Thursday, April 23, 2015

JOYFUL WANDERING -- 51

+ updated at 9:11am ESDT on Saturday, April 25, 2015

+ When you follow @fredericbrussat on Twitter you find gems like this one: "Nothing in all creation is so godlike as stillness." -- Meister Eckhart

Inspiration comes from many sources. If you wander around www.abundancetrek.com you will find many sources from all kinds of wisdom traditions. I have learned a lot over the years and I am eager to share my knowledge with YOU. My particular focus these days is InterSpirituality, a growing movement of people who cherish their own traditions but want to share wisdom with others, receiving and giving.

+ You can use these links to see what I wrote in the first 10 Joyful Wandering posts back in 2010 and 2011:

JW1 > May 5-21, 2010 > Daily Lectionary / synchronicity / Music / "New Soul" by Yael Naim / Journey
JW2 > May 21-October 15, 2010 > Connections Galore / The Church of I AM > Peter Russell / Katha Upanishad
JW3 > October 13-15, 2010 > Balance / Prayer / Stillness / 12 practices / Paying Attention / Mindfulness / Spirituality & Practice > Mary Ann & Frederic Brussat / 9 heavenly attributes
JW4 > October 15, 2010 > Breathing / Yoga / Erich Schiffmann / Stillness
JW5 > October 26, 2010 > Humility / Detachment / Inner Frontier > Joseph Naft
JW6 > November 23-24, 2010 > Solitude
JW7 > March 2, 2011 > The Charter for Compassion / The Church of I AM > Peter Russell / InterSpiritual Meditation > Ed Bastian / Spirituality and Practice
JW8 > March 11-14, 2011 > Breathing / Stillness / Rochester
JW9 > March 15-16, 2011 > Modes of Will / Spontaneity / Creative Energy / Inner Frontier > Joseph Naft
JW10 > March 23-25, 2011 > Prayer / Modes of Will / Grace / Inner Frontier > Joseph Naft

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

JOYFUL WANDERING -- 50

+ Updated at 1:45pm ESDT on #EarthDay, April 22, 2015.

#earthday + "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it."

#‎earthday‬ + “When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.” -- John Muir

#earthday + Here are some great ideas for earthday and every day: Earth Day: 12 Spiritual Practices to Honor the Earth by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.

#earthday + "Driven by the forces of love, the fragments of the world are seeking each other, so that the world may come into being." -- Teilhard de Chardin

#earthday + A book to buy: 50 Ways to Help Save the Earth: How You and Your Church Can Make a Difference by Rebecca Barnes-Davies, an environmental activist with over a decade of experience in advocating for public policy changes, educating groups of concerned Christians, and writing numerous articles.

#earthday + Visit Earth Ministry

#earthday + Visit Presbyterians for Earth Care: An Eco-Justice Network

#earthday + A Prayer for the Environment:
Awake! Awake! Holy One, we are the choir. We are awakened to the terrible things we have done to your gift of the garden. Now our plea is for the music, notes and words, that we need to sing to those around us who are in a deep sleep of unawareness. Our hearts are full to overflowing with the pain of what we see around us. Give us, we pray, the melody for awakening our human family. Amen.
(This prayer was written by Holly Hallman for a Presbyterians for Earth Care event.)

#earthday + Visit Presbyterian Church (USA) Environmental Ministries

#earthday + Visit 350.org

#earthday + Visit GreenFaith

#earthday + Visit Interfaith Power and Light: A Religious Response to Global Warming

#earthday + "I'm always aware that the world around us is never going to be as beautiful and intact as it is now so I do everything I can to take pleasure in it. One of our jobs is clearly to bear witness to this beautiful world we were given and to understand that it is never going to be quite as glorious again, so we had better pay attention." -- Bill McKibben of 350.org

#earthday + Visit Earth Policy Institute

#earthday + “Our global civilization today is on an economic path that is environmentally unsustainable, a path that is leading us toward economic decline and eventual collapse.” -- Lester Brown of Earth Policy Institute

#earthday + “The first and greatest surprise – a miracle, really – is this: that anything exists at all, and that we get to be part of it. Ripe peach, crisp apple, tall mountain, bright leaves, sparkling water, flying flock, flickering flame, and you and me … here, now!” -- Brian D. McLaren in We Make the Road by Walking

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

JOYFUL WANDERING -- 49

+ Let me know if you have anything to add to this post or any other post by contacting john@abundancetrek.com and use JOYFUL WANDERING in your subject line. My hope is to make this a community blog particularly focused on Spirituality, Progressive Christianity, Peace & Justice, the Environment, Politics.

