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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 16: Practicing Humility

Humility does not mean self-abasement — it means recognizing an infinite power greater than our little self. Where does humility come in when self-esteem and self-confidence are valued so highly in our society?

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 21: Filling Our Minds with Goodness

The more we choose to see beauty and goodness, the more we will live in happiness and joy.
High-mindedness is looking at life’s experiences from the high ground, where beauty and joy can be seen beyond ugliness and hardship that can cloud our vision. It is a conscious choice to keep company with positive thoughts and to be happy. High-mindedness is not pretending ugliness does not exist; it is really a celebration of divine goodness everywhere.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 22: Opening Our Hearts in Prayer

One way we can build an awareness of our inner wisdom, as well as create a spiritual life, is through prayer. God, the Divine Presence, the Spirit of Life and Love — whatever names we use for this Mystery permeating and holding all things in existence — comes to visibility in the human reality we are … Prayer is the means to deepen awareness that we are intimately connected and bonded with our planet, our universe and all that is in this Presence. It is the means to accept our responsibility for making the Presence of God visible and effective in the human species. Prayer is a way to express our commitment to give the best possible expression we can to this sacred presence. Prayer has to both encourage and challenge us: we pray to be better than we are. Prayer is not about words expressed to an elsewhere God. Prayer is about reflection on life and the interconnectedness of everyone and all things within God’s Presence. Prayer is an affirmation of this presence and of our dignity.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 25: Expanding Awareness

Deep within our hearts, we all long for an expanded sense of self. We long to feel oneness with the universe, with spirit in all things, and with the infinite spirit that created everything that is. Each time we experience a sense of connection or a hint of freedom from our ego self-definition, we become more aware of the Sacred that is always in us and around us. Jesus may have called it the “Kingdom of God.” Some scholars believe, however, that “Queendom” or “Sacred Unity” is a more accurate translation of Jesus’ words when he spoke about this realm of God which is always available to each of us.
Children naturally look for how they are a part of the world around them. They notice sameness and feel oneness more readily than adults who have been gradually trained to see only differences and separation. As we grow in our awareness, we learn that there is nowhere we can go and be apart from the constant, unchanging presence of God. We are never truly separate from anyone or anything in the universe. All that we do affects the world and everyone in it, like a ripple in a pond.

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A Joyful Path, Year One, Lesson 31: Willingness

Everyone has the option to say no — no, I don’t want to learn. No, I don’t want to work that hard. No, I won’t love that person. We were created with free will; saying no is a natural part of our development. But eventually, we begin to realize that saying no doesn’t usually bring us joy. We yearn for true happiness, and to find true happiness we must first stop saying no and say yes to growth opportunities.
One of the greatest challenges in leading a spiritual life is simply being willing to try. Willingness requires that we step out of our comfort zone of limitations into new possibilities and allow new understanding to come through our experiences. Spiritual growth is about change. If we are not willing to have new experiences, or we are afraid of change, spiritual growth is impossible. Being willing is one of the greatest spiritual challenges, but it is also the secret to the greatest spiritual blessings. The disciples who followed Jesus left old ideas and habits behind and they discovered their true identity and their highest potential, all because they were willing.
Meeting life with willingness requires enthusiasm, courage, good humor, humility, and a sense of adventure. It also means that we recognize the presence of God in every circumstance. Every life challenge shrinks when we are willing to take it on. If we encourage willingness in children, they will discover infinite possibilities in life and the infinite presence of spirit through every opportunity.

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God Is a Verb

Written by Kris Minister

God is a verb
Living within you and me
Fleshing our flesh
Rejoicing our joy
Crying our sorrow
And empowering us to swim upstream.

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I See God

Written by Buckminster Fuller

I see God in
the instruments and the mechanisms that
work
reliably,
more reliably than the limited sensory departments of
the human mechanism.

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Reconciling False Divisions – Part I

A Series exploring the Shared Abrahamic roots of Three Faith Traditions, Part I: Jewish Roots

A Presbyterian politician who wants to be the leader of the free world claims to have written a great book; second only to the Bible. He has promised to “protect Christianity,” and ban all Muslims outside the United States from entering. It remains unclear if he expects all radical Jihadists to self-profess at the border; instead of — say — swearing to be as Presbyterian as he is.

Beneath the superficiality of such political idiocy, an appreciative consideration of the shared Abrahamic roots of three great faith traditions might be helpful in finding ways to reconcile the false divisions that the most strident voices of ignorance seem to propagate.

This is the first in a series of commentaries that attempt in some small way to make such a modest attempt. It begins where it all began; with Jewish roots and the mythic Hebrew character of Abraham.

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The Terrible God

Regardless of religion, much of the world worships, believes in, or supposes a terrible deity. This “God” causes or permits death, destruction, disaster, droughts, disorders, disease, and damnation—and these are just the words that alliterate nicely. This “God” hates homosexuals, privileges males over females, has cursed certain races and religions and conditions, and does not tolerate differences.

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Xavier Rudd & the United Nations – Come People [official music video]

Since the very beginning, Xavier Rudd’s ability to connect with people has been his most powerful gift. The more he has toured the world, the more hearts he has touched and the more of the world he has put back into his music.

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Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy

Now Available in paperback!

In this profound work, bestselling author and the former Episcopal Bishop of Newark John Shelby Spong offers a radical new way to look at the gospels today. Pulling back the layers of misunderstanding created over the centuries by Gentile ignorance of things Jewish, he reveals how a literal reading of the Bible is so far removed from the original intent of the Jewish authors of the gospels that it has become an act of heresy.

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Charting the New Reformation: The Twelve Theses

Can a living, vital and real faith that is true to the experience of the past, while dismissing the explanations of the past, be born anew in this generation? I believe it can and so to engage this task I issue this call to the Christian world to transform its holy words of yesterday into believable words of today. If we fail in this task there is little reason to think that Christianity, as presently understood and constituted, will survive this century.

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The Right Word

It’s true that words are not the answer to everything. Sometimes silence is healing. Sometimes silence lets you think. Sometimes just listening, either to a friend or to God or to your own heart is all that’s needed. But when the silence is deafening, when the silence is lonely, we need to hear a word. A word of hope. A word of encouragement. A word of love.

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Youthful Exceptionalism

We speak of American exceptionalism, a belief that we are special, uniquely able to bring peace and progress to the world. In this view, we are smarter than, better than, more prosperous than, more blessed than all the peoples of the world. These are sometimes experienced as gifts, but often, as entitlements.

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Oh Light | Gungor feat. All Sons & Daughters [OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO]

Michael and Lisa Gungor are curators of the Grammy-nominated musical collective simply known as Gungor. The duo uses their skills as accomplished song writers and multi-instrumentalists to tell honest and forthright stories – some personal and some allegorical. Together they’ve tapped their considerable musical reserves to blur genres and break expectations creating a unique magnetic expression.

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I Am – Nirinjan Kaur – Music Video

Through the Earth, Through the Sky, Through the Water, Through mist in my eyes, Your presence

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Jealous Gods

But it is not only God that is recurrently jealous and punishing. Other monolithic entities can also be jealous: your nation, the military, employers, and political causes all demand unswerving loyalty. They chastise members who refuse to obey or ‘worship false Gods’ by colluding with enemies, conspiring with political, professional or commercial rivals. And God help those who whistle-blow, aaaagggghhh snitch!

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The Rising Tide: Europe’s Refugees Wash Ashore in Greece

For thousands of desperate refugees, the dangerous first step on their journey to Europe could be their last. Samaritan’s Purse teams are stationed at several primary stops across Europe distributing necessary supplies.

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