Spirituality in the News

August 17, 2015
Carol Kuruvilla, Associate Religion Editor for the Huffington Post

We Asked Our Readers To Define God In One Word. Here's What They Told Us.

What is God in one word?The answer is pretty beautiful.

Earlier this year, HuffPost Religion decided to conduct a little experiment.

We asked our readers to do something humans have been trying to do for centuries -- to define God. The catch? They had to encapsulate all of God in just one word.

It was a challenge, to be sure, but they rose to the task like champions, sending us more than 2,200 responses on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

We've been combing through these answers for the most popular words, and came up with a list that represents a few different perspectives -- everything from God is "fiction" to God is "faith."

Despite their diverse religious backgrounds, it was pretty clear what word came to mind most often when our readers thought about God:
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August 3, 2015
Oprah Winfrey's Super Soul Sunday
Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor Video

How you wake up can set the tone for your entire day. That's why Episcopal priest and best-selling spiritual author Barbara Brown Taylor begins each morning with a three-step ritual in which each part plays an essential role.

"It seems really important to get up one hour early," she says. "It used to be to read for about 20 minutes—something nourishing—and then to sit quietly for about 20 minutes and do some quiet...I call it meditation. But the reading fills and the meditation empties."

Now, though, Barbara has adjusted that routine to add a third crucial element to her mornings. Watch as she explains what it is, and see why it sparks a major aha! moment for Oprah, who plans to revise her morning routine to include it as well.
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July 8, 2015
By Rory McEntee and Adam Bucko
The Interspiritual Revolution

Multispiritual Revolution


“We must all achieve our identity on the basis of a radical authenticity… [for] it is only in the real world of the person – neither singular nor plural – that the crucial factors influencing the course of the universe are at work.”
– Raimundo Panikkar, “The Silence of God,” Introduction p. xviii

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July 10, 2015
Carl McColman

I know: summer reading is supposed to light, fun, escapist. Murder mysteries and steamy romances. Call me weird, but I'm the kind of person who likes to read thoughtful or even challenging literature, even when I'm lounging around on the beach.

And I suspect I'm not alone.

If you are like me -- if you're not particularly holding your breath for the long lost novel by Harper Lee, and could care less about E. L. James, then you might enjoy one or more of these faith-based books that are on my summer reading list. A word of warning: each one will make you think.

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May 29, 2015
Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman for the Huffington Post
Rabbi Geoffrey A. MitelmanMy 19-month-old daughter loves watching for school buses. She camps out on our couch, eyes eagerly scanning for any sign of yellow, and when one goes by, she squeals "Bus!!!!"

Her natural awe, curiosity and excitement simply amaze me -- I wish I got even remotely as excited about anything as she does about buses! But if you spend any time with children, you'll notice that they just seem to have an innate sense of what we might call "spirituality."

So how do we cultivate that sense of spirituality? And are there additional benefits that can accrue by giving our children spiritual language?

One person who explores the role and power of spirituality in children is Dr. Lisa Miller. Dr. Miller is a Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University's Teacher's College, as well as the Director of the Spirituality & Mind Body Institute. She is also the author of the new book The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving.

I had an opportunity to ask her some questions about her work and her new book, and she was kind enough to respond.

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May 8, 2015
Franciscan Sister Monessa Overby, Special to The Desert Sun

Desert Blooms (from www.morguelife.com)The California drought is on the news every day and each of us is confronted with doing what we can about it. Perhaps thinking of it as a closer meeting with our environment, the created world on which and in which we live, is a positive way of thinking about the drought.

All of creation reveals something of God; all of creation reveals God. You may remember from elementary school memorizing “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer. The last lines read, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.” Thomas Berry, who called himself a geotheologian, said, “We need to move from a spirituality of alienation from the natural world to a spirituality of intimacy with the natural world.”

This drought can be a reminder to listen to our “Mother the Earth” to hear the sacred presence. Mother Earth is both groaning and glorifying. The Jesuit paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, said, “At the heart of matter is the heart of God.”