+ “The only thing I want is to awaken all humans on the planet that we are living on Mother Earth.” —Afrika Bambaataa + Thanks to Spirituality and Health for sharing this quote on the eve of Earth Day.

+ It's my fantastic and wonderful and delightful and only grandchild's eleventh birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

+ The Charter for Compassion is such an important document that I intend to publish it in JW posts from time to time from now on. Here it is:

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.


+ Upworthy offers a beautiful video for the 46th annual Earth Day which is tomorrow, April 22.

+ The Peter Russell Quote of the Moment: "The voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." -- Marcel Proust

Monday, April 20, 2015

JOYFUL WANDERING -- 48

+ Updated at 6:13pm ESDT on April 20, 2015.

+ HAPPY BIRTHDAY, REBECCA. It's great to have you in the family.

+ Let me know if you have anything to add to this post or any other post by contacting john@abundancetrek.com and use JOYFUL WANDERING in your subject line. My hope is to make this a community blog but with me as dictator! (just kidding of course)

+ I can't believe it has been almost 2 years since my last Joyful Wandering post. What's wrong with me? I love doing this.

+ I still love to simply enjoy web surfing. There is so much information, knowledge and wisdom being shared by millions and millions of us. Sorry about the split infinitive but I like to joyfully wander splitting infinitives as I wander and wonder where I am going, where WE are going together!

+ Some of my favorite places on the web may be repeated from time to time. I am not going to go back through all of the previous JW posts to see what links I have offered.

+ I am interested in many topics. Here are some of the most likely topics to be covered in this continuing series of posts:

  • Spirituality
  • InterSpirituality
  • Progressive Christianity
  • Peace & Justice
  • Environment
  • Politics
  • Baseball
  • Rock'n'Roll

  • + What Barrett Lee offers on his blog is always worth a read. Here is what he posted today: AMERICA IS NOT THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH.

    + This post by the Coffee Party goes back to early March but is well worth the read because it deals with what's happening in our political system here in the USA: Republicans dominating Congress but surrendering the White House to the Democrats. | Read the post

    + Spirituality and Practice currently features this:
    American Tibetan Buddhist teacher Lama Surya Das has a new book, and it provides a doable path to overcoming our illusions of duality and experiencing oneness. "Inter-meditation" takes us from the meditation pillow out into our everyday world where every aspect of our lives becomes part of our spiritual journey. Best of all, the book is packed with practices. 
     Read our review of Make Me One With Everything
     Read an excerpt on Ten Keys to Inter-Meditation
     Read an excerpt on Thirty-Three Potent Aphorisms

    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    STORY SHARING -- 1

    + It has to happen. You can be a Christian but you’ve got to be a Buddhist too … and a Hindu … and a Jew …and a Muslim … and a Shaman … and a Taoist … and a Wicca … and a Sikh … and an agnostic … and an atheist … and a scientist … and (add your own possibilities).  I call this mutual conversion. 

    + Humanity is at a crossroads.  We have come a long, long way in our million years since we evolved from something pre-human.  But we have a long way to go if we are going to stop killing each other and killing far too many animals and plants. 

    + How are we going to do that?  I don’t know but I want to urge us on somehow.  I have a few ideas … well maybe even a lot of ideas that I want to share.  They are not original ideas.  Maybe one or 2 are, I don’t know. They are ideas I have discovered over the years as I have sought wisdom and guidance from many sources. I don’t pretend to speak to the whole human race. But I have your attention and maybe I can keep your attention long enough to influence you in a positive way so that you can contribute even more effectively to a future of compassion, peace, justice and sustainable abundance. I believe we can create such a future if we can learn how to radically embrace and own the stories of others, one story at a time.

    + It is urgent that we begin to affirm the stories of others as much as we affirm our own stories. So urgent.

    + I have a story.  It’s a good one.  It is not better than your story.  But my story is a good story and I want you to embrace it, to own it, yes, to make it your own.  You don’t have to claim all of the details but I want you, I need you, to embrace and own my story as much as you possibly can.  And my promise to you is that I will embrace and own your story as much as I possibly can. 

    + Some of my story may be easy for you to embrace and own because you and I surely share some common themes.  I am going to call these themes “gifts.”  As you look over the contents of this book I hope you can identify some gifts you have received with the same titles that I use. But, on the other hand, there may be some gifts in my story which you will not find easy to embrace and own.  That’s the challenge I put before you and me. I need to move out of my comfort zone and radically embrace some gifts which are not familiar to me, which threaten me, which scare me, which confuse me.  I believe we all need to do that. I believe our journey will become more and more amazing, fantastic, wonderful as we discover, explore, experiment, create a new and greater story by giving and receiving new and different gifts.  What do you think?

    Friday, September 12, 2014

    THE AMAZING JOURNEY page 7

    A motto of the Reformed branch of Christianity is: REFORMED AND ALWAYS BEING REFORMED. That’s not only a good idea for a church or a mosque or a sangha. It is also a good idea for each and every person and every nation, tribe, family, neighborhood, association. Humility and openness are absolutely necessary. Gentleness and kindness and patience. An attitude of gratitude. Always forgiving. Always respecting, appreciating, caring, helping, serving. These are all tried and true virtues promoted by all the sages of the ages. They are not to be ignored or dismissed. Violence only as a last resort of self-defense and maybe even that should be examined carefully and thoroughly.

    PRAY CONSTANTLY + I hate to use the word “should” BUT you should always be praying, Yes, always. Constant gratitude works. This creates an attitude of gratitude. Constant gratefulness. Constant thanksgiving. Constant communion with God and all the Saints. And everyone is a Saint. The more you pray, the more you know just how holy, wonderful, fantastic, amazing, awesome, you are. You and everyone else. Every human. Every creature. Yes, that means everything. Everything is holy. The more you pray, the more you know that. Wow.


    One possible way for you to become one who prays constantly is to say thank you for every situation you encounter as much as you possibly can. I am thankful for this pen and paper and my knowledge of English. I am thankful for my brain, my fingers, my hand, my arm, my eyes, my lungs, my nose, my mouth, coffee, water, air and on and on it goes. Blue Sky. Clouds. Rain. Snow. Dogs. Cats. Birds. Flowers. Pizza. Ice Cream. Apples. Oranges. Television. Radio. Internet. And on and on it goes. Rock’n’Roll. Classical Music. Folk Music. Poems. Stories. The Dance. Running. Walking. Stretching. Breathing. Dreams. And on and on it goes. Mom. Dad. Spouse. Siblings.  Children. Friends.  Cousins.  Aunts. Uncles. Movies. Actors. Plays. Politicians. Lawyers. Teachers. Doctors. Engineers. Cashiers. And on and on it goes.

    Friday, August 15, 2014

    THE AMAZING JOURNEY page 6

    Many ways.

    Maybe you already know a way, or ways. Maybe you are practicing a way, or ways.

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    Actually I am sure you already know a way, or ways. It’s just that you can do better. We all can do better.

    Let us contemplate the way or the ways we now know and we now practice. Rest and relaxation.  Breathing.  Awareness of breathing. Awareness of what’s happening right now, right here. Touching. Singing. Dancing. Sleeping. Dreaming. Praying. Learning. Teaching. Hoping. Caring. Giving. Receiving. We know these practices. We do these practices. We simply can do better. We all can do better. We all want to do better. God empowers us, blesses us, challenges us, comforts us, heals us. We are heavenly beings. We are connected. Intimately. Intricately. Infinitely. Now. Here. Wow. Right?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    I am awake. I am aware. I am connected. Now. Here. Wow.

    Many Ways.


    There are many wonderful wisdom traditions which offer all kinds of stillness practices. Christianity. Islam. Hinduism. Buddhism. Judaism. Taoism. Shamanism. You cannot go wrong if you follow many of the time-tested practices of these and other wisdom traditions. They work. You can go wrong if you choose a particular practice which does not meet some or all of the requirements for authentic heavenly awakening. It is important to be open-minded, compassionate, humble and part of a community of sincere seekers of wisdom. It is important to appreciate traditions and beliefs and practices of other wisdom traditions. Don't judge. Treat others the way you want to be treated. That’s the Golden Rule and it is found in all of the great wisdom traditions. Many today are describing themselves as spiritual but not religious because religion has too often been associated with violence, hatred, intolerance, fear, oppression and control.

    Friday, March 28, 2014

    THE AMAZING JOURNEY page 5

    Right!

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    So, let’s keep exploring, keep discovering, keep enjoying, keep risking, trusting as much as we possibly can that there is nothing to fear. Remember: WE ARE INTIMATELY, INFINITELY, INTRICATELY CONNECTED BY A MATRIX OF UNCONDITIONAL, UNLIMITED, UNITING LOVE WHICH IS MIRACULOUS, MYSTERIOUS AND MARVELOUS. WOW!

    I am a heavenly being.  I am awake, aware, connected.  I am making all things new now.  I am doing a new thing now.  I am creating new heavens and a new earth now.  I am creating the new, glorious, fantastic realm of abundance, joy, wisdom, beauty, love, truth, peace, justice and freedom. Now. Here.

    You are. We are. God is.

    Do you remember what the key is to this glorious, fantastic realm.  Do you?

    STILLNESS, or the practice of being still.

    Paradoxically, one must find ways to move into this amazing state.  Actually, even more paradoxically, the stillness I have in mind is actually exquisite motion.  I told you this heavenly realm is mysterious.  In other words, stillness is a different kind of motion, heavenly motion, miraculous motion, marvelous motion, mysterious motion.  It’s a dance.  It is music.  It is rhythm. It is melody.  It is finally indescribable.  Practice stillness and see for yourself why no words, no image, can adequately describe this state of awakening, awareness and connectedness.  In stillness, you become the heavenly dance, the heavenly music, the never ending beat of new creation.  You are creating heaven.  You are creating a new glorious, fantastic, realm of ABUNDANCE, JOY, WISDOM, BEAUTY, LOVE, TRUTH, PEACE, JUSTICE AND FREEDOM. You are.  I am.  We are.  God is.

    Isn’t this exciting?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    Exciting and also strange, even spooky.  In stillness we leave earth behind and even realize we don’t really need earth.  Some of us even decide to leave earth behind and never come back but most of us are far too attached to earthly pleasures and we do come back.  I assure you there is nothing to fear.  Your permanent home is heaven, not earth, where there is nothing to fear.  Those who can practice stillness with some degree of skill come to realize that there is nothing to fear in the temporary home of earth either.

    So, practice, practice, practice.

    There are many ways to practice stillness and become one with God and all creation.


    Friday, February 28, 2014

    THE AMAZING JOURNEY page 4

    PAGE 4

    Celebrate. Enjoy. Be glad all over.

    The Burning Bush, of course, is a metaphor. It stands for the presence of Godand the unquenchable desire of God to set us all free, free to be creative, free to be unique, free to be holy.  God does not want anyone to be enslaved, oppressed, marginalized. We are all holy, fantastic, wonderful creatures made in God’s likeness. Enjoy being present at the Burning Bush. Feel the glow. You are always in that holy presence, standing on sacred ground. Wow!

    The more we enter that presence of the Burning Bush, the more we discover our vocation, our calling, our purpose, our raison d’etre. God is always ready to give us meaningful and joyful work to do or play to do. We might get lost or confused from time to time but we can find our way to that holy presence, that unquenchable fire, that sacred ground, that connection which can never be broken. As we continue on the Amazing Journey we gain the incredible awareness that the Burning Bush moves with us, guiding us, inspiring us, challenging us, comforting us, freeing us, renewing us, resurrecting us. WOW!

    It is so wonderful, so fantastic, so fascinating.

    There is a key to realizing just how wonderful, fantastic, fascinating it all is.  That key is the practice of simply being still.  Try to be as still as possible from time to time.  It is amazing to realize how intimately, intricately, infinitely connected we are to the matrix of unconditional, unlimited, uniting Love which is miraculous, mysterious and marvelous. Wow. Simply be still and know this truth.

