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Posts Tagged ‘Religious Tolerance’

Just for now…stop, breathe, and listen.

Today’s affirmation comes from the fourth rune of the first aett (or “family”) of the Elder FutharkAnsuz. Its traditional meaning comes from the Rune Poems, the oldest of which translates as follows:

The Mouth is the source of every speech,
The mainstay of wisdom,
And solace of sages,
And the happiness and hope of every eorl.

–The Anglo-Saxon rune poem, Verse IV

“The Mouth” in the first stanza as often interpreted as the Divine. In the Northern Tradition this is either the god Odin or Loki, depending on how the rune falls (upright or reversed, respectively). However the Divine has many faces and names, and means different things to different people. For example I see “The Mouth” as my own inner knowing – that part in each of us that answers with a soft but clear whisper when asked, “What now?”

Think for a moment about how much of your day you spend in constant motion, chasing tasks and giving your valuable time to anyone who asks for it. “Most of the day” is probably your answer, and almost everyone else would say the same. Now honestly consider how many of these tasks and meetings leave you with a greater feeling of peace, freedom, and joy once completed. “Not many” is probably your answer, and again many would echo this.

What if, even once today, you stopped what you were doing and asked yourself, “Does what I’m doing now contribute to my highest good?” Then take a deep breath, go within, and listen for the answer. If you don’t receive the answer right away, don’t worry…just keep pausing, breathing, asking, and listening. With practice you will receive the guidance you need.

Ansuz affirmation:

I am aware of my innermost self. It guides and directs me.

A note about this affirmation: if the words presented don’t ring true for you, change them! Make it something that feels good and reflects who you are. For example, some may want to replace “innermost self” above with the name by which they address their Higher Power (God, Goddess, Buddha, etc.). The words don’t do the work on their own…it’s words + repetition + personal intent and emotional connection that make affirmations such powerful catalysts for positive growth.

Click here to see other affirmations in this series.

Rune source material: Oswald the Runemaker

Affirmation by Orin and Sanaya Roman

I’ve been a runology student for 20 years. See the About page or click here to learn more about my work with the runes.

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I just read a fascinating story in the New York Times discussing the possibility that Jesus was married based on the probable authenticity of a recently uncovered papyrus.

If this is true, what does it mean? Why is the possibility that Jesus wasn’t celibate so threatening to some of the article’s detractors? (Some immediately dismiss it; others assert that “wife” simply means “the Church?”.)

Edit: moments after posting this, the story mysteriously disappeared from the NYT blog. I’ve changed the first link above to point to a similar story at NPR.

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Heaven is for RealThis morning The New York Times reported that Heaven Is For Real, a book based on the near-death experience of a 4 year-old boy in which he met various biblical figures including Jesus, has become a “publishing phenomenon, dominating best-seller lists and selling hundreds of thousands of copies.”

Reading the article left me feeling conflicted. On one hand, it’s clear by its sales that this book has brought hope and inspiration to many. With these in such short supply, I’m truly happy for anything that adds more of both to the collective conscious.

On the other hand, it was the boy’s father who decided to flesh out the story and publish the 163-page book. As I thought more about this I began to feel a little insulted…though that’s really too strong a word. Perhaps “excluded” is a better fit.

The book’s title feels like yet another declaration that the Christian path is the only path. It’s distressing that the book may serve as proof to some that what lies beyond the veil is indeed the Christian heaven, and only the Christian heaven. The renewed fervor it may lend to those who’ve memorized and constantly regurgitate the tired and worn “Jesus is the only way” argument also concerns me.

To be clear I actually admire Jesus immensely, and am open to different ideas about where our souls go when we leave the physical world. (I have my ideas, and so do you. Without verifiable facts, who’s to say which is right or wrong?) What I don’t like is the monopoly on tickets to the afterlife and “salvation” Christianity claims to have, which I’ve always viewed as an instrument of control more than anything.

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This morning the Washington Post reported that the Dalai Lama has announced a timeline for transitioning his political power to an elected

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

official within Tibet’s exile government. His resolution was undoubtedly met with resistance and sunken hearts by the Tibetan people, who have long regarded the Dalai Lama as both their spiritual and political leader.

Like a parent who realizes the time has come to let his children stand on their own, I feel the Dalai Lama realizes that allowing his people to do so is crucial for Tibet’s continued political and spiritual evolution.

I am grateful to His Holiness for the light he shines, and wish he and his people joy and peace in the wake of this transition.

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After high school and before college, I volunteered for an organization called Community Service Volunteers in London, England. For six months I lived with four developmentally delayed young men and assisted them with things like grocery shopping and preparing meals, and accompanied them on social outings. It was a period of immense personal growth on many fronts, and I will always remember those men and my time in England fondly. Years later, immersed in the busyness of everyday life, I had forgotten how important and empowering it is to serve others. This concept was recently brought back to the forefront by someone I wouldn’t normally cross paths with – a Roman Catholic nun.

Last week I volunteered at Sojourner Place in Seattle, a transitional home for women who’ve left bad situations and are beginning to rebuild their lives. It was a humbling experience assisting other volunteers with the prep, serving, and clean up of a meal for the eleven women that live there. Even more cause for personal reflection was the conversation we had with the house leader, a nun by the name of K.C. Young.

K.C. didn’t look like I expected her to – no habit, no rosary. If you met her on the street or at a social gathering, you’d encounter a nicely dressed, well-spoken woman who emanates personal strength and quiet calm. K.C. has been a nun since early adulthood and has spent the last 45 years serving those less fortunate in every corner of the world.

When we arrived she gave us a tour before inviting questions about herself and/or Sojourner Place. When asked how the Roman Catholic Church views service, she replied by explaining the Church’s “theology of service.” She said that God favors the poor and destitute, and that the more fortunate among us are obligated to care for those who have trouble caring for themselves. She went on to say that this philosophy extends beyond people to include the care and preservation of all Creation. Seeing this woman’s strength, compassion and dedication, in addition to the similarities between the “theology of service” she described and the Wiccan Rede, inspired deep respect and admiration.

As many who’ll read this already know, those who walk the Overgrown Path strive to live by the Wiccan Rede, which invites us to do as we choose provided none are harmed by our choices (including ourselves). In Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Scott Cunningham explains that “This is more than survival. It also ensures that you’ll be in good condition to take on the tasks of preserving and bettering our world.”

I’m grateful for the reminder that the “tasks of preserving and bettering our world” are shared among many who walk various religious and spiritual paths. This has given me both a new perspective on people like K.C. and her religion, as well as a lot of hope for the future.

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…for hastening the demise of mainstream evangelical Christianity.

As more Christians realize the extent of your arrogance, insensitivity, righteousness, and general asshattery, many will undoubtedly hasten to distance themselves from you and your rhetoric. If I were a Christian, I’d certainly be embarrassed to be associated with you.

[The earthquake in Haiti] may be a blessing in disguise.

Would you say the same if someone you love was there at the time of the quake, still missing and likely buried under rubble?

[The Haitians] made a pact with the devil, [and] have been cursed ever since.

You’re a jackass, Pat Robertson. You’re insulated by wealth and privilege and are completely out of touch with reality as a result.

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Many people speak of unconditional love but rarely live it. Instead, when they see a condition that causes them to feel negative emotions, they demand a change in the condition; but in doing so, they set themselves on a long and uncomfortable path of attempting to control others in order to feel good.

When controlling others is necessary in order for you to feel good, you must confine yourself to a very small world over which you can gain control, and then you must give more time and energy than you possess to this impossible effort.

–The Teachings of Abraham in the book The Astonishing Power of Emotions by Esther and Jerry Hicks

Neo-Conservatives/Christ-Cons may not be the only who “attempt to control others in order to feel good,” but they’ve certainly been the most visible. They’ve been losing the Culture Wars for decades by refusing to recognize the truth in the statements above. Until they replace their dogged determination to control with completely unconditional love, they will continue to experience anger, sorrow, and fear as they watch the world progress beyond their subjective views of morality.

Women will never lose the right to choose. State legislatures will continue to recognize equal rights for lesbians and gays. The world will never work exactly how the Neo-Cons think it should (thank God). When they accept these things and recognize that the doctrine they follow is just as fallible as they are, maybe then they’ll emerge from their “very small worlds” and turn their focus to living their own lives.

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