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The Spirituality and Practice e-newsletter is a regular update from Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat with teaching stories and links to new posts on the site.

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Spiritual Literacy Blog

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat read the "book of the world" for spiritual meanings.


Insulting God

"Those who oppress the needy insult their maker," says Joseph Hough, quoting the writer of Proverbs. Hough is the President of Union Theological Seminary in New York, a bastion of progressive Christianity. In an interview with Bill Moyers, he argues that the people of Abraham (Jews, Christians, Muslims) must say no to the growing gap between the rich and poor. "By their fruits you shall know them," he adds, quoting Jesus. See what "God's humble fruit inspector" has to say about the religious conservatives now in power.

(Posted 10/28/2003) Permalink


It Gets Worse

More than one billion young people — half of all children living in the developing world — are now living in conditions of "severe deprivation," meaning they lack one basic human need, such as food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, and education, according to UNICEF. These facts give rise to compassion and call out for action.

(Posted 10/28/2003) Permalink


Shopping Locally

In this age of shopping malls, cookie-cutter chain stores, and Internet commerce, does it matter when a neighborhood store goes out of business? Yes, if you consider the spiritual values that go with it — continuity through the generations, tradition and rituals, community sharing.

(Posted 10/25/2003) Permalink



There's a slogan in spiritual circles that goes, "Whatever you attend to grows." Keep that in mind when you read Joan Chittister's account of two news stories that happened in Erie, Pennsylvania. One got national attention; one didn't.

(Posted 10/23/2003) Permalink


Toxic Junk?

Psychologist James Hillman believes that inanimate objects are ensouled, noting that "Theology calls this distribution of the divine within all things the theory of immanence." Okay, so what happens when we neglect and ignore our things? They can turn toxic. That's a sobering thought when you contemplate how many things are floating around in space.

(Posted 10/23/2003) Permalink


Glorified Violence

The box-office winner last weekend was Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1, an example of a movie that waters the seeds of violence in each of our shadow sides. Only problem is, this violence is glorified, not lamented. Or it's considered fun and funny. And it's perpetrated on and by women. This is a feminist's nightmare if we ever saw one. The message, says John Leland in the New York Times (site registration required), is "You've come a long way baby. Now kill someone."

(Posted 10/23/2003) Permalink



Trappist monk Thomas Merton wrote that "prayer and sacrifice must be used as the most effective spiritual weapons in the war against war." By sacrifice he meant that we are to "restrain our own instinct for violence and aggressiveness in our relations with other people." Too bad that's not what President Bush means when he talks about sacrifices the American public must make for the Iraq War.

Jim Wallis in Sojourners (free registration required) asks whose sacrifice is this? When the President told the nation about the $87 billion cost this year, "many of those who will actually pay that bill were unable to watch. They had already been put to bed by their parents."

(Posted 10/23/2003) Permalink


Ethical Choices

To test your ethics and conscience, follow the link for a running tally of the cost of the War in Iraq, and compare it to the cost of pre-school, kids' health, public education, college scholarships, and public housing.

American citizens may want to bookmark this link to check periodically — especially when Congress is debating the budget. Contact your representatives and let them know where you want your tax dollars to go. For example, as of February 2007, after President Bush sent a budget to Congress asking for another large increase in defense spending and money for the Iraq war, the money already spent on the war could have built 3.3 million housing units for the poor, or hired 6.3 million public school teachers, or paid for 48.5 million pre-school children to attend Head Start for a year.

(Posted 10/23/2003) Permalink


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About This Blog

This blog is now located on the blog site here. The archives of the posts from 2006 - August 2012 are listed below.

