It's been a few weeks since I last blogged, so I thought it appropriate to make one more entry before year end. I once heard it said that "Advent is like March Madness for ministers," and I believe its true! Fortunately, most of it is crazy fun and wonderful - getting ready for special services, going to parties, and the like. The other part of it is that as we prepare for Christmas, ministers and church staffs also have to get ready for a new year.
For the second time since the year 2000, the United States has experienced a presidential election in which the candidate who won the popular vote did not win the electoral vote and thus the presidency. This situation, after a long and bruising campaign, has left the nation in an uncomfortable emotional space in which the post-election vitriol is as strong as the pre-election vitriol. So how might we work to effect a healing of this apparent divide? Our first step is always prayer.
Currently at Unity of Fairfax we are engaged in the annual Unity Awakening series - Sunday talks and SpiritGroups based on the study of the book Discover the Power Within You by the late Unity minister Eric Butterworth. Concurrently, I'm assembling resources for a personal project I'm working on about faith formation in the Unity movement (more on that later). In a conversation with our Community Care Coordinator Ron Karstetter, he mentioned a resource he had recently found that forms a bridge between both the current Unity Awakening series and my personal research.
Blessings are all around us, and sometimes they manifest in quite unexpected ways. One of them happened on Monday, September 26 when 2014 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Kailash Satyarthi stopped by Unity of Fairfax. Actually, the visit was arranged by parents of a Pinnacle Academy student; fortunately, Pinnacle extended the invitation to attend Mr. Satyarthi's talk not only to Unity of Fairfax, but to the general public. He spoke in our sanctuary and was a natural in communicating with the children present.
In the book Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices, author Brian McLaren wrote these paragraphs that highlight the relationship between contemplation and justice. I've found them to be inspirational, and would like to share them with you.
This spring, Unity of Fairfax engaged in a collective study of the book The Naked Now by Richard Rohr. He has a daily blog, and I found today's blog especially meaningful and have decided to share it with you. If you're inspired by his words, you may want to subscribe to his blog. Although a Franciscan priest, Rohr's teaching aligns well with Unity teachings. I am always delighted to find seemingly different teachers coming into alignment!
Contemplation as Letting Go Friday, September 2, 2016
The word "discernment" is an important word for anyone on a spiritual path. The word itself comes from a Latin root meaning "to separate." Discernment is to be contrasted with another word "decide," which also comes from a Latin root meaning "to cut off." Why is this important? In making a decision, one "cuts off" the other options. It's either A or B, not both. Decisions are decisive and sometimes made in haste and often - more often than not - made in one's head.
I love the opening lines from the 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens:
Black Lives Matter On July 7, Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) posted on its Facebook page a meme that had the words: "What is your commitment to being a more active ally in the movement for Black lives?" Included were the hastags #BlackLivesMatter and #PrayerToAction.
Does Unity believe in miracles? Well, that all depends on what you mean by miracles. If by the word ‘miracles’ you mean “hocus pocus” and “abracadabra” magic tricks, then most leading thinkers in Unity would suggest that you are watching a “slight of hand” vaudeville show. No, it is a trick that you are watching. Enjoy it because there is nothing like a good magic show right in between the dog act and the dancing siamese twins.