Prayer and Prayings

I need to address this important subject because prayer is such a significant part of public church services and also it can be a vital part of one’s personal religious life.  Some people engage in praying very frequently and regularly.  Some people call it a time of meditation, a quiet time, time given to God, or something else.    For many people, they feel it is an important way in which they can grow in their personal relationship with God.  However many in the church have serious questions about prayer; how it works and if it does.

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The Courage to Imagine I Am Blessed

Say these words out loud – I AM BLESSED.

Now say it again with a pause in between each word. I. AM. BLESSED.

Now one more time with a longer pause, and with your most powerful voice – I… AM… BLESSED. Even as I write the words, a smile emerges slowly across my face, my breathing slows and the my shoulders drop. Just saying the words alone, activates the imagination of the blessings already in my life, knowing many are not in my present awareness.

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Standing in gratitude, living in joy

Standing in gratitude, living in joy,
we reach beyond old wounds and pain.

The waters have parted,
and we have crossed over to new life,
leaving our fears on the distant shore.

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The difference authorization makes.

Perhaps the world wouldn’t be better if it conformed to our rules.
Perhaps the world would be better if we were better able to accept reality as it is.

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In Pursuit of Silence

This award-winning film is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound, and the impact of noise on our lives. Be inspired to experience silence and celebrate the wonders of our world.

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Souls “Flung Up to Heaven”: Maya Angelou and Hildegard of Bingen

Recently I co-lead a contemplative retreat at Sacred Heart Monastery in Cullman, Alabama. Four years ago on this site, Dewey Weiss Kramer gave an uplifting course on Hildegard of Bingen for Columbia Seminary’s Spiritual Formation Program. I decided to adapt today’s post from my reflections on that experience

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The Secret of Happiness

Mindfulness is the secret to happiness, and we all have time for it says Dr Saamdu Chetri.

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Imagining a World Where Love is the Way (HT Bishop Curry)

By Morgan Guyton

n his sermon at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry invites all of us to “imagine a world where love is the way.” So I thought I would take a minute to do that. I will say that my first instinct sadly is to dismiss it as an overly flimsy concept reserved for a shallow Beatles song, a fake, feel-good, liberal “revolution.”

But a world where love is the way is actually a lot harder and more complex than a world where my team wins everything since we claim to be the team on love’s side. A world where love is the way is a world where empathy is not a zero sum game. It’s a world in which disagreements are not resolved through the categorically invalidating ad hominem attacks of postmodernity. It’s a world where nobody gets shot because somebody else was feeling afraid, where nobody gets mocked for crying, and where nobody’s feelings are more or less important than anyone else’s. It’s a world where the goal is not to make our enemies shut up and disappear but to sit at a table together and see each other fully.

A world where love is the way doesn’t dismiss nuance, nor does it use “nuance” to wave away uncomfortable truths. It doesn’t oversimplify the parties in one historical conflict as being identical to the parties in any other historical conflict. It doesn’t tell people that their humanity can be explained away by academic theories or sacred texts. It doesn’t apply labels to entire populations universally like terrorist or imperialist though it does recognize the existence of systemic realities like white supremacy, patriarchy, and colonialism that cannot be adjudicated individualistically. It doesn’t see suicide bombs as any more or less tragic than missiles from F-15’s, though it does recognize the reality of power differentials. In a world where love is the way, nobody is dehumanized and nobody is shielded from facing the truth.

A world where love is the way does not have gated communities or walls to shut one group of people out so that another group of people can deny them as neighbors. It doesn’t marginalize suffering but allows the widest possible community to absorb and shoulder it together. In this kind of world, no one ever says, “I am not my brother’s keeper.” No one tries to write anyone else out of the story. In a world where love is the way, every story matters and stories that haven’t mattered are prioritized as a result.
There are plenty of ways that I fall short of that kind of world. Creating it would not be nearly as glamorous or emotionally satisfying as getting off on the outrage porn that has saturated everything today. But it’s never too late to engage in the tiny, banal acts of love that are infinitely powerful when they’re all gathered together by the God who is love. In every given moment, we are invited to resist the enemy who makes us all enemies and follow the lead of the savior who is our perfect model of the love that always takes sides and always works to create the best possible world for everyone.

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Alchemy of Healing

The courage we borrow, the courage we bring
Shall bind us in strength to the healing we sing
The courage to face any wound that we fear
Shall bind us in beauty and bless every tear

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Reconnection

In this coming of age story, a man tries to run from a broken relationship by taking a trip to the Himalayas, but finds himself stuck in a unusual Indian town…
 

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The Other Side of Anger

I am convinced that the majority of us are people of hope. If we didn’t have hope we would find it difficult to get up in the morning or put one foot in front of the other as we struggled to get through ordinary and even difficult days. However, I believe it is important to know there is a place for anger to be embedded in hope and to spur us to release compassionate action.

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Progressing Spirit

An inclusive and pioneering exploration of Theology, Spirituality and Current Events

With thousands of subscribers around the globe, Progressing Spirit is the world’s leading outlet for an intelligent, inclusive, and pioneering exploration of today’s theological, spiritual, and social advancements.

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Living the Quaker Way: Discover the Hidden Happiness in the Simple Life

The long-held priorities of Quakerism–simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality–are so universally attractive and so urgently needed in today’s world, it begs the question, Is there a little bit of Quaker in all of us? As an antidote to the complexities and challenges of modern life, award-winning author Philip Gulley offers the opportunity to participate in a world where the values of the Quaker way bring equity, peace, healing, and hope. The Quaker Way invites readers to encounter the defining commitments of the Religious Society of Friends, and shows how those ideals can be incorporated in personal and public life to bring renewal and eliminate the clutter that is keeping us from deeper spirituality. His audience is a new generation of seekers who may be disillusioned with religious institutions and strictures but yet are deeply interested in spiritual matters. In the end, Gulley’s invitation isn’t to a centuries old church, but to an honest, peaceful, and promising way of life.

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Moon Song | Gungor

Gungor is in the midst of their most ambitious endeavor to date called One Wild Life, which is comprised of three full-length albums – Soul, Spirit and Body. On August 7, 2015, they kicked off the album trilogy with One Wild Life: Soul, which debuted as the #15 album on the iTunes Alternative chart. “One Wild Life: Spirit,” released on March 25, 2016. The final piece of the album trilogy concludes with One Wild Life: Body, which releases on September 30, 2016. While each record carries with it its own distinct vibe, the album series presents a body of work that celebrates the adventure and challenges faced by Michael and Lisa Gungor since the release of their album I Am Mountain in 2013.

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Getting Used to Reality

With lots of love and a little optimism that when we learn to accept reality as it is – that this is just how it is – that our world becomes less anxious.

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Bound Consciences

While visiting Jerusalem in November 2017, I attended an interfaith book launch for a book written by a Palestinian Arab Christian. At the reception, I spoke with an Evangelical Lutheran pastor about her church in Jerusalem and asked how Jews, Christians and Muslims treated the LGBTQUI community in the Holy Lands. She told me that many of the people in her congregation had “bound consciences.” She then explained that those two words meant the church members were working out how to accept the gay community in both their personal and their church lives. Huh?

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What’s really important in life?

Because we are here – God’s DNA is in all of us, and he gave us a mind and a conscious and a passion for life to live it to the fullest. Keep your heart and mind open to all that surrounds you and figure out for yourself what is important in life. Be glad that you were able to witness this wonderful world the short time you will be here.

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None the Matter Where it Goes

Maybe it is that I am casting old eyes aside
cautiously lingering after my two old friends that served
Maybe this is the time of slow wandering to ponder lost moments
Careful to seek a place where stern voices cannot find me
Willing to go anywhere at this unfamiliar pace to open new eyes

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