Earlier Posts

Coming Soon: The Big Trade-Off
Friends of a Certain Age
Are We Living in Sensory Overload or Sensory Poverty?
Procrastination: Ten Things to Know
A Richer Life with Optimism
The Rise of Re-Use
Tough Love for a Nation of Whiners
Jon Stewart, Religion Teacher Extraordinaire
Boomers Calling It Quits by 65
Peter Fornatale, R.I.P.
Flight from Conversation or Talking with Your Fingers?
Insights at the Edge: Lama Surya Das
How Sad Movies Can Increase Happiness
Is Allowing Cell Phone Use at the Movies the Way of the Future?
When a Parking Lot Is So Much More
Is Silence Going Extinct?
The Brain on Love
How Chants Can Heal the Heart
The Science of Love
Top Five Regrets of the Dying
Finding Joy in Alzheimer's
The Folly of the Weather Forecast
What People Talk About Before They Die
Wisdom in the Next Seat
Just One Thing: Tune Into Others
The Rise of the New Groupthink
The Law of the Garbage Truck
Does Twitter Prove We're Getting Sadder?
The Joy of Quiet
Five Social Media Trends that are Reshaping Religion
Video Chat Reshapes Domestic Rituals
It's the Spirituality, Stupid: Vital Congregations Cultivate Personal Piety
Connect Your Brain to the Internet
Little Seeds, Little Deeds
The Generous Marriage
My Private Cineplex
The Essential Flame
The Life Reports
How to Tame the Wanting Mind
Chief Unready
Rick Perry's Brain Freeze
A Parable for All People
Boomer Parent's Lament
Of Gods and Turtles: An Interview with Rabbi Rami
72 Years Together Holding Hands
Why Time Seems to Slow Down
In a Married World, Singles Struggle for Attention
An Indefensible Punishment
An Era of Endless War
Terry Tempest Williams Interview
It Would Be a Pity to Waste a Good Crisis
The Twitter Trap
Oxford Dictionary Defines Sexting, Cyberbullying
The Patron Saints of Green Living
The Elusive Big Idea
The Average Catholic Is Reading Joyce Rupp
Bad Food? Tax It, and Subsidize Vegetables
The Turtle
Seven Different Ways to Say Hello
Is the World Wide Web Becoming Our External Memory Drive
Top 10 Reasons Why Mindfulness Is Cool
The Lonely Polar Bear
An Accidental, Experimental Masterpiece
How Keeping a Zen Mind Can Save a Relationship
Blades of Glory
City Life Could Change Your Brain for the Worse
The Happiest Countries in the World
Joint Replacements for Baby Boomers
Improve Concentration by Minimizing Distractibility
Stop the Granny Bashing
Nearly Half of Americans Are Financially Fragile
Spirituality and Social Change
Superjobs: Why You Work More, Enjoy It Less
Quality Time Redefined
Volunteering and Hospice
Retirement or Refirement
Where Silence is Sacred
The Perilous State of the Nation
A Generation's Vanity, Heard Through Lyrics
Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%
Downsizing Boomers Looking to Sell Their Stuff
The Faces of a Country
Buddhist Thoughts on Impermanence, Plutonium and Beauty
The Return of the Class System
Why We're Fasting
Worry Less, Care More and Find Out What Love Is Before You Die
America's Greatest Deficit Is Spiritual, Not Merely Financial
Go Easy on Yourself
Graying Audience Returns to Movies
From Cairo to Madison
Boomers Come Up Short for Retirement
Web Sites That Collect Stuff So You Don't Have To
Speck by Speck, Dust Piles Up
Interview with Matthieu Ricard
A Graying Population Spells Business Opportunity
A Golden Age of Foreign Films, Mostly Unseen
How Meditation May Change the Mind
The Class War Launched by America's Wealthiest Is Getting More Savage
Red Rocks of Nevada Smudged by Graffiti
What Me Care?
Sustainable Love
Baby Boomers Approach 65 - Glumly
More Than a Mantra: We're All in This Together
How to Deal with Adult Temper Tantrums
Sports Stars and Nicknames
The Gratitude Lady on the Practice of Gratitude
Winter Count
Wandering Mind Is a Sign of Unhappiness
Desire in the Twilight of Life
The Future of Books
How Age Biased Are You?
New Occasions Teach New Delights
As Nations Age, a Chance for Younger Generations
Religion, Politics: Walking Away from Church
What We Can Learn from Procrastination
Stand By Me
The Authentic Life
Religions of Kindness
New Census Figures Confirm Rising Poverty, Big Income Gaps
Getting In (And Out of) Line
A New Generation of Caregivers Takes Control of Kids
The Artist and the Monk Are One
Beyond City Limits
The Metaphysics of Cutting Grass
Unboxed — Yes, People Still Read, But Now It's Social
The Retirement Nightmare
Meditation Helps Increase Attention Span
Quieting Noisy Hospitals
Turn 70: Act Your Grandchild's Age
Friends, Neighbors and Facebook
Dysregulation Nation
To the Class of 2010: Find a Wild Religious Mentor of Your Own
Happiness May Come with Age
What Pets Can Teach Us About Marriage
Cognitive Surplus
The Elders Speak
Spirituality in a Time of Crisis
The Data-Driven Life
Teen Texting Now Tops Teen Cell Calling
It's Complicated
Seeding Cyberspace
Bringing Compassion to the Middle East
A World Without Planes
Reaction to Supreme Court Ruling on Animal Cruelty Law
By 2050, Mental Exercise Will Be as Important as Physical
Acts of Kindness Spread Surprisingly Easily
Talk Deeply, Be Happy?
Volunteerism Up in 2009
Interfaith Doesn't Mean Interchangeable
Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs
Global Marshall Plan
Will You Be E-Mailing This Awesome Column?
What Happened to the News of the Apology to the Native Americans?
A Hymn for Haiti
Religion and Women
Faux Friendship
How to Train the Aging Brain
This Emotional Life
Mystical Experience or Unitive Seeing
United States' Shameful Land Mine Policy
Our New War President
We May Be Born with an Urge to Help
Three Clergymen, Three Faiths, One Friendship
Three Clergymen, Three Faiths, One Friendship
Japan Cracking U.S. Pop Culture Hegemony
Ani Pema Chodron
Must We Have Bad Music in Public Spaces?
Shines of the Times
A Short Manifesto on the Future of Attention
Three Ways You Can Turn Panic Into Happiness
The Day's First Stop Is Online
We are All Hindus Now
A Celebration of the Life of Ted Kennedy
On Vacation? Send in Your Prayers via Twitter
We Are All Immigrants
Old People on Facebook and Twitter
The Unhappiness Gap
Laughter and Learning
God Is Still Spanking. . . . Lou Dobbs? Sergeant Crowley?
The Dharma of Celebrity Death
To Be a Pilgrim
God and the Recession
Inspiration Stew
Michael Jackson
More Better Faster!
Saying It With Silence
Elegant Simplicity
The Joy of Less
Why Have We Stopped Talking about Guns
Thomas Berry's Contributions to the Western Spiritual Tradition
Paul Hawken's Commencement Address to the Class of 2009
The Century of the Rights of Mother Earth
Do Everybody a Favor: Take a Sick Day
Obama on Empathy
Will The Planet Be Saved in 10 Easy Steps?
The American Way
Compassion for Pirates
Lessons in Empathy for Gossip Girls and Boys
Information Age Prayer
Earth Hour
When the Economy Sours, Tootsie Rolls Soothe Souls
An Interview with Karen Armstrong
Jewish Nones
Better Cheer Up
Is the Future Going Down the Drain
Making Room for Miss Manners Is a Parenting Basic
Five Post-Valentine's-Day Reflections
Outer Critics, Inner Adversary
Repossessing Virture Interviews Scott Russell Sanders
Humility and Awe
Lazarus sits up and goes on and on . . .
The End of Solitude
Thomas Moore on the Economic Crisis
Lottery Sales Are Rising in Recession
It's a Dog's LIfe for Pets in Hard Economic Times
Radical Rest
As the Rich Get Poorer, Teenagers Feel the Crunch
Top Ten Humanitarian Crises of 2008
For Craft Sales, the Recession Is a Help
Downturn Spurs Survival Panic for Some
Trickledown Downsizing
Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches
