Category Archives: Spirituality

Thought for the Day

It has been years since I’ve read William James‘ lectures which he delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902. These lectures were compiled and printed in THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE A Study in Human Nature BEING THE GIFFORD LECTURES ON NATURAL RELIGION DELIVERED IN 1901-1902.

I purchased this book in the 1950s and some of the pages are fairly dog-eared so I obviously spent some time with the book in those days.


In the chapter entitled Lecture VIII THE DIVIDED SELF, AND THE PROCESS OF ITS UNIFICATION, James writes that

There are two lives, the natural and the spiritual, and we must lose the one before we can participate in the other.

James went on to quote one Billy Bray:  “I can’t help praising the Lord.  As I go along the street, I lift up one foot, and it seems to say ‘Glory’; and I lift up the other, and it seems to say ‘Amen’; and so they keep up like that all the time I am walking.”

A life well lived

“God is above all the God of the normal.”

– William Littleboy

The emphasis on a life well lived is part of all religious traditions: Christian, Jew, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, secular humanist, Quaker and others.  When this is a central feature of one’s approach, it is not necessary to agree on theory or theology or the spiritual or mystical aspect of life. We all know people of different faiths who love each other and worship together and cooperate. It is vital that we become ever more capable of this. The collective effort to live together in the presence of theological differences is at the heart of the religious outlook.   [Os Crisson]

memory awakens hope

Memory Awakens Hope. . . . . . . . . Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Seek That Which Is Above,1986

Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…

It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.

our spiritual parents

Joy and sorrow are never separated.  When our hearts rejoice at a spectacular view, we may miss our friends who cannot see it, and when we are overwhelmed with grief, we may discover what true friendship is all about.  Joy is hidden in sorrow and sorrow in joy.  If we try to avoid sorrow at all costs, we may never taste joy, and if we are suspicious of ecstasy, agony can never reach us either.  Joy and sorrow are the parents of our spiritual growth.

– Henri J. M. Nouwen (Bread for the Journey a Daybook of Wisdom and Faith)

studying the Word

Just finished a Bible Study Class and looking forward to the next one (after the holidays).  Although I read my Bible, a class offers the opportunity to discuss scripture (and life) with others and also provides a needed discipline – to not slack off with the reading.  We have excellent instructors: Pastor Ron Welborn and his wife Darlene.  At the finish of today’s lesson, we shared communion in Knolle Chapel in Seguin First United Methodist Church.  This was an excellent way to end . . . before beginning . . .


No one’s death comes to pass

without making some impression,

and those close to the deceased

inherit part of the liberated soul

and become richer in their


Hermann Broch
(1886-1951, Austrian Novelist)

Counting my blessings

Counting my blessings . . .

Does counting our blessings really help?  The article by Dave Munger explores this subject and cites a study by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough.

I know that I certainly have much to be thankful for; the glass is always half full – and sometimes overflowing.

The Interfaith Amigos

Three Clergymen

three faiths – three friends

They have been called the “Interfaith Amigos” — Don Mackenzie, a recently retired United Church of Christ minister; Ted Falcon, a rabbi and popular teacher of meditation and spirituality; and Jamal Rahman, a Sufi sheikh and co-founder of Interfaith Community Church. Together for many years they have spoken at conferences, hosted an Interfaith Radio show, taught others the essentials of dialogue and collaboration, and celebrated Ramadan and seder together in Seattle with Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

. . . The Three Amigos also emphasize that they are all members of Abrahamic traditions. Their shared ancestor makes possible a conversation about oneness or about what Rahman calls their “large and dysfunctional family” that would be more difficult to conduct with those outside the Abrahamic faiths. The three are in conversation with Hindus and Buddhists, but “for now,” Rahman says, “we have a lot of work to do to heal the rifts in our own family.”

thought for the day

a place of worship


i am a little church (no great cathedral)
far from the splendor and squalor of hurrying cities
-i do not worry if briefer days grow briefest,
i am not sorry when sun and rain make april
my life is the life of the reaper and the sower;
my prayers are prayers of earth’s own clumsily striving
(finding and losing and laughing and crying) children
whose any sadness or joy is my grief or my gladness
around me surges a miracle of unceasing
birth and glory and death and resurrection:
over my sleeping self float flaming symbols
of hope,and i wake to a perfect patience of mountains
i am a little church (far from the frantic
world with its rapture and anguish)at peace with nature
-i do not worry if longer nights grow longest;
i am not sorry when silence becomes singing
winter by spring,i lift my diminutive spire to
merciful Him Whose only now is forever:
standing erect in the deathless truth of His presence
(welcoming humbly His light and proudly His darkness)
~ e.e.cummings ~
(Complete Poems 1904-1962)