"Perhaps the most wide spread example of [Christian mind cultivation] practice is the use of 'arrow prayers' . . . In any moment one can employ a short phrase to turn the mind toward grace and remember the presence of God. I have come to call this practice 'simple turning.' A person claims a short prayer phrase, mental image or memory of closeness to God to call upon many times during the day. The individual may link this conscious expression to everyday activities — washing hands, entering a new situation, beginning a snack or meal, pushing back from the desk for a break, taking a deep breath. When I linked arrow prayers to moments of frustration, a transformative breakthrough occurred."
— Robert Corin Morris in Wrestling with Grace
To Practice This Thought: Identify one activity you do every day that can be regarded as a devotional act to sustain the world.
"You, the one
From whom on different paths
All of us have come.
"To whom on different paths.
All of us are going
Make strong in our hearts what unites us;
"Build bridges across all that divides us;
United make us rejoice in our diversity.
At one in our witness to your peace,
A rainbow of your glory.
— David Steindl-Rast in God Has No Religion by Frances Sheridan Goulart
"Differentiation honors the fact that every person, stone, tree, and animal is a unique creation. Indeed, the universe thrives on diversity. Learning not only to tolerate but to respect our differences, both individual and cultural, is crucial to the work of liberation. Differentiation provides multiple sources from which solutions to our problems are found. . . . Diversity is at the core of the universe and is its art form. We need to embrace and appreciate the differences in places and people."
— James Conlon in Lyrics for Re-Creation
"To know God is to do justice. To recognize this implacable moral imperative of the faith represents the kind of good religion that mixes well with politics."
— William Sloane Coffin Jr. in Credo
DO NO HARM
"Consider the encounter two little American boys had with an elderly Buddhist monk, who was visiting the United States from Thailand. Because of the monk's reputation as a meditation teacher, he was asked to offer a series of classes. . . . Following the lecture, the monk and the woman were conversing as the children watched with some boredom. A mosquito landed on the monk's arm and began to probe for blood. Someone was about to whisk it away when the monk shook his head, saying quietly, 'it takes so little.'
"The young boys, who had been disinterested in the event, suddenly focused intensely on the monk. Evidently, the thought of not killing a biting mosquito had never occurred to them. The monk, noting their interest, used the moment to instruct them in the philosophy of reverence for all life. Addressing them directly, he said, 'All living things wish to live and be happy.' "
— Victor M. Parachin in Eastern Wisdom for Western Minds
DREAMING OF AMERICA
"God of vision, who walks with us into the future: We pray for our alabaster cities stained with human tears. We pray for the day when misery will know relief, when war and bigotry are no more and mercy will mark all our dealings with one another. We pray today for the world's cities, their people, and their leaders.
"God of the ages, mold us as a loving people, as people who live with extravagant love. Mold us into a healing nation inspired by the outreached hand of Lady Liberty, whose tear-stained face still dares to dream of an America where peace is possible, freedom is shared, and extravagant love will be the last word."
— Joan Brown Campbell in Living into Hope
"Those on the spiritual path should make it a practice to move beyond thinking in terms of right and wrong, good and evil, mind and body, country and city, women and men, etc. This dualism is the source of so much violence and suffering in the world. It would be much better for everyone if we would immerse ourselves in the idea of oneness which fosters the best in us."
— Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
"My son Peter's mother-in-law not only tolerates unpleasantness with grace, she often can appreciate it. She is the only person I have ever driven with on Los Angeles freeways, with cars whizzing in and out of lanes arbitrarily, in snarly, congested, smoggy traffic tie-ups, who says, with genuine awe, 'Wow! Look at all these people going places!'
"It's a big step, of course, from freeways to famines to wars, but it's wonderful to have confirmation that spacious acceptance is humanly possible. Spiritual practice might be discovering that potential in ourselves and enlarging it."
— Sylvia Boorstein in It's Easier Than You Think
"Christianity is a magnificent tradition. Like all religious and human traditions, it has its shadow side. But at its best, it is about truth, goodness, and beauty. And it addresses the two great human yearnings — our longing for personal transformation and our desire that the world be a better place. The Christian message reduced to its essentials is: love God (as known in Jesus) and change the world.
"Claiming this vision involves reclaiming Christian language. How we understand 'speaking Christian' matters."
— Marcus A.Borg in Speaking Christian
"Pierre Teilhard de Chardin captures an important aspect of faith in these lines from a prayer.
'Breathing in: Trust in . . .
Breathing out: the slow work of God.' "
— Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat