Making Reading Sacred

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Lent is traditionally a season for reflection, revision, and renewal. It's a time when we set aside a little extra time for spiritual reading. We know that each year our Lenten e-courses, such as this year's Practicing Spirituality with Brian McLaren, are very popular because they focus on short readings perfect for daily meditation. Reading — whether a book, an article, or an email — is one of the ways we practice gratitude, meaning, hospitality, openness, and enthusiasm, and we commend … [Read more...]

The Hokey Pokey Is What It’s All About . . . and Other Signs in Daily Life

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It happens all the time. A song comes on the radio, and we hear a lyric in a new way. We notice an interesting sign while walking in the city – like "Look" at a crosswalk. We're paging through a book or browsing the Internet and a picture catches our eye. We pass a playground and remember a childhood game. What if these are signs? What if they are messages from the Divine? We talk a lot about spiritual literacy in this blog, and here's how we define it: "Spiritual literacy is the ability … [Read more...]

Passing on Spirituality: Teaching the Spiritual ABC’s

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Spirituality is a way of being in the world, and it is marked by activities and experiences. We didn't learn a lot about it when we were growing up and going to Sunday School, confirmation classes, and youth group, although we were taught the beliefs of our faith. Spirituality came later when we met a variety of teachers and attended conferences and workshops.  So when Patheos asked us to reflect upon how we would pass it on to children, we realized it's all about things we can … [Read more...]

Handle Your Things with Care (Part I)

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We're leading an email course this summer on Practicing Spirituality at Home. Preparing the 40 daily emails and looking forward to discussions in our online Practice Circle, we find we are really interested in hearing how people find spiritual meaning in their things. Here are some of our thoughts on the matter. There is a rich and soulful emphasis in the world's wisdom traditions on respecting inanimate objects. Many Christians see the sacramental value of things as signs of God's presence; … [Read more...]

Spring: 6 Ways to Inaugurate the Season

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"Just as there are seasons in the world around us, so there are in our interior life," Teresa of Avila wisely observed. "We cannot expect it to be otherwise." Spring is a season of renewal and rebirth. It's a time when buds become leaves and flowers, when healing rain washes city streets and falls like grace on parched country fields, when the hard ground beneath us softens to allow shoots of new life to emerge. As outside, so inside. Spring is a time for cleaning out and making way for … [Read more...]

Transition Times and Spaces

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One day it snows. The next day it's 50 degrees and people are filling the park down the street. Of course, we say, it's March, one of those transition times of the year when it's not quite winter and not quite spring. March always gets us thinking about other transition times and spaces. Our days are punctuated by transitions. For example, we go through three entrances and use three sets of keys to get into our home. First, we open the entrance to our building from the street and walk into a … [Read more...]

Snow Day/Practice Day

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The great Christian monk Thomas Merton once compared the spiritual life to the search for a path in a field of untrodden snow: "Walk across the snow and there is your path." This thought came to mind this weekend as snowstorm Nemo blanketed the Eastern U.S. with deep snow. How can we make a walk across the snow into a spiritual practice? Here are some ways. Be Grateful. The day after the storm, we went over to our neighborhood park in New York City. The sidewalks and streets were already … [Read more...]

Learning to Be Content

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We've decided that a good goal for 2013 is contentment. We sure see plenty of discontentment around us. Our consumer culture runs on it! Advertising pitches are designed to make us always want something more, better, or different. Every day we face moments when we can choose to be happy and satisfied or we can fall into a pattern of discontentment. We eat breakfast and wonder why our usual cereal tastes bland. We listen with some jealousy as a friend describes her weekend activities when we … [Read more...]

Making Shopping Spiritual

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We are not big shoppers. If, as has been estimated, most Americans spend one hour a day shopping, then we fall well below the average. But there is something different about holiday shopping. We're shopping for gifts, not necessities, for one thing; we are encouraged to stretch and be creative. And being out and about with so many people is a wonderful reminder of our connections with others; it feels more like a communal experience. Finally, there is the beauty of the season and the … [Read more...]


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