Spirituality


Menstuff® has compiled information, books and resources on the issue of spirituality.

But, what if?

Watch people react to hearing violent Bible verses they think are from the Quran
God is Beautiful
Walk the labyrinth.
Comparing Different Religions and Faith Groups
Prayers for Peace
Kuan Yin was a Man
St Francis de la Sissies - Hallelujah
Forgiveness As Salve for Sin
The Assisi Decalogue
Ritual Abuse

Circumcision

Minor Point
Building a Sweat Lodge
Promises Promises, 234,000 Promises
Rapture Christians
Islam and Gay
Inside the Vatican 1:28:48 National Geographic Society film
A Guide to a Different Meditation
Religion
Newsbytes
Resources
Periodicals
Books

Walk the labyrinth.

Click on the image and then find the arrow and drag it, slowly, around the labyrinth. Take time to pause along the way when a photo and saying present themselves and reflect.

God is Beautiful

I asked God to take away my pain.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
Her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a by-product of tribulations; it isn't granted, it is earned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
I give you blessings. Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own, but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.
I will give you life so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said... Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.

If you love God, send this to ten people and back to the person that sent it

Just in Case You Forgot

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.
If God had a wallet, your photo would be in it.
He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning.

When you want to talk, He'll listen. He could live anywhere in the universe and yet He chose our heart. And that Christmas gift He sent you in Bethlehem? Face it friend, He's crazy about you!

 

 

Forgiveness As Salve for Sin


Collective mea culpas becoming popular throughout the world, Don Lattin, Chronicle Religion Writer

From South Africa to the White House, from the Vatican to the Diocese of Oakland, everyone seems to be talking about forgiveness. Tomorrow, Roman Catholic Bishop John Cummins of Oakland will lead priests and nuns in an unprecedented liturgy in which they will stand before the victims of priestly sex abuse and seek God's forgiveness for their sins of church leaders. That ceremony comes two weeks after Pope John Paul II presided over a historic prayer service in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, where the pontiff apologized for almost 2,000 years of church wrong doing against Jews, women and other groups.

But this tidal wave of repentance goes far beyond the Catholic Church. Nearly everywhere you look -- in courtrooms, the corridors of political power and the halls of academia -- forgiveness is hot. "This decade we are entering is going to be an age of reconciliation,'" said psychologist Everett Worthington, executive director of the Campaign for Forgiveness Research. "Forgiveness," Worthington said, "can do more than save your soul. It can save your life. We know that feeling hostile over a long period of time can contribute to heart disease. Not forgiving is stressful, and our immune systems do not work as well when we are under stress.'"

The campaign, financed primarily by the John Templeton Foundation, has handed out $6 million for 32 studies on the psychological, spiritual and physical benefits of forgiving. Two of its research projects are under way at Stanford University. Worthington, a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, traces the academic and popular interest in forgiveness back to a 1984 book by theologian Lewis Smedes, Forgive and Forget.

South Africa's Example: During the 1990s, the world watched the power of forgiveness working through the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined injustices committed during that nation's apartheid era. Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, along with former President Jimmy Carter, are among the five co-chairs of the forgiveness campaign. Worthington said another U.S. president has helped put forgiveness in the public spotlight. "Bill Clinton has done more for forgiveness research than anyone else in America,'" he quipped.

Forgiveness is also at the center of "Jubilee 2000,'" a broad interfaith campaign that includes calling on international bankers and wealthier nations to forgive the crushing debts of Third World countries.

Meanwhile, legal scholars are looking at what effect forgiveness -- or the reluctance of people to apologize -- has on the mountain of civil lawsuits burying the courts. Worthington said a task force in Washington, D.C. is studying whether a doctor's apology could be excluded as inadmissible evidence in medical liability cases. "Doctors who make medical mistakes say they can't apologize because of liability problems," Worthington said. "But one study showed that two-thirds of patients said they wouldn't sue if doctors weren't so arrogant and would just apologize."

Much of the research on forgiveness confirms what many of the world's religious traditions have been saying for centuries: Confession, forgiveness and repentance are good for the soul.

St. Peter's Ceremony: Earlier this month, Pope John Paul II made headlines around the world with a mea culpa proclaimed at Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Basilica. Yesterday, during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, the pope said the Roman Catholic Church is "deeply saddened'" by Christian persecution of Jews throughout history. San Francisco Archbishop William Levada said the pope is leading a worldwide Catholic initiative that seeks "atonement for sins and of reparation for past faults . . . committed in the name of the church through these past two millennia of Christianity. Only by asking pardon for our own sins do we dare to beg pardon for another's," said Levada, writing in today's issue of the weekly Catholic San Francisco newspaper.

Not everyone is happy with the papal confession or his regrets uttered yesterday at the Holocaust memorial. Many Jewish leaders had hoped the pope would have specifically apologized for the public silence of Pope Pius XII during the Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews during World War II. In his column today, Levada said the critics "in the religious community and the media are trying to 'demonize' Pius XII. It would be interesting to apply the criteria which some now suggest in regard to Pius to the activities -- or 'silence' -- of American government officials and policies, or of Jewish agencies and leaders in the United States during the same period," the archbishop writes.

