June 3, 2016

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick   

Living Spiritual Teachers Project

Diana Butler Bass -- award-winning author, speaker, and independent researcher into American religious history -- has long sought real-world applications of faith. These books, articles, videos, and more lead us into realms of personal pilgrimage, peacemaking, congregational transformation, and the sea change that's sweeping through Christianity. 

This holy month of fasting, intensified practice, and charity in the Muslim faith has much to offer people of any tradition. Here are websites, book excerpts, rituals, and poetry to enhance your observance of Ramadan or your understanding of and solidarity with Muslims.

By Thomas Keating and Contemplative Outreach      
June 6 - July 1, 2016

Starts Monday: The parables of Jesus help us to see how revolutionary, in the best sense of the word, was the content of his teachings. 
Read more and sign up here:
Practicing Spirituality with Anthony de Mello
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat      
May 30 - July 8, 2016

We welcome your company in this e-course, newly begun, which springs from profound regard for Anthony de Mello's ability to spin a good yarn which speaks to the heart of spiritual life. Read more and sign up here: 

Directed by Whit Stillman

This sassy, witty, and wonderful screen adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Lady Susan displays the author's trademark social satire through idiosyncratic characters caught up in the deceits, fantasies, desires, gossip, and ridicule of an audacious widow.

More Films: The Witness, Under the Gun   

Directed by Charles Ferguson

Salutary changes are taking place in renewable energy technology that could turn around the march towards global warming and its catastrophic consequences. With a lively and enlightening mix of statistics, trends, stunning photography, interviews with experts, and much more, this film helps us overcome denial while instilling fresh hope.  

Mere Spirituality
By Wil Hernandez

Wil Hernandez leads retreats on Henri Nouwen's spirituality. Here he draws upon the Catholic's many books for insights into solitude, identity, togetherness, solidarity, service, compassion, hospitality, and more. In this excerpt, he quotes Nouwen's view that solitude is "daring to stand in God's presence."

More Books: The Conscious Wedding Handbook, Violence All Around 

By Darren Polito

"All coincidences are kissing cousins to miracles," David Spangler tells us, and Marianne Williamson reminds us that any moment in which we allow ourselves to fully be "becomes our portal to the miraculous." Bring fresh sparkle to your life with these and other artistically rendered quotes on this awe-inspiring theme.


Spiritual Literacy Blog
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

A proliferation of scientific studies by psychologists are looking into social and emotional functions of awe. It is often triggered by striking physical magnitude (the Grand Canyon) or conceptual vastness and can lead to increased feelings of connectedness.

The Reverence Project   

Check out the updates to our Reverence Project, from a documentary about songbirds as harbingers of problems facing us, to the practice of holding a Council for All Beings, and a book about living an awesome life. 

From Our Wisdom Archive   

Progressive Christian Spirituality

Progressive Christian Spirituality is characterized by openness to other religions, different understandings of Jesus, recognition of the importance of study and equipping the saints, and service to the world. Explore our vision of this path and an alphabet of 100 jottings, lineaments, signs, quotations, probes, prayers, and spiritual practices that are part and parcel of it.
A Thought to Carry with You  

Some of you will remember Arthur Gordon "Art" Linkletter, whose interviews with children on his television (and before that, radio) show "House Party" put surprising twists into, well, just about everything. Here's an interview with a child about biblical nonviolence:

Art: What are you learning at school that you can tell us about?
Child: They teach you not to fight with your friends.
Art: How do they do that?
Child: They read from the Bible, where Jesus says, "Thou shalt not kill."
Art: I'm happy to hear that they've stopped the killing on the playgrounds this way. But tell me, have you been punished lately?
Child: Yes.
Art: What for?
Child: Hitting a kid in the face with a cupcake.
Art: Why did you do that?
Child: It's not in the Bible.
-- from Kids Say the Darndest Things by Art Linkletter

It's a logic many grown-ups are not loathe to employ. We see it in Luke 10, for instance, when Jesus prompts a law expert to do some self-inquiry and answer his own question about how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus asks, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?" The expert replies, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself." Bingo! But the expert goes a step further, wanting to justify himself, and asks who counts as his neighbor. That is when Jesus gives a no-holds-barred explanation: He tells the story of the Good Samaritan.

Bear in mind that in those days, "Good" and "Samaritan" were mutually contradictory words in most people's minds. They may roll off our tongues, but back then they were in essence the punchline: Of course a Samaritan (who back in the day were despised by those who strictly adhered to Judaism) can do no good. Or can he? Although it is not what the expert wanted to hear, Jesus points out that anyone who needs our help and compassion -- even those we'd like to hit in the face with a cupcake or worse -- is our neighbor. And the flip side is also true: Those who notice our plight and help us might come in surprising forms. That's the true spirit of the call to love our neighbor.

This week, when your conscience nudges you, invite it to vote full out in favor of the spirit behind your favorite scriptures. You probably know more about what Love asks of us than you would even admit to yourself. And if you slip up and "toss a cupcake" at someone, remember that we get as many chances to try again as there are sprinkles on top . . . and then some. 
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat  
Patricia Campbell Carlson