Writing Right Now # 5: Rays of Truth Part 1

Writing Right Now # 5: Rays of Truth Part 1 April 23, 2022

Back in 2020 when I first started my tenure as a writer at Patheos I wrote a few articles about all things Patheos.  I have written about my fellow Catholic bloggers several times but I have also written about and shared snippets from the various other Patheos channels in which the Catholic channel is only but one tiny fraction of the bigger picture.  I went out into the neighborhood and walked around to see who shared my cyberspace with me. It produced these articles.

Who are the Patheosi in your Neighborhood? 

Patheos Topics: A look around

Back in 2021 I wrote a weekly article focusing on what happen in the Last Week in Life.

This year in 2022 I have changed it around and am parodically letting you know who is Writing Right Now.

So, for this issue of WRN I have looked around once again at our neighbors and found some content worth sharing. Even though as a Catholic I believe that our faith is the one true faith, it doesn’t mean that we should be afraid of the truth, beauty and goodness to be found in other faiths outside our own.

 No one should be afraid that God has allowed there to be different religions in the world. But we should be frightened if we are not doing the work of fraternity, of walking together in life as brothers and sisters of one human family. What God wants is fraternity among us which is why we must not be frightened by difference. God has allowed this. But it is right to be worried when people are not working toward a more fraternal world.
Paraphrased from Pope Francis: Don’t be afraid that God has allowed different religions in the world | America Magazine

The second Vatican Council has paved the way for deeper dialogue and understanding of others who have not been granted the gift of the full revelation of God’s Word. But God can’t be contained and he can be found everywhere human beings live and breath and also where they don’t.

The idea that Catholics should seek a deeper understanding of other faiths is not a new one. In 1965 the Second Vatican Council issued Nostra Aetate, a statement on the relationship between the Catholic Church and other religions. Despite its brevity, this five-paragraph document heralded a transformation in the church’s posture toward other religions—by rejecting anti-Semitism, expressing esteem for Muslims, and affirming its reverence for the “rays of truth” in other faiths.
Teach more than tolerance KIMBERLY KEISERMAN AND MARISA FASCIANO– U.S. Catholic August 26, 2015 (uscatholic.org)

So here are some Rays of individuals writing things that any Catholic can relate to and agree with.

From Nonreligious Patheos Blogs

Expressions of a Child

In particular, it is fascinating how most of our emotions and mental states can be mirrored in the 42 muscles that govern our facial features.

This milestone in our evolution is breathtaking in itself. However,  when we consider that we can also manipulate our facial features at will, so that our expressions can also belie or hide what we are thinking, then we can really appreciate how crucial facial expressions are towards communicating.

One of the reasons we are so intrigued by the expressions of a child is that much of what children express is grounded in their innocence and honesty. Their little minds have not yet acquired the skills to hide what they are thinking. So, we see in their expressions precisely what they are feeling emotionally relative to what they might be thinking.

Stand-Up Humanist Magic and the Expressions of a Child | Scott R. Stahlecker  APRIL 1, 2022 (patheos.com)

From New Visions Patheos Blogs

Gratefulness and Joy

I learned at the Developmental Olympics how joy could be had no matter the external circumstance. If joy is what our spirits need to help us heal, how is joy attainable? How do we invoke joy or recapture joy as the case maybe?

Right at the entryway into joy is loving gratefulness. It is essential to acknowledge any blessing that arrives at a certain moment in time that is often a culminating point in one’s life to allow yourself to be immersed in the joy of the moment.

I hope when we land on the other side of the pandemic, we will have learned or begun to understand more of what is essential to our well-being. I hope we will have become more aware of the moments to lean into, take stock of our blessings, and grow in gratefulness for the privilege of being alive.

Spirituality Itself Joy Heals | JANUARY 7, 2022  Guest Contributor (patheos.com)

From Other Voices Patheos Blogs

How We Spend Our Days

Have you been watching the Station Eleven tv series on HBO? Or did you read the novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel?

Perhaps the most memorable line in the novel is the motto of the Traveling Symphony that gets to the heart of why they keep going on their thousand-mile circuit year after year performing Shakespeare, more than two decades after society has collapsed from a pandemic. Emblazoned on the front of their horse-drawn caravan is this motto: “Because survival is insufficient.”

I love that, and it’s really worth thinking about: because survival is insufficient.

Reflecting on our human lifespan through the lens of weeks is an interesting and provocative way to think about it. Often for me, and I suspect sometimes for many of you, weeks can just fly by one after another. And the passing days, weeks and years just keep adding up.