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May 4, 2015
Rebecca Mckown
Rebecca MckownIs Spirituality a religion?

I was asked recently what it means to be Spiritual. I stopped and thought. My answer was simple, it means to "feel." Spirituality to me is not religion. Religion is based on set beliefs determined by past doctrines adopted by groups as a way to live.

Religion has set rules and standards to live by. There are deities to worship, commandments to follow and rituals to adhere to. Religion works. It gives people something solid and comforting to live on. It is a Rock, hard, solid, and rarely changing. It offers community and safety in numbers.

Spirituality on the other hand is a feeling. It exists without thoughts, without order, without rules, without buildings. Spirituality resides within a body. It can lay dormant never being unearthed or it can vibrate through you throughout the day.

Spirituality is spirit, singular. Each being has a spirit and is therefore capable of experiencing spirituality. Spirituality is felt. It must be felt. It existed before any doctrines, before any deities. It just is. Spirituality is your connection with life, with energy, with death, with the unknown. Spirituality is unmalleable. It just is.

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April 27, 2015
Seeing the images of destruction and suffering coming from Kathmandu and Nepal, it’s easy to be moved and want to do something helpful.

Obviously our thoughts are with those living in the midst of the effects of this devastating Earthquake, but this tragedy has also catalysed a lively debate online about what the best way to help those suffering from the consequences on the ground.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nepal

After the quake struck, the hashtag #PrayForNepal, along with a wide variety of quotepics on that theme, were quickly and widely shared on social media. Obviously, people were concerned, shocked, and wanted to express that. The question that this raises, however, is does praying for Nepal, or sharing quote pics about praying for Nepal online, actually achieve anything?

The Humanist Charity organisation Responsible Charity responded to #PrayForNepal with an critical Facebook post ‘Prayers aren’t helping the Nepal earthquake victims; donations, volunteers and deployment of rescuers and professionals on the ground is what they need!’

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April 22, 2015
Jacob J. Erickson
It is a mild Kenyan day in January of 2014. With temperatures in the 70s. I smile with some Lutheran guilt because I know I am missing the worst of Minnesota’s frosty brunt of the so-called “polar vortex” (climate change in action). At this moment, instead of curling up with blankets and hot cocoa, I stand with nearly a hundred others outside in a large half-circle, leaning with anticipation against a waist-high rope. The crowd’s eyes are set on a dusty red trail emerging from a row of trees far on the other side. Cameras begin to click, small gasps and “awws” begin to rumble, and, from the crowd’s sudden muttering and questions, it becomes very clear to me that I have stumbled half hazardly across a kind of spiritual pilgrimage site.

We stand near a suburb of Nairobi known simply as “Karen,” named for the Danish immigrant who once had a farm here early in the 20th century. Most people in the U.S. know its namesake Karen Blixen in the guise of Meryl Streep, who portrayed Blixen in the award-winning film Out of Africa, based on Blixen’s own writings. And Blixen, of course, went by a number of famous pen names—Isak Dinesen is one—writing some of the most fascinating and beautiful theological stories of her time. Most notable is Babette’s Feast. But her theology is for another moment.

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March 19, 2015
JEMIMA THACKRAY for The Telegraph (U.K.)
Organised religion may be on its last legs, but spirituality is all the rage.  Therapy Thought - Photo by Alamy

Courses in yoga, zen, mindfulness, reiki and meditation all have waiting lists of people who may have abandoned the idea of an all-powerful creator, but still crave transcendence. The truth is that many of us sense there’s a higher mystery about human existence – and we want connect with it.

I often hear people say they need to ‘work on’ their spirituality, or they wish they were ‘more spiritual’, but they just don’t have the hours in the day.

Indeed, the array of spiritual products on the market seems to demand an inordinate amount of time and head space. I confess I haven’t even got the focus to engage in the two-minute relaxation at the end of my yoga class.

It’s an agonizing 120 seconds spent desperately trying to still my mind; but by the end I have usually planned dinner, compiled a mental to-do list, and vowed to paint my toe nails like the infinitely more glamorous women either side of me.

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