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Elizabeth Cunningham
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Entries by Elizabeth Cunningham

Longing for Silence and Solitude

(6) Comments | Posted November 11, 2011 | 2:02 PM

I WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
        And live alone in the bee-loud...

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Credo: Community Without Conformity

(3) Comments | Posted October 21, 2011 | 1:06 PM

As an Episcopal minister's daughter descended from nine generations of clergy, I recited the Apostles' Creed every week. It begins:

"We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen."

I was still active in...

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Is God A Novelist? How Fiction Can Awaken Us To Spiritual Truth

(8) Comments | Posted September 26, 2011 | 12:47 PM

Don't you feel guilty?" a man in the audience demanded. "For writing fiction about the Holy Bible? You might lead people astray! They might think things happened the way you say they did."

"No, I don't feel guilty," I answered, "and I'll tell you why. There are four Gospels in...

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Fairy Tales: An Antidote to Bullying?

(3) Comments | Posted October 19, 2010 | 12:16 AM

"Life is no fairy tale," people say, meaning there is a dearth of happy endings. But that last traditional line, "And then they lived happily ever after," is not what the story is about. In most fairy tales there are terrible perils and ordeals. The hero is often the victim...

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Genetically Modified Salmon: Can This Marriage Be Saved?

(0) Comments | Posted September 20, 2010 | 8:34 PM

On Friday, my husband and I cooked wild salmon over a wood fire. We enjoyed it with garden vegetables and maybe a little too much wine. When the subject of genetically-modified salmon came up, I was surprised to find that we disagreed -- vehemently on my part.

The Food...

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Honoring the Elements: The Pagan Roots of Religion

(375) Comments | Posted September 3, 2010 | 6:37 PM

"My family is Jewish," he said to me.

"My family is Protestant," she added.

"But we're pagan," he continued, "and we want our wedding to have some pagan element."

"Only we want it to be subtle," she said. "We don't want our families to feel uncomfortable."

"That's simple," I answered....

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We the People: Are We in Charge?

(6) Comments | Posted August 4, 2010 | 12:46 PM

Last night my husband Douglas Smyth, who writes about politics and economics, mentioned Paul Krugman's op-ed piece in the New York Times "Defining Prosperity Down," expresses concern that "those in power will soon declare that high unemployment is "structural" -a permanent part of the...

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The Feast of Mary Magdalen: Celebrating Incarnation

(5) Comments | Posted July 20, 2010 | 5:57 PM

On July 22, the height of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, when fruits and vegetables are ripening, the sun us baking or steaming, cool waters are beckoning, nights are warm and full of stars and fireflies, and our senses are so engaged, the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Eastern Orthodox churches...

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Sacred Text(ing): Staying in Touch With Adult Children

(6) Comments | Posted July 15, 2010 | 12:40 PM

When I became a mother, I'd heard plenty about the terrible twos and the anguish of adolescence. The phrase empty nest syndrome was also well-known to me. But nothing and no one prepared me for having fully grown, independent children in their twenties who don't consider it compulsory to call...

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The Politics of Joy: God's Equation

(15) Comments | Posted July 1, 2010 | 11:23 AM

It's Thursday night Chi Kung, and we are cultivating energy between our palms and then our own palms and a partner's. Our teacher instructs us to remember a time when we felt pure joy, to recall it vividly, completely in every cell, to embody joy in this moment. Then he...

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Couple's Counseling: How to Know When to Call It Off

(3) Comments | Posted June 23, 2010 | 2:14 PM

Last week I posted a piece called "Three Ring Circus: The Thrill of Couples Counseling." Using the circus as a metaphor, I described my work as a couples' counselor. In response, a number of people commented that couples counseling had not worked for them and/or that it...

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Couples Counseling: A 3-Ring Circus

(10) Comments | Posted June 17, 2010 | 8:20 AM

When I work with couples, I feel like I am under the Big Top. There may not be elephants, clowns or trapeze artists (not literally, anyway) but there are definitely three rings. The work is exciting and keeps me on my toes. As counselor/ringmaster I have to be aware of...

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Love Your Enemy: A Novelist's Dilemma

(2) Comments | Posted June 10, 2010 | 10:21 AM

If I had known what it would be like to pore over and over historical accounts of military strategy and weaponry and then attempt, imaginatively, to place myself in the midst of the horror and chaos of battle, I might not have planted a certain hint in Volume One of...

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Thoughtful Food, Food for Thought

(2) Comments | Posted June 1, 2010 | 7:49 PM

I am in the vegetable garden pulling weeds (it is always a good year for weeds.) I am glad to be away from the computer with my hands and feet in dirt. I am thinking: there is no such thing as a virtual vegetable garden. I uproot some mustard greens...

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Mother to Mother: A Bilingual, Interfaith Funeral

(2) Comments | Posted May 26, 2010 | 3:07 PM

Roberto died at High Valley, our center, after a long illness. During his last weeks, his friends Karen and David cared for him there, joined by his mother Luisa from Venezuela. Until my mother-in-law Olga's recent move to a nursing home, Karen and David shared a house with...

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Becoming a Prayer

(5) Comments | Posted May 19, 2010 | 1:41 PM

We usually think of praying as something we do and a prayer as something we say or perhaps read, aloud or silently. But if a singer is one who sings, a writer one who writes, a dancer one who dances, and so forth, we could say that a prayer is...

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Howl if You Love Gaia: Cristina Eisenberg's The Wolf's Tooth

(3) Comments | Posted May 13, 2010 | 10:42 AM

I thought of titling this post "Howl if You Love Jesus," although Cristina's Eisenberg's in depth survey of the effect of keystone predators on a wide variety of ecosystems, makes no mention of Jesus or of any religion. The Wolf's Tooth: Keystone Predators, Trophic Cascades, and Biodiversity...

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Celebrating Beltane: Courage in Hard Times

(2) Comments | Posted May 4, 2010 | 5:54 PM

This year, as the festival of Beltane (April 30th) approached, I was aware of feeling anxious. Our community celebrates by leaping bonfires, dancing the May Pole, then gathering boughs and literally bringing in the May. We festoon the rafters of a barn with blossoming branches, and then...

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What Were Jesus' Views on Homosexuality?

(65) Comments | Posted April 28, 2010 | 6:16 PM

One of the people who most remind me of the Jesus I encounter in the Gospels is my friend, singer-songwriter Tim Dillinger. He lives on next to nothing and yet carries with him an atmosphere of joy and abundance. His many friendships cross lines of race, religion,...

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Drinking from Our Own Wells: Celebrating National Poetry Month

(2) Comments | Posted April 14, 2010 | 1:22 PM

April is national poetry month, but we need poetry all year long, all life long. Left to their own devices, children speak poetry. I will never forget hearing my four year-old daughter crooning to herself.

The cat catches the mouse
the mouse catches the bird

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