What's Happening at

December 13, 2019
Editors' Pick
Directed by Terrence Malick

Based on the true life of Franz Jägerstätter, a World War II conscientious objector, this film tells the story of a sensitive, hardworking farmer in northern Austria who, along with his beloved wife, has his conscience sorely tested when Nazis start recruiting soldiers from the countryside.

In keeping with the film's theme, this review has links to 21 additional resources on peacemaking and conscientious objection, which we hope will give you strength and encouragement for your own path.
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

A retreat, a holy book you create, a DVD that has touched you, copies of family recipes: These are some examples of gifts that have meanings attached to them and reflect spiritual practices from the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy.

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

"The Solstice is a time of quietude, of firelight, and dreaming, when seeds germinate in the cold earth, and the cold notes of church bells mingle with the chimes of icicles," writes John Matthews. We invite you to get in touch with the deeper meanings of this seasonal turn through readings, practices, and prayers.

More Practices : Feast Day of St. Lucia, Feast Day of St. John of the Cross, Birthday of Jane Austen, Birthday of Margaret Mead, Birthday of Bede Griffiths, Hanukkah, Christmas
By Joan Chittister

The 1500-year-old Rule of Benedict of Nursia can serve as a guide to a purposeful way of being in our time of global transformation. Joan Chittister, a Benedictine sister with an ecumenical outreach and vision who has written more than 50 books, shares audio and written teachings on themes such as silence, hospitality, humility, and peace.

Read more and sign up:
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

For this 21-day program, we have collected a treasure trove of insights and practices for giving worry less air time. Among the teachers from Sufism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, New Thought, and psychology are Hugh Prather, Eknath Easwaran, Sylvia Boorstein, Sharon Salzberg, Thomas Keating, Sophy Burnham, and Harold Kushner.

Read more and sign up:
In Partnership with Stillpoint

"Fast away the old year passes" ... and 2020, that long-awaited year of clear vision, is around the corner. If you would like to work with a spiritual director in the new year through our collaboration with Stillpoint, now is an excellent time to subscribe and get set up:
Gift Suggestions

Tailor your gifts to your friends, family, and colleagues by selecting e-courses on topics that interest them. It's hard to go wrong with more than 200 from which to choose! If you can't decide, you can always give them a gift certificate that allows them to pick their own.

Treat yourself or your loved ones to the gift of attention, beauty, compassion, meaning, reverence, transformation, wonder, and more with the Spiritual Literacy film series. Joan Chittister writes, "My hope is that a universe of discourse might emerge out of these programs that give all of us another way to view the world."
Directed by Todd Haynes

The film chronicles the courageous investigations by a lawyer into harm caused by unregulated DuPont chemicals. Taking us step-by-step through a very complicated case, it not only helps us understand this particular environmental danger but how other similar problems get ignored and the companies responsible are let off the hook.

More Films : The Aeronauts, Honey Boy, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit, Little Joe, Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu), 63 Up, Ximei
Directed by Jill Culton and Todd Wilderman

The first animated film jointly produced by Dreamworks Animation in the U.S. and Pearl Studio in China, this endearing story centers around a young yeti rescued by a girl who discovers him on the roof of her apartment building and decides to take him back to his home on Mt. Everest.

More DVDs : Edie, Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins
By Diane Eshin Rizzetto

This book's subtitle -- "Zen Guidance for Staying Steadfast When the World Seems Hopeless" -- reveals its deep relevance for our times. Top-drawer practices enhance the author's readings and interpretations of the Buddhist paramitas. Here's an excerpt about kindness in giving for your reflection and a practice about " paying it forward ."
Edited by Diana Ventimiglia

Indulge in stories of cats as spiritual teachers ... for spiritual teachers! Included is the story of the Brussats flunking their rescue-group foster-placement test, which resulted in Lalla, Charley, Julian, Merton, Tara, Boots, Clare, Nur, Pema, and Puja moving in.

More Books : American Nightmare, Energize, Great Love in Little Ways, The Way of Heart & Beauty
Children's Books
By Lupito Nyong'o

A girl gets teased at school about her dark skin and feels distressed about not fitting in, until her mother's consolation and a magical night journey help her realize that she doesn't need to change in the slightest.
By Matthew Forsythe

Did Pokko's parents make a mistake when they gave her a marching bass drum which drowns out their ability to hear each other? Follow this frog daughter's laugh-out-loud funny discovery of her musical charisma.

More Children's Books : I Knew You Could Do It!
Perfect for holiday giving!

Consider sharing with the children in your life stories about the power of friendship to lessen sorrows, the refugee experience, gender identity, and inspiring role models who have changed our world. Read more in this press release ...
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Celebrate the December 18 birthday of the Swiss-born artist by viewing his colorful, playful paintings and enjoy a collection of some of his most savvy quotes.
KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Steffany Melgarejo
A young writer from Paraguay cannot understand her family's religious leanings until one day her grandmother opens up with a personal story about how she came to have faith.
Process Musings Blog
By Patricia Adams Farmer
With all the stresses of Christmas, how does wonder have a fighting chance? How can it reach us and do its magic when we are, like Martha, "distracted by many things"?
Short & Sweet Spirituality Blog
By Frederic Brussat
We discover hope in "daylight after every night, sunlight after rain," writes Michael S. Glasser on this meme accompanied by wisdom about conversation, conscience, doubt, and even eternal happiness.
Practicing Democracy Project
Blog by Sheryl Johnson

On November 19, 2019, students, staff, and faculty from the Graduate Theological Union and wider Berkeley, California, community came together for a workshop on democracy. This blog post shares their experiences and findings.
Film directed by Scott Z. Burns

This riveting thriller, based on fact, centers around the zeal and idealism of Daniel Jones who led the investigation into "enhanced interrogation" methods (i.e. torture) used by the CIA. He discovers that two former Air Force psychologists were paid $80 million in government contracts to set up an interrogation program for al-Qaeda suspects.
Program Plan by Aizaiah Yong and Lucas Hackett-Provenzano

Explore practices that encourage the strengthening of democratic values and virtues through the activities of athletes, sports leadership (including coaches, parents, and sports administration), and spectators.
From Our Wisdom Archive

Hildegard of Bingen was a multitalented and prolific abbess of a Benedictine abbey and an influential preacher, healer, scientist, composer, theologian, artist, and poet. She coined the term viriditas , or greening power, connecting it closely with creativity. Here is a selection of her sayings as quoted in Matthew Fox's Original Blessing .
A Thought to Carry with You
Happy Feast Day of St. Lucia! Sweden, Norway, and parts of Finland understand the value of this festival of lights. In other countries, it deserves way more attention than it gets. By tradition, a daughter -- usually the eldest -- dresses in white with a crown of lit candles and serves coffee and baked goods like saffron cake and ginger biscuits to family members and guests. The feast marks the beginning of the Christmas season, and of course it also honors St. Lucia, one of the earliest Christian martyrs.

What we appreciate most about this holiday is its place in the natural cycle. When we reach the Winter Solstice (on Sunday, December 22 this year), the light is on the verge of returning. But St. Lucia's Day falls at that seemingly impossible juncture when nights have grown longer and longer for months and yet still there's no turn-around in sight.

What do we do at such times? We adorn ourselves with light. We celebrate with loved ones and take in nourishment for body and soul. We honor the feminine as a principle of radiance in the darkness that keeps us alive.

Today, light a candle or two or more and respect your own ability to bring light into the world. Times are dark; times are unstable. Walk as tall as you would if you wore a wreath of candles on your head so that others remember the nobility of spirit that's birthed from within.
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Margaret Wakeley