As I walked home I felt as if my feet weren’t touching the ground. The bright faces of the handicapped children were imprinted in my memory, and now I thought of each one of them, walking and singing, the nuns looking after them. I retained the light of the convent within me: its grace touched me, expanding an inner space, cheering unknown corners.
Phil had Sheila on the mind when he walked into one of the BOYS bathrooms at Our Lady of Peace Elementary in West Russelsburg. He’d started his shift as Second Security Officer at 6:00am, about an hour before most teachers get there, and about an hour and a half before the earliest kids get dropped off for the Before School Fitness Club, which was really just thirty minutes of kids running in circles on the field while one of the coaches watched, thirty minutes of free daycare and an earlier arrival at the office for the parents who didn’t care if they made their poor kids show up sweaty for the 8:00am Daily General Assembly. Phil had Sheila on the mind when, at about 9:00am, the school was quiet except in the classrooms and he’d walked down the quiet hallway in the main classroom building and walked into one of the BOYS bathrooms. He’d been thinking about her all morning, as usual, and he’d been thinking about their seventh date—set to happen that night—and the fact that he was now going by Phil instead of Phillip, all because on their first date, three weeks ago, she said in a nervous fast-talking first-date kind of jitters voice, Phillip? Phil? Is that you?
How to experience God today
The present present times are so politically afflicted that we are psychologically altered. Seeing no path forward, walking blind, adrift like a rudderless ship, extinguishes our spark to live. We wind up forgetting what is essential.
Those who read my last article, Can present day Brazil be fixed?, find the background there for this refection on God. In moments like this, without being pietistic, we turn towards the Fountain that has always nourished humanity. Especially in somber times of generalized crises, we feel a longing for God.
A man strolls through the woods, listening to the birds chirping, the rustling of the leaves, the river flowing in the background. A middle-aged woman takes photographs of her urban setting, and then creates expressive paintings. A young man takes up Buddhism, meditates, and strives to live a compassionate life. A young woman studying to become a social worker fights for social justice, attending a peace march. What does each of these people have in common?
Click here to download our 2015/5776 High Holidays Repentance Workbook and click here to download a PDF of the Al Cheyt Prayer. For the Ways We Have Missed the Mark and Gone Astray—Al Cheyt Prayer, Meditation, and Spur to Transformation
A Supplement to the High Holiday Prayer Book (not a replacement)
On Yom Kippur, we invite you to use the following supplement along with the traditional confessional prayer, Al Cheyt. Bring this supplement along with your own list to Yom Kippur services. Don’t just go through the rote reading the traditional “sins,” many of which actually reach to the ways we “miss the mark” in our contemporary reality. If you are not Jewish or aren’t attending any High Holiday service, use this supplement at your home or with your friends at any time during these ten days of repentance!
If the postmodernists celebrated a departure from objective truths, Lyacos offers a vision of subjective return. Though his view is more pragmatic than ideal, Lyacos argues for a new interpretation of God, the Bible, and their roles in contemporary society.
The desire for mutual recognition is not an abstract universal, but a concrete universal manifested in all human situations as an expression of the very meaning of what it means to be a social human being.
Nobody Home: Writing, Buddhism, and Living in Places
Gary Snyder, in conversation with Julia Martin
Trinity University Press, 2014
Nobody Home presents three interviews conducted by South African scholar and writer Julia Martin with the poet Gary Snyder that take place from the late 1980s to 2010, along with a selection of letters between them covering the same period. Martin was a young academic in apartheid South Africa when she first reached out to Snyder, motivated by her critical work on his poetry and thinking. Martin’s study and practice of Buddhism and her intuitive grasp of Snyder’s importance as a forefather of a growing international movement of spiritual environmentalism provoked Snyder to respond with sympathy and encouragement. They had an instant rapport in letters, which led to the interviews. This is a great period for Snyder, as his thinking about the nondualism of self/no-self and its relation to the world and all phenomena is culminating in his concentration on finishing Mountains and Rivers Without End, one of the crowning works of his generation of poets.
A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet
by Nancy Abrams
Beacon Press, 2015
Nancy Abrams needed a higher power. As one of the premiere science writers of our time, she found both the Iron Age gods of the Abrahamic faiths and the pseudo-scientific mysticisms of New Age gurus wanting. So she turned to what she knew best: science. What she found is set forth in her important, cogent, and challenging new book, A God That Could Be Real: Spirituality, Science, and the Future of Our Planet. This is not another book about the clash of science and religion.