Victims of Sexual Abuse: Another group that has sought a more specific apology from church leaders are the victims of sexual abuse by priests. They will get just that in an extraordinary reconciliation service to be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Leona Lodge, 4444 Mountain Blvd., in Oakland. Victims of sexual abuse are invited to attend the service, which will be presided over by Cummins, the spiritual leader of Catholics in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. "We, as a church, were often negligent and did not respond to victims of sexual abuse appropriately," Cummins said. "The Diocese of Oakland has resolved not to repeat the evils of the past." In recent years, the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the Diocese of Santa Rosa and other church jurisdictions around the world have been scandalized by continuing revelations about the sexual abuse of children and teenagers by Catholic clergy. Terri Light, West Coast director of SNAP, the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests, praised Cummins and Sister Barbara Flannery, the chancellor of the Oakland Diocese, for "taking care of victims and being sure perpetrators are held accountable. This will help us heal," Light said of tomorrow's service.

The ceremony will include responsive readings. For example, victims of sexual abuse will read, "We were treated as if we were the ones who had brought shame and embarrassment on the church." Church leaders will respond, "We were ashamed and afraid to know the horrible truth.. . . Even though the signs were right there before us, we did not recognize them."

East Bay's Leadership: Light said she hopes the church in San Francisco and Santa Rosa will learn a lesson from their East Bay brethren. "We have a huge contingent coming over from San Francisco and Santa Rosa," Light said. "There is particular sensitivity in the Oakland Diocese. In San Francisco, they feel so dark. The church needs to be guided by its mission, not by its lawyers and insurance agents."

Levada will lead a penance service at 10 a.m. April 8 at St. Mary's Cathedral, timed to coincide with a National Day of Atonement called by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Two days earlier, the archbishop will gather his clergy at the National Shrine of St. Francis in North Beach and "pray for atonement for the past sins of priests." Maurice Healy, spokesman for the San Francisco Archdiocese, said people should not expect the pope or the archbishop to make specific apologies. "People are missing the point. This is a prayer, and its offered on behalf of all the members of the church," Healy said. "We don't want to get into an argument over why this is on the list and why that's not on the list. It's not a recitation of specific offenses, but that doesn't mean its any less sincere." www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/ (Editor: The next step is for the "Sisters" to atone for all of the physical and emotional abuse of children under their care in Catholic Schools around the world. And, this is at least a first step.)

Watch people react to hearing violent Bible verses they think are from the Quran


The young folk over at Dit Is Normal (not a typo), a prankster show out of the Netherlands decided to prank people concerning the Christian Bible. In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the rising discussion of Islam as a religion inherently violent and prone to terrorism, these two men thought it would be interesting to buy a Bible, highlight some verses, and then replace the cover of that Bible with a cover of a Quran and then let people read those verses—and film their reactions.

If you reject my commands and abhor my laws you will eat the flesh of your own sons and the flesh of your own daughters.—Leviticus 26.29

I do not allow for a woman to teach. Timothy 2:12

You will have to cut off her hand. Deuteronomy 25:12

The reactions are priceless and predictable. Here are a couple of reactions that are very applicable to today’s general hypocrisy concerning the Islamic religion.

3:30
The Holy Quran Experiment
Well, I didn’t know that this kind of stuff was also in this book. Cutting off people’s hands...I mean, apparently that’s just the way they are.

And the always classic, Bill Maher inspired:

If you’ve been raised with this book and these kinds of thoughts, it’s going to influence the way you think.

Good point? Problem is that it applies to most of the people ranting about this stuff these days. When the guys are Dit Is Normal reveal that these verses are from the Bible, everyone’s reactions are genuinely surprised—and frankly—positive. One young man’s reaction is a real statement of our ability to swallow our pride without feeling humiliated—after laughing and seeming to be genuinely taken by how tricked he was he says this:

But it’s all just prejudice really. I always try not be be prejudiced myself but apparently I already am.

Maturity and wisdom comes most frequently as a result of having your ideas challenged in a way that allows you to see the artifice of convention. It can be embarrassing at times and it can feel painful at other times—but that’s why we have humor!

Watch the Islamaphobic hypocrisy below the fold.

3:30
The Holy Quran Experiment

Source: www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/12/7/1457710/-Watch-people-react-to-hearing-violent-bible-verses-they-think-are-from-the-Quran?detail=email

The Assisi Decalogue


What if leaders of the world's major religions got together one day and denounced all religious violence? What if they unanimously agreed to make this plain, clear and bold statement to the world?

"Violence and terrorism are opposed to all true religious spirit and we condemn all recourse to violence and war in the name of God or religion." It could change the world. At the very least, it would be big news, wouldn't it? Apparently not.

More than 200 leaders of the world's dozen major religions did get together Jan. 24 in Assisi, Italy. Maybe you missed the story about it the next day. Most newspapers didn't carry it. And it was hidden inside many of those that did. There was a lot of other news that day. The Enron hearings opened in Washington. John Walker Lindh made his first court appearance.

