Article by Malcolm Marler

 

This past Sunday our pastor did something you rarely see in church just before the offering plate was passed.

 

Bob said, “I want a representative from each family to take $5 OUT of the offering plate and be open to giving it away this week to someone who needs it.  No strings attached.  Just see what happens in your life.  You’ll know the right time to give it away.  Become a hilarious giver.  See what that feels like.”

 

When the offering plate came by, I took the $5 out of the offering plate and put it in my wallet.  I was tempted to buy lunch with it one day but thankfully I resisted! Read More »

Posted on 14 November, 2009 in Gratitude, Helping Others, Inspirational Stories
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Article By Dee DeWitt

 

Over the past several years, the trend in our society is for people to be separated from one another … allowing us to be alone – and lonely – in the midst of a crowd.  And in doing so to be dehumanized, or perhaps desensitized, a little bit more with each step.

 

Front porches and time spent with our neighbors have given way to the hectic pace of our individual lives and high walls or fences … separating neighbor from neighbor to the point where many times we don’t even know the names of our neighbors.

 

Similarly, cars have taken us off the streets, where we used to greet each other and stop to chat. Cubicles have taken away a bit of the humanity in working, as have even computers to some extent. Television has planted us firmly in our living rooms, instead of out with other people.

 

Even still, I’m not suggesting we rip out our fences, give up our cars, or toss our computers and TVs.  The positive impact they’ve had upon our standard of living is very real (except perhaps the cubicle).

 

What I am suggesting is that we must be careful not to focus on ourselves focused on ourselves to the exclusion of our fellow human beings … the tendency towards isolation rather than community, towards a focus on self to the exclusion of helping others.

 

So what to do? Read More »

Posted on 12 November, 2009 in Gratitude, Happiness, Helping Others
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Grace: Undeserved Love and Forgiveness”

 

Article by Malcolm Marler

 

I decided to take a different path into the large hospital where I work in Birmingham, Alabama recently.  I walked through one of the newest sections of the hospital and was still amazed at the gorgeous architecture.

 

On this day, I prayed silently with each step I took, “God, help the patients in the hospital today to find a healing and caring place.  Thank you. Amen.”

 

As I walked down the wide corridor where our “Sanctuary” room is located, a quiet room where staff and families can prayer and reflect, I decided to stop in to say a few more prayers of my own.  As I walked up to the door, I could hear someone preaching with great energy and enthusiasm.   “I didn’t know we had a worship service in here,” I thought to myself, so I decided to go in and listen.

 

The preaching stopped when I opened the door and a bright, articulate, young man named LaDarrius said, “Come on in, I’m just practicing my sermon.”  I looked around and noticed we were the only two people in the room.  “What are you preaching about?” I asked and encouraged him to keep going. Read More »

Posted on 10 November, 2009 in Gratitude, Spirituality
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Cultivating peace in our hearts requires awareness of wherein the heart lies.”

 

Article by Mary Bea Sullivan

 

Unity Center for Peace in Chapel Hill, North Carolina ends each service with congregants reaching across the aisles to hold hands as one large, winding, human chain belting out, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth, the peace that was meant to be … ” Years ago when I attended these services, singing this song was the highlight, a culmination of community grounded in personal responsibility for creating peace.

 

Recently I was visiting Park City, Utah, and attended a service at St. Mary’s Catholic Church.  The service ended in much the same way … joyful voices joined, raised high with the intention to be a peaceful presence.  The universal message ringing true for two very different congregations on opposite ends of the country.

 

Like many moments in the pews, we can choose to leave the meaning in the building, or, we can choose to carry the meaning out into the world.

 

So, how can we cultivate a sense of peace?  There is so much to this question!  My focus today is … our awareness of the moment when we become reactionary. Read More »

Posted on 5 November, 2009 in Gratitude, Happiness, Spirituality
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Article by Mary Bea Sullivan

 

The Spirit of God has made me.  The breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4 Early this morning I read the preceding passage and decided to stay with it lectio divina style.  Each reading moved me deeper into soft spaces within, an opening to softness which has been illusive lately.

 

In the Buddhist tradition one is taught to be grateful for this precious life; that it is a privilege to embody the human form as opposed to that of a frog, or a dog, or an ant (although the way our yellow lab Daisy, and orange kitty Speedy are treated, I am not so sure they haven’t drawn the better straw …).

 

In any case, during my meditation time waves of gratitude washed over me as I tried to comprehend the unlikely event of my ever being born … the gift of continuing to breathe each breath.

 

My prayer moved from one of gratitude to that of resolve, “I will not squander my precious life.”  And yet, how does one not squander a life? I made a list: Read More »

Posted on 23 October, 2009 in Gratitude
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