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Everyday Spirituality

In thinking about attending the Women’s March on Washington this weekend, I mull over its platform and listen to other people’s thoughts on the topic. Attendees have a wide range of reasons for taking the time and trouble to unite to stand for human rights. A super wide range.

While mentally processing what I want to stand for and give voice to this Saturday, I realized it was super difficult to judge. Then I realized it was nearly impossible to judge because judging by appearance doesn’t get to the heart of the problem.

In a crowd of thousands fighting for abortion rights, I know the true fighters for abortion rights are the ones who don’t use abortion as a mode of birth control, but respect it for life.

On the other hand, the true pro-lifer is the pro-lifer who gives love and a home to unwanted children.

I’ve fostered children and there is nothing more wrenching than seeing a child who believes and was treated as though they were unwanted.

I’ve never had an abortion. I’ve only had sex with my one and only husband of 33 years. Abstinence and monogamy safeguard me from ever needing an abortion. However, I have a dear friend who has had two abortions and multiple boyfriends. Moreover she has saved my goody two-shoes ass multiple times with her street smarts.  It’s impossible to judge her as a good or bad person when viewing her through the eyes of love and gratitude.

Her promiscuity has simmered down since she’s met and hung with me. In other words, she doesn’t judge me as good or bad. We just love and continue to try to change for the better each day.

As for the Women’s March, I’m going to unite for the sake of uniting with we the people trying to change for the better. And, I already know that if I am going to stand to support those who are marginalized, I must also not marginalize anyone in the new administration. I can’t demonize the new administration. It’s not good or bad. Supreme good is God and is our source of thought and action.

From John 7:24, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Organizers of the January 21 Women’s March on Washington are working around the clock to assist thousands of people in their efforts to unit with equality and justice. For those who can’t meet at the nation’s capital the day after President-elect Trump’s inauguration, there are more than 150 coinciding marches planned around the nation.

The march was ignited by a grandmother in Hawaii last November. It quickly heated up an oven of activism and controversy. As with any event, it can evolve or devolve. So far, its bee evolving.

To avoid degeneration, we can understand that activism and controversy are part of healthy lives and relationships. They help us communicate our needs and differences. Faith and understanding help us grow in ways that benefit humanity, like dough growing into an airy, nutrient filled loaf of bread.

Even if the march appears to fail, we know that failure can lead to success. Novelist, J.K. Rowling was repeatedly rejected by publishers before Harry Potter books became widely-read.

The mission of the Women’s March reads on the official website as: “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

The mission language is vague, but pointed, because currently the hot topics of politics, religion, and moral codes are being pushed and shoved in unfamiliar directions, making us uncomfortable.

Barna Group amassed a report on today’s uncomfortable social landscape in the book, Barna Trends 2017. It says, “Deep ideological tensions continue to divide our nation.”

Divisive issues include race, healthcare, the environment, abortion, and same-sex marriage. However, showing a hint of light, Barna reports, “Though large numbers of people of faith believe they are misunderstood, persecuted, and marginalized in today’s culture, most feel as though their faith is not only essential, but a force for good in today’s world.”

Faith and understanding bridge divisions.

Though we may not agree, we can understand that the Women’s March serves as means of educating ourselves. The march symbolizes awareness of “we the people” expecting fair representation.

More than safeguarding the marginalized, the march can outline a path to humanize the mean people who degrade those who are different from themselves. We were created to be humane, equal, and fair.

The march is not a coup d’état. It is not an excuse to be sensitive to or offended by opinions. It’s not a venue to make others feel unwelcome. The march can show respect for democracy.

Moreover, we can keep ourselves from veering off and following the self-defeating characters of anger or fear.

If things do get off track, Christ Jesus showed us that we can withdraw from circumstances and re-establish purpose and peace at any juncture in the march of life.

The Gospel John relays a story of Jesus feeding five-thousand hungry people. After tummies were satisfied, the people’s attitudes started getting off track. They lost focus of the spiritual purpose to unite and understand spirit. They wanted Jesus to do their work for them. What did Jesus do?

We read, “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”

Vogue magazine noted that 176,000 people are planning to attend, per the event’s Facebook page.