We all spend our days doing something, and as Annie Dillard has written, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing.”

Carl Gregg “Survival Is Insufficient”: What Will You Do with Your Four Thousand Weeks? | Carl Gregg JANUARY 6, 2022 (patheos.com)

From Pagan Patheos Blogs

Putting Theory Into Practice

Like Aladdin, I keep wandering in the pre-Islamic world as a foreigner, trying to make sense of it and understand how it works, getting used to the writing style, keeping some distance so I don’t get overwhelmed, or at least not more often than it already happens, if I am honest. This 2022, I want to finish that over-grown to-read list I did at the beginning of the year, maybe discover a few more, but besides reading I want to have a more active practice.

I’ve always loved theory, and I still do. For me, there’s nothing more important than understanding where ideas come from, how they can be adapted, combined, developed, and applied in a different way. However, I want to include those ideas in my practice more than I did last year. 2021 was good in that aspect, I discovered new techniques and got many ideas, but I want to go further this time, leave the books aside, and have a more solid approach, equally based on experience and research.

A modern-day Sha’ir Plans, 2022, and More Music | JANUARY 10, 2022 Bader Saab (patheos.com)

From Buddhism Patheos Blogs

Making Compassion a Habit

In our spiritual journey we are trying to cultivate compassion in order to live in a more awakened way. Working to train in compassion is really important, but there’s a certain point we can get to where it becomes more than a virtue we are working on. Compassion can become a habit. That’s where the magic really is, when we don’t stop to think “Should I act with compassion right now?” but instead we just naturally do it without thinking. There can come a point where we aren’t trying so hard to be generous, kind, and patient because these things become more natural to us thanks to our work on training ourselves.

So, how do we make compassion a habit?

We strive to embody it until it becomes a normal thing that we do. Practicing makes a habit. We can train our minds. Studies show there is neuro-plasticity in these areas of the brain, which means we can change our brains. We can reshape them in the way we wish.

Compassion training can change everything.

Bodhisattva Road Making Compassion A Habit | Daniel Scharpenburg MARCH 20, 2022  (patheos.com)

For some reason or other I do not know, there are no current 2022 Hindu blog posts.

But their part of the Patheos family of blogs so I couldn’t leave them out.

From Hindu Patheos Blogs

Accepting Who You Are

Something that is giving me hope, though, is a podcast I discovered. I was looking for something to listen to while I was tidying in the kitchen and I came across a podcast called A Slob Comes Clean. As I listened I was amazed by how much I related to her. She has the exact same issues with keeping a house tidy as I do.

She said some things that made me feel more confident that I can continue to choose to keep my house nice.

Being a “slob” is a part of who I am. It’s just the way my brain is wired. It has benefits too. That slobiness is the flip side of my creative, spontaneous and bright personality (a new friend recently described my personality as “bright” and it’s one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever gotten). But that doesn’t mean I just shrug, give up, and say “This is who I am so I’m doomed to always live in a messy house.” No, it just means that I accept that this is something that is never going to change. I’m not going to get fixed. This is something I will always struggle with but that means when I’m struggling with it it does not mean I am a failure. It’s not something I will overcome and then be better. I will have to choose every day to work on it. Some people are more naturally able to understand how to stay on top of clutter but I am wired differently. The White Hindu Happy | Ambaa Choate OCTOBER 10, 2018(patheos.com)

From Muslim Patheos Blogs

Pondering Nature for Religious Faith

How could life randomly and spontaneously develop from a very simple cell to a highly complex organism we see today (actually millions of organisms) without a purpose and without a planner is mind-boggling. Think of how many super smart scientist are working for so many years on artificial intelligence to reproduce a tiny piece of what we can do “naturally”. As a physician when I study natural processes and millions of mechanisms to maintain normal body function, I find it hard to fathom that this is a result of random, spontaneous process over millions of years without a super intelligent planner.

This is why the Qur’an challenges us to ponder “nature” and then to ask ourselves as to why we would still not believe in God. Finding out how our body naturally fights the foreign harmful invaders on a daily basis, and finds ways to heal up an open wound are not reasons to disbelieve. They are the very reasons to believe in God-the Creator-in-Chief. These are just a couple of thousands of examples, if we were to contemplate a little deeper.

Ask A (Born Again) Muslim Big Bang: Reason to Believe in God, and Not To Disbelieve Part 1 JANUARY 17, 2022| Ejaz Naqvi MD (patheos.com)

Were about half way through the Belief System from Patheos Catholic. Next time will tackle the other 7.


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