Archive for the ‘Brotherhood’ Category

You can support diversity without fear   Leave a comment

“Scientists have made a powerful discovery that appears able to improve everyone’s life. Reports indicate it works on individuals, families, communities, economies, and nations. Interestingly, it appears that too little of this substance may explain the coarsening of language and the hardening of hearts so evident in politics and the media. Lack of it also might be responsible for everything from substance abuse to the anxiety many people say they feel despite the unprecedented security, better health, and affluence the world is experiencing. And here’s the kicker: It’s free, it’s abundant, and you can’t overdose on it.” (John Yemma, Christian Science Monitor)

And the often disregarded, but indispensable substance?

Brotherly love!

Evidence of this love is discovered in quiet acts of empathy and encouragement demonstrated by caring people from all walks of life. For instance, the mature gent in the queue at the supermarket checkout who steps up to pay the balance for the mother of two pre-schoolers who is caught short. Or the young female social media whiz who creates social change through her dedication to affirming the good while gently dismantling prejudice.

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Then there’s the hospice chaplain offering simple words of comfort and walking a patient or family member through a process that aims to help them find meaning according to their own faith, or no faith.

Brotherly love, you could say, is at the heart of chaplaincy, pastoral care and spiritual services. But chaplains are not alone in wondering how extensively they need to demonstrate that care.

That was the question asked at last year’s Spiritual Care Australia Conference. Practitioners representing the world’s major faith traditions, as well as many others, who work at the coalface in hospitals, hospices and prisons came together to grow in their understanding of how best to meet the needs of the diverse groups of people they encounter day-to-day, and to better relate to them and celebrate them.

Just as the broader community are questioning stereotypes and thinking differently about ethnicity, culture, faith, race, nationality, skin colour, age, sexuality and gender, spiritual carers are also challenged by new paradigms. Armed with a similar acknowledgement of a higher power as man’s common source, these carers have something in their toolbox that can help them prayerfully reconsider sincerely held beliefs that might prevent them from embracing diversity wholeheartedly.

In the Christian faith, diversity is championed by its followers. “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful:” (I Corinthians, The Message)

Hearing the heart-felt stories of individuals representing the transgender, LGBTI community, as well as Multifaith and multicultural communities, greatly enhanced my empathy and compassion for those in the community who have different stories to tell.

In the wider community we may well seem to be different—by reason of race, gender, culture, nationality. But this is a limited view of how to see ourselves and others, when we judge identity from a predominantly material perspective. Beyond that, I’ve learned, we each have a spiritual sense through which we can more deeply feel and experience kinship with others as the offspring of the multifaceted, divine Spirit, and not formed after the pattern of mortal personality, passion and tribalism (as explained in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures).

Divine qualities and ideas are as infinite as their divine Source and so it stands to reason that they can be expressed in an endless variety of ways; yet never deviating from Spirit’s pure and good nature. In fact, we can’t help but express kindness, forgiveness and respect to everyone, as we learn that each individual uniquely reflects divine Love itself. And governed by this Love, we aren’t just safe in relation to one another; we can welcome ever more constructive and beautiful relationships with a broader array of fellow citizens.

The brotherly regard that can be offered at the supermarket, on social media or in the sickroom might best follow the principles of interfaith dialogue: to love our neighbor, regardless of their faith…culture… race…gender practices, and to build not just tolerant relationships, but respectful ones.

The writer of this article, Kay Stroud is working for the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Northern-Eastern Australia. More from this writer: www.health4thinkers.com

This article was first published on the Sunshine Coast Daily.

LOVE FOR ALL MANKIND   Leave a comment

The Commitment to love  

These words from a poem by Robert Burns, “Man’s inhumanity to man / Makes countless thousands mourn,” describe how hearts everywhere felt when they heard the news last month of a group of teens who taunted and laughed as they watched a man drown, doing nothing to help. Turning to prayer, contributor Judy Cole was reminded of Christ Jesus’ parable of the good Samaritan, which so clearly illustrates Jesus’ words: “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12). To love – to be filled with a spiritual and pure love for our neighbor in a world where hate seems prevalent – is the only genuine way to contribute to the lessening of hate and brutality in the world. As the children of God, nothing can stop us from loving in such a powerful and healing way.

