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Antonia Blumberg
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Antonia Blumberg works for HuffPost Religion covering a range of faith and spirituality topics. She is passionate about interfaith activism and strives to explore the ways in which religion plays out in contemporary media and politics. Antonia graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Anthropology.

Entries by Antonia Blumberg

Daily Meditation: Release Stress

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 7:26 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's post features a short, guided meditation by spiritual teacher Gabrielle Bernstein. The "backpack meditation," as...

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What Not To Say When You Meet Someone Who Is Pagan

(0) Comments | Posted May 26, 2016 | 2:57 PM

The word "pagan" carries undeniably negative connotations. Dating back to the initial spread of Christianity, pagans were those who continued worshipping a pantheon of local deities and were thus considered to be barbarians bound for eternal hellfire. Religious leaders to this day use the term to call out people...

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Daily Meditation: Be Brave

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 9:00 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features a song by pop-rock musician Sara Bareilles. "Brave" is a call to action...

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Meet The White House's New Muslim American Community Liaison

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 6:54 PM

With Islamophobia rampant in communities across the U.S., Muslim Americans now have a chief ally at the White House.

Zaki Barzinji, former Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.), recently assumed the new role as liaison to the Muslim American community under the Office of Public Engagement, the White...

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Why Catholics And Muslims Alike Come To Pray At This Shrine To Mary

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 2:25 PM

During the month of May, Catholics around the world honor the Virgin Mary in a practice dating back to the 13th century. But at one shrine to Mary in Harissa, Lebanon, it isn't just Catholics coming to pray.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon has drawn Muslim visitors since it opened in 1908, said the shrine's rector, Father Younen Obeid, in a recent video produced by Catholic News Service. They come as tourists, but also to pray and participate in Christian ceremonies at the site.

"All of [the Muslim visitors] have big respect for Mary," Obeid said.

This respect stems directly from the Quran, the holy book of Islam, which references Mary 37 times -- even more occasions than the Bible. The 19th chapter of the Quran is in fact named after Mary and tells the story of her life and how she came to give birth to Jesus, though Islam does not hold the belief of Jesus's divinity.

Mary has become a "symbol of unity" in Lebanon, as the BBC put it, where war, inter-religious strife and the ever-present threat of extremism might otherwise tear people apart.

The shared reverence for Mary is especially engrained in the culture of Lebanon, where Christians, Muslims and people of other faiths celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25 and visit the Harissa shrine during Mary's month of May and throughout the year.

Randa Youssef, a Shiite Muslim woman from Beirut, told CNS she liked to come to the shrine to ask for forgiveness. "I hope she listens to us to give our prayers to God," Youssef said.

Check out CNS's video about the shrine...

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Daily Meditation: Oneness

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2016 | 9:35 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features a poem by 17th-century Japanese haiku master Basho. The poem offers a lesson in oneness....

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How One Israeli Hair Salon Brings Jews And Arabs Together

(0) Comments | Posted May 24, 2016 | 2:34 PM

Jews and Arabs live largely segregated in Israel, but you wouldn't know it spending an afternoon at Fifi's hair salon in Haifa. 

The salon is the subject of...

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Daily Meditation: Questioning Progress

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2016 | 7:14 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features a thought-provoking spoken word poem by Kate Tempest. In "Progress," Tempest discusses the...

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Daily Meditation: Mountain Song

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2016 | 12:13 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features a song by Tibetan folk singer Ngawang Lodup. The musician comes from a...

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Μια εκκλησία του 19ου αιώνα μεταμορφώθηκε σε πολύχρωμη ντίσκο-έργο τέχνης

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2016 | 10:22 AM

Οι τοίχοι μιας ιστορικής εκκλησίας του 19ου αιώνα είναι αυτές τις μέρες λουσμένοι από τα χρώματα του ουράνιου τόξου, χάρη σε μια πρωτότυπη εγκατάσταση της Βρετανίδας καλλιτέχνη Liz West.