    The sages of the ages teach this practice and emphasize how important it is.  They teach it in many ways. It’s simple but not easy to attain a state of stillness.  It is often quite a struggle.  But as I said, it is the very key to being awake, aware and connected, to being in heaven right now, right here. Wow.

    First, I need to convince you that stillness is indeed the key to heaven.  Then we can look at various ways to attain this state.

    If there is a heaven why would God want to deny you the incalculable, immense joy of its presence right now, right here?  Well, there is a heaven and God does not want to deny you the incalculable, immense joy of its presence right now, right here. Trust me. This is really true and no one in their right mind would want it any other way. Right?

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

    THE AMAZING JOURNEY page 3

    PAGE 3

    Something wonderful is happening. Right now. At this time. At all times. All the time. Paying attention to what’s happening right now will reveal miracle after miracle.  This is the realm we want to discover, explore, know, enjoy. Let’s go. OK?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    If we are in a realm of miracles, we are also in a realm of mysteries.  This realm is marvelous, but also risky, even dangerous. Make sure you have support from trusted friends, colleagues, guides, teachers as you travel through this marvelous realm.  It is fantastic. It is wonderful. But there are unexpected hazards or expected hazards here. Be careful. Be prepared. PRAY! Yes, pray. There are many ways to pray and I am not about to tell you which way is best for you.  I will share some of my ideas about prayer here.  Maybe you will benefit from them.  I believe praying is as natural as breathing so we are praying whether we know it or not.  God is always with us.  Actually it’s more than that: WE ARE PART OF GOD. We are intimately, intricately, infinitely connected to the source, to the Creative Energy, to the Mind and Heart of God who is Love, unconditional, unlimited, uniting LOVE. You need to know this. You need to experience this. You must enter this realm of Love because it is pervasive.  It is everywhere.  The more we know God, the more we can avoid the unexpected or expected hazards here.  They are not really here but it sure does feel like they are here, there and everywhere we go. So, be careful, be prepared. Pray. Trust your companions who are also praying, especially those companions you have reason to believe know how to pray.  This is really important.  Fortunately, these companions who can be trusted are here, there, and everywhere.  Take a  moment, take as long as you need, to think about your companions on this amazing journey. OK?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    It really is wonderful.  It really is fantastic. WOW! I am awake, aware, connected.  I am amazed, delighted, glad all over. Awe. Wonder. Beauty. Right here. Right now. WOW. Breathe deeply. Breathe fully. Be still. Be silent. Be centered. Be grounded. Gaze, like Moses, at the Burning Bush. You may have to use your imagination. You are in a holy place. You are the unquenchable fire, the eternal flame. You are the Light of the World, of the Universe, of Heaven. Lighten up. Loosen up. Let go. Let God.

    Thursday, February 13, 2014

    RECENT WEBSITE WORK

    + I have neglected my website, www.abundancetrek.com, for too long.  Many links did not work.  Now there are only a few left to fix.  I made some improvements and recently added a page of my Favorite Lists.  I believe that these lists offer  an abundance of wise guidance in the pursuit of compassion, peace, justice and sustainable abundance.

    Monday, December 2, 2013

    THE AMAZING JOURNEY Page 2

    I want you to know and come to believe that …

    We are
    intimately,
    intricately,
    infinitely
    connected
    by a matrix of
    unconditional,
    unlimited,
    uniting
    LOVE
    which is
    miraculous,
    mysterious and
    marvelous.

    Do you believe that? Right now? Maybe. Maybe not. Let’s just go with this belief, this knowledge, this truth.  Let’s see what happens. OK?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    I am delighted that you have decided to join me on this amazing journey.

    Every journey requires rest and relaxation along the way. Right? So, it’s time to rest and relax right now.  On this journey we will do a lot of that? Is that OK with you?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    During this time of rest and relaxation, I invite you to simply be aware of your breathing. I know it’s not possible but try not to be aware of anything else. Enjoy. Stop whatever else you are doing. Stop reading. Just breathe and be aware of your breathing. OK?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    I am awake. I am aware. I am connected. Now. Here. Wow.