$ Bedouin in Desert What is it that enabled Jesus to love despite the heinous treatment he witnessed against others and that was directed at him? His works point to the profound understanding he had of God as divine Love itself, infinitely more powerful than all the hatred he encountered.

The founder of The Christian Science Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy – who faced much injustice in her life – once wrote: “I will love, if another hates. I will gain a balance on the side of good, my true being. This alone gives me the forces of God wherewith to overcome all error” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 104).

Read the full article from The Christian Science Monitor’s : A Christian Scientist’s Perspective by Judy Cole here

Love is Powerful   Leave a comment

 

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Deborah shares with us a powerful solution that dissolved a scary situation through the power of brotherly love.

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to this Daily lift by Deborah Huebsch:

“Dinner” with the enemy   Leave a comment

By Jenny Sawyer

My group of friends and I really didn’t like the way this one girl was acting. She was rude, and she put others down to make herself look good. She’d also singled me out for particularly bad treatment. …

IMG_1310Even though Christ Jesus lived two thousand years ago, I still think of him as my go-to expert on relationships. So in considering how I could think more constructively about this girl, maybe even learn to love her, I took a look at the New Testament in the Bible to see how Jesus treated people who weren’t behaving their best. What I noticed was that Jesus willingly spent time with these individuals whom the Bible calls “sinners.” He even had dinner with them!

Are we willing to sit down, really take the time, and be witnesses to the God-created, good, spiritual nature in those we feel we dislike, even despise? I’ve taken to inviting one person each day to dinner—metaphorically speaking—be it an authority figure I’m unhappy with, or someone I feel hasn’t treated me very nicely. Then, in that quiet place of prayer, I sit with my concept of them until it’s polished, transformed….

Practice ‘dissolving’ hate!   Leave a comment

By Luisella Jaques-Deraney

Hate is like sediment in water. It builds up layer upon layer to “clog” the natural flow of relations between individuals or groups till situations explode. There is, however, a way to permanently remove hate. It is to dissolve it with another element—to break it down to the point that, first, it can no longer resist, and then isn’t there anymore. This hate-dissolving element is the love that accompanies the recognition of God’s presence even in desperate situations.

I haDSCF2483ve seen it work over and over again.

At one point I worked as a delegate of the International Red Cross in countries where internal troubles existed. My main work was to visit political prisoners and to ensure protection to civilian populations according to the Fourth Geneva Convention.*

It’s not easy to cope with the stress of this kind of job. When potential danger and fighting become your daily bread, you can get caught in the circle of hatred.

How do you keep safe, sane, and helpful in such conditions?

Click here to keep on reading and find out more:

Love’s Triumph Over Hate   Leave a comment

Silhouette of people watching sunset at lakeOne of mankind’s worst enemies is hatred.  It may be discomforting to be hated, but it’s injurious to do the hating.  One who hates, harboring intense animosity against another, sometimes feels the bad effects physically in tension and other unhealthy stimulation of the body.  These symptoms should warn him of the danger he is courting by hating.

Mary Baker Eddy quotes Hannah More as saying, “If I wished to punish my enemy, I should make him hate somebody.”  And elsewhere Eddy warns:  “Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads its virus and kills at last.  If indulged, it masters us; brings suffering upon suffering to its possessor, throughout time and beyond the grave.”  Yet she also reassures us, “Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you.”

This article, Love’s Triumph Over Hate by Naomi Price, was originally published in the Christian Science Journal.  It is currently available on-line at JHS-online.  In it she examines the question:  How can we love when others hate? 

