August 15, 2017

What's Happening This Week at

Editor's Pick   

By Patricia Adams Farmer and Jay McDaniel   

Here is a companion for your spiritual practice from two bloggers who believe in a God of love and beauty -- "the poet of the world" -- who is tenderly interrelated with all creation. They will be covering a variety of topics related to spirituality, process theology, music, art, beauty, multi-faith spirituality, justice, pop culture, politics, science, and ecology.
In addition to their introductory post, you can enjoy a taste of what's to come in " 'A' is for Attention." 

A new e-course by Philip Goldberg        
September 4 - 29, 2017  
The principles and practices of Yoga are not just for Hindus. Join us to see how yogic precepts and methods can help everyone, regardless of path or tradition, live a deep, authentic spirituality in the modern world. The emphasis is on individuality, not one-size-fits-all solutions. Read more and sign up: 
A Journey of Discernment
A new e-course by Contemplative Outreach and Mary Margaret Funk       
September 4 - 29, 2017  
Discernment is a way of coming more awake and discovering the spark of divinity burning in your heart. With one of S&P's Living Spiritual Teachers, explore the contemplative approach to discerning small and large decisions in life, with a strong emphasis on practice. Read more and sign up: 
A year-long program 
Enrollment ends August 31, 2017 
This new group -- with some members from previous years taking part -- is for people of any skill level and has only just begun. Enrollment will remain open until the end of this month, so if you have not yet joined us, we hope you'll do so today! Read more and sign up:  

Directed by Jang Hoon  
In 1980, a taxi driver takes a European on a day trip to Gwangju, not knowing that protests there have turned violent and unarmed people are being killed. This riveting South Korean film puts a human face on the fight for justice and the kind of passion required to speak out against human rights violations.
More Films: After Love, The Last Dalai Lama?, The Nile Hilton Incident  

Wolf Nation
By Brenda Peterson 
Wolves, often seen as spiritual guides and allies by indigenous people, were nearly exterminated in most of the United States by the twentieth century. This book by a perceptive naturalist explains the beneficial impact of wolves on their habitat, shares wolf stories, and offers resources for preserving wild wolves. The review is complemented by a Commonplace Book blog that invites us into the wondrous world of wolf medicine.   
More Books: Building a Bridge, Keeping Place, Lead Yourself First, Talking Pictures, Wendell Berry and Higher Education, Writing to Awaken 

By Lisanne Skyler   
This enlightening 40-minute documentary is a smart and sassy look at pop art, marketing, and family memoir. It registers on the senses as a wise depiction of the ephemeral nature of art and the values which govern our choices. 

By Darren Polito  
"Humor is the prelude to faith, and laughter the beginning of prayer," Reinhold Niebuhr wrote. The news has been heavy lately, and even while we hold many concerns in our hearts, let's remember the gift of humor through these wonderful memes.

Praying the News Blog

It is hard to know how to pray as respect and civility unravel, but seminarian Lauren Grubaugh helps us remember "the God who tramples fear and hatred under Her feet." 
More Blogs: Human Rights for a River, Michael Moore on Broadway, Parochial Prayer
From Our Wisdom Archive   

Our world has a great need right now to understand racism and develop empathy and compassion for its targets. Here are books, book excerpts, quotes, blog posts, personal explorations, and practices you can study and share with others to help meet this need.
A Thought to Carry with You  

Leave it to Emily Dickinson to toss a paradox our way in four very short lines:

"Luck is not chance --
It's Toil --
Fortune's expensive smile
Is earned."

We hear a similar theme in Philippians 2: 12-13: "Continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort ... is God."

These two poles are sometimes described as the long path and the short path. On the long path, you steadily refine your character to become the most caring, creative, skillful, and wise person you possibly can be. This takes long and often hard practice, and it predisposes you to lead a more meaningful, fortunate life than you'd find if you merely slid along unconsciously.  
On the short path, you surrender, aware that grace is abundantly available to carry you towards consecration to authentic, refined, and benevolent principles. It is active in its own way: You give yourself over to the Divine, like an aerialist trusting her partner to catch her.

There's no simple long path/short path ratio or recipe. Most of us need to keep binocular vision, mindful of the toil that's needed while also knowing that it would be hubris even to say that we are the ones doing the toiling.  
This week, see if you can hold both in mind: an unfailing trust in Divine help and unflagging dedication to doing all you can to embody the best of what it is to be human. If you feel yourself slipping too much towards one side of the equation, gently pull yourself back into a balance between the two.
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito