A BETTER WORLD
"I look forward to a day when children, as a result of integrating the principles of nonviolence and peaceful conflict resolution at school, will be more aware of their feelings and emotions and feel a greater sense of responsibility both toward themselves and toward the wider world. Wouldn't that be wonderful?
"To bring about this better world, therefore, let us all, old and young — not as members of this nation or that nation, not as members of this faith or that faith, but simply as individual members of this great human family of seven billion — strive together with vision, with courage, and with optimism. This is my humble plea."
— His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Beyond Religion
"Living in that fear keeps us in a kind of 'distant country,' suggested by the parable of the prodigal son, where we don't become fully ourselves until we come 'home.' We come home and receive the forgiveness born of unconditional love. And what we need forgiveness for, in this case, is not for being gay. The forgiveness we need as a culture and a world is for thinking that homosexuality is anything but natural. And this forgiveness is not needed because we are bad people, but because we need to start over in our thinking about homosexuality.
"In effect, we need to be born again to a different and positive and supportive sensibility concerning homosexuality. The fear and condemnation of homosexuality points to a greater fear in us that does indeed need healing. It points to our uncertainty about the value and strength of our essential humanity along with the essential dignity that is a feature of every human being. Loving without conditions is a way of living effectively with that uncertainty."
— Donald Mackensie in Religion Gone Astray with Ted Falcon and Jamal Rahman
"Turn positive facts into positive experiences. Good things keep happening all around us, but much of the time we don't notice them; even when we do, we often hardly feel them. Someone is nice to you, you see an admirable quality in yourself, a flower is blooming, you finish a difficult project — and it all just rolls by. Instead, actively look for good news, particularly the little stuff of daily life: the faces of children, the smell of an orange, a memory from a happy vacation, a minor success at work, and so on. Whatever positive facts you find, bring a mindful awareness to them — open up to them and let them affect you. It's like sitting down to a banquet: don’t just look at it — dig in!
"Savor the experience. It's delicious! Make it last by staying with it for 5, 10, even 20 seconds; don't let your attention skitter off to something else. The longer that something is held in awareness and the more emotionally stimulating it is, the more neurons that fire and thus wire together, and the stronger the trace in memory."
— Rick Hanson in Buddha's Brain
CHURCHES & HOMELESSNESS
"Let every congregation adopt one person who lives on the streets. Ask no questions as to their worthiness. Who among us is worthy? Just find them a lodging, a job, friends — give them hope. That would solve the problem of people living on the streets."
— Will D. Campbell in Soul Among Lions
"Sharon Salzberg suggests we practice guerrilla compassion — silently blessing people on line at the bank, at the supermarket, in the cars next to us in traffic. Each blessing a tiny Sabbath, a secret sanctuary offered to a hurried and unsuspecting world."
— Wayne Muller in Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives
"In some cultures families create home shrines to honor their ancestors. A 'family tree' wall of photographs, a table of framed photographs, or a collection of photo albums also salutes these connections. Share stories about your ancestors as you look at the pictures."
— Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat in Spiritual Rx
"Interior silence is the perfect seed bed for divine love to take root. In the Gospel the Lord speaks about a mustard seed as a symbol of divine love. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it has an enormous capacity for growth. Divine love has the power to grow and transform us. The purpose of contemplative prayer is to facilitate the process of inner transformation."
— Thomas Keating in Open Mind, Open Heart
A COUNTERVAILING FORCE
"Jesus was concerned most with those society counted least and put last. A politically engaged spirituality can never neglect the plight of those most deprived and vulnerable and will insist that improving the lot of the most oppressed is the decisive test of political sincerity. I believe in interreligious reverence, and believe further that a spiritual and ethical renewal of all the great religions of the world would be the greatest countervailing force to present-day economic interests that, in their pursuit of profits and growth, are so relentless as to make even governments more accountable to the market than to their own citizens."
— William Sloane Coffin Jr. in Credo
"As we enter cyberspace
may we hold each other
in our heart space."
— William Fitzgerald in Blessings for the Fast-Paced and Cyberspaced
"In many spiritual teachings, the great divide between life and death collapses into an integrated energy that cannot be fragmented. In this view, to deny death is to deny life. Old age, sickness, and death do not have to be equated with suffering; we can live and practice in such a way that dying is a natural right of passage, a completion of our life, and even the ultimate in liberation."
— Joan Halifax in Being with Dying
DELIBERATE IN COMMUNITY
"Christians should deliberate in community. More precisely, we should deliberate in a community where enough unity exists to make conversation possible, and enough difference exists to make conversation valuable. Deliberate with others who understand even though they may disagree. We need to test our views, and that happens best with others who differ with us.
"Christianity at its best is communal in character and diverse in the makeup of its communities. It is communal because only in community can its message be sustained over time. It is diverse because only in difference can its message be protected from the sinful presumption of infallibility. Do not deliberate alone; deliberate with others, in a community, where our convictions are shared openly and tested honestly in the fires of caring criticism."
— Delwin Brown in What Does a Progressive Christian Believe?