It's no wonder the largest meeting of world religious leaders in history couldn't even make the front page. Pope John Paul II and a number of cardinals were at the meeting. So was Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians. So were a dozen Jewish rabbis, including some from Israel. So were 30 Muslim imams from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan. So were dozens of ministers representing Baptists, Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, Disciples of Christ, Mennonites, Quakers, Moravians, The Salvation Army and the World Council of Churches.

So were dozens of monks, gurus and others representing Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Zoroastrians and native African religions. They ignored the personal and political risk of attending such a high-profile gathering.

They convened and talked and prayed. They unanimously agreed to condemn "every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or religion." They also said, "No religious goal can possibly justify the use of violence by man against man." And that "Whoever uses religion to foment violence contradicts religion's deepest and truest inspiration." They called their statement the Assisi Decalogue for Peace. It consists of 10 mutual commitments to work for peace and justice in the world, including this one:

"We commit ourselves to stand at the side of those who suffer poverty and abandonment, speaking out for those who have no voice, and to working effectively to change these situations." On March 4, the Pope sent a copy of the to all of the world's heads of state.

Maybe you missed the story. It didn't even make the newspapers the next day, hidden inside or not. There was a lot of other news that day.

Seven American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. Israeli troops killed 17 people in the West Bank. Mike Tyson got a license to box.

What if leaders of the world's major religions got together one and denounced all religious violence---and no one cared?

Decalogue of Assisi for Peace

1. We commit ourselves to proclaiming our firm conviction that violence and terrorism are incompatible with the authentic spirit of religion, and, as we condemn every recourse to violence and war in the name of God or of religion, we commit ourselves to doing everything possible to eliminate the root causes of terrorism.

2. We commit ourselves to educating people to mutual respect and esteem, in order to help bring about a peaceful and fraternal coexistence between people of different ethnic groups, cultures and religions.

3. We commit ourselves to fostering the culture of dialogue, so that there will be an increase of understanding and mutual trust between individuals and among peoples, for these are the premise of authentic peace.

4. We commit ourselves to defending the right of everyone to live a decent life in accordance with their own cultural identity, and to form freely a family of his own.

5. We commit ourselves to frank and patient dialogue, refusing to consider our differences as an insurmountable barrier, but recognizing instead that to encounter the diversity of others can become an opportunity for greater reciprocal understanding.

6. We commit ourselves to forgiving one another for past and present errors and prejudices, and to supporting one another in a common effort both to overcome selfishness and arrogance, hatred and violence, and to learn from the past that peace without justice is no true peace.

7. We commit ourselves to taking the side of the poor and the helpless, to speaking out for those who have no voice and to working effectively to change these situations, out of the conviction that no one can be happy alone.

8. We commit ourselves to taking up the cry of those who refuse to be resigned to violence and evil, and we are desire to make every effort possible to offer the men and women of our time real hope for justice and peace.

9. We commit ourselves to encouraging all efforts to promote friendship between peoples, for we are convinced that, in the absence of solidarity and understanding between peoples, technological progress exposes the world to a growing risk of destruction and death.

10. We commit ourselves to urging leaders of nations to make every effort to create and consolidate, on the national and international levels, a world of solidarity and peace based on justice.

Source: David Waters, a columnist for the syndicated Memphis Commercial Appeal

Promises Promises, 234,000 Promises


Wall St Journal - There's a very popular and swiftly growing segment of the men's movement that has nothing to do with beating drums or celebrating the Warrior. It's called the Promise Keepers and to date it boasts over a million men as members. What is more interesting is that they are coming together as fathers. It was started by University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney in 1991. An evangelical Christian, he finds that "We are seeing...a huge hunger among men who want to learn to live successfully in today's world." Promise Keepers offers these men a chance to recommit themselves not just to Jesus, but to their families as well. McCartney stresses cooperation, responsibility and even an openness to minorities and homosexuals.

The success of the Promise Keepers program, at least for now, cannot be denied. McCartney is currently out-drawing The Rolling Stones. The thing I find most interesting is the reaction once again with activists trying to destroy anything that smacks of "men's growth". "They don't allow women." Neither do many women's events and festivals. I don't know anyone who feels women will share and open up at the same level in mixed company as they do with their own sex. So, why should we expect men to be less vulnerable? Seems just another way to control men. "They preach dominance over women." While the gatherings are primarily made up of men from fundamentalist Christian families that already following certain teachings, it's the religious teachings, the churches and the men and women in those sects that should be receiving the criticism. From women writers who posed as men to get in, to many others who've been inside, this is not a major point. The major point is to recommit to the family through promises that you will be held accountable for. And, while I'm not denying concern for some of their thoughts and actions, and again find my thoughts directed towards the overall theology and not to the men seriously working at becoming more responsible fathers and husbands. For more information about Promise Keepers, call Brian Yeager, the National volunteer coordinator at 303.456.7276.

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75% of women and 63% of men are members of a church or synagogue. 34% of women and 43% of men have hardly any confidence in the people running organized religion.

Spirituality is the life we lead, not the creed we profess. - Gordon Clay



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