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Showing posts from January, 2020

Star Words

In my Christian tradition, Epiphany celebrates what we believe to be the manifestation of the divine in the person of Jesus Christ. Coming in the liturgical year on January 6th, we read the story of the wise ones from afar who follow the star to the manger where Jesus was born. As we consider what the revelation of God in our midst means for each of our lives, some congregations distribute “star words” at Epiphany. A variety of words (like abundance, change, courage, delight, exploration, invitation, joy, possibility…) are printed on cut-out paper stars, and people pull a random star out of a basket, selecting a word that is meant to inspire/challenge/guide/provoke them throughout the coming year.   This year was the first time I participated in the relatively new spiritual practice of choosing a star word. To be quite honest, I’m not sure what to expect. And the word that came up for me was “process”—not the most inspiring! But I suspect the idea is to stay open to hearing and sens

A Heart For Humanity

Last month, one of our young adult parishioners sent me an e-mail update on her current activities in Arizona.   In addition to getting adjusted to being away from home for the first time and not being able to get home on short notice, she was adjusting to living with virtual strangers.   What helped her transition is her involvement in assisting others in making a better life for themselves.   She is doing that through the organization Habitat for Humanity.   If you are not aware, Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical “ministry dedicated to eliminating substandard housing and homelessness worldwide and to making adequate, affordable shelter a matter of conscience and action.   Habitat is founded on the conviction that every man, woman, and child should have a simple, decent, affordable place to live in dignity and safety.”   Volunteers from all walks of life do their part in actually building homes. From a Christian perspective, Holy Scriptures en

Personal Responsibility by Frank Kotowski

In my faith, Spiritualism, I often go back to our 7th Principle, which concerns personal responsibility: We affirm the moral responsibility of individuals and that we make our own happiness or unhappiness as we obey or disobey Nature’s physical and spiritual laws. There is a lot to this Principle.  For Spiritualists, it pertains to both your life here on Earth and your spiritual life beyond in the afterlife. But how far does personal responsibility go?  When is there an ethical imperative to give yourself up for another person?  Does this include others who may have very different views from yourself and may even hate you?  No easy answers.      My mind swims with a multitude of scenarios of personal responsibility and what the outcomes might be.  If we make our own happiness as we align with Nature's physical and spiritual laws, which are God's law, does this lesson our painful experiences?  Perhaps not.  Can we both happy and also filled with pain?  Perhaps.  If you are

The Magic of Apology by Rev Dr. Linda Anderson

          In this time of New Year I'm looking back on 2019 and forward to 2020. There is much to celebrate. Much to feel grateful for. And there is much to lament and feel sorrow over. We human beings are a mixed bag. What causes me particular pain these days is what I call our growing estrangement from one another as people. The more we break into "tribes" and draw lines in the sand, the less able we are to see one another as human beings like ourselves. One way that this estrangement shows up is that we as a society and as individuals increasingly  justify our own regrettable actions by blaming other people. The sense of mutuality in relationship that connects us is eroding as we take less and less responsibility for our part in any interactions. One way I can see to counteract that tendency is through a practice of apology. Apology:  a regretful acknowledgment of error, offense or failure.           Apologies well done are magic. Apologies poorly done usually cause m

The 5 Regrets

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five: 1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honour at least some of your