshua isn't giving up till he finds out, even if it turns his teenage years upside-down. Joshua's search for clues leads him into an array of spiritual experiences, each one packed with characters as enlightening and exasperating as they are entertaining. Along his way, Josh meets stranded Mexican immigrants, a tormented church janitor, a caf_ waitress and her young fraternal twins, and a Native American scout for drug smugglers. As he learns compassion, he teaches his own fumbling father how to love. In Souljourn, Joshua Stoneburner is a "coyote" spiriting us across the border of laughter and tears and calling us into a newfound appreciation of this country's remarkable religious diversity. What happened to Joshua T. Stoneburner could happen to you! See the study guide to the novel here. Become a SOULJOURNER yourself, here.

In Jim Burklo_s recent book, HITCHHIKING TO ALASKA: The Way of Soulful Service (St Johann Press, 2013), he draws from his deep well of experience working with homeless people, leading service-learning programs for university students, and pastoring churches._ With touching stories, poetry, and parables, HITCHHIKING TO ALASKA illustrates universal principles about the spirituality of helping relationships._ It shatters facile assumptions about what it means to serve._ It inspires people of all religions, or of no faith affiliation, to aim higher in their works of service._ HITCHHIKING TO ALASKA is recommended reading for anyone in any kind of helping relationship._ It is particularly useful for service-learning professionals and students in secondary and higher education, and for leaders and volunteers in religious congregations and faith-based service organizations. See the study guide to the book here.

BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians - by Jim Burklo

Ready for a humble, hard-working Christian religion that is progressive, pro-justice, and pro-peace? Ready for faith that takes the Bible seriously because it doesn't take it literally? Ready for a soulful expression of this kind of Christianity in meditative prose, poetry, ritual, and song? Ready to empty the barn of dusty dogma, and take wing with soulful celebration? Jim Burklo, author of OPEN CHRISTIANITY (St Johann Press, 2000), still used as a text by study groups around the world as an introduction to progressive faith, has produced a jewel of a new book. It is a rich devotional resource for individuals, and a treasure-trove of fresh material for churches to use in worship and programming. His personal reflections lead the reader on a spiritual path from the contemplative to the comic, from tender moments to prophetic exhortations, from analysis to inspiration. His new lyrics to old hymns offer poetic antidotes to outdated theology. His prayers move readers, both Christian and non-Christian, beyond supernaturalism and into the heart of mystical experience. His liturgies bust out of the barn of stodgy worship. They buzz with the word that the listeners heard when Jesus pointed at the birds in his Sermon on the Mount. It's word jazz, it's bird jazz; it's BIRDLIKE AND BARNLESS: Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians (St Johann Press: 2008)

OPEN CHRISTIANITY invites you to love God and your neighbor as Jesus did, and to let go of any religious doctrine that blocks love's way. Open Christianity invites you to follow Jesus' way of loving even the unlovable, without needing to believe the unbelievable. It looks at Christianity as a living, changing language of the heart and soul. The book and this website are windows into this emerging, progressive form of the faith. Order OPEN CHRISTIANITY (published by St Johann Press) through The Center for Progressive Christianity.

MUSINGS by Jim Burklo - weekly weblog - contact Jim to ask to receive each new article by email

ARTICLE: What Is Progressive Christianity?


BREAD AND ASPHALT by Jim Burklo - book re: homelessness

STATIONS OF THE CROSS by Jim Burklo - a fresh interpretation of an old tradition

THE FOUR SPIRITUAL AWES : Jim Burklo's new "tract" for initiation to the spiritual quest

KIDSOUL : Jim Burklo's new pages for parents and kids - interfaith spiritual education for young people


WEDDING GUIDE by Jim Burklo - for couples to use in preparing for weddings


MEDITATION GUIDE by Jim Burklo and Jim Garrison

Meditation Cards by Jim Garrison -- to order this or other meditation cards





Jim Burklo


The Center for Progressive Christianity



United Church of Christ
Revised Standard Version of the Bible - Passage Locator
Progressive Christians Uniting