Preparation for the march on Washington D.C. includes packing water, food, and handwarmers. It requires dressing in layers and for warmth. Preparation necessitates us to make sure our families and homes are cared for in our absence.

It also means withdrawing from the commotion to readdress and reaffirm our faith in an engaging spiritual plan and love.

 

 

 

 

I Timothy 2: 2-5, English Standard Version

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God,

This is the fifth and last blog of a series on warmth and sincerity:

Divine Mind is another word for the unified force, or God.

I’ll read from my latest book, from science and religion to God, a briefer narrative of Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health. “Connectivity exists in divine Mind.”

Mary Baker Eddy wrote about this idea of the connectivity of goodness, between warmth, sincerity, and us, in her Science and Health, back in the 19th century.

I’ll read the sentence again.

“Connectivity exists in divine Mind.”

This idea guides me to look past the separable things, past the legends, past the divisible human minds and bodies, to the one divine Mind where warmth and sincerity are bringing us along.

There’s a Bible story that shows this in action. In the Book, Ruth.

The storyline starts with a Judahite family that emigrates from Bethlehem to Moab. Back then, the Judahites and Moabites, didn’t necessarily get along. But the Judahite parents raised their two sons and they grew up to marry Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth.

The story took a turn for the worse and all three men died. I’m sure this wasn’t an easy time for the women, but efforts were made to move with ongoing warmth and sincerity.

The mother, Naomi, decided to return to Bethlehem. Orpah stayed in Moab, but Ruth wanted to go with Naomi. Ruth told Naomi, I like your God.

So, Naomi and Ruth move back. Now in Bethlehem, Ruth is the foreigner, generally looked down upon. But they needed to eat so Ruth went to work in a wheat field. The land owner was Boaz and he was able to look past ethnicity, look past her losses, and see, Ruth manifest goodness. Boaz married Ruth and she became the great-grandmother of King David, an iconic figure in the history of Christianity.

Not everyone is as quick as Boaz, to accept the silent heart that unites us. But enough of us are and we can keep strong in the reality of warmth and sincerity in motion bringing us along, even when we don’t feel it right away, because there are definite intersections in life where the movement is confirmed.

A Pew Research Study, titled 5 facts about Christmas in America, discusses different data related to Christmas.

One fact recorded that: “Among Americans overall, about half (51%) say they celebrate Christmas as more of a religious holiday, while roughly a third (32%) say it is more of a cultural holiday to them personally.”

That’s 83% celebrating Christmas. Even though they may not agree why, they still unite at the level of a holiday. Most of us like a holiday.

But (and this is important), we don’t want to overlook the other 17%. They confirm that the holidays aren’t what keep warmth and sincerity alive.

This lesson has expanded for me.

I’ve learned, what seems like the hard way, that human relationships also aren’t what keep warmth and sincerity alive and moving.

My oldest brother and I, grew up very close. We were like this. We talked all the time, about everything. We thought alike. We acted alike. We worked together. We trusted one another.

Until ten years ago, when I modernized and published Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health. (Snap) Like that, I was shunned by my brother and the church members who believe they have to read Mary Baker Eddy’s words. Only her words are acceptable. Period.

My feeling of being rejected and demoted in the eyes of people who I trusted and loved, was excruciatingly painful. It was a sore contradiction to warmth and sincerity. Very difficult to escape.

Thankfully, I didn’t say anything horrible to my brother, even though I sometimes wanted to.

I think he was protecting his church job. It was his income. His way of making a living and providing for his family, which he did with warmth and sincerity.

For these ten years, I tromped on. And to my confidence, I’ve never regretted my decision. The revision work has been an amazing journey.

Well…a few months ago, my brother’s daughter got married. Last August. We were invited to the wedding. That wedding served as an intersection of warmth and sincerity. It was a dot connected, you could say.

I went to the wedding out of love for my niece. When my brother noticed me in the room, he walked straight to me and directly told me, that he retired from his church position.

He talked to me without the suspicion and censuring I’d previously felt. I talked to him with cautious hope.

It was a definite experience…  it was as if time stood still…no hurt, no past, no future. There was only the reality of ongoing warmth and sincerity bringing us along to greater expression.

Have a great season everyone.

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