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    THE AMAZING JOURNEY Page 1

    We are on an amazing journey. This journey is full of delights, discoveries, dreams, frustrations, hopes, victories, defeats, joys, pains.  But in this book let’s see if we can gain a perspective which takes us beyond the senses, even beyond sense. I think we can. I invite you to take this journey with me. Let me be your guide. Let’s see what happens. Please let me know what happens to you as you take this journey. OK?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    We are on our way now. Please

    Breathe deeply.
    Breathe fully.
    Be still.
    Be silent.
    Be centered.
    Be grounded.
    Lighten up.
    Loosen up.
    Let go.
    Let God.
    Celebrate.
    Enjoy.
    Be glad all over!

    OK?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    Now we are ready to enter the glorious realm of miracles. “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Everything is OK. It doesn’t always seem that way in our sense-driven world but it is.  It’s OK. It’s wonderful. It’s fantastic. You are wonderful. You are fantastic. That’s how God created you. That’s God’s will. Satisfaction guaranteed. Sooner or later, you will know this. This is the truth, the glorious truth.  Even if you don’t believe this right now, please keep going on this amazing journey.  I will take you to “places” where you can experience this truth, this wonderful peace, this bliss.  Are you coming?

    Good! Great! Fantastic! Wonderful!

    Tuesday, July 9, 2013

    A COUNTRY BASED ON CHRISTIAN VALUES


    + A FACEBOOK EXCHANGE > J. Barrett Lee shared Oliver James Davis Jr.'s photo.
     
    One friend said: "and to think, America voted Jimmy out - for Ronnie 'aw shucks' Reagan. Ugh."

    Another friend argued that the "government doesn't know the best way to help the poor since each situation is different; that's why its better to give to local organizations."

    I responded: ... there is just as much waste in charitable organizations as in government, maybe far more. Government keeps salaries down for the most part. Check out some of the salaries of the staff of non-profits. And check out how much is spent for fund raising. Sometimes 90 per cent. Government gets a bad rap these days. It doesn't deserve it. People are so misinformed.

    He responded: "I agree with you that some charitable organizations are wasteful and some to the point they are being deceptive. ... but in general, the government does not do a good job of distributing funds properly or knowing if funds should be given out at all. The government gets a bad rap because it has earned it."

    I responded: The poverty rate was cut in half during the years that the Great Society was well funded. Funding has been reduced over and over again since the late 70s.

    And then Barrett blew me away with this remarkable post: 

    "What troubles me most (and is the reason why I found this statement compelling) is the moral and spiritual issue at hand. People in this country tend to associate of Christian values with white, middle-class, American, capitalist/consumerist values. For a profound and disturbing treatment of this connection, I highly recommend reading Max Weber's classic book: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Christian imagery is so often used to baptize the myth of 'self-made' individuals who 'pull themselves up by their own bootstraps', as if such a thing were even possible.

    "The gospel is neutered of its radical nature in such a context. Salvation is reduced to individual afterlife concerns and morality is reduced to private sexual concerns. It is assumed that Jesus has nothing to critique about the most basic, fundamental values of our society (which basically boil down to works righteousness). Material wealth is implicitly (if not explicitly) associated with God's blessing (and therefore approval of one's lifestyle).

    "Also within this system of assumptions, aid given to the poor is considered 'charity': an extra expense freely given out of one's surplus whenever the giver feels so inclined. These funds are usually the first to be cut in a perceived crisis. There is no room in such a philosophy for a moral obligation to give. Furthermore, the 'charity' serves only to underwrite the status quo of the current economic order, making the wealthy appear benevolent and generous. This creates a dynamic where the egos of the rich must be stroked if one wants to really help the poor.

    "I believe that Jesus advocated a transformation that goes far deeper than either government-based relief or private charitable giving. The revolutionary coming of God's kingdom 'on earth as it is in heaven' involves a total reversal of the status quo in the re-ordering of human society: 'The last will be first and the first will be last.' As white, middle-class Americans, this should quite literally scare the hell out of us. The prophet Amos talks pretty extensively about this as well (see Amos 5:18-24). It seems to me that God is interested in justice, not charity (or even worship): 'Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.'

