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Project Conversion


How Will Your Faith Benefit Someone Today?

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Seems like an odd question at first, doesn’t it? In fact, it sounds one degree away from proselytization. But that isn’t really what we’re talking about, is it?

Faith, belief, and religion are usually quite personal. Most of us are reticent to share our faith due to social protocols. We know from experience that conversations about religion–like politics–often manifest a tangible anxiety and discomfort in any setting. For this reason, many of us keep our faith and convictions to ourselves for the sake of others.

But what if we’re thinking about this the wrong way?

St. Francis of Assisi is credited with saying “Preach the Gospel always, use words only when necessary.” St. Francis was a man obsessed with helping the poor and suffering by living among them and serving selflessly. I think this is a critical statement in our lives today as both people of faith and those of humanistic conviction. In a culture that bombards us daily with critics, pundits, preachers, and demagogues we hear a great deal of verbiage but little substance.

Many of our world’s philosophical and spiritual traditions allude to the art of being instead of mere projection. This was a difficult lesson for me during my Lent season of abstinence from this blog and other social media. I was projecting myself, thinking what I had to say or do was important, but very little be-ing.

Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.” –the Buddha

“Who is the most favored of Allah? He from whom the greatest good comes to His creatures.” –Prophet Muhammad

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” –Jesus Christ

Doing good to others is not a duty, it is a joy, for it increases our own health and happiness.” –Zarathushtra

A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.” –Joseph Smith Jr.

Compassion to others is compassion to one’s own self.” –Lord Mahavira

When a person responds to the joys and sorrows of others as if they were his own, he has attained the highest state of spiritual union.” –Lord Krishna

These are only a few, and I apologize if I did not include one of your favorites, but all of these statements among the traditions of the world have one message in common: action. If you are a Christian, you are called to display agape, a complete and selfless love toward all. Muslims must show compassion and seek justice for the suffering. Buddhists and Hindus must see themselves totally in others, and so on.

A light does not speak of itself. We are attracted to light simply by its nature. What if you spent today be-ing these qualities, displaying them in every nuance of your life, instead of projecting them with criticism, diatribes, bumper stickers, or social pressure?

I dare say that you’d never have to say a word.

Here is a personal devotion I created to help me with this ideal. May it serve you as it has me.

To that which Is
I offer praise in the depths
Of silence.

To that which Is
I offer prayer and sacrifice in the
Vigor of action.”



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abowen

posted April 18, 2012 at 8:25 pm


Diana,

I appreciate you stopping by. Yes, I have read some of Mr. Walsh’s work and it is indeed inspiring. Peace upon you.



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Diana

posted April 18, 2012 at 4:50 pm


I too studied and immersed myself in many belief systems looking for what was right for me. One of the most profound experiences was reading “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsh. It answered so many questions for me that I cried as I read the book feeling like someone understood my confusion, especially being raised Catholic. I had the experience of a fear oriented version of God and for years wouldn’t even say his name. It was a very difficult read for me because it contradited so much of what I had learned through my religion but it was what brought me to peace and understanding about God. If you haven’t read it I woud recommend it. Love all ways, Diana



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abowen

posted April 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm


Linda,

Thank you for that.



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Linda Lorincz Shelton, PhD, MD

posted April 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm


As a Unitarian Universalist I came to the conclusion long ago paraphrasing Albert Einstein that everything we have, benefit f rom, and think depends on the actions of so many others that came before us; therefore I will strive every day to give as much as I received. That is “being”.

LIVING IN A GRATEFUL WORLD

Be grateful to those who have hurt or harmed you,
for they have enforced your determination.

Be grateful to those who have deceived you,
for they have deepened your insight.

Be grateful to those who have hit you,
for they have reduced your karmic obstacles.

Be grateful to those who have abandoned you,
for they have taught you to be independent.

Be grateful to those who have made you stumble,
for they have strengthened your ability.

Be grateful to those who have denounced you,
for they have increased your wisdom and concentration.

Be grateful to those who have made you firm and resolute
and helped in your achievement.

– The Venerable Master Chin Kung



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abowen

posted April 17, 2012 at 6:50 pm


Beth,

Thanks for stopping by!



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Beth

posted April 17, 2012 at 10:14 am


This is lovely, and an important message for me to hear. Thanks for posting!



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