The men and women moved slowly past the prostrate women in her eighties. She repeated a modified sun salutation and prayer for peace several times in the aisle, even as a dozen or so latecomers passed her as they made their way to their seats. And then the woman stood up, hands pressed together in a sign of peace and compassion and returned to her seat using her cane for assistance.
All this time, the room remained rather hushed with four thousands hearts and minds fixated on the stage, awaiting the words from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This woman was physically doing what so many of us longed to do. We longed to match the peace and compassion of this global religious figure in action. Instead most of us just sat in awe of his demeanor and superb eloquence. Read the rest of this entry
I returned Wednesday evening from a three-day ministerial career assessment in Westchester, IL. A requirement for ministerial credentialing in the UUA, this time was meant to give me space for reflection and analysis of where my life is now, where it is headed, and how a career in ministry is or is not along my journey forward. The experience was very formative and gave me a lot of great things to think about. While the discussions and events throughout these three days are confidential because of the agreement I made with other ministerial candidates, I wanted to share one salient point that has remained on my heart.
The last activity before the five of us returned to our separate lives was an opportunity to give presents to one another. These presents were not tangible, they were spiritual. There purpose were to be tools and reminders of certain things that will help us along our travels towards ministry. While I cherish each of my gifts, there was one that stuck out to me that I wanted to lift up today: the breath of life. Read the rest of this entry
A couple days ago, I commented on the state of transitions in this country, namely how we, as a collective people, view and prepare for changes in our lives. In that article, I discussed some concerns I had about how our social structure fails to embrace this change and effectively prepare individuals who are going through transitions, ranging from coming of age to graduation to death. My hope is to reflect in this article on ways to make this transition more beneficial for all.
I write this as I just completed my last final exams at DePaul just over an hour ago. It is a time of great transition in my life and therefore this topic is of personal importance, as well. The concern I have with the issue at hand is that I feel that the transitions we face in life our not fully being embraced and recognized in all of the beauty and complexity they possess. It is an odd occurrence because innovation and change is appreciated and encouraged quite a lot in the marketplace in this country.
I could hear my heart thumping, racing wildly, twisting and turning uncomfortably, wanting to get out. I squirmed in my seat, attempting to find that right position where I could both see, but also hide from what I was witnessing. My thoughts were all over the place, non-linear, even illogical at times. And my spirit was distressed, pained by the many words and experiences from the night. The concepts of patience and universal respect were hard for me to maintain last night as I sat in Cortelyou Commons with dozens of other DePaul students, listening to Ann Coulter discuss politics, religion, and other social issues.
Her talk was entitled, “What Your Professor Will Never Teach You,” a purposefully suggestive title, but relevant as some students at DePaul, namely the College Republicans who invited her, believe that 100% of Political Science professors at this school are either liberal or “something other than conservative.” While I am a bleeding heart liberal, any allegation of that nature inspires me to reflect on both its validity and what implications such a lopsided Political Science Department might have on the students within those classes (and if the trend is contagious, students from around the country). Ultimately, there is a much more serious and less logistical reflection to be had; I ask myself how do I, as a person of faith, react and respond to a person like Ann Coulter and the views that she expressed so forcefully last night.
“This article was originally published on the DePaul Interfaith website on March 1st, 2011″
Life is often circular. Things come and go. The seasons rage and pass every year, as does the sun, which rises and sets each morning and night. Humans, too, can show patterns in their actions. It has been more than six month since I began fasting for the month of Ramadan in mid-august. The experience was phenomenal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My body, mind, and soul were reawakened to the purpose of sacrifice, thankfulness, and global family. Ramadan, as I soon learned, was about being conscious, aware of the unjust realities that surround us, as well as the beautiful gifts that are shared with us everyday. Conscious consumption is the most ethical consumption, not just of food, but of all we come across in our lives. Utility is a blessing and that which is used must be treated as such. While one stomach remains hungry, all humans remain hungry. These were some of the lessons I learned during my experience with Ramadan.
Unfortunately, the most common of our human patterns is forgetfulness. The month of Ramadan was unbelievable. The weeks following, I was on my game, remaining conscious and living thankfully. As time went, though, I began to fall into my old habits; I began to return to a culture of unconscious consumption. My portions grew in size, my thoughts before, during, and after a meal were rarely on being thankful for sustenance or on my fellow human beings who would go to bed that night with empty bellies. I didn’t notice, however; I was in community with others who were just like me: asleep. Read the rest of this entry