    I responded: Amen! Such a compelling and compassionate and comprehensive statement, Barrett. TYSM. / copying your statement onto my journal and now asking permission to blog it.

    Barrett responded: "Permission granted."

    I responded: Barrett, the more I read your statement, the more impressed I become. Wow. This is one of the most powerful and succinct arguments for creating a just society I have ever seen and that it is based on biblical values makes it even more impressive. Bravo.

    Monday, May 20, 2013

    ELEMENTAL -- 1

    + This is currently featured on the Spirituality and Practice home page:
    Join Caring People Trying to Save the Planet > Elemental, a deeply spiritual documentary directed by Gayatri Roshan and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee, opens this weekend in New York and L.A., followed by openings in other areas and availability on iTunes. It presents profiles of three dedicated environmental activists on three continents. Through their personal stories, it reveals the immense challenges faced by those who want to change attitudes and spur citizens to band together in a communal effort before it is too late. We encourage you to support this film and support these people! | See our review of Elemental. | Find a screening in your area. | Visit the official site and see how you can get involved.

    Thursday, May 9, 2013

    JOYFUL WANDERING -- 47

    + I have some catching up to do since it has been 2 months since I last posted here.

    + I really enjoyed an e-course on InterSpiritual Meditation which ended about a month ago.  I wrote a 17 page paper for the course and sent it to the teacher, Ed Bastian, on April 29.  Ed is the founder and president of the Spiritual Paths Institute based in Santa Barbara CA.

    Here is an excerpt from the web page on the curriculum: "The Spiritual Paths Institute curriculum on InterSpiritual Wisdom is a course of study with respected teachers of contemplative wisdom and applied spirituality that combines intellect, heart, and spiritual practice. It was developed by an InterSpiritual team of exceptional teachers, each authenticated within their respective traditions. The program is based on an intellectual inquiry and contemplative experience of the teachings of the worlds sacred traditions combined with personally mentored spiritual practice."

    On another page, there is this information about Ed's books and current courses: "Ed Bastian, who has led our group programs over the past ten years, is presenting a series of retreats, classes, and online courses that summarize the underlying shared wisdom offered by our teachers and courses. These courses are based on the following books and workbooks that he has authored, co-authored, or published:  Living Fully Dying Well, InterSpiritual MeditationMeditations for InterSpiritual Wisdom and Creating Your Spiritual Path"

    + Spirituality and Practice offers its latest 12s gallery.  It's on Forgiveness. Inspirational and challenging.  Humanity needs this desperately. And don't forget to forgive yourself.

    + The current emphasis at Inner Frontier is Wisdom.  There is plenty of illuminating and inspiring and challenging wisdom in these weekly Inner Work practices.  This week the focus is on Spiritual Efficacy. Here is an excerpt: "Teachers can help by instructing us in spiritual practices. They can also help by being examples that ordinary people, no different than us, can enter true spiritual transformation. Teachers can help by easing our way into deeper experiences through the quality of their energy, when we practice in person with them. And teachers can inspire us. All of that is important, useful, perhaps even pivotal in setting our feet on the path. But it masks a fundamental truth: the spiritual path is within us, it cannot be shown, it can only be discovered."

    + (posted yesterday on Coffee Break 371 on my John A Wilde blog):
    “Religion Beyond the Right" by Frank Bruni is an outstanding NY Times Op Ed column pointing out that there really are a lot of biblical values associated with the Left and the Center.  Bruni focuses on the controversy surrounding the Boy Scouts ban on gays. Excerpt: "'I find it perplexing the way the "moral values" phrase is used,' said the Rev. Mark Greiner... (a Presbyterian pastor)... 'Concern for the environment, concern for workers’ rights: those are moral values,' he told me. 'But the phrase ends up being limited to matters of human sexuality, as if Jesus was primarily concerned with what people did with their reproductive parts. It’s crazy-making.' Greiner wants the ban on gay scouts and leaders lifted." | Read the article 