Οι 700 χρωματιστοί, ακρυλικοί καθρέφτες που απαρτίζουν την εγκατάσταση της West με τίτλο «Our Colour Reflection», πλημμυρίζουν...

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Interfaith Iftars Aim To Bring Communities Together This Ramadan

(0) Comments | Posted May 20, 2016 | 2:34 PM


With Ramadan quickly approaching, when Muslims around the world will fast from sunrise to sunset, Rev. Cynthia Bronson Sweigert has her plate full.


For the second year in a row, the Minnesota-based Episcopal priest is organizing a state-wide effort to bring Christians and people of other faiths into...

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Daily Meditation: Music From Another World

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2016 | 7:22 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features an underwater musical performance by Danish ensemble Between Music. Let yourself be transported...

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Artist Transforms 19th Century Church Into Stunning Kaleidoscope Of Color

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2016 | 2:25 PM

The walls of a historic 19th century church are now bathed in rainbow lights thanks to an installation by UK artist Liz West.

The 700 colored acrylic mirrors that make up West's "Our Colour Reflection" installation shoot light up the ironstone walls of St...

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Daily Meditation: Replenish Your Soul

(0) Comments | Posted May 18, 2016 | 7:07 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features a chant performed by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos. The...

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Daily Meditation: Like Calm Water

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 7:41 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features a short passage from Thich Nhat Hanh's book, How To Relax. Each of...

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Outpouring Of Methodist Clergy Pledge Support To LGBT Colleagues

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 6:09 PM

One week after more than 100 United Methodist clergy collectively came out as LGBT, hundreds of their colleagues called for the church to end discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.

“We, the undersigned clergy of The United Methodist Church, believe it is time: time for us to end...

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Marianne Williamson Urges College Grads To Put Love Before Personal Gain

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 1:54 PM

As a fresh batch of college graduates receive their diplomas and set off into the world, author and spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson has some words of caution.

Williamson shared her wisdom with University of Southern California graduates in a Baccalaureate speech on May 12, urging them not to fall into the "trap" of pursing the American dream without serving the greater good.

With a college degree comes a great amount of opportunity and privilege, Williamson said. Many people, she continued, will walk away from graduation thinking they can go out and do whatever they want. They measure success by personal gain and set out to realize their dreams. But according to Williamson, this thinking is flawed.

"If your freedom means to you that there's no higher good than going out there and making happen what you want to make happen, then you are not free," she said.

Just as an acorn is programmed to grow into an oak tree, she argued that we are all programmed to become the best versions of ourselves. But we are also programmed, she said, to work toward the greatest good for society -- not only for ourselves. 

"The universe wants you to actualize," Williamson told the packed auditorium. "The universe does have your back and wants you to become your most glorious expression. But sometimes in becoming your most glorious expression, you will be confronted with choices."

She went on to urge graduates to choose love over profit, humility over pride and gratitude over entitlement.

The Baccalaureate ceremony is organized every year by the USC's Office of Religious Life and is intended to offer a spiritual component to the graduation rite of passage.

"I thought Marianne did an extraordinary job highlighting the tension between the call of the ages and the call of the cell phone, between timeless spiritual wisdom and the material distractions of the moment," USC Dean of Religious Life Varun Soni told The Huffington Post.

"I know our graduating students were inspired by her passionate call to put their diplomas to work in the service of love and humanity," he continued, "so that they may translate their faith into action."

Watch Marianne Williamson's full speech...

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Daily Meditation: Sacred Service

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2016 | 6:02 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features a Hare Krishna mantra. The mantra is commonly translated as, "O...

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Daily Meditation: Sabbath

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2016 | 7:22 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features a song by music ensemble Zusha. "V'Shamru" is a ballad in honor of...

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Daily Meditation: The Mystical Realm

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 7:24 PM

We all need help maintaining our personal spiritual practice. We hope that these Daily Meditations, prayers and mindful awareness exercises can be part of bringing spirituality alive in your life.

Today's meditation features a song performed by the Barcelona Gipsy Klezmer Orchestra, which play music with Jewish...

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