Easter Reminds Us that Religious Values Can Benefit Society in More Ways than Have Yet Been Explored   Leave a comment

shutterstock_72790753We love to celebrate Easter.  And it’s not just the chocolate eggs, feasting and four-day weekend many of us enjoy.  There’s a national feeling of entitlement about this holiday.  Taking quality time to enjoy our “promised land” is as much a part of our collective psyche as is our propensity to forthrightness and our “she’ll be right” attitude.

Quaint as this may sound, the sense of being part of this wonderful country, which has historically upheld democracy, law and order, freedom of speech and religion, and equal access to opportunity, is integral to who we are.  Although we’re currently experiencing challenging repercussions from the overturning of some outdated attitudes about ourselves and our environment, these guiding principles continue to be borne out in our acceptance and mutual respect for people of every race, culture and religion.

To illustrate how this is evolving, a few weeks ago I sat at a table between an old friend, who is a Buddhist nun, and a Muslim Imam, who became a new friend.  Around the table were also Christians of several denominations, and men and women from the Jewish, Hindu and Baha’i faith communities.  We had come together at Parliament House, Sydney, under the auspices of APRO (the Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations), which comprises national representatives from the various faith communities in Australia, to discuss the benefits of religion and its key values to secular society.

We’d been set the task to identify shared values or ideals embraced by our own faith traditions, which, if employed more widely by individuals, groups and governments to tackle issues, could have a real bearing on the progress of society in measurable ways and help heal its divisions.

We discussed how these spiritual values profoundly influence and enter the minutiae of the lives of people of faith.

For instance, participants told of how they feel compelled to practise honesty and equity over seeking unfair business or personal profits as they obey the Golden Rule, doing unto others as they would want others to do to them.  They shared how religious values teach non-partisanship rather than taking sides; how their beliefs give them strength to more often choose spirituality over sensuality, brotherly love over self-interest, and humility over self-promotion.  We found we each had experienced more peace in our lives as an open-minded approach that trusts in a higher power was adopted, rather than letting fear or outrage manipulate our actions.  And we collectively acknowledged that when we cherish the value of forgiveness, we promote healing.

While these values can’t be co-opted by any one group, religious or not, there is tremendous consequence in championing their utilisation by society in general.

Consider how these kinds of spiritual values could practically assist construction of the budget, social services policy or our asylum-seeker program.

The forum identified the need for increased interfaith dialogue and willingness to engage with secular society and institutions.  Many of us went away with a deep desire to examine our own faith traditions and practices, and to root out evidence of intolerance, discrimination or prejudice.

My Christian faith reveals that the overarching need for individuals and for societies is “the fruit of the Spirit” found in “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,” as St Paul discovered.  When we seek these first, ideas that meet our current need will be revealed, as my recent experience illustrates.

After weeks of searching, I’d settled on the perfect new home; it ticked all the boxes.  The thing was, it would cost every dollar we had and much more, so my husband was not keen to proceed.  Tension was escalating between us, as circumstances dictated that a decision be made over the upcoming weekend.  Taking a moment to acknowledge a higher power as governing, it struck me that a solution that benefitted us both equally could only appear as I ditched the general belief in conflicting minds and personal agendas.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Christian reformer, Mary Baker Eddy, explains the science of this changed perspective: “When we realize that there is one Mind, the divine law of loving our neighbor as ourselves is unfolded; whereas a belief in many ruling minds hinders man’s normal drift towards the one Mind, one God, and leads human thought into opposite channels where selfishness reigns.”

Previous experiences I’d had where solutions resulted from a similar spiritual approach meant that I was not really surprised when a new home came on the market that day in the right area and at the right price. The agent met us there within the hour.  My husband and I were both moved – as if we had one Mind – to decide there and then to purchase it.  I was in awe of the power of humility and patience.

As a Christian Scientist, Easter speaks to me of Jesus, our great example; of a life that expresses God and enfolds everyone in honesty, love, humility, patience, healing.

This article was contributed by Kay Stroud who writes about the connection between consciousness, spirituality and health, and trends in that field.  She practices Christian Science healing www.health4thinkers.com

 

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