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013

    JOYFUL WANDERING -- 46

    + updated at 2:54pm EST on Tuesday, March 5, 2013

    + Gratefulness.org offers a mini-course in grateful living by Patricia Campbell Carlson. Excerpt: "For most of us, awakenings come as glimpses.  A moment of supreme aliveness on a mountaintop can inform our experience for months or years, even though we wish we could recapture its initial vividness.  To hold on to that vividness requires practice." | Go to mini-course

    + "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it." Rejoicing today, I celebrate my participation in 2 current internet courses I am taking, both challenging, informative, inspiring: "InterSpiritual Meditation" taught by Ed Bastian of Spiritual Paths and "Becoming a Wise Elder" taught by Angeles Arrien along with Mary Ann and Fred Brussat of Spirituality and Practice.
      
    + Another one of my favorite lists which did not get included in my recent post is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People of Stephen Covey. Here is a summary I just found in Wikipedia:

    The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e., self-mastery):
     
    Habit 1: Be Proactive
    Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life's principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

    Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
    Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life. Create a mission statement.

    Habit 3: Put First Things First
    Prioritize, plan, and execute your week's tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships that were elaborated in Habit 2.

    The next three have to do with Interdependence (i.e., working with others):
     
    Habit 4: Think Win-Win
    Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a "win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

    Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
    Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.

    Habit 6: Synergize
    Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.

    Change of attitude  When one works on attitude, nothing can be a hindrance to one's effectiveness in life.
     
    Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
    Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.


    Friday, March 1, 2013

    JOYFUL WANDERING -- 45

    + February ended yesterday but Spirituality and Practice had 29 heart quotes even though this is not a leap year.  Introducing the topic, Mary Ann and Fred wrote: "We chose to salute heart knowledge because of the heartlessness of these violent times and because of the growing number of people who feel disheartened. It is possible to tenderize this faculty and to become gentler people." | Visit the Heart Map

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE LISTS as of February 10, 2013

    THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE LISTS

    By John A Wilde (as of 2/10/13)

    Most of these lists are linked to a web page where you can see the list. 

    + 112 techniques of meditation from the Ancient Indian text, Vigyan Bhairav Tantra

    + 37 Spiritual Practices offered by Spirituality and Practice | Chart | Self-Test

    Attention | Beauty | Being Present | Compassion | Connections | Devotion | Enthusiasm | Faith | Forgiveness | Grace | Gratitude | Hope | Hospitality | Imagination | Joy | Justice | Kindness | Listening | Love | Meaning | Nurturing | Openness | Peace | Play | Questing | Reverence | Shadow | Silence | Teachers | Transformation | Unity | Vision | Wonder | X-The Mystery | Yearning | You | Zeal

    + 25 Reasons Why Twitter is Spiritual by Frederic Brussat

    + The 14 Precepts of Thich Nhat Hanh

    + Twelve Practices leading to our Realization that We are a Heavenly Being by John A Wilde

    + The Twelve Pathways to Higher Consciousness by Kenneth Keyes

    + Spirituality and Practice offers The 12s which are loaded with wise quotes and images on a variety of spiritual themes.

    + The Ten Commandments

    + Ten Sufi Thoughts from The Way of Illumination by Hazrat Inayat Khan

    + “Ten Reasons Gandhi is my Hero” by Frederic Brussat

    + The 9 Attributes of Heaven by John A. Wilde

    + The Beatitudes

    + The Eight Points of Progressive Christianity

    + The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism

    + Another Version of the Noble Eightfold Path offered at The Big View

    + Seven Centers of Consciousness by Kenneth Keyes

    + Seven Chakras of Hinduism

    + Seven Step Processs of InterSpiritual Meditation

    + Seven Social Sins of Mohandas K Gandhi

    + The Four Noble Truths ofBuddhism

    + The Trinity or the Triune God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit

    + The 3 objectives of the Sufi path by Hazrat Inayat Khan:

    + What Ray heard The Voice say in Field of Dreams:
    · If you build it, he will come.
    · Ease his pain.
    · Go the distance.

    + Two Natures of Christ: Divine & Human

    + The Great Commandment:
    · Love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul.
    · Love your neighbor as you love yourself

    + The Great Polarity of Taoism:
    Yin and Yang

    + One God

    + One Universe

    + One Earth

    + One Sun

    + One Common Humanity