Spirituality in the News

August 12, 2016
By Caroline Watson for The Huffington Post
Caroline Watson Video

Welcome to the Spirituality and Transformative Leadership blog series!

There is no doubt that today’s global leadership is at a crisis point. Leaders of principle are in short supply, politics has become reactionary and isolationist and there is a crying need for leadership that can unite multiple interests into a coherent vision for the reality of today’s world. The model of ‘servant leadership’ that believed in service to a higher cause than oneself, embraced by such visionaries as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Churchill, Mandela, seems extinct in today’s world. As recent events have seen, we need a new vision of leadership that can steer the course of our globalised world, whilst having the humility to recognise the challenges that ordinary people face in their day to day lives.

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July 21, 2016
Rev. Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary

This post first appeared on BillMoyers.com.

Rev. Serene Jones

We asked a number of contributors to share their reactions to a post by activist and author Michelle Alexander that we published earlier this month in the aftermath of the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Here is a response from the Rev. Serene Jones, the president of the historic Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. You can view all other responses by clicking on the "Building a New America" tag.


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December 4, 2015
By Rev. Victor Kazanjian for United Religions Initiative

Victor KazanjianThe world continues to weep daily for the senseless violence that so devastates families and communities. Today it is San Bernardino, California. Yesterday it was Cameroon, and Jerusalem, before that Baghdad, Beirut, Bethlehem, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Paris. And tomorrow…? The daily violence reflected in these and so many more incidents is deeply shocking and stirs up powerful feelings of fear, anger, outrage and sadness. The questions swirl, and consume our thoughts. Why? Who? How? It is natural to feel this way. Violence is horrible and the purpose of violence is to horrify and paralyze.

I have seen a lot of violence in my life, from gang violence in the South Bronx to communal violence in Gujarat, India. And as part of a global community of peace-builders, I hear daily stories of violence; both the stories that captivate the media, and the stories that we never see and yet are no less tragic.

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November 12, 2015
Nick Jankel for www.upliftconnect.com


Is saying publicly that you are a Spiritual person one of the last great social taboos?

Why, with so many striving to deliver greater social justice, is being actively and purposefully spiritual still such a heresy?

Over half of Canadian teenagers openly say they have spiritual needs, whilst only 15% of Americans say that they are neither spiritual nor religious. Over 75% of Brits claim that they are aware of a spiritual dimension to experience (a rise of 27% in 13 years); about 70% sit within a grey area between being religious and anti-religious. So why do so many of us hide away our spiritual contemplations, intuitions and convictions?

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October 30, 2015
Antonia Blumberg for The Huffington Post
Sacred Seed
Our lives depend on them.

With water, sun and soil, a tiny seed can grow into a majestic tree. The seed's power to transform so dramatically seems almost mythic in proportion, which is perhaps why seeds appear in many religious parables.

Today we've lost our connection to the life-giving properties of seeds as a by-product of our highly industrialized and "materialistic" culture, according to author and Sufi mystic Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.

"We have not only lost the sacred dimension of the seeds but a lived connection to the sacred Earth," Vaughan-Lee told The Huffington Post.

He went on to ask, "How can life have real meaning if we have no connection to a sacred Earth?"

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October 2, 2015
Jay Michaelson for The Daily Beast
Illustration by Alex Williams/The Daily Beast

Jay MichaelsonLet me say something I’m not supposed to say: I’m embarrassed by my new book.

This is true even though it’s a true labor of love, written and rewritten and rewritten again over a 10-year period; even though it’s also, in part, a chronicle of the loss of my mother; and even though various fantastic people have said various wonderful things about it.

Because my new book, like two of my previous ones, will be shelved with “spirituality.” And we all know serious people don’t do spirituality.

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October 2, 2015
Lynne McTaggart
Lynne McTaggart
If we have an energy field, how long does it live on after we die?

Just this question has been asked – and answered – by Konstantin Korotkov, the noted Russian quantum physicist and professor of what is now called the Russian National University of Informational Technology, Mechanics and Optics, who has created a modern-day version of Kirlian photography.

Kirlian photography

Semyon Davidovich Kirlian, a Russian engineer, discovered that when anything that conducts energy, including human tissue, is placed on a plate made of an insulating material, such as glass, and exposed to high-voltage, high-frequency electricity, the resulting low current creates a halo of coloured light around the object that can be captured on film.

Korotkov came up with a means of capturing this mysterious light in real time by creating a mechanism, which he called the Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV) technique, which made use of state-of-the-art optics, digitized television matrices and a powerful computer.

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October 8, 2015
Jennifer Preyss for Religion News Service

Diana Butler BassFour mornings a week, in the tranquil, blushing hours of morning, Diana Butler Bass drives to a familiar walking trail along the Potomac River and embarks on a two-mile stroll.

Creeping sunlight peppers the wooded scene. And the babble of active water silences the jangle of daily life.

Some days she finds a comfortable bench along the river where she can journal. Other days, she observes creation.

For Bass, a learned nature connoisseur, ardent gardener and noted religion academic, God does not merely exist inside reverent, adorned church spaces.

God also lives in the soil and exists in the elements.

“I have learned to love the dirt,” said Bass, a Christian progressive and author of nine books on American religion. “The dirt is a miniature universe. When I scoop up dirt in my hand I immediately think that I’m holding a universe. And then you can look up in the sky and there’s that universe above us.”

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September 24, 2015
By Beth Green for the Huffington Post

Beth GreenWhen people think of spirituality, we often have images of angels singing, wise men in rapture, saintly women with modest demeanor, monks in meditation, masters benignly guiding us and God or some kind of greater spirit above us, leading us unerringly with total wisdom, certainty and compassion. This could not be further from the truth, which should be obvious from a cursory glance around our universe. The "heavens" are full of turmoil, as we can only conclude from the expression: As above, so below. All of creation is in constant flux and evolution, and we and the heavens are One in that tumultuous process.

Why do we cling to the notion that the heavens are perfect and harmonious? Because we want them to be. Seeking safety from the world and its trials is our life-time pursuit. We try to save enough money, marry into a "good" family, choose a partner with substantial income, amass power and/or join clubs, communities, gangs or other groups to protect us in an uncertain world.

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August 13, 2015
Andre Mitchell for ChristianToday.com

A woman holds the hand of her mother who is dying from cancer during her final hours at a palliative care hospital in Winnipeg, Canada (Reuters)With the advances in science and medicine, more effective ways to fight the scourge of cancer are now available, although the cost of treatment remains sky-high.

A recent study, however, showed that there is another way to combat cancer that doesn't come with a price tag: faith in God.

Researchers analysed previous studies involving 44,000 cancer patients and their spirituality, and found out that patients who are more religious and spiritual tend to experience fewer physical symptoms of cancer.

Religion and spirituality were also associated with better health, according to the study.

Patients who believe in a higher being also showed better physical function, and more responsiveness to cancer treatment, according to the study.

The research also established a link between intrinsic religious belief and better physical function.

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