Surviving Winter
The Law of Giving and Receiving
How Crying Can Make You Healthier
Blessing of the Waves
Dealing with Anxiety
Home, Sweet Home
A Leaf Ritual to Celebrate the Season
Some Pointers for Dealing with Financial Meltdown Stress
Food for the Soul
Sharing Ramadan
Working with Your Enemies
Scoping Out the Best Places for Books
The Sounds of Silence
The Other Book of God
Pico Iyer Is Lost
When Human Rights Extend to Nonhumans
The Myth of Multitasking
Complaining to God
A Life Saver Called Plumpynut
Taming Your Inner Hulk
Let Us Try to Think of Ourselves as a Community
The Power of Kindness and Emotional Intelligence
Conversation with J. Brent Bill
Cultivating the Heart
War on Bottled Water
When You Wake Up
Ichigo Ichie, One Time, One Encounter
MInistering Angels
Interview with Elizabeth Gilbert
U. S. Supreme Court Upholds Use of Lethal Injection
The Work to Free Tibet
The Cost of War
The Problem with Praise
How I Found the Farm
My Favorite Pastime: Complaining
A New Religious Landscape in America
Australia Apologizes to Aboriginal Population
Robotic Lives
Honor Your Father and Mother
Spiritual Perception
New Year's Message from Reb Zalman
How Big Is Your Family?
Feeding the Spiritually Hungry
We Don't Need No Supervision
Reading the Sky
Thinking about Tigers
Goodness Revealed
Why Giving Makes You Happy
Anselm Grun: We Should Be Asking Ourselves What We Can Learn From Islam
The Secret Library of Hope
John Hopkins Civility Project Makes Peace Person to Person, Then Nation to Nation
On Retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh
One in Four Read No Books Last Year
The Shared World of Gate 4-A
A Palestinian Pastor Speaks
We Brake for Ducks
Iraq Vets Bear Witness
The Evolution of Dance
A Good Day
Meditations on my mother, failing
A Journey of Self-Forgetting
Love Thy Neighbour, for He Is Me
We're No. 1! America Leads the World in War Profits
An Ideology of "Gunism"
Shift Happens
The Damaging Export of Electronic Waste
The Wisdom of Kindness
RIP: Maha Ghosananda
Hollywood's Insatiable Appetite for Torture Porn
The World's Happiest Man
Urban Gardens
Deeper in Prayer, and Quieter
The Paradise We Seek
In Search of Silence
A Time for Anger, A Call to Action
Speaking of the Faults of Others
Run for It
America's Homeless Population
Sermon of the Weak
The Daversity Code
Morality: Is It a Many-Splendored Thing?
U.S. On List of UNICEF'S Worst Countries for Kids
Phantom of the First Grade
Kid Turns 70 and Nobody Cares
Top Ten Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2006
100 Things We Didn't Know Last Year
Non-violence, More Than a New Year's Resolution
Rust Belt Rembrandt
Letting Go and Daily Life
Four Days of Thanksgiving
The Power of (Every) One
The Most Important Minutes in Your Lives
What the Amish Are Teaching America
Three Responses to Pope Benedict XVI
A Weekend with Nobel Peace Laureates
Ethics and Reality TV
Mahatma Gandhi: A Century of Peaceful Protest
The Modern Successor to the Slave Trade
The Joy of Working
True Dharma Confessions
The Ecology of Magic
How Much Longer?
The Baby Bump Is So Hot Right Now
Healing by Design
Robert Coles and the Moral Life
Oh, Please: This Is Not "Defense"
This Is the Buddha's Love
Give Me That Old-Time Feminism
Mensch and Mitzvah
A Hug Above
Arundhati Roy: Back in the U.S.A.
Of Loss and Hope
Don't Give Up
Iraq in the Heart
Answering Questions about a U.S. Department of Peace
The Journey from Fear to Faith
Remembering William Sloane Coffin
Is Morality a Wild Thing?
Taking the Gay Insults Personally
Failed States, Rogue States and America
Global SOS: Save Our Sacred Sites
No One's Laughing at This Deja Vu All Over Again
Gunning for Wolves in Alaska
Exploring the Common Ground Between the World's Great Religions
Islamophobia Worse in American Now Than after 9/11
Dearest Friends
Can We Do Better Than Our Present Prison System?
When the Loser Is a Winner
It's Not Sexy Being Green
Confessions of Crimes Against the State
Misunderstanding Muslims
The End of the Internet?
The Unintended Politics of Brokeback Mountain
The Other Side of the Coin
Mother and Activist, Clare Grady, Sentenced in Federal Court
One Death Every Minute
Top Ten Most Underreported Humanitarian Stories of 2005
After the War
Peace on Earth Means No More War
The View from San Quentin Village
Hungering for the Serious
The Rebel Jesus
The Heresy of National Narcissism
A Season of Remembrance
Spirit Rising
Hedge Funds Against Malaria
Practice Compassion and Someday You Will Become It
None of us have the right to avert our gaze
A Heretic for Our Times
Working Hard or Hardly Working
All God, All the Time
The Market in Fear
Kicking the Plastic Bag Habit
In Pan-en-theism, God Exists in Beings Everywhere
When Maxims Mislead
No Place for a Poet at a Banquet of Shame
A Mother's Plea
What the Waters Have Revealed
U. S. Leads the World in Sale of Military Goods
Tears Are for the Soul
Sucker's Bets for the New Century
I Am a Homeless Man
Hiroshima Spirits, Nagasaki Voices
For Whom the Cell Tolls
The Border Mentality
Mysterious Connections that Link Us Together
Martin Marty on the Religious Right
Entering the Mind of Nature
A Sufi Online Oracle
Escaping Michael Jackson
Frustration as the Doorway to Daily Spiritual Practice
Looking for Signs
Save the Libraries
Understanding the Universe On Its Own Terms
Confessions of a Listener
Social Security
A Prayer for Our Persecutors
When the Going Gets Rough
Mapping the Moment
A Planet on the Brink
What's in a Name
Living By Faith
Calling Evil By Name
Take Up Your Cross
Boundless Qualities of Mind
The How and Why and What of Prayer
Lost Is a Place, Too
Working for Peace, Living in Hope
What Practice Is
Throwing Things Away
Where Was God in the Tsunami?
Focus on Kabbalah
The Power of Service
Billion Children Under Threat
The Revolutionary Practice of Gratitude
Christian Hospitality Too Controversial?
Calling All Abolitionists
Mindfulness in Daily Life
Reading the Book of Nature
The Truly Offensive
Practicing Inner Citizenship
The Power of Reconciliation
Not Hateful but Grateful
Blessed Are the Peacemakers
Lift Every Voice Declaration
Eyes Wide Open
2004 Parliament of the World's Religions
Greed Is Not Good
From Waste to Wonder
Genocide Alert
The Little Boy in the Bright Red Shirt
Arc of Activism
Air's Job
Suffer the Little Children
Readers Needed
Unequal Nation
Economic Practice
Zen Writing
National Hunger Awareness Day
Grappling with Greed
The World According to Kurt
Schoolyard Bullies
Speaking Truth to Power
Daring to Believe
Politics as Practice
Back to the Basics
Sanctuary from Information Overload
Follow the Money
Bucket Brigades
Terrorism as a Seductive Emotion
Catholicism's Clerical Divide
The Face of Love on Death Row
Daily Internet Use
Opposing Worldviews
Angelic Leaders?
Goodbye American Dream
Disconnecting Via Cell Phone
State of the World
Overhyped, Underreported, Misreported, and Overlooked
Keep Hope Alive
Post-Tsunami Questions
Dreaming of a White Christmas?
New Security Culture
Third Cinema
Who Does That Work?
Be an Artist
Free Speech
Hope Dies Last
Spirituality in the Workplace
Positive Peacemaking
Turkey Talk
Lost Scripture
The Meatrix
What God Has Joined
Negative Seeds
Warring Economies
Time Theft
Corporate Theft
Beauty on Campus
All One People
Makeover Mania
Giving Blood
Open-mindedness Mentor
The Kingdom of Singlehood
Environmental Terrorism
Insulting God
It Gets Worse
Shopping Locally
Toxic Junk?
Glorified Violence
